Dating a Normal Guy

For a week after the Guns N Roses concert, those who worked with me and tried to enjoy my company were subjected to such crazy-isms as, “Could Axl Rose privately message me through Twitter?” or (while checking my phone) “Could Axl Rose be texting me from a 714 number?”

Baye (my co-worker), “How could Axl Rose get your phone number?”

Me, “I don’t know.”

Baye, “Then probably not.”

Me, “Maybe he hired a private investigator to find me, who knows.”

Amid my grieving over Abe and my lusting over Axl, I started dating someone I met from OkCupid, who appeared nice, decent looking, a bit dorky and, above all, normal.

Date #1: Martinis and Classic Rock

Our first date was during the planning phase of moving in with Abe. I told Abe, “I cancelled on this guy twice before because of you, I would feel like an asshole for cancelling again. Let me just meet him for a drink.”

We had connected before I started dating Alan and before moving to Sylmar. Then, we connected again after I discovered Abe dabbling on Craigslist. Both times, I cancelled a pending date. Now, I had to follow through.

We met at a martini bar in West LA called Liquid Kitty. It was there I crashed Jason Patric’s birthday party. I chatted with Abe on the drive over, locked my car door and walked into a dark bar then saw a 6ft tall white kid, with sandy blonde hair and white pants. How could I forget those white pants?

The DJ was spinning some old school rock, Doors, Bowie, Sugar Hill Gang, etc.

We ordered our over-priced specialty drinks and started chatting about who we are. I let him lead, since the longer it took for him to figure out I am a disaster, the more time it bought me. I could then build up his general affection towards my quirky eccentricities, really just distracting him from my loud history of bad decisions.

What I learned about him is that he is from my home state of Washington and recruited from Seattle to work on a marketing campaign for Toyota. He wanted to be a writer, but didn’t believe he had the creative talent. His younger brother, a Benihana chef in Bellevue, does have the creative chops (har har) to be an artist. He doesn’t know what day it is, or what time it is but “can make a film or write something beautiful in less than a day.” His brother was his favorite person.

I also learned, dun dun dunnnnn . . . he was attacked by pit bulls when he was 8 yrs old. The story had been colored by time, so I took it with a grain of salt.

He threw his ball over into the neighbor’s yard, climbed on over to retrieve it and remembers being pulled down and shook from behind, then waking up in an ambulance with his mother holding his hand, repeating, “You are going to be alright.”

He was stitched up and sent home. The neighbor had to put down one of the dogs, and later reprimanded him for trespassing on his property.

Everyone is so evil in that story. The mean man with the mean dogs.

I said, “Well, my pit bulls let children ride them like horses.” And I offered a crooked grin as I sipped my large martini.

He slowly nodded and I saw that wasn’t the reaction he was used to. Then he said, “I am sure your dogs are sweethearts.”

I know there are bad dogs, and there are good dogs . . . I could just volunteer that I was attacked by a person. Jump into that story on a first date in a low voice with dramatic pauses. What would that mean? Good people, bad people. Good times, bad times.

In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man,
Now I’ve reached that age, I’ve tried to do all those things the best I can.
No matter how I try, I find my way into the same old jam.

Good Times, Bad Times, you know I had my share.

So, what happened?

I told him that I used to drive cars off the boats from Japan onto trains and trucks for distribution across the country. He said, “Wow, I guess that would have to be someone’s job. And now you work at a Doggie Daycare and model hair. I never met anyone that had any of those jobs, now I know one person that has done them all.”

I thought he was nice.

The music was very good, and he prodded me to make a request. So I did, and got a Doors song I had to dance to, which was followed by more great songs I had to dance to.

He said, “You have good energy.”

He danced with me, though I could see he wasn’t used to it. When he walked me outside to my car, he kissed me. There was a small spark, so I leaned in for another peck, absentmindedly. I liked him.

Date #2: The Derby Dolls

When I got in my car for the trek back to Sylmar, I called Abe and said, “Nice guy. Kind of a shame.”

So, when Abe fucking SHATTERED MY DREAMS AND BROKE MY HEART, I responded to a follow up text from Buddy.

(I am calling him ‘Buddy’ since it is the most popular name for male dogs)

I drove back from San Diego after having some half-hearted sex with Alan, still being too blind-sided to cry over losing the townhouse, the dress and the boy.

Buddy suggested Roller Derby for a second date, which was a really good call- since I happen to love roller derby.

