I have well-meaning friends, I really do. I know they love me and they want me to be happy. They don't always believe I am happy being in a long-distance relationship and so they frequently try setting me up. Unfortunately, my lengthy journalism background has given me a nose for...trouble. I can smell when there's a set-up in the air. They can lie, they can bend the truth but I always know.
I have never ever been on a successful blind date. Mind you I have not hated them all because they all become fodder. My top favorite all-time worst dates however could not rival the one I had yesterday.
Seriously! And I've had some doozies. Let's see...there was the guy in London: an opera-singing taxi driver who picked me up in his taxi, the Vacant sign still on, oblivious to people trying to flag him down. Dinner was superb until he realized he wasn't going to get lucky so he took me home, picking up fares on the way because "Somebody has to pick up the tab."
He drove like a lunatic, punishing the crowded taxi as he molested Celeste Aida at the top of his voice.
Then there was the guy who was a convicted dognapper.
Oh yeah, then there was the guy who claimed to be an IRA assassin and to have spent time in the Irish Maze Prison, but knew nothing about Ireland when I asked a few general questions.
Then there was the guy who ordered a mountain of food, ate everything, even my food, then excused himself and drove away, leaving me with the check.
Oh yeah...my friends have a whole lotta 'splaining to do.
My friends decided I just had to meet their friend...let's call him Brut, because the overwhelming scent of his cologne is still on my clothes - just from sitting next to him! I can still smell it as I write this and the clothes are in the laundry hamper...
But I digress.
So the lunch date was set up at my friends' house. I dutifully dropped by Nata's Pastries and picked up a box of yummies and didn't eat a single one. I arrived at my friends' house and there he was.
He was very attractive...if you like trolls.
I stared at him. Geez...he was missing his front teeth! I almost dropped the pastry box. He was wearing shorts and work boots and a crisp white sweater. He's a building contractor and I was shocked to see a combination of muscular arms and legs and a huge beer gut. He crushed me into a painful hug.
Why oh why did my friends think I'd like him? Do I send out signals that I cherish hobos?
"Well, you're both gay," was the reply I got. Oh.
Brut told me a long and complicated story regarding the loss of his teeth. Seems his brother punched his face in after a long night of drinking.
"You'll ove him," he suddenly said and I saw my friends exchanging the uh-oh look.
"I have falsies," Brut said, producing a handsome set of choppers from his pocket. The teeth were enormous. I couldn't speak when he said the teeth hurt to wear because they were the wrong size. I'll say. The looked like horse teeth.
He asked if he could bring his dog in from the truck and my friends, eager to make everyone happy told him he could.
The dog, a big rambling beast of a thing smelled like three pigs farting and ran right through the house to the back yard where the family's pet guinea pig was apparently slumbering in her cage in a sunny spot.
I heard a scream and a squeak. We all rushed outside. There sat the dog, a look of innocence on his face, a tiny speck of brown fur in the corner of his mouth and there was the guinea pig on her back, eyes open, her cage trashed....
It was horrible but I had to keep the smile from my face. I knew this transgression meant that Brut the Troll would soon be leaving, another set-up would be mercifully over...and I could use this story as an example the next time these same friends thought to set me up with some other loon again.
"Should I leave?" Brut whispered in me ear.
"I think so," I said, one brow arched as the family's children wept for the loss of their pet.
"He was just trying to play," Brut kept saying. His protests fell on deaf ears. He did all the right things, offering to handle the guinea pig's funeral and offered to replace her.
"You can't replace Peaches," the girls sobbed.
Brut found an old lunch box in his truck and took Peaches away, his dog sedately walking beside him. Brut came back and asked for my number.
"I'll email you," I said. He will never have my number.
But he will always have that swell aftershave.
Happy New Year everyone!!