The Sex Issue

Meeting Scott here at Eli's in Minneapolis, I notice that he looks just like his picture: medium build, blond, good haircut, classic dresser, with little wire-rimmed glasses and a great complexion. In his mid-30s, he looks like he once was the heartthrob of a high school production of West Side Story. Before the first beer is over, I know that he has three children, one of whom is very into Star Wars. He's articulate and interesting. It never occurred to me I might meet someone articulate and interesting online.

From Eli's, I invite him to Lee's Liquor Lounge to hear a band. Evidently, I date so infrequently that when I walk into Lee's with a man, you'd think it was the Second Coming. Mouths drop open, no one asks me to dance, and when an old friend taps me on the back to say hello, he apologizes to my date--presumably for touching me. Scott and I listen to some music, and then he drives me home. After a little discussion, we agree to kiss goodnight.

While we're making out, he bites me hard on the throat. My first thought is, What is he thinking? I don't like to be bitten on the throat! Then it dawns on me: Oh! He likes to be bitten on the throat. So I bite him back. He comes totally unglued. Check and mate.


Blah Blah My Mother:
Friend-Arranged Blind Date, Nina's Coffee Café, late evening Sunday, January 26

Never do yourself what you can force others to do for you. Some good friends insist that I should go out with Martin, an attractive fortysomething man who is just my type. We decide to meet at Nina's in St. Paul.

There are five people in the coffee shop, and three of them appear to be working. I find my date easily: nice features, hair thinning a little on top, wearing a sweater and a jacket. He's sitting by the window, reading the paper over a steaming cup of something or other.

Because he knows my good friends and because he just oozes this approachable nice guy vibe, I'm instantly at ease. We've barely met, and all of a sudden, I'm babbling like a dork, blah blah my mother this, blah blah my family of origin that. I'm poised on the edge of discussing my feelings when something makes me pause.

"Tell me, Martin, what is it you do?" I ask.

"I'm a therapist," he says.


I've Woken Up with Money Stuffed in My Pants:
Stranger-Arranged Blind Date, Sawatdee, late evening Tuesday, January 28

The Twilight Tattoo artist who helped me attract bike messenger Finn sets me up with his musician friend--we'll call him Johnny. When I talk to Johnny over the phone, he tells me that he has never really been on a "date" before--he usually just hangs out with girls. I ask when he'd like to meet up. "Well, I'm unemployed," he says. "Any time is good for me."

Johnny picks me up at 8:00 p.m. I look him over while he drives: He's about 27 years old, with extravagant wings tattooed on his forearms. These markings are there not because he's a rock 'n' roll drummer, but because he's covering up less interesting D.I.Y. tattoos his high school girlfriend gave him with an ink pen. He's wearing jeans, a sweater, and a knit hat with the name of a restaurant on it--even though he was recently fired from said restaurant for punching a hole in the computer monitor.

As we arrive at Sawatdee in the Warehouse District, Johnny graciously opens the car door for me. "For a guy who's never been on a date, you seem to be doing pretty well," I say.

"Well, I've seen this sort of thing done, you know, on TV," he responds.

As the night progresses, we move from Sawatdee (8:00 p.m.), to Pizza Lucé (9:30 p.m.), to Grumpy's (10:30 p.m.), to Triple Rock (11:30 p.m.). At each of these places, Johnny makes a point of asking the staff if they're hiring.

During the night, he offers some fabulous sound bites:

"I've been known to give lap dances when I get drunk, and I've woken up with money stuffed in my pants. It's a good feeling, 'cause now I've got five bucks I didn't have before."

"It would be cool to place an I Saw You ad that reads, I saw you getting your ass kicked. Hope you're okay. Call me."

When he mentions that he's looking for a design to cover an old tattoo on his chest, I suggest Kilroy peeking over the wall. I draw an example on a cocktail napkin.

"That guy?" Johnny exclaims. "I hate that guy. Look at him, lookin' over that wall, like he's better than me."


He's a Vegetarian, but He'll Still Stab My Octopus:
My Dinner with Pablo, Pazza Luna, late evening Thursday, January 30

Feeling exasperated, I send a mass e-mail out to everyone I know. "Either ask me out yourself," I demand, "or get your friends to do it!"

My friend Pablo writes a gracious response: "I'll take you out, baby."

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