I was wearing this black web dress over a tank top and skinny jeans.

We filed into the arena and he complimented my top. I said, “Yeah, its something new I am trying.”

He said, ‘What’s that, sexy?”

I said, “Tight.”

He said, “I don’t think that’s new.”

I said, “This is really tight, that’s ok, I don’t need my boobs.”

He looked at me sideways and chuckled.

When we stood behind a single mom who looked like chunky, Hispanic lesbian, he bent down to tie his shoe. She turned around to say, “Oh, I was looking to see who was touching my butt.”

Buddy said, “It looks great by the way, I just needed a different angle.”

I laughed.

He kept bending down to tie his shoe, and Lesbian Mom shouted, “Double knot!!” over the women crashing on the rink.

The game was good, we double fisted two PBRs. He identified which women he thought were the most attractive and asked me to do the same. Its just an odd thing to ask of a date.

I wanted to keep an open mind. You see, I haven’t dated a “normal” guy in years and maybe that’s how they find common ground with women. Maybe he hangs out with so many men he doesn’t know how to talk to women. Either way, I made an effort to hold judgement.

I liked him.

The second half of the game, he sat on the railing behind me and put his arms around me. I leaned into it, feeling awkward. Alan bent me over the edge of his couch that morning and Abe was still on my bed sheets. It feels slutty, doesn’t it? The thing is, it’s not slutty, at all. That’s what’s so fucked up about the whole thing, both men have an intimate connection. When they touch me it feels like warm water.

When Buddy touched me, it felt cold. I prickled and had to remember to relax.

It was rushed to be out with Buddy on this date so soon after everything. I just wanted to have a good time, to feel pretty, to laugh at someone’s jokes.

It was around this time, with his legs on either side of me and his hands rubbing my back, that I started getting nervous. I was talking fast. I was making self-deprecating jokes.

Buddy, “So you act?”

Me, “Yeah, but only because it’s one of 4 things that I am good at.”

Buddy, “You are only good at four things?”

Me, “We can round up to five, I haven’t taken the time to really figure out what all four things are, so maybe there are five.”

Buddy, “You really don’t hold the punches back on yourself, do you?”

Me, “It’s all part of the act. I throw things out, some things work and some things don’t.”

Buddy, “Where does the act stop and the person start?”

Me, “Ha, no one knows. Not even me. Its the same thing. They overlap, I guess.”

I asked him if he wanted to go to Thai food after, and he came.

I drove us and we found a place open late on Sunset near the rink.

Grabbing an empty Starbuck’s cup, I tossed it in the dumpster and said, “Sorry. I am trying something new out.”

Buddy, “What? Throwing things away?”

Me, “Yeah.”

We ordered food and I enjoyed my plate so much, I hardly looked up to keep the conversation going. I could see he was yawning and leaning back. Something about him became cocky, as I became more self-deprecating.

We walked out and I opened the door, then paused and scratched my head.

Buddy, “Everything alright?”

Me, “Yeah, I am working on letting the man open the door for me. I forgot.”

As we proceeded through the parking lot . . .

Buddy, “Watch out for the-”

I tripped on a speed bump in the parking lot.

I laughed. He kinda didn’t.

Nervous energy. It was all my nervous energy, mixing up the dynamic.

Usually, I am confident and smart. Maybe I felt vulnerable on the heels of rejection. Maybe I just wanted to be normal, too.

I drove him to his car, a Beamer (of course) and said, “Whoa, this isn’t a Toyota.”

He said, “Ha. No.”

Then he sleepily leaned in for a kiss. We made out for a little less than a minute and said goodnight.

Date #3: Hot Dogs and Comedy

The third date, he suggested we go to burlesque club. I told him I was uncomfortable with over-sexualizing dates.

He then suggested we go to a comedy club. I thanked him for understanding, its just “people in LA can be very aggressive.” He said, “I imagine they would be with a beautiful woman.”

He agreed, to meet at Pink’s Hotdogs and then walk over to Groundlings for a show.

He was stuck in traffic, commuting from the west side on a Friday night. I was in a dress, alone in a patch of Hollywood. So I got in line to buy us hot dogs as he made his way towards me.

There is no freeway IN to Hollywood, so no matter which way you enter her, you have to work your way around and through her streets. It’s rough, I knew he would be frazzled.

When he arrived, his hot dog burrito was plopped on the tray in front of us, next to my vegan dog.  We found a table and started eating.

