Sometimes I miss those old dating days. Not mine, I was lousy at dating. All those feels *shudder* are not my bag. I miss being the tiny, sharp tongued bundle of dry humor standing between horny guys and my BFF. The sarcastic friend takes a lot of shit in Hollywood romantic comedies, but she is a real and vital part of the dating ecosystem and deserves a little goddamn respect. I like to think no one knows this better than that romantic comedy leading lady, the kind but unlucky beauty.
My BFF, the lovely and multitalented…let’s call her Dez, is beautiful. Worse, she’s nice. Like, crazy nice. Like, “evil is just a flower that hasn’t felt the sun” nice. She has literally purchased Christmas cards in June, from a gypsy, while standing in line to buy a fair trade dirty chai. She’s so nice, the first time I met her I wanted to kick her ass on principal. Nice is not my fallback, let’s say. It’s taken years of training just to settle into polite.
In my role as snarky best friend, I have sent gentlemen callers limping away with such subtle lines as, “This just got boring, so we’re going to stand over there now,” to, “Seriously, nobody believes that you’re a stockbroker. This is not the CW.” Now before you get all judgy, consider that, when your best friend is beautiful and nice and extroverted, the absolute worst guys are drawn to come over and impress her with their wealth of knowledge about who gives a rat’s ass when I’m just trying to enjoy a drink and some conversation with someone I actually like who doesn’t happen to be a fictional character. So consider that, guys. It ain’t all about you.
And then there are guys like Eddie*, better known as E-Boo. Back in the day, Dez and I worked together at a nice, uppercrusty little restaurant in Burlingame. She waited tables and I worked the hostess stand. We had a regular customer who happened to be a baller. No, really, he played baseball. He seemed to think this should matter to us, but he wasn’t picking up on my dad, so it didn’t. One evening, Eddie comes in full of good cheer, and proceeds to try to pick up on a table of very young women stopping in for dinner on their way to nowhere, because they aren’t old enough to get into clubs. This does not stop Eddie from trying to order the young ladies champagne.
As it is unwise to alienate the wealthy, entitled regular, Dez is sent to run interference. She must have been a hair too charming, because a few minutes later, Eddie is at my hostess stand looking extra debonair. I shoot Dez a look. She smiles in a “please don’t hit me” way. Eddie leans in, turning up the charm a few notches. I brace myself.
“So, Dez says the two of you roll together.”
“Yeeeah, we live together,” I say carefully. This is technically true, but I’m not sure yet if Dez has yet played the lesbian trump card beautiful, extroverted girls keep in their back pocket, just in case.
“So, she’s totally down to come back to my place in the city tonight, but she says she’ll only go if you go, too.”
Now I’m shooting Dez some death rays out my eyes but she’s studiously wiping down tables that don’t need it. “That does sound like something she’d say,” I reply.
“Oh, hey, It’s totally cool,” he says. “I got a big place. We can hang out in my hot tub. If you guys just wanna do each other, that’s totally cool, too. I’ll just do my own thing.”
That’s when I almost choke on my own tongue. I am not sitting at a bar sipping scotch. I am standing at the hostess stand of the restaurant where I get paid to work, mostly out of tips. The voice in my head is screaming at me to be nice. And to murder Dez. Nicely. “That’s sweet,” I manage, “but I’m not really into…hot tubs,” I finish lamely. I should’ve said something about courting a yeast infection, I think, kicking myself.
Eddie soldiers on. “Ah, what are you into?”
Partially hidden behind my hostess stand (and part of the reason I’m so bad at this job) is a book. “Books,” I say. “I’m more a reader than a partier.” Boom. True AND boring. He will now leave.
“Books!? That’s cool. I can read. I love to read. I’ve got, like, tons of books. Practically a library.” He sounds legitimately excited about this. So this gentleman, this professional ball player who, seventeen minutes ago, was sending champagne to teenagers, had just switched his game from hot tubs to books in order to lure two apparent lesbians back to his, I’m sure, freaking awesome condo in San Francisco. This man, I think, is the loneliest man on the planet.
“Not tonight, E-Boo. Thank you, though.”
*Eddie is not his real name. I just googled his real name and he’s actually kinda famous so I’m going with Eddie. I don’t want his wife to have to throw all those books at him.
Also, I totally blame my mom for instilling the sort of self-respect and paranoia that kept me from taking Eddie up on a tour of his awesome library because, seriously, that night could have gotten pretty interesting. And hysterically awkward.