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Under the Influence

Another shitty date

Another shitty date. I find myself, once again, sitting in my pajamas with a cup of bourbon, wondering what the actual fuck just happened. And I feel tired. So tired of trying.

I was crossing 16th Street to meet him, trying to look nonchalant and cool, when the bus came out of nowhere. As freaked out as I was that I nearly died, it was the perfect meet-cute. I thought about how adorable it would be when we told the story of how we met. Almost being hit by a bus on the first date is rom-comedy gold. But it was all downhill from there.

“Are you from Denver?” I asked.

“No, I’m from Iowa. I moved here with my fiance. Well, she was my fiance, then she was my wife, then we got a divorce, she still comes over to see the dog sometimes. We had two dogs, we split them up when we divorced, she’s still very much in his life but she lives in DC now, which is really far to go for a little dog. I lived in Cap Hill for a while, it was awful, my landlord nailed my windows shut in the winter, he violated my First Amendment rights too. My boss sucks, he doesn’t appreciate any of us and he didn’t pay us fairly so I quit. There’s no loyalty there, that guy paid me shit and my job is useless anyway. I followed my ex-wife around the country while she finished degrees. Then I got cancer. Between cancer and divorce, I should declare bankruptcy, but I make too much money. I thought about moving back to Iowa just so I could declare bankruptcy but I really hate my family…

“So are you from Denver?”

As gobsmacked as I was by his etiquette, it wasn’t the worst date I’ve ever had. That particular honor goes to the guy who asked me to get dinner after we’d had drinks, then left while I was in the bathroom. I choked back sobs as I struggled to pay the bill, while everyone in the bar observed the scene as they would an especially gruesome car accident.

It would be easy for me to be bitter and jaded. To approach every new guy, and every first date with reservations. After all, if I assume the worst, then these things wouldn’t hurt so much.

But that’s not me, and that won’t help. All I can do is hope that somewhere out there is a guy who will find the tragic humor in my almost being hit by a bus. Who will invite me to dinner, and actually stay until the food is delivered. And who will be properly horrified when I tell him about all the awful first dates I had… before he came along.

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