In mine and his defense, I don’t think it was supposed to be a date.
He was a friend of a friend who’d been in LA for a few years. I was brand spanking new to town. I think we got in touch via Facebook, and he suggested that we meet at Crazy Rock’N Sushi at West Hollywood Gateway.
(Notice the Target marquee in the background? FORESHADOWING.)
“West Hollywood Gateway” is never called that. At the corner of La Brea and Santa Monica is a complex with a Best Buy, ULTA, Starbucks, BevMo, and more…but it’s called the WeHo Target, because Target trumps all things.
I arrived at a date-y time, dressed nice-ish, wondering to myself, It’s just me and this dude…my friend said we’d get along really well. It’s nighttime. Will he pay? I hope he does, cuz I don’t have a job yet. But then is it a date? I was very nervous about it, because after living in Orlando – which is full of homosexuals and boys afflicted with Peter Pan Syndrome – I was not used to “dating”.
He showed up at about the same time. He was a big guy. Not fat, just big. He was learning the ropes of stand-up, and had that quality – that “I’m waiting for you to say a thing so that I can segue into my schtick” quality. It’s not the worst thing – at least he was communicative – and I have no problem dating artists of all kinds. (To be honest, the idea of hooking up with a guy that works in finance sounds rather boring.)
Anywho, after a short wait, we were seated at a tiny table. As we ordered, I noticed he was ticking off a lot of rolls. Like, an abnormal amount of sushi.
“Ummm, just so you know…” I began, not knowing if he was ordering for the both of us (and still not sure as to whether or not this is was a date) “…I don’t eat a lot for dinner.”
“I mean, I eat a big breakfast and lunch,” I showed him my menu with two rolls checked off, “I’m probably just gonna eat these two.”
“C’mon!” He exclaimed. “Look at me. You don’t think I can eat all this?”
True…he had the stature of a football player. The waitress came. She started making all kinds of notes on his order, at which point I realized he’d checked off even more than I’d originally noticed.
We settled into conversation. I don’t remember the bulk of it, but a very specific moment does remain clear. We were discussing the downfall of society and humanity and how we’re all going to hell in a hand basket…which isn’t a weird first date conversation in my world.
“I mean, who’s to blame?” he asked rhetorically, as a stand-up comedian is wont to do, “I’ll tell ya: everybody.”
“Haha, right?” I’m thinking, Okay, he’s not my “type”. But if this is a date? I’m okay with it. We’ve got some stuff in common.
“Mom’s in their SUVs…”
“…this guy, that guy.” And then, all wrapped up in his schtick, he drops a bomb: “You, me.”
….wait, what? I was agreeing with him, and then he said I was the problem?
“Huh?” I asked.
“Yup. We’re all the problem. I’m as big a reason why it’s all going to shit as you are.”
I didn’t really have a chance to interject – I wanted to tell him that I recycled! That I volunteered! That I cared. – however, the sushi started coming. And you know what? He was absolutely right: he was a part of the problem. Waste of resources…because he ordered too damn much sushi.
Five rolls came out, two of which were mine. A few minutes later, another two for him. Then another three. They just kept coming. There wasn’t enough room on our 2-top table.
“Whoa, ho! Guess I ordered a lot of sushi, huh?”
“Umm, yeah.” Suffice to say, I was over it at this point.
I feel like he paid for dinner, which was nice. There was a lot of wasted sushi. I felt bad. It was awkward and I was glad to be done.
Now, at this point, I should mention that I was kind of jazzed that he’d suggested this location to begin with, because I had to go to Target and I like killing two birds with one stone. I had to get razors, because Threat Level Leg Scruff was real. Of course, I didn’t want to tell him that. I was planning on a leisurely Target trip all by my lonesome.
As we walked to the garage, I had the moment perfectly planned: I’d wait until the parking meter sucked in his ticket, then I’d away.
“Shoot!” I said the moment the ticket was out of his hand, “I just remembered that I have to go to Target. So–”
“–oh, me too!” he said as he swiped his card through the meter.
“Err, but…your ticket…the machine…you’ve just paid for parking.”
“But, if you go to Target…” I was blank. I had nothing. “When you leave the parking lot, you’ll have been here for more time…” I struggled. “What will happen when you put the paid ticket in at the exit?”
“Meh, science experiment!”
“Oh… Okay.” We rode the elevator up together in silence. It was weird.
As the doors to the store opened, I politely tried to create conversation. “So, what do you need to get?”
And then, verbatim, he said to me: “I’m not gonna lie, I need new underpants.”
God bless the years of improv training I have. Without even thinking, I mumbled something about needing peanut butter, told him it was nice to meet him, then hid in the grocery end caps for about 40 minutes. The next time I saw him was a year and a half later at our mutual friend’s wedding. Across the dance floor, we pointed to each other and smiled.
I like to imagine he was wearing the tighty-whities he’d bought that night at the WeHo Target.