He seemed decent enough. Employed. Full-time. He advertised himself as an “Idea Man” who came up with ideas for reality shows and pitched them to the networks. He seemed swanky: all Madmen-y in the way that he wrote about his collection of vintage suits and fedoras. He claimed that he bought his clothing from the places where they stored old movie costumes and I was all like, “Ooooh, that’s way cooler than shopping at Aardvarks!” He could spell and use punctuation properly, which, me being a very educated bibliophile, was alluring. His profile pictures were artsy, but not annoyingly so. His name was Terry and his online profile said that he was 5’7″.
For our first date, he took me to sushi in Downtown Los Angeles and we had a view of the sky line at sunset. Which totally made up for the fact that (a) he was 20 minutes late and that (b) he spilled a glass of ice water all over me once we were finally seated at our table. I chalked it up to first-date jitters and the blinding dazzle of my beauty. But, I should have known better.
Terry gave me a first date present: a beautiful oxblood, sequined scarf that, coincidentally, matched the Hobo clutch that I was carrying that night. Dinner, post-ice water spillage, was excellent and, after, we wandered through the otherwise empty Downtown streets, arm in arm. He said something to me about “walking with a beautiful girl on a beautiful night” and my heart got all pitter-pattery because, well, it had been awhile. At his 5’7″, we were the same height: I had considered wearing flats that night, so that he’d be taller, but on account of that I wasn’t going to sacrifice my outfit to accommodate some dude I was just meeting, I wore heels. Modest ones.
He had taken the subway Downtown that night and, after visiting one of those Olde Tyme speakeasies located behind the kitchen and under the delivery ramp of a Rat Pack restaurant, I drove him home. It was unconventional, I know. But, he bought me my very first mint julep at that Olde Tyme speakeasy, so why not? I mean, it came in a tin drinking vessel and had a tin straw/spoon thing in it that allowed you to suck up your booze without the nuisance of the stray ice cube or mint leaf! Some people call that a Slurpee straw. I call it classy. So I drove him home. But, I should have known better.
For our second date, he took me to dinner at an Indian joint. With a coupon. That he was very vocal about. Which is fine, I guess: dating is expensive. He drove that night, though, and was very gallant about opening the doors of his brand new VW bug for me. Yep. VW bug. New. Decidedly not vintage. Not Madmen-y at all. Terry had to crane his head all the way to his right to talk to me as he drove, I noticed, because his seat was pulled almost all the way up to the dash. And I was all like, “Huh. Guess he likes a close drive.”
It was a good meal though and after the coupon dinner, we walked a couple of blocks to a local Hollywood cigar bar. It was all jazzy and people were all scattin’ and riffin’ and smokin’ and I loved it all! How fucking cool was I?! Smoking my first cigar with this cat, Terry, who wore an olive green mohair jacket and a slightly more olive-y green ascot while dudes got their jazz on all around us.
After the cigar and after the jazz, walking back to his car, arm in arm, I couldn’t help but notice that we were the same height. I was wearing flats that time. And I was all like, “Huh.”
Terry, it seemed, was shrinking.
For our third date, he invited me over for dinner and he cooked for me. He suggested that I bring my dog, Mr. SoHo, with me to his house. You know, so that I would feel safe? Also, because my dog could play with his dog, Tweety. A French Bulldog. Named Tweety. Terry, a grown-ass man, had a tiny dog named Tweety.
Which was all well and good, but Mr. SoHo wasn’t having any of it. Because, my gentleman dog straight-up peed on the entrance to Terry’s house. Right there on the door frame. Mr. SoHo never, ever peed indoors ever (because he’s a gentleman!) so the fact that he did it just then was a very, very bad sign. Cleary, Mr. SoHo was omnipotently prescient and I should have paid attention: good dog, bad sign. I dismissed it because I wanted just another one of those fancy cocktails that Terry had made a pitcher of. But, I should have known better.
Note to Self: Never dismiss your dog’s cue for another glass of booze. The decision to do so will end badly.
Our fourth date was a trip to the lazarium for a show about how the Life as We Know It might spontaneous end due to shifts in planetary alignments, but probably it won’t. And that was cool. But what wasn’t cool? Was how Terry got all angsty about how we might not get the exact seats that he wanted us to sit in because some kids might get them instead and how he grabbed my arm and pulled me, racing, through the auditorium while knocking a kid or two ever so gently to the side. Also not cool? I was taller than him on that date. And I was wearing flip-flops. Once again, I was all like, “Huh.”
We had a couple more dates after that because, well, I could have done worse. But, I totally should have known better.
A Text Conversation for Your Reading Pleasure:
Me: “I’m really sorry to ask this in text, but why was I taller than you in our last date?”
Terry: “Did you know that Science has proved that men who are 5’7″ or taller are more respected in the workplace.”
Me: “No. I did not know that. What does that mean for you?”
Terry: “It means that my shoes make me taller.”
Terry: “While we’re at it, I have (undisclosed illness, out of respect). I know it’s early days for us, but (undisclosed illness, out of respect) can be a deal-breaker for some. Thoughts?”
