She winked at me. I average about eight of these per year, none worth following up – except this one. She was a skinny 27-year-old blonde who wrote at the bottom of her page “If I dig your profile and you dig mine, let’s cut the bs and just meet up. I don’t need another pen pal.” I said I dug her profile, and we agreed to meet for lunch that Sunday.
Disclaimer – Match.com is never that easy. I’ll spend hours sifting through an endless amount of boring, predictable profiles, racking my brain trying to come up with clever things to email. In the end I get a few views and no dates.
My first impression was that she looked older. Still attractive, but 32, not 27 which she claimed to be. She was sitting at end of the bar, a glass of red wine in hand. It was 12:30 in the afternoon.
“You must be Brian, I’m Callen,” she said and gave me a half hug. She smiled, apologized for the drink, and started a thirty-minute story with “What a weekend! . .”something about an estranged friend from high school asking if Callen would be her maid of honor. I interrupted and motioned for us to go outside because it was a nice day and I wanted to look assertive and manly.
During her story-telling, I noticed budding bags under her eyes. “I’m actually not much of a drinker,” she mentioned in reference to some bachelorette party that she now had to host. Somehow the reception, bridal shower, and beginning of the bachelorette party were all at her house. The more she talked, the more haggard her appearance. I remembered her profile said she didn’t smoke. No drinking, no smoking, no excessive sun exposure (assuming based on her complexion) and yet I looked like I could be her younger brother – which is in no way a compliment to myself. Beer and cigarettes have done a fair job in my aging process, but apparently they are no match for cold hard genetics. I felt lucky.
I watched in awe as she crushed four or five huge pizza slices while I sneaked glances at her tiny waist and curvy hips. This could be the one. A few laugh lines on her face wasn’t a deal breaker. The only feature that really threw me off was her freakishly thin arms. I’m not talking Angelina Jolie arms; this girl had granny-style limbs. in addition, skin hung loosely over her protruding shoulder bone, reminding me of a Fionna Apple video. Apparently the heroin look was back.
She thanked me for lunch on the walk back her to her car. I should mention that I never kiss on the first date. It’s not a rule I made, or something I would suggest, I just have no game, and it takes me a while to develop attraction with human females. So Instead we made googly eyes, gave one of those hugs where one hand goes low and the other high, then ended it with a boring “This was fun, we should do it again sometime.” She smiled, imagining our kiss next time, or so I imagined, and drove off. On the way home I started thinking of cool and unique things we could do for our second date. I pictured us at a fancy art gallery, a small glass of red wine shielding her face as she whispered inappropriate comments in my ear. I imagined us splitting an ice cream cone and people-watching on a shady bench in the park. I envisioned her slicing vegetables in my kitchen while I fed her spaghetti sauce from the end of a wooden spoon. I saw an update on my facebook wall – “Brian Pratt is in a relationship with Callen Stewart.”
We went to an art gallery in Hollywood. It was all coming together. I should say at this point that Callen was an extremely opinionated girl. I’m not sure if I attract this type or just bring it out, but they flock to me like virgins to a Star Trek convention. Most of the time it’s cool but occasionally you’ll get stuck with the girl who refuses to watch Disney movies because “the company was founded on racism”. Or you’ll have to hear about how appalling it was to see everyone celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden because “that’s still a human life”.
During the drive, she commented on a Gucci ad..
“Air-brushing should be illegal. . . ”
“Huh?” I asked, surprised.
“All that photo-retouching stuff should be illegal. It creates unrealistic expectations for young women. Total bullshit.” she explained.
“It’s their ad, they paid for it to be up there, let them do whatever the fuck they want to it. It’s 2012 and everyone is aware of Photoshop. I don’t look at a Lord of the Rings poster and get pissed because there’s no such thing as ogres. Everyone knows the centerfold of Mila Kunis isn’t real – her boobs aren’t that big, her waist isn’t that thin. It’s the parents’ responsibility to explain this to their kids, not Maxim or Cosmo or any other company selling fantasies. If this causes an eating disorder then you should be in therapy. Fixing the proportions on a barbie doll isn’t the answer.”
I didn’t make that up. I really said all that. I didn’t care if speaking my mind hurt my chances at fornicating. I’m just really passionate about advertisements–and have a strange dislike for Mila Kunis. I’m probably a moron, but whatever.
Callen was silent a moment, then spoke. “Wow, um I see your point, but I disagree. I actually have a lot to say on this, wait, isn’t the gallery on Melrose? Should we be turning here?” That was all she had to say.
After the show we drove back to my apartment and walked to a nearby restaurant on the beach. We strolled around arm in arm watching the sunset, then finally went into my place. We popped some gum, chewed vigorously, and made out like teenagers on my couch. As the guy I feel it’s my job to pursue and it’s her job to tell me when to stop. I put my hand up her shirt after five minutes of dry humping and she pushed it back down.
“Um, okay. The thing is, I really want to, BUT, this has potential and I don’t want to ruin it. If we sleep together right now I’ll only see this as a booty call kind of thing – which I’m fine with. . . just wanted to warn you.”
“Bullshit,” I scoffed. Just kidding, I don’t always speak my mind.
“We don’t have to have sex right now, I think this has potential too,” I agreed.
We started kissing again.
“Hmm, well. . . Do you have any weed?” she whispered in a tone way too provocative for that question.
“Uh, what?” I asked before returning to her neck.
“Yeah, it always makes me really . . .”
I grabbed my bong and container labeled “King Kush” faster than a magician stacking cups. We shared a romantic bowl for two in my kitchen, then she looked at me and said “Fuck it, let’s do this.”
See, some people are more productive when they’re stoned.
