Friends mean well. But sometimes, without knowing it, they're setting you up for failure. Especially when it comes to romance.
My buddy Ben thought he was doing me a favor when he intoduced me to Big Bad Bertha (not real name). Big Bad Bertha had a sense of humor, he said. Big Bad Bertha had a sharp wit, he said. Big Bad Bertha came endorsed by Ben's girlfriend Sarah as well, he said. He couldn't wait to see the two of us interact, he said. The bright, sunny look of gleeful self-satisfaction that radiated from his eyes sold me.
It was a one hour drive out to where he lived on the west side of Michigan. Along the way I got my mind prepared. I'm no moron. One of my closest friends in the world recommends this chick, but that doesn't mean she's gonna be my soulmate. She may just become another in the long list of acquaintances I've obtained while trying to find a body to warm my bed. We might even be friends, long into the future, laughing over Earl Grey tea, each with our respective spouses, over the foolish attempt at love our friends Ben and Sarah pressed upon us. No way this chick was gonna be a genuine love interest...
Or maybe she would be? Perhaps Big Bad Bertha and I would see each other and know. Just know. Talk and be even more certain. Touch and feel unrivaled passion. Yes, maybe Big Bad Bertha and I would go forth from this meet and make plans for the next day, together and forever, the rest of our lives. Heh heh. No way it's gonna go down like that. But hope springs eternal cuz in all matters of the heart, you just never know.
Well, clearly in this case Big Bad Bertha knew. The plan was to meet up for dinner at one place, then have dessert and coffee somewhere else before heading, finally, to Sarah's place for laughter and good times before retiring for the night and letting destiny carry us into the future. As I walked into the restaurant with my apple cap, leather jacket, judo t-shirt and jeans Big Bad Bertha spotted her destiny. And it didn't look like me. It looked like her car. Driving rapidly. Away from us.
She spotted me first so I met her eyes just before they saddened. What I saw was a portly girl who was also a snappy dresser, skilled in hiding her fat folds. Great reams of hair were held at bay upon her head in a complex system of ornamental chopsticks, metallic barrettes, and twists. Only she and a well-tenured Calculus professor could find a way unlock all that hair using equations and prayer. I was almost impressed with the obvious difficulty wrangling all that hair must have taken. But looking at her body language, it would have been a poor idea to say so.
I sat down at the table where two friends and an enemy were smiling. Big Bad Bertha couldn't even gather together enough gumption to look at me. We began to conversate as normal though.
Ben: So Span, how was your drive?
Me: You mean the hour long drive into foreign territory to meet up with a girl your friends are trying to set you up with? Just SWELL.
Ben and Sarah thought that was funny. I thought it was funny. Big Bad Bertha just got Bigger and Badder as her arms crossed to hide her ample bosom and her right leg crossed over her left as her entire body turned away from me, who had dared sit at her right.
My charm and wit carried us through the dinner. But while Ben and Sarah seemed even more drawn into my web of happiness and good cheer, Big Bad Bertha checked her watch as if it was about to turn into a ring of diamonds. That she could turn into barrettes. To continue holding up that possessed mop of hair, that stupid, dirty b...
We left after thirty minutes which, I was to find out later, was what Big Bad Bertha had promised them she'd stay for BEFORE she saw me. I didn't know Big Bad Bertha was wearing 4 inch heeled boots. But I could hear them as she stomped her big butt off through the snow, rapidly huffing puffs of steamed breath into the cold Michigan winter. I believe I imagined her slipping on a patch of ice and losing a barrette or chopstick or two. Wild tangles of rebellious reams of hair filling with snow as she fell, over and over, into the mottled, salty, unforgiving snow banks walling the sidewalk. And I believe I laughed. A lot.