Transplanted Life
Sunday, December 07, 2003
First date with Paul
A mixed bag. It was kind of surreal, going through the motions of putting on lipstick, trying to come up with something to wear that was date-worthy but also wouldn't have me freezing Michelle's ass off waiting for the subway, trying to remember what minimal information I'd had about him while all the while wondering what the hell I was doing it for. I actually picked up the phone to call it off at one point, ready to explain that I wasn't ready to be "out there" yet but call me three years from now if I'm still a woman, because by that point I'll probably be past thinking this will end with me back in my own body. That wasn't what I was planning to say - I was thinking something more along the lines of Jen & Carlos mean well but they've got no idea what I'm going through and thus no idea what I need.

I didn't, though. I figured, what the hell, at the very least its a learning experience like everything else in this body has been. It's just, dates lead to relationships, and I can't see how the heck I can have an honest one right now. I really wanted to cut and run, find a club, and just get laid. Enjoy the orgasm right now without having to worry about what my willingness to go out with a guy says about how much I'm not the same person I was six months ago or what happens if and when I switch back or anything like that. I understand that the idea of no-strings, no-risk intimacy is a fraud, but the clarity of thinking that way is appealling.

Anyway, it took me a while to get to the Boston Common movie theater - the B Line isn't quick under the best of conditions, which today (well, yesterday, I guess) wasn't. I felt kind of silly once I got there, because I could probably walk past him a dozen times and never know it. Heck, he'd only seen me in a spandex halloween costume and a blonde wig; kind of the opposite of my heavy coat and normal brown hair. Heck, if he was just looking for the girl with big knockers who appeared to be waiting for someone, even that would be difficult, since a winter coat kind of camoflages the figure. I just stood in the agreed-upon place, waiting. After half an hour, it really got kind of annoying - he'd been the one who wanted to go out with me, right? Sure, if I got stood up, it would basically be Michelle who got stood up, since he didn't know much about me, personally, but still, my time's worth something.

Finally, he showed up. Kind of a weird experience - this stranger walks up, says "excuse me, are you Michelle?", and I still have to take a second to think that he means me. Then there's the sort of semi-blind-date appraisal, where I look at him and, really, have the chance to nip it all in the bud with a little white lie (or, in my case, arguably a little white truth). And I don't have the experience in appraising men that a desirable 25-year-old woman like Michelle would have; I was pushed into dating Kurt and have barely gotten used to trying to guess whether a guy would be good in the sack. I guess he looks OK; square jaw, really dark hair, a face that sort of looks like its in shadows even under fluorescent lights. Handsome, I guess. Actually, that's overstating what I got out of that first look. "Ordinary-looking, average-sized nose" would be closer to the truth. But I say yes, shake his hand, and walk over to see what's playing. The preview of Something's Gotta Give is sold out, but Love Actually is starting in fifteen minutes. He buys the tickets and I'm thinking, god, what has happened to me - a guy is buying me movie tickets and popcorn because I'm the girl on a date that I could have easily decided against, and it's a romantic comedy to boot. It's one thing to see this sort of thing with Kate and/or Jen, but as someone's guest...

Fortunately, while I'm wrapped up in all this, he's talking about his drive in, and finding parking, and shoveling his car out of the driveway. Suburban people who are reading this, I know I can't claim to represent all city-dwellers on this, but I just don't care. I get that digging out and driving in and then trying to stow your car when the city's declared a parking ban and garages are either full or closed is difficult but, geez, it's not a conversation I can really be included in, and quite frankly, after hearing people complain about it ever since I started college, I've come to feel that it's your own damn fault for owning a car and a house to begin with. If you're going to be a car person, then don't bring it into the city, because they don't belong here, and in fact don't belong any closer than the nearest park & ride where you can get on a train. He talks about this all through both lines and practically to the theater. I say, hey, my trolley ride was fifteen minutes longer than it normally is, but I had a book with me, and I catch him almost saying "you don't understand, it's not the same" before he remembers that I'm the one controlling access to the boobs (or whatever's motivating this particular guy to want me to want to spend time with him after the movie's over). Sure, he's controlling access to the penis, but I know from experience that guys tend not to think that women think that way.

We talk for a while about how much more of a hard selling environment movie theaters have become - just waiting in the lobby, I felt bombarded with Cat In The Hat merchandising tie-ins, there must be ten minutes of non-trailer advertisements in front of the feature, and a guy even wheeled a cart with popcorn, soda, and candy into the theater just in case we'd opted to forgo the concession lines and vending machines. There were, at least, trailers for the new Charlie Kaufman-scripted movie with Jim Carrey and something called The Big Bounce with Owen Wilson.

The movie itself was pretty good. It's a really girly movie; I have a hard time reconciling the Richard Curtis who writes these very safe Hugh Grant romantic comedies with the Richard Curtis who co-wrote all four series of Blackadder. Sure, he keeps using Rowan Atkinson, but I keep waiting for the moment when something really twisted will happen, and it never comes. That's okay, I like romantic comedies, and this one's loaded with appealling actors playing appealling characters who say funny things. We go out for drinks after the movie, and spend a little time talking about it. He asks which relationship in the movie I'd like the two of us to have; I counter with telling him to write his choice down while I do the same so that the second person to answer the question can't just agree with the first. We both write down the cutest ones, of course - the Colin Firth whirlwind-romance-despite-a-language-barrier for me and the Hugh Grant love-at-first-sight-even-though-they're-not-social-peers one for him. I'm thinking, of course, that the Laura Linney one, where there's this third party who prevents any real intimacy is probably closer to the mark, and honestly I'd rather be the girl who's up front about trying to seduce Alan Rickman.

That, at least, is not to be right away. He's looking out the window at the snow, so I decide to let him get back to his car while I get back to the T. It's too bad, because he is, once I've had more of a chance to get a look at him, rather... um, what's the female thing to say about a guy that's equivelent to a guy saying a girl is bonable? And he's nice, if a little more conventional than I'd initially guessed from that Godzilla costume. He seems to like me, though, and he's polite and even funny when he lets his guard down. He's actually got a great self-deprecating sense of humor; he makes his job (he just made detective, assigned to the Vice squad) funny.

I kind of wish the weather hadn't made us both late and kind of easily annoyed; when I look at the date, from this perspective, that delay's really the only thing wrong with it, and it just sort of tainted the rest.

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