We entered the bedroom and separately discarded our clothes like two kids about to lose their virginity. After a month-long dry spell I finally had a naked woman standing in front of me. I wanted to freeze time and savor the moment. The last few girls I’d had in this situation were slightly bigger, and, contrary to popular belief, chubby girls are not freaks. Maybe the really big girls are, but the ones just 15 -20 pounds overweight spend the whole time worrying about the baby fat on their sides. This self-conscious approach limits the number of available sexual positions to an FCC regulated cable show. With Callen, I got some HBO Game of Thrones reverse-cowgirl shit.
We agreed to see each other the following Saturday before she left. It was nice knowing I had plans. Nice knowing there was someone to see at the end of the week. Someone thinking of me. For six days I was in a relationship and loving it.
We ended up lamely going to another art gallery. This time it was a super pretentious one straight out of a Woody Allen movie – waiters in bow ties serving foreign cheeses, wine glasses held with pinky fingers out, polite laughs, soft music, and conversations with “social context” and “deconstruction” in them. I expected Fraiser to roll in on a classical piano draped with a foxy brunette in a long red gown.
On the ride back she told a ten-minute story about driving this friend to a boring party and getting stuck there because she was the designated driver. That was it, that was the whole story. It took ten minutes to tell. I learned that the only thing more boring than being a designated driver is hearing stories about being a designated driver. I was genuinely confused. Had I been so horny I’d blinded myself from the truth? Her bridal shower stories were interesting, weren’t they? I felt like Edward Norton in Fight Club sorting through the past trying to figure out which parts were real. I was having serious doubts.
Out of nowhere she popped a question.
“Wanna be my date to a friend’s wedding in two weeks? It’s in Temecula.”
Contemplating the endless amount of introductions, hand shakes, bad jokes and “Can you believe how hot it is?” conversations, I told her the truth.
“Well if I was to go, I’d just get really drunk and most likely embarrass you.” This was a half joke, I wouldn’t get THAT drunk in front of a bunch of strangers. I didn’t flat out say no because I still wanted some Game of Thrones sex later.
She turned into Dr. Phil when she heard this. “Do you need to drink to have fun? Does it help you escape? How often do you black out?”
I stupidly gave her my throwing up, passing out in public, and getting kicked out of bars stats. . Then, as if my car turned into a broken plane hurling towards the ground moments away from incineration, she blurted out: “I’m bulimic. . .WAS bulimic.”
I remained silent, shocked, but not surprised.
“It’s been over four weeks since I’ve thrown up. . .” she glanced at me. “That’s the longest I’ve gone in ten years.”
The premature aging, the concentration camp arms, the vitriol for Gucci models – it all made sense now. I thought about my rant on eating disorders and couldn’t believe she still slept with me. I couldn’t tell if this was a sign of low self-esteem or high self-esteem. For some reason I had a new found respect for her, just as I did for Jared the Subway guy. She’s gone through some shit. She’s troubled. I had lots of questions.
“So like, what was your favorite thing to binge on?” Chocolate? Ice cream? Chocolate ice cream? Mrs.Fields? If I was bulimic the first thing I’d do is run to the mall and order a dozen of those peanut butter cookies.”
“Actually ice cream is the worst because your body absorbs the sugar so fast it’s hard to purge. You have to throw up like five minutes after eating.”
“Fascinating. So what then? Taco Bell? Carl’s Jr? Could you eat a whole bag of Doritos in one sitting? What’s the most you’ve eaten on a binge? What’s your record?”
“Um . . . I dunno,” she sank quietly into her seat.
“I dated a girl who was anorexic once. She’d come over to family dinners and make excuses for not eating anything.”
“The important thing is that for the first time in my life I’m happy now . . .truly.” She looked off into the distance. I had more questions but I knew they wouldn’t get answered.
“Well um, you hungry? I could go for a drink.”
We went to the Cheesecake Factory. I can’t remember what she ordered but it wasn’t a salad – it was real food. I discretely inspected her teeth trying to asses the damage – no obvious discoloration or rotting. You’d never know she’d been vomiting up every meal for the last decade based on her smile.
When we got back to my apartment I downed a couple more beers. Callen excused herself and went to the bathroom for a conspicuously long time. That charming, witty, self-composed person you pretend to be on the first date was gone, and I wanted a cigarette. As I quietly blew smoke off my balcony I had to laugh at the situation. Me, constantly checking the screen door to see if she was out yet, holding the cigarette as far away from my clothes in a pathetic attempt to avoid the smell. Her, running the fan in my bathroom, breaking the Olympic record for quietest puke. The truth about both of us had come out.
I ditched the smoldering ash and made it to the kitchen sink just in time. She finally emerged as I was casually drying off my hands. We popped some gum, chewed vigorously, then made-out like a divorced couple having one last fling. If she’d tossed up her dinner I couldn’t tell. The cigarette, beer and gum did a fine job of masking any suspicious taste. We tore off our clothes and had the kind of sex only two people with nothing more to lose could have.
“So, do you want to go to that wedding?” she asked after putting her clothes back on and checking her phone.
“Um, I dunno . . .maybe. I’d like to hang out again though. Dinner this Thursday?”
We kissed and said goodbye. Five hours later I got a text message.
“So, I know you don’t like when I don’t have a firm opinion or sound wishy washy and try to sugar coat things, so I’ll just say it. This isn’t going to work out. Sorry.”
I never wrote back. I think she probably sensed this wasn’t going well, or that something had changed, and that’s why she shared the bulimia thing. It didn’t matter anymore. The funny thing is, that wasn’t even the deal breaker for me. It actually made her more interesting. I like girls with a little dark history. She cut the ties and resumed her search for a decent guy who can sit through a wedding without getting shit-faced. I continue my search for a slightly fucked up girl who can appreciate a nicely photoshopped ad.