Friday, October 1, 2010

The Ginger Set-Up

On the rare occasion that a friend offers to set me up with someone, I strongly object to said offer. I wholeheartedly admit that it is tough for me to meet people in my line of's all kids and some of the worst adults in the world. Therefore, I don't blame a friend when such an offer is put on the table, but I will still always say no. It's not just about pride. It's also about experience. There was one time that I was set up by a time only.

When I was 19 or 20, I got a call from a friend. Her name was Veronica (not to be confused with Trevor's niece Veronika who will pop up in future stories). She said that she was talking with her friend Lisa the previous evening and realised that this "Lisa" and I would possibly make for a great couple.

Veronica described Lisa to me and she sounded pretty perfect. In short, Lisa was revealed through Veronica's words to be a very attractive redhead who was smart, funny, and had a bit of a geeky side. Veronica and I were fairly good friends, so I figured Veronica would know what I like and have good judgment. I trusted a friend and agreed to the blind date.

I was living in Airdrie at the time and Lisa in the deep south of Calgary, so we agreed to meet at Sunridge Mall. Seemed a good a place as any for a day meeting. I was not approaching this meeting as a true date...just a get-together to see if a date further on was plausible. We agreed to meet in the food court and then see where the day took us.

I arrived at the mall about ten minutes early and went straight for the food court. When I got to the food court, I scanned the area looking for her. I was told "tall, long red hair, green eyes, white button-up shirt," so it wouldn't be all that hard to pick her out of a small crowd. And there she was...sitting at a table near the front of the court. The first thing I thought when I saw her was "run." A proverbial switch flipped in my mind and I suddenly hated Veronica. Was this a joke? Did I hurt Veronica in some way and this was payback? No! I didn't do anything wrong to Veronica. Ergo, she legitimately thought Lisa would be a good match for me...though perhaps Veronica was only thinking that I would make a good match for Lisa.

Lisa was a redhead, yes. But her hair was unkempt and ratty, like a curly wig that was rolled into a ball and stored for a decade. It also had a bit of sheen to it, but not like conditioner unwashed grease sheen. She wasn't thin either. She was emaciated. Her eyes were green but they were small and beady, and her face looked like a freckle breeding colony (I love freckles usually but this was more freckle than face). Needless to say, I was not physically attracted to this woman at all. I should have left now and apologized later, but I was just too nice and polite for that. So I walked up, shook her bony witch-like hand, and sat down.

I hate to sound shallow, but I just couldn't get past her hair as I approached and sat down. However, once she started to talk, her hair became much less of a worry. She had teeth that would shame the British. She was the truest description of a "snaggletooth" that I've ever seen. Each of her teeth seemed to be going in its own direction. And they were all of a very noticeable yellow tinge. One of her front teeth was probably dead and therefore a dark brown colour. It was like staring at a train wreck, only at least with a train wreck I could throw up and no one would stare.

At least the black coffee she was drinking might have helped whiten her disgusting arrangement of teeth.

Even if she was not physically equivalent to something you'd see in a George A. Romero film, she was also as dumb as a dead ox in heat. All she talked about what her job. She worked in retail in some clothing store, and after a dozen tales of customers who pissed her off, I wanted to strangle myself with my own shoelaces. While she was talking, she unbuttoned several buttons on her shirt. Underneath she was wearing a tight black tank top, and under that was apparently some sort of push-up bra. For all the horrible things I've said about her, I admit that I still looked. Boobs are boobs. What?

To be fair, my glance was quick. It was simply a case of cleavage being available and so I peeked. I was not attracted to this woman one iota. Unfortunately, she "caught" me looking and she said "Ah, caught you peeking. Like what you see?"

What does one say to this? Sure, it was nice cleavage, but I still wanted to throw this girl out the window of a 20 storey building. I just produced a faint mercy laugh and changed the subject. She did not button her shirt back up, but I also never looked for the rest of the time I reluctantly spent with her.

When she finished her coffee, we got up and walked around. I embraced this as it meant I could look forward and not at her. I distinctly remember that almost everyone we passed in the mall stared at her. She was a circus freak, so can you blame them? Worse yet, they also looked at me with judging eyes. After all, what the hell was a human being doing in her company? Ugh! I should have bailed! But I was just way too nice and did not want to hurt her feelings. A lesson learned.

After plodding around the mall for a while, Lisa began to ask what I would like to do and Lisa began offering suggestions. She suggested such terrifying prospects as dinner at a restaurant and going to laser tag. These were evening activities and I was NOT about to still be around her when the evening came. I suggested going to a matinee movie. That way, it was dark and I was facing forward. Wouldn't have to see her. Wouldn't have to talk to her. It was a great plan! What could possibly go wrong?

We went to the old Cineplex Odeon theatre that faced 32nd Avenue (long since demolished now) and decided to see There's Something About Mary. The theatre had several people in who all turned to stare when we walked in. I could see their eyes burning at the sight of Lisa...That's why I tried so very hard not to look at her. We sat down and she continued to talk about work. Seriously WTF? I nodded and smiled at the parts that she thought were funny and prayed a bomb would land on the theatre and kill us all.

When the movie started, things were starting to look up. She was quiet, looking at the screen, and not touching me in any way, shape, or form. I began to lull into a false sense of security, which was shockingly ripped from me about twenty minutes into the film. You see, at this time, Lisa decided it would be appropriate to put her head on my shoulder!!!

Ewwwwwwwwwwwww! I never felt so dirty in my life. That slimy rat's nest of hair was now in contact with my shirt. I remember thinking the first thing I would do when I got home was throw that shirt out (in the end I decided a wash was sufficient as I really liked that shirt). The words "what do I do" rattled around in my brain while her noggin weighed down my shoulder. I chose to do nothing. I remained very still. I made no return gesture, nor did I yank my shoulder away in fear (though the latter was my first and major instinct).

Despite liking the movie, I must admit that it was the longest two hours of my life. I could not WAIT to get away from this thing woman. When the movie ended, I drove us back to the mall. When we arrived, she said "you know, you can drive me home if you'd like." She got a ride to the mall as she did not drive. Another win for her...*cough cough*.

I couldn't take it anymore. I had to get away. So I employed one of my favourite get-out-of-a-date-free tactics for the first time in my life...the fake phone call emergency.

Jeff "called" and I "answered." O noes! It WAS an emergency! His car broke down on the highway and knew I was in Calgary...hoping I could stop by and pick him up to take him back to Airdrie. Being such a good friend, I had no choice but to help Jeff. I "hung up" once the "call" was finished and I explained the story to Lisa. I'm sure she didn't believe me. I didn't care. I walked her to the mall doors so she could use a pay phone to call for her ride. Once she called and had her ride confirmed, she gave me a hug. I was positioned exactly as you body arched away from hers as far as I could go without being exaggerated. One the hug was complete, I said bye and got the fuck out of there! I sped the entire way home...not sure why. Maybe deep down I was concerned that she was following me.

The next day Veronica asked how the "date" went. I was calm and polite when I asked her what the hell she was thinking. Veronica seemed legitimately surprised that I did not like Lisa. I did not go into detail as to why I didn't want to ever see Lisa again, as Lisa was a friend of Veronica's. I instead just said that she wasn't my type. Veronica and I dropped the conversation, never to brooch it again.

Ever since that blind date, I've had a real fear of blindness...both literally and figuratively. So if ever you think it's a good idea to set me up with someone, please keep it to yourself.

Unless she's REALLY hot.

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