The Valentine’s Voyeur

 

heart

 

So Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and once again you find yourself without a mate. You feel your singleliness is being polarized by the impending holiday.  The greeting card companies and candy makers in town seem to be flaunting their wares in your face; making you feel like a loser for having no reason to buy them.

You attempt to ignore it, but you cannot. In spite of all of your horrible dating experiences and the fact that you are single and can do anything you want at any time, there is no resisting the pull of commercialized coupledom. You want a mate and you don’t care how much you have to humiliate yourself to get one – sadness for you.

Fortunately, I am old and crabby and I no longer care about such matters. I feel awfully superior about this and enjoy making fun of those people who do care.  Plus, I have nothing else to do.

While riding the Max in Portland I have born witness to several Tinder dates. I have decided to share them with you.

George and the girls

I was on my way to work on a rainy Saturday night. I got to the Max Station just as a train was stopping. I looked through the window and did a double take, as there was a man wearing no shirt sitting with his back to me.

I boarded the train and sat down, thinking he was just some 82nd Street lunatic, who was high on drugs.  He was sitting in the sideways seats and I sat with my back to him in a seat right behind the driver. After a moment I heard a booming voice behind me.

“Hello, is this Tara? This is George from Tinder. “

I turned around and it was the shirtless guy.

“Yeah, um you’re not gonna believe this story. I have to go help my friend out with his car. He’s stuck out in Beaverton. I’m on the train right now, and I’m not sure when I can get there.”

I took a good look at him. He was good looking in a dilapidated sort of way. He was tall with an impressive head of black hair and facial features that looked like they were just beginning to fall out of symmetry. He was in excellent shape compared to other people I’d seen shirtless on the train.

“Uh huh….uh huh. Well, what time are you going to bed? ….Okay…okay. I’ll call if I can’t get there by then…okay. Hey, you got a great voice and I can’t wait to hear it in person. “

He hung up and I looked straight ahead. After a moment I heard his voice again.

“Hi, this is George, from Tinder. I ‘m gonna be a few minutes late. I ‘m on the Max right now. Where is this restaurant? Okay, I hope I’m dressed okay. Hey, you’ve got a great voice, I can’t wait to hear it in person. “

Several young men got on the train.

“Hi there,” I heard George say.

“Hey, man,” one of the guys said.

“Hey you guys, what do you think about this shirt,” He asked. I turned around. He had donned a rather ordinary looking black shirt.

“It looks good.”

“I have a date right now. Do you know where Broadway Street is? I’m late for meeting her. “

“Sorry man, I don’t know.”

I stood up to get off the train and so did George.

“Do you think I should wear the collar up or down?”

“Don’t worry about it, man its fine either way.” One of the guys said.

George and I got off the train.

“Hey, ma’am do you know where Broadway is, “ he asked me.

“Um I think its back that way.” I said pointing.

“Do you know where Pioneer Square is?”

“It’s right there,” I pointed to it.

“Hey, I’ve got a date. Do I look okay?”

“Yes, you do,” I said diplomatically.

We parted and I headed for the bus, almost happy to go to work.

 

Rachel and Sam

It was a cold Tuesday night. I got on the Green line and headed for downtown.  I sat in front of two kids in their twenties. One was a hipster guy with a red beard and a Wheaties tee shirt and the other was a fairly attractive girl, who had long dark hair. He was in the midst of questioning her when I sat down.

“Do you like the zoo?”

“Do I like the zoo? Well, ever since I became vegan I’ve been learning about how bad the zoo really is. I mean they treat the animals really bad and ”

“Do you like movies?”

“Yeah I like movies. I like mostly independent movies.  I….

“That’s good. Yeah, I like independent movies too. Do you like hiking?”

“Yeah, I do. I haven’t done as much of it as I would like …”

I could tell she was beginning to get annoyed.

“Do you like oral sex?

“Um I…”

“Because my beard is not for looks purposes.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Girls say it feels good when I give them head.”

“Okay, I…”

“Do you like camping?”

I got up and transferred to my bus.

 

Jake and Billy

It was a Wednesday morning and I was headed home from work, feeling exhausted.

A short, chubby zit-faced, redheaded bald man sat on the train in front of me looking out the window. A tall handsome guy in a nice suit boarded the train.

“Billy, over here,” the fat man said.

Billy got kind of an, “oh shit,” look on his face and went to sit with fatso.

“Hi, Jake,” he said.

“How’s work going,” Jack asked.

“Not bad.”

“Are you still seeing Clair?

“Yeah, it’s going great.”

“I broke up with Margaret two weeks ago. I ‘ve got a date with some other girl I met tonight.”

“Are you still on E Harmony,” Billy asked tiredly.

“Yeah, yeah I seem to do pretty well there. I mean you don’t get the highest quality girls, but I can always get a date there.”

“Right.”

“The other night, I went out with this girl whose profile said she was thirty five and that she was 130 pounds. I get there and the bitch is like forty five and 160 pounds. She was like,

‘I’m sorry I lied, but I didn’t think you’d give me a chance. ‘

“I was like, “thanks for wasting my time, ya know?”

“Yeah.”

