A 37 year-old accountant named T Ceccarelli. It’s truly shocking how many assumptions I made in the twenty-four hours between the time I learned the basics about my blind date and the time he showed up at my door in a Cosby sweater.
He’s 37 years old. Ten years between us. That’s not so much. I mean, after the brief Old Man Daddy phase I went through in college, this is insignificant. He’s probably sane and stable with interesting life observations. That’s what 37 is like, right?
He’s an accountant. I’m usually attracted to more artistic (cough:gay:cough) types, so the thought of spending the evening with a nerdy numbers guy is less than appealing. But then again, nerdy is smart and smart is hot. What could be hotter than an intelligence so profound, it impedes social functioning? I can’t think of anything. Well, maybe one of those tricep tattoos. Those are nice.
Ceccarelli. Can I safely assume he’s Italian, then? I think so. Yes. He’s all Italian and dark and handsome and aged (pronounced with two syllables). Who cares if he’s an accountant? Turns out, I wouldn’t even have a chance to think about his job. I’d be too busy trying to remember the chant for disapparation.
From the moment I met T, he took my breath away. By which I mean, I could barely breathe when I saw a man other than my grandpa wearing tasseled loafers and no socks. I know what you’re thinking. “How could you tell he wasn’t wearing socks?” I’m glad you asked. I can only assume he was a few inches shorter in 1992, when he purchased the Silver Tabs. Or maybe thirteen years of vigorous machine washing and tumble drying did it… but whatever the case, he was wearing tiny pants. So just to recap: colorful novelty sweater (mock turtleneck, natch), miniature pleated jeans, tasseled loafers and just the tiniest sliver of delicate man-ankle.
The date went as most blind dates do (or maybe just mine):
2. Awkward discussion of what to do next
3. Awkward drive home
4. Awkward negotiation of physical contact
5. Dry heaving, audible shuddering, fitful sleep
Dinner was mostly unremarkable, save for the part where T gave me a compliment. I think.
T: So, you mentioned you’ve been working out and getting healthier…
He slowly, creepily examines the portion of me visible above the table and says,
T: Well, I don’t see any need for that.
Apparently, my upper half looks healthy. Mission accomplished. I decide to stop working out. I’m also going to start drinking whole milk instead of 2%.
Just in case you’re wondering, I ordered an Asian salad and put back about fourteen diet cokes. T had chicken pot pie and a can of Ensure. No, he didn’t. That was mean.
The part of the date between dinner ending and the drive home is fuzzy. I remember walking through the entrance to the casino (it’s not just a clever screen name – I’m really from Reno), where we planned to see some stand-up comedy. I remember thinking, as I looked around frantically, “Gah, I hope none of my friends are here tonight.” Or worse.
The part I remember very well is this: T asked me (as he reached for my hand) if he could hold my hand. His was plump and damp (two words, incidentally, I hope are never used to describe me). I had no choice. He hand-hold raped me. I know I didn’t really fight it, but I didn’t say yes. I think I managed something like, “Mmrghg. You’re funny.”
Consistent with the night’s theme, the stand-up was sub-par. I spent most of the time curled up in my seat with my knees tucked under my chin, murmuring better punchlines. Looking back on it now, the show was probably the highlight of the night for me. It was the only time I felt like I didn’t have to look at or touch or think about my be-tasseled date. Except for the moment when the comic pointed the two of us out, as a couple, and made some un-funny comment about relationships. I wanted to scream, “I’m not with him! We’re not in a relationship! He hand-hold raped me! He doesn’t even look Italian!” But I didn’t. I just hugged my knees tighter (not an easy feat, by the way; I’m bottom-heavy) and began planning my escape.
It was on the drive home when I started feeling guilty for how shallow I had been all night. Is fashionable clothing really that important to me? Does a guy really need to play the guitar and be 26 years old to win my affections? Am I just a mean, judgmental bitch? I hadn’t even bothered to ask him what his interests are… or what his favorite movie is. I decided at that moment to give T a chance to redeem himself. An opportunity to wow me with his knowledge of music, movies, books… anything. The rest of the drive back to my house went something like this:
Reno: So, what is the best book you’ve read this year?
T: Ummm. I’ve really just been reading the Wall Street Journal lately.
Reno: Really? Is it pretty interesting?
T: I guess.
Reno: What was the last book you read?
T: I don’t know. It was probably fifteen years ago.
Reno: Oh, right around the time you bought those pants?*
Silence. Freeway whizzing by. Silence.
Reno: If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
T: Hmm. That’s a tough one. Hmm. Have you ever seen Free Willy 2?
T: The theme song is awesome. Seriously. I think the cassette is under your seat.
T: Yeah, that’s probably what I’d choose. Although it’s tough because I also really love “In The Air Tonight.”
Reno: By Phil Collins?
Silence. More freeway. Silence.
Reno (for some reason, I kept going): Favorite movie?
T: Oh, that’s easy. Bad Boys 2.
Reno: Would you mind punching me in the face?
We turned the corner, heading toward to my house.
The plan was simple: when the car stops, get out. Just open the door, extract yourself from the vehicle and walk away. The car stopped. I fumbled around looking for my purse. Had it slipped between the seats? While I was searching around the floor of the car, T was carefully removing his eyeglasses. By the time I had recovered my handbag, he had placed them gingerly on the dash. Oh, dread. Oh, dear. As I reached for the door handle and attempted to leave, T went in for the kill. And it really was like a kill. I certainly felt dead inside.
Approximately thirteen hours later, T backed off. With the tiny oval imprints of his bifocals (I mean glasses) still visible on the bridge of his nose, T looked deeply into my (mostly dead) eyes and said goodnight. My response: “Mmrghg. You’re funny.”
I scrambled out of the Ford Bronco, waved back at T, entered my living room and promptly commenced item #5 (see above). I think I was washing my hands for the tenth (and second-to-last) time when he sent a text:
“I had a gr8 time tonite. Your quite the vixen.”
I still hope he doesn’t mean the reindeer.
I was surprised when he called a few days later, asking if I’d like to go clothes shopping with him sometime. I wondered what I had done/said to clue him into my horror. Was my disgust that obvious? And if he knew all along I was horrified… how was he able to go through with the kiss of death? These are questions to which I will never know the answer. I told T I wasn’t interested in shopping. I knew there was nothing he could buy at the mall that would make me forget about our evening together. He was going to have to let me go. He seemed to understand. He had seen it happen before. In Free Willy 2.