Me: “No! Not a deal-breaker at all! What am I? An asshole?” (insert non-asshole-ish emoticon here)
And because I am not an asshole, our dating game continued.
And I introduced him to my bestie Joy. Who is amazing. And so smart. And just enough of a trouble-maker, like me, to keep things super fun. Also? She’s insanely gorgeous. And if I didn’t totally love her, I would totally hate her furiously for her ridiculous beauty and, even worse, for her outrageously genuine personality and contagious sense of humor.
So there we were, Joy, me, Terry, and some other guy that I knew from work who said that he wanted to go out that night, at the Formosa Cafe. Terry had shown up late (again!) and had been dropped off in his very own brand new VW Bug by “a friend” to whom he had given a kiss before he got out of the car. I know this because I was watching his every move through the window at the bar. Which is not weird at all.
Joy wore her hearing aids that night but took them out at some point because of all the ambient noise, which distracted her.
“So,” Terry said. “Cochlear implants. Thoughts, Joy?”
“Yeah,” she said. “I don’t want them.”
“But how could you not?! You’re missing so much!”
“I don’t think I am,” she said.
I sat with my mouth agape. Terry was drunk. He had arrived drunk. Hence, the drop-off. He said he had been enjoying “ice cream sundaes” with his “bro” and his “nephew” earlier in the day which could have been true if he really meant that he’d been getting sloshed with his roommate and Tweety the Frenchie.
“Uh, Terry?” I said.
“But, you would get so much more out of life! Don’t you want to be on the Right Side of History?”
“I don’t think that I’m on the Wrong Side,” she said. “My life is great! I have wonderful children and a great education and …”
“You have children?!” he shouted.
“You don’t have to shout, Terry. She can read your lips just fine” I said.
“Lemme see pictures!” He said.
And so Joy showed him pictures of her three beautiful children and then he said,
“Are they adopted?! They don’t even look like you! What are they?! Filipino?! You are blonde! How could these children be yours?! These are just some little random Filipino children that you photographed somewhere over in Korea Town!!”
“You better slow your roll, Man,” said the other guy that I knew from work who said that he wanted to go out that night, who might have been half Filipino.
“They are mine. Straight outta’ my vagina,” she said.
“Uh, Terry?” I said.
“You know what would be great?!” he shouted even louder in the general direction of Joy. “A show about a house full of deaf models! And we’ll get them cochlear implants! I could totally pitch that! I could totally get that shit produced! A whole bunch of beautiful, deaf models that we introduce to the world through the gift of hearing! Joy, what do you think?” he asked all shout-y like.
“I think you’re gross,” she said.
We let Terry walk home alone from the bar that night.
He looked at me, standing at the crosswalk outside of the Formosa Cafe and said, “I thought that you were going to give me a ride.”
I looked right back at him and said, “I thought that you weren’t going to be an asshole. I guess we both lose.”
Joy and I sat around the fire pit at my mom’s house later that night telling tales about Terry at The Formosa Cafe.
“And he couldn’t even good hugs!,” Joy said. “His arms were too short!”
“Well, that explains why his seat in the car was pulled up so close to the dash,” I said.
“Yeah!” Joy said, “He hugged me when we met and was all like ‘Ugh, I can’t reach all the way around you because my arms are too short!'”
“And, he even had the lifts in his shoes tonight, too. Which, you know, should have given him a little more lift. He was his full 5’7″, as advertised” I said.
“He’s a T-Rex, Christina,” Joy said. “With little arms that can’t reach all the way around. And he has a chick name. And he drives a chick car.”
“When he’s not too drunk to drive himself,” I said, tossing the rest of my wine back.
I sent Terry a text the next day to let him know that I wouldn’t be seeing him again. Which may have been slightly dick-ish of me. But, he had re-defined “dick-ish” as I knew it so I didn’t feel too bad about it.
Because I don’t care about shortness, as long as a dude’s honest about it. Or short arms, really. For the same reason. Or about (undisclosed illness, out of respect) because you can’t always help the cards that you’re dealt. Or about guys with girl names who drive stereotypically feminine cars or who have small dogs named ‘Tweety’. To each their own.
What I do care about is dishonesty and general assholery. And what I won’t tolerate is rudeness toward those that I love. For me, it’s never okay to show up drunk to an outing and get all shout-y about creating a reality television show inspired by my friend’s hearing loss and non-desire to get a cochlear implant before you go on to accuse her of not really being the mother to her three fantastic children, children that you categorize as apart from us white Los Angelenos and who, you decide, live in some segregated, other part of Los Angeles. Called Korea Town. When the children in question are deemed by you to be Filipino. Those are different countries, you know.
And so I never saw Short Terry, his mohair, his ascot, or his dog Tweety again. Or the other guy that I knew from work who said that he wanted to go out that night. But I did see Joy again. Lots. And we did go to the Formosa Cafe again. Without Terry. And we looked awesome. And we laughed, as we always do.
PS: Did you get the part where my dog peed on Terry’s front door? Yeah. Dogs know.
PPS: Also? When discussing the merit and possible value of cochlear implants in a bar, the hearing person should not consider himself an expert on the subject. Probably the deaf girl at the table is the expert.