I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
Just Another Coffee Date
An excerpt from my book Maybe He’ll Grow Out Of It
I put the condom in my front right pocket. It’s easier to grab than
if I put it in my bag or hide it away in a drawer. I checked for the
three essentials before I walked out the door: keys, phone, wallet. I
took one last glance in the mirror, and ran my fingers though my hair.
It was my one good hair day per month. I didn’t look half bad by my
standards. I smiled at myself, patted my jeans to double-check the
condom and walked out my door. It was 20 degrees warmer than the
average for this winter afternoon, so I walked with my jacket
unzipped and pointed my nose up toward the sun. It was warm and
smelled like spring, despite what the calendar displayed.
As I walked toward the coffeehouse, I recalled her online profile.
It was on a BDSM site, and she listed all of her “fetishes.” She was
an adult performer. She did porn. Gangbangs. Human toilets. As in,
people put their excrement on her. Her pictures were beyond explicit.
Her body was fit, with abnormally large breasts for her small frame.
She had long platinum blonde hair. I needed to meet the woman
behind this profile.
We chatted for a few days via text and instant messenger. She
was wordy, but surprisingly insightful. Her thoughts on sexuality and
openness mirrored my own, and on more than one occasion, she
mentioned things that I very well could’ve written myself.
My phone lit up with a text. “I’m running a little behind. I’ll be
there in 20 minutes.”
I didn’t have shit to do, so I ordered my usual, sat down at a table
and watched YouTube videos on my phone to kill time.
The sun was high in the sky and lit up the coffeehouse with an
unflatteringly bright sunlight. The kind that brought out every pore,
line and scar from when you were 5 years old. The place was packed
with yuppies staring intently into laptops. Lots of spreadsheets,
e-mails and important-sounding phone calls. Everyone at these
places pretends they’re so immersed in their work, yet secretly have
one eye wandering around, keeping tabs on the hot chicks and the
pee-stained weirdoes talking to themselves over a small cup of drip
“Would you hurry your punkass up? I’m starting to look like a
creep sitting here by myself watching videos,” I texted back.
Unless you walk in with someone or have a book or laptop in
front of you, everyone in the coffeehouse assumes you’re waiting on
a date, which makes them eavesdrop a little more intently.
Well, at least that’s what I do when I assume someone is on a
date. I like to listen to their banter. I grade it in my head. Thoughts
range from, “No dude, too far. You’re bringing up your ex already?
Slow down, you’re moving too fast. Oh man, you are boring.” But
either way, when you know it’s the first interaction of two people
who just met, a natural voyeuristic curiosity takes over. It’s why
reality television is so popular.
“Excuse me, do you mind if we use this chair?”
“Actually, I’m waiting on someone.” I said.
As if it weren’t obvious enough before, I just alerted everyone
within listening distance to pay a little more attention.
My phone lit up again. “Well, you’re an attractive creep, so you
can stalk me anytime.”
She was coming on strong. I didn’t mind. Although we didn’t talk
about hooking up, there was definitely an underlying understanding
that if we both found each other attractive, she would walk back to
my apartment and maybe “watch a movie.” I patted my front pocket
one more time and went back to watching The Police play “So
Lonely” at a concert in Brazil from 1981.
Another text interrupted my video. “Leopard gal coming your
I scanned the door and she walked in wearing a huge leopard
print coat. Her raccoon eyes scanned the place so I took my
earphones out and smiled at her. She smiled back and clip clopped
toward my table. She wore small, but intense yellow platform heels.
Her coat was unbuttoned halfway, just enough to allow her massive
boobs to breathe. She wore a shirt so low cut, more of her striped bra
covered her breasts than her shirt. I wasn’t mad about it.
I stood and leaned in for a hug. “Well it’s about damn time,
“IIIIIII KNOOOOOW,” she said in just below a scream.
She sat down, set her purse on the table and said, “Ittttt’s liiiiike
the ba-uuusses were dreeyyyving sooo slooooow.”
My eyes widened. The eyes of every conservatively-dressed
yuppie stared at us. Conversations around us faded into whispers.
Hands covered mouths and side-eyes surrounded us.
“Youuuuu would thi-ink it was snooowing agai-nnn.”
I couldn’t figure out if she was fucking with me. Her writing was
so well thought out. She used large words to respond to my
questions. Her hair was flawless. She was perceptive enough to dress
herself well, with stylish flair. Her hair was colored, with no roots
and round-brushed and hair sprayed into perfection. Could she not
hear herself? Was this a set-up? Was she living out an experiment she
came up with while out drinking with her girlfriends?
“Ugh, I’m so over dating the guys I meet online.”
“I agree. It gets so boring.”
“We should do something to liven things up.”
“I don’t know. We could make up personas or give ourselves
“Yeah, but people do that all the time.”
“You’re right. Hey, I’ve got an idea! Let’s act autistic!”
“Brilliant! And to make it really fun, make sure to be extra loud,
so it invites attention from everyone around.”
