Saturday, July 11, 2009

Date #17: So Close I Can Taste It

This date was to have happened a few weeks prior, but due to scheduling difficulties, he pulled out in a somewhat last minute fashion. Usually this is a tactic which indicates the date will never happen, but in Ike’s case, it was not. So we planned to meet at a café on SE Division Street called Café Pallino. He had sent me a link to his Facebook page to look at pics of him. Pretty run of the mill as FB pages go, though one thing did stand out; he appeared to be a Christian. He had a link to an “Amazing Grace” video on his page and some quote about being “moved to the core of His love and mercy.” It freakin’ kills me when religious people capitalize personal pronouns. As I am not at all religious, nor do I believe in god, I thought this might be a fun date, not in a torture-the-poor-helpless-spider kinda way, but fun in the way that perhaps a discussion on religion could bring about some kind of public scene. I am a fan of public scenes, especially when I am involved in them.
An unseasonably warm day in Portland led me to an unwise wardrobe decision; I wore a v-neck white t-shirt for my bike ride into town. This may sound harmless, but sadly, as I am a woman, and I must lean forward in order to ride my bike, wearing a v-neck exposes more of me than I would prefer exposed. Unfortunately, this epiphany came a bit too late in the journey to turn back, so I endured an entire bike ride wearing my v-neck, and watched as men passing in the other direction leered and pointed me out to their friends. The good news is that I didn’t see anyone I knew.

I arrived at Café Pallino just ahead of schedule and to my happy surprise found they had gelato. Of course, lately it seems that there is either a chocolate or gelato shop popping up on every corner of our fair city, but after the ride I had just endured, I needed comfort and that comfort came in the form of a delightful and tiny dish of peanut butter chocolate gelato. As I ordered this and a bottle of water from the seemingly pissed off but attractive young girl behind the counter, I looked around and recognized that this place was attempting the Italian café thing. Italian ceramic platters were hung on the wall behind the counter, and the furniture was very minimalist in nature; muted tones and simple lines. The large windows and hard surfaces guaranteed that the café would be loud, but the crowd was decidedly quiet, a number of students with their noses in books and a couple of individuals with their noses in laptops.
I chose a table on the far side of the café, sat down and waited for Ike to show up. It was nice because I had not brought anything with me, like a book or a laptop, to keep me from feeling like I was waiting for someone….alone. It is always at this point on all of my dates where I am waiting and thinking, “it is way cooler to not have anything, but it would have been great if I had brought that book, but really why do I need to look preoccupied? Who am I trying to impress?” It goes on and on like that until the guy shows up. Of course, I still had lingering remorseful thoughts regarding Seven, so I had those to keep me company as well. A piece of advice: Do not write publicly about break-ups unless you want to talk about them incessantly with people you barely know. I wish I could count on my hands how many times I had to have the “break up with Seven” talk with the many people I know who read my blog, but I would need at least two more sets of hands to accomplish this task.

I was very glad to take a break from the voices in my head when Ike showed up. He was dressed all in denim and was carrying a motorcycle helmet and a duffle bag. He was mouth-wateringly sexy for a Christian guy; tall, dark, very well built, and as he turned to go and get a cup of coffee from the pissed off girl at the counter, I noticed he had quite an arse on him as well. Oh Christian men, why must they drive me insane with passionate frenzy? Of course, I decided to stay the course and try to bait him into talking about The Lord. I figured that would probably more interesting than having sex with him anyway.
Ike was typical of Harley Davidson Motorcyclists in one remarkable way; he sounded as if his voice box had been dragged over rocks for a week and then left out in the hot sun to ferment for several days afterward. Deep, raspy and loud, Ike’s voice reverberated off of every surface in that café and turned its former quiet atmosphere into one of strained anxiety, all the café’s inhabitants left waiting for the next bellowing comment or question from his lips. Unfortunately, I thought it would be a good idea to speak more quietly, thinking that maybe he would get the hint and tone it down. This strategy unfortunately had the opposite effect and for some reason caused Ike to speak more and more loudly as the date went on. Additionally, Ike also liked interrupting. I did not have much of an opportunity to bait him into a religious conversation because I could barely get a word in.
Happily, this was a very short date. We had just enough time for me to learn that he lived in a trailer in Hood River and had been married to a Barbie Doll for several years before she cheated on him. I had to wonder if she too was a Christian, as this is one of those endeavors which once undertaken, are supposed to send its participants to Hell. This is one of the many great things about being an atheist; I don’t have to go through the motions of giving a damn about participating in supposed aberrant behavior which is innately human. I am pretty sure this is what the movie Free to Be You and Me is all about.
As I rode my bike over to Reggie’s later that afternoon, I happily noted that this dating experiment was almost over. While this particular date was not a revelation, (yes, I said it), the experience of putting myself into forced social situations has given me a stronger sense of self, which is not to say that I am more confident, just maybe more confident in my special brand of insanity. In any case, I could almost taste what was sure to be sweet victory at the end of this long and winding dating road; fruity deliciousness with a bit of a bite to it. At least that was how it tasted the last time I was victorious.

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