I said, “You know who holds the world record for eating the most Pink’s Hot Dogs? Orson Welles. He ate 18 in one sitting.”

That is the first piece of trivia that comes up on him through IMDB, by the way.  Even after making the greatest movie in film history, STILL hot dogs win.

Buddy needed ketchup for his dog.

I said, “Can I get it for you?”

He said, “Why would you get up for my ketchup?”

I thought about it and said, “You’re right. I don’t know why. Maybe I am just so used to working in the service industry, it felt natural for me.”

After working retail so much, I did have to train myself to not ask to assist fellow customers out with their bags when grocery shopping.

He said, “In the future, make a note that I don’t like any vegetables on my food. Whatsoever. And no onions.”

Geez . . . you’re welcome!

We were in a rush to make it to the Groundlings show, and did.

He said, “They might not let us in, they close the doors once they start the show.”

So when we got up to the box office I said, “Sorry we were late. He is from Seattle.”

Another sideways chuckle, “Thanks, honey.”

We sat down and watched a great show. I was cold from the air conditioning and he put his arm around me, held my hand, and got closer to me.

After the show, we decided to go across the street to a bar called the DarkRoom for drinks. As we waited to cross the street, he came up behind me and bear hugged me.

He said, “Does that warm you up?”

I could feel his erection on my lower back.

Me, “No, but it stimulates other parts of my body.”

We crossed the street and ordered a few PBRs. ‘Fear and Loathing’ was playing on the television, and I had a hard time not watching it.

Buddy, “Fear and Loathing’ is one of the few movies I saw in theaters more than once.”

I said, “I love Hunter S. Thompson.”

He looked confused. I repeated the name and he shook his head saying, “I wish it wasn’t so loud in here.”

I don’t think he knew who Hunter S. Thompson was. I am not going to be a snob about it. I will try not to anyway.

You see, on February 20, 2005 we both tried to commit suicide. Hunter S. Thompson succeeded. I failed, was institutionalized and put on suicide watch. I will never forget hearing about his death the following morning, when my knees were weak and I couldn’t walk right from too many sleeping pills. I felt like maybe things should have been the other way around.

Not a conversation for a third date, so I kept my mouth shut. Well, kind of, I whispered again, “Hunter S. Thompson.”

I asked him about his experience with drugs, he said, “I smoked pot once and didn’t feel anything. I am just not that interested in it, I guess.”

I said, “I highly recommend it.”

My goal was to date Buddy for as long as possible without letting on that I am bizarre or troubled. However, It wasn’t long before we discussed our past relationships.

He said, “My first relationship was with my high school sweetheart. I followed her all the way to the same University. And when I got there, she lost interest and I spent that first year chasing her. It’s that time when you should be making friends and discovering yourself, I was totally focused on her.

Then I dated a girl last year for 6 months or so.”

Me, “What happened there?”

Him, “We drifted, you know, lost interest. And then I was only sexual with one other person.”

Me, “May I ask how many dates?”

Him, “I don’t know, 4 or 5.”

Me, “Is that typical?”

He nodded.

Then I said, “I don’t have casual sex. I guess you should know that about me. I only have sex in monogamous relationships. One, because I am STD phobe. When you read up on the statistics, you really start to learn a lot of people have genital herpes. One in four.”

Buddy, motioning to the couple sharing the other side of our table, “So one of us at this table as it.”

Me, “Yeah. And Planned Parenthood won’t examine me as much as I want them to.”

Buddy, “Whoa. What?”

Me, “They won’t give me a free pelvic exam once a year anymore, it has to be three years unless there are symptoms of some kind. And they lectured me about how it’s pointless taking STD tests more than once in a 6 month period if I haven’t had any new partners.”

Buddy, “I see, there is a better way to put that than ‘They won’t examine me as much as I want.”

I held up my beer and cackled.

Me, “You’re right.” Sip. Then I continued, “The truth is . . . have you ever had casual sex? With that one girl you went on a few dates with?”

Buddy shrugged and nodded, kind of agreeing.

Me, “Well, its not very good. They don’t know how to touch your body, there isn’t time to learn how to make me orgasm, and there isn’t that build up of sexual tension that explodes when you finally come together. I love that. When you are casual with someone, its just flesh on flesh, dead connection. No chemistry. Its not worth the risk of disease or . . . other.”

He was taking it all in.