I violently chewed on my green straw. My jaw was getting a
workout. Her words were grating. She spoke like a drunken witch in
a volume about four times as loud as someone should’ve spoken in
an enclosed space with strangers. People three and four tables away
were now scrutinizing posts and magazine racks to see where the
noise was coming from. I lowered my voice and hoped she would
follow suit, but she only spoke louder. But it wasn’t the volume that
was the real problem. She just never shut the hell up. For a person
who makes his living on being a loudmouth, I’m tough to top, but I
couldn’t even get a word in.
“Annnnd I waaaaas doing dis’ gaaangbaaang sceeene…”
The tables that were mildly entertained at first were now getting
annoyed. People were packing up their books and laptops and
relocating to other available spots on the opposite side of the room.
Eventually everyone around us got up and left. But she just kept on
talking about “porn” and “cock” and “dildos.” I chewed on that straw
as if I was getting a tattoo on my ball sack. I could no longer control
my facial expressions. I must’ve looked like I was in pain. I couldn’t
hide it. Instead of interpreting my facial expressions the wrong way,
she just assumed that I reacted to her stories and continued to let out
her shrieking cackle.
She was one of those people who laughed at everything and for
far too long. Every little sentence she allowed me to interject was the
funniest thing she ever heard. But I was stuck. I could either let her
continue to tell stories of “double penetration” so loudly that the
baristas were chuckling, or I could try to derail her train of thought,
only to be met with an ear piercing ten-second assault of shrill and
I interrupted her story and said, “So what else did you have
She gave me a devilish grin, leaned in and said, “Youuuuu tell
I recoiled. Her breath smelled like rotten green beans. I clenched
my teeth and smiled, trying not to scream out in horror. I think she
took that as a good sign because she took off her coat, moved to the
chair next to me and leaned in, intentionally shoving her breasts at
me. Up until she moved, her back faced the bright window,
essentially making her a shadow to me. But now, she was in direct
sunlight. She smiled and I saw something stuck in her teeth. I opened
my mouth to say something, but what I thought was food was
actually green and black spots of rotting teeth and gums.
She kept talking and laughing, and I couldn’t stop staring at her
mouth. Her teeth looked like they hadn’t been brushed in weeks.
There was so much build up on and in between her teeth, it looked
like standing Cheeto dust. I could no longer heed her words. I
couldn’t even bring myself to stare at her breasts. It was a
third-world country in her mouth. Twisted, rotten and reeking of
death. I never saw anything like this before. I sat back in my chair
and gave her the once over. From 20 feet away, any guy in this place
would have hit on her.
Sure, she resembled a streetwalker in her coat, heels and
tremendous boobs, but she was hot and she walked like it. But her
voice and lack of basic hygiene and social skills had me thinking
about how the hell I was going to be able to leave.
As the minutes passed, she became more comfortable with me
and her voice and stories reached even more offensive levels. I was
physically uncomfortable. I shifted in my seat, chewed that green
straw and took a glimpse of my watch. When she started the story
about blowing 12 guys for a scene, I interrupted and said, “Oh hey,
want to walk around outside? It’s such a nice day, and I figured we
could go enjoy it instead of being cooped up here.”
While walking down the crowded streets, she continued to talk to
me about her sexual exploits. And without every eye on me and not
having to stare directly at her mouth, I found myself getting strangely
aroused. I knew the idea of coming back to my place was on her
mind, and the thought of having sex with her was definitely on mine.
But as we walked and gazed into the windows of boutiques, I kept
getting a glimpse of her mouth, and she would turn to me and laugh
like a witch. The slight chub in my pants would get scared back up
into my stomach. We walked and she talked and I debated in my
I finally came to the conclusion that I would have to let this one
go. It wasn’t the story about how she wanted me to shit on her face
that scared me away, but that she was trying to hold my hand. That
signified that she meant it. I could tell that she was attracted to me,
and I knew I made the right decision when I reached the bus stop and
told her that I would be going home. Alone. She hugged me and
leaned in to kiss me, so I turned my head and she kissed my neck. In
broad daylight. On a busy street. With 20 other people standing
around us. She hugged me for a few seconds longer than someone
normally would, and I pulled myself away. I told her I had a fun time
and thanked her for being so candid with me about such personal
The sun was still high in the afternoon sky. People walked past,
texting with intensity. I knew each and every last one of them had a
story. Sure, maybe it wasn’t about having sex with multiple guys on
video for money or the lewd acts of Internet dating, but each one of
them knew something I didn’t. They had a little more insight in an
area that I didn’t. They were my neighbors. I shared those sidewalks
with them and wondered if they thought the same of me. That I had a
story. Battles. Adventures and insecurities.
But they couldn’t have known that I was learning to walk again.
That I was giving back to our neighborhood by not returning to the
old. By not taking something just because I was a selfish and hungry
man with dirty thoughts and sexual compulsions forever chained like
a ball to his leg.
I peered over my shoulder and watched her get on the bus. The
doors closed and I turned back around, smiled and stared into the
oncoming foot traffic. I wondered if they knew that my smile was a