“So, I don’t know about E Harmony sometimes. One thing I did notice, is I have gotten laid more on the first date with online dating than with regular dating. How about you, Billy have you gotten laid on the first date with E harmony?”

“oh..uh no,” Billy said, his eyes darting around uncomfortably.

“I have, lots of times.”

“Uh huh,” Billy smiled.

I cringed at the idea of anyone touching the little putz in a sexual way.

“So, yeah, so after I broke up with Margaret I was on E Harmony and she was back on it too of course and she…well when I met her profile said she was thirty five  and really she was thirty eight.  And you know, I can understand a woman lying about her age. So we went out for six months and now …when she was back on…she …her profile said she was thirty four. So, I thought that was funny. Not only was she lying about her age, but she had actually gotten younger, since we had gone out.

I got up and walked out into the cold morning rain. It made me feel clean and a bit younger myself.

The Ringtone

cell

Belinda lay in bed staring at the ceiling. That morning marked her third straight month of unemployment. She was reviewing all the interviews she had in her head and wondering what she did wrong. Her benefits would run out soon and they weren’t really enough to live off of. She realized she should probably plan on going to sell plasma that afternoon.

She heard her phone buzz and she fished it out from under the bed and looked at the text. “I might not make it tonight…may have to work, Bill” the message said. For a moment she was confused; she didn’t know a Bill, it was obviously a wrong number.

“I really want to do this, would tomorrow night work?

 

She chuckled a bit she wondered what the circumstances were. He was Identifying himself, so whoever he was texting was obviously new in his life or he would be programmed into the phone he was attempting to text. She wondered if it was a date, or maybe a special professional meeting.

“Let me know,” said the next message.

She realized that she should text him and tell him he had the wrong number. She decided she’d do it as soon as she officially got up. She fell back to sleep for a bit. Then she got out of bed made coffee and took a shower. While she was showering she imagined what Bill must look like. She envisioned someone not very handsome, but very well groomed. Possibly the sort to wear designer clothes, go to the gym daily and get $100 haircuts on his balding head. She was sipping the coffee and looking at Indeed.com when she heard her phone buzz again.

She picked up her phone to see yet another message from Bill.

“Please do let me know if you’re getting these texts,” the next message said.

‘God, desperate much,’ she thought.

“I got them,” she texted back.

“Cool, is tomorrow okay?”

“Are you sure you won’t have to work again,” she wrote back.

“Yes, this was a one time emergency. Thanks for being cool.”

She wondered if he was being sarcastic or if he was simply trying to kiss her ass.

“It’s just that I canceled plans for tonight.”

“It’ just that I can’t do six. I can do eight if I drive like a maniac?”

“eight is fine.”

“Still want to go to Zorba’s,” he asked.

“Tots” she wrote back with a wink and a smile.

She went back to applying for jobs and surfing the net. She walked to Walgreen’s and bought some Dryel sheet which she used to clean her best interview dress. She put it on and drove to Zorba’s where she arrived at 7:50.

The bar was sort of dead that night two old men sat at the bar not speaking to each other. There was a married couple having dinner and talking about their lawn behind her and there were two women at a booth chatting quietly. One of them, a pretty, thin brunette was devouring an enormous piece of cake and appeared to be quite drunk. Her plump blonde friend appeared to be comforting her. Belinda attempted to eavesdrop on their conversation.

“It’s better to find out now than once your actually..” the blonde’s voice drifted off into the distance.

Belinda strained to hear what the brunette said, but only heard part of it.

“…took one look and walked out?”

With this a tall thin man with brown, thinning hair walked into the bar. He was wearing a nice suit and seemed to be in a big rush. He glanced around the bar looking right past her as he went. He walked over to the two woman.

“Bethany,” he said to the Brunette just as she was stuffing a giant piece of ice cream and fudge covered cake into her wide open gape.

“Bill,” she said when she could speak.”

“I’m sorry, if I’m a little late there was traffic and..”

“A little late, try two hours.” The blonde said. “I’m sarah.”

“”I thought we said six,” Bethany said.

“No, I texted you and told you I couldn’t make it until eight?”

“I never got it. Why didn’t you just Facemail me?”
“I don’t know I thought that since you gave be your cell I should just text, besides I…”

”You know what, Bethany exclaimed. I really don’t want to hear it. I’m really sick of cyber dates that I never hear from again. And every single plan being tentative, and saying lets hang out instead of do you want to go out with me? I’m sick of saying ‘it’s no big deal’ when it is a big deal. I sick of sleeping with people and acting like I wasn’t expecting anything. I ‘m sick of it! How dare you be two hours late, you dumb schmuck! What’s with the suit? You want everyone to think you have money? Learn how to spell if you want to impress people.  I’ve never texted with anyone who made so many mistakes.

Bethany got up and through some money on the table. The two woman stormed out. Everyone stared at Bill. He checked his phone and pushed a button. Suddenly a National Anthem ringtone went off.  Belinda instinctively turned to reach into her purse, but then realized she couldn’t answer it. Bill hung up and dialed again, this time when the Anthem played he looked around the bar, his eyes landing on Bethany.

He hung up his phone and the ring tone stopped. There was dead silence in the bar everyone stared at Bethany as he began to walk towards her.