Buddy, “So what about your past relationships?”

I took a sip and got a pop up in my mind, ‘SMALL BITS OF INFORMATION’ . . . I told him about Abe and Alan, how one left and the other came back in. I saw him doing the math in his head and realize there was an overlap of our communication and relationships with both guys.

“Before that I had a five year affair with someone, and it just turned bad.”

He said, “Why?”

I said, “He was an alcoholic, and had a cocaine problem.”

He said, “You hang out with a lot of drug addicts?”

I said, “I guess I do. I don’t know why that is. My therapist and I are trying to figure it out.”

I laughed again.

He said, “So I am totally different.”

I nodded, “Yes, you are.”

He took my hands to keep them from picking at my eyebrow and fiddling with my hair.

Buddy, “You have a lot of ticks.”

Me, “I guess you make me nervous.”

He kissed my hands.

We walked back to my car and he said, “Why do I get the feeling I will never see your place?”

I said, “Because you won’t. It’s a disaster. Did I tell you we are infested with rats, now?”

He nodded.

I said, “It’s not dirty. Its just cluttered. You know, notes, I like to keep notes for writing and coffee mugs everywhere.”

Buddy, “That’s kind of what your mind is like. Isn’t it? Stream of consciousness-”

I laughed and said, “I like that. Yes.”

He continued, “It only serves a purpose to one person,  though . . . you.”

Me, “Yeah . . . and Virginia Woolf.”

I laughed and looked at him from the side of my eyes. Could this guy get me?

We got into his car and made out for a while. He was nervous to touch me, so I grabbed his hand and put it on my boob. At a certain point, my head went elsewhere. I thought about Abe and I missed the chemistry.

Buddy whispered, “Does that feel good?”

I said, “yeah.” Was he dirty talking me while we were making out? Or was I over-analyzing?


I know most people date this way. They go out and things physically escalate as you get to know each other, but something in traditional dating lacks romance.

My greatest romances were with friends, Eric (aka The Prophet) and Abe, even my ex-husband. I was immediately attracted to them, and got to know them from a distance before we consummated. Just like in an Austen novel. I feel lucky to have had those experiences. Some people meet and date once or twice a week- but when do they have the time to fall in love?

How did I fall for Alan? We had one amazing weekend. Then another. Perhaps that’s why I gravitate towards long distance relationships, so I can hold my rhythm of intense to absent. That tends to be my approach to life in general.

Was I being impatient? He was nice, he was kind of funny. Maybe I was being over-analytical.

My mother said, “That’s how your father and I started. Just a date once a week.”

Then they got engaged after 3 months, married and my father was shipped off to Vietnam. That’s not normal either, is it?

How do normal people fall in love? I am very curious to understand.

Date 4: Hot Tub, Pizza and Horror Movie

Buddy and I emailed and texted throughout our day. I would send videos of my job and he would send a picture of his desk or a video of his cat.

He had two cats, “Bettie” and “Marilyn” . . . named for Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe.

I texted, “Both fascinating women.”

He said, “As far as I am concerned, Bettie invented sex.”

I said, “Well, she invented S&M.”

He said, “S&M is inevitable once you start having sex. So I stand by what I said. Bettie Page invented sex.”

I asked him what his favorite Marilyn Monroe movie was.

He said, “Some Like it Hot, I guess. I don’t know. I just like them as pin-ups.”


He just likes them . . . as pin-ups. Even as I typed that, I had to crumple my brow and toss my eyes from side to side. He is talking about two of the most fascinating women in pop culture history, and .  .  . he just likes them as pin-ups.

Ok, once again. I tried not to judge.


Could you pick two more interesting women to be uninterested in?

I don’t expect people to know everything about these wild characters of the past, but for someone who watched ‘Fear and Loathing’ several times, and named his cats after Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page- I expected there to be some flare of knowledge about those people. The real people. But maybe normal people only like the glossy prints, not the dirty notes shoved underneath.


Later in the week, I texted, “My right boob misses you.”

Then …

“My left boob is still getting to know you.”

He texted back “My left hand misses you.” Then this picture:

It was cute. We had mild banter throughout the day. It kept me from thinking of Abe

I told myself that I wouldn’t go over to his place for at least a month after we started dating. When I found out he had a hot tub and an ocean view, I revised my rule and offered to bring him a pizza in exchange for using his hot tub.

He thought that was a brilliant idea.

To be continued . . .

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