February 14

Dying for a Date?

For this Valentine’s Day I thought I’d share what I assert is the story of the worst blind date in the history of dating. I’m sharing this because I remember being a single 20 or 30-something and having Valentine’s Day sting. A lot. Seriously, couldn’t wait for the day to end. So for all of my single friends who wish they had a great date planned with someone special, I offer you this laugh of one of my many, very bad dates. We’ll save the one where I ditched the jerk I went to high school with and his brother in the bar for another time.

I was spending the summer in Sausalito, California having won a national design competition for a summer internship at a swank design firm there. My aunt called me and said her friend’s single son, with a PhD from Stanford, lived in the area and would I like to go on a blind date with him. I said sure.  He and I had a nice conversation on the phone to plan our date. He was a neuropsychologist currently working at the Stanford Medical School. Sounded very promising.

I met him at his house in San Francisco and the plan was to go to some picturesque spot on a bluff overlooking the Pacific and have a glass of wine before dinner. I got in his car and noticed there was a cervical collar (like people wear who have been in a car accident) in the backseat. I asked him if he had injured his neck. He said no but that he wore it while he was driving, “Just to prevent getting hurt if someone hits me.” He drives around in a cervical collar to prevent getting hurt?! Wacky comment #1 noted.

We have our wine and watch the sun set. He learns that I speak Japanese and insists that we go for sushi to prove that I actually do, in fact, speak Japanese. The real doozy comes over dinner when I ask him if he has always lived in the Bay Area. He hesitates and says, “Uh. No. I got my master’s in Philly. I came to the Bay Area to get my PhD… At least that’s what I tell people.” Stupidly I ask, “What’s the real story, then?” He explains to me that he lost his job at the hospital where he used to work when the staff at the hospital cafeteria recognized him in a movie. He goes on to explain that he had had a major role in a porn film to work his way through grad school. “I mean, it was just soft porn really. My genitalia wasn’t even on camera.”

At this point I keep re-winding the conversation trying to process it but I’m stuck in the Did he really just say ‘porn’? Did I hear that correctly? mode. Then at some point as if this makes it all better, he explains that he was roller skating around in a chicken suit, wearing a G-string while a couple on a bed are having sex. “No one was supposed to find out at the hospital. But then the clip on me roller skating appeared in a documentary on MTV called, “Sex in the 80s” and some of the cafeteria workers at the hospital recognized me. By now I’m trying to figure out how fast I can get home because this guy is just a little too weird for me.

I explain to him that I have to get back because I have to work the next day and have a long drive home. As we leave the restaurant, he points to a storefront that’s clearly closed. He says, “Let’s see if this guy is home. You should meet this guy.” He explains that this storefront is occupied by an old black man who is blind but has a storefront psychology clinic in which people drop by to discuss their problems with him.” Not clued in that I have no interest in meeting this guy and am trying to get home, he knocks on the door of the dark storefront.

The door opens and the blind, black man is holding a gun, pointed at me. Until this particular moment, I had never ever had a gun pointed at me. The man is screaming at us hysterically, threatening to blow our heads off; he just didn’t say it quite that nicely. The guy I’m with is very casual about the situation, telling the blind man to put away the gun and reminding him that they know each other. The blind man is still talking about how we’re not going to take things that belong to him and he has no problem killing us because he’ll claim self-defense. I kid you not. All I can think of is Seriously?! I’m going to die at the hands of a crazy, blind man in the company of an amateur porn star?! Are you freakin’ kidding me?! What a humiliating way to die! I don’t even like this guy and I have to die with him?!

Mercifully at some point the blind man closes the door and we head back to my truck. I’m very shaken up at this point but the date seems to think I’ve had a great time. He actually asks me if he can call me over the coming weekend. Uh no. As I drive over the Golden Gate Bridge back to Sausalito I think Well, that’s it. Officially the weirdest date in history. Every date after this has to be better. For every date after for the next few years I’d think, Would I be willing to die with this guy? and the answer (until I met Bill) was Nah, I’m better off single.