Sunday, September 13, 2009

Poisoned Dates

She was almost ten years younger than me and I met her on the internet. The third dangerous thing to understand about this woman is that she has an extraordinary power over me. I even typed “her” in place of “me” in the last sentence, originally. Even though I’ve loved females of my species before and am familiar with the results, I seem to be trying hard to love her, too, and there’s little room for that sort of emotionally suicidal randiness in the life of a
dignified man like myself, it is now clear to me.

Her name is Julia and the desire for her started quite naturally in the eyes and loins, but then spread like an efficient virus or a hot welcome cancer throughout my head, hands, and intestines. She posed beautifully in her pictures, without posing, really. There was a bright, glossy shine to her eyes and her lips that is basically surreal, almost too sexy, like she has been dipped in some slippery coital fluid. But there was something lonely and shy and unusual in her look, I guess, and her replies to me, and in the things she posted online were clear signs that this hot young lady was more kind and intelligent, more loving and sensual than a lot of the people I normally deal with. All these things thrilled me. I confess I was swept into a predictable chain reaction of desire and suffering, and forgot my mouthpiece or to sacrifice a chicken to guard against the perils ahead.

“If you want something to play with…go and find yourself a toy…”

She appeared to coo and lounge in almost obscenely gratifying and voluptuous fashion at the crossroads of many things I admire in the human character, wherever they dare to sprout up against every motherfucking odd. There was the comely joining of the four essential qualities people were alleged to be composed of, long, long ago, in the old days of good: the Spiritual, the Intellectual, the Physical, and the Emotional. She was, to appearances, in all of these ways a good, attractive person, and so she touched my thumper warmly. And she is so pretty that I know she inspires random sex and love fantasies every single day when she is seen in public, and carried home thereafter by countless men to their private moments. Beautiful in the way that startles and grabs you, whether you’re a lesbian, a fag, or a breeder. She had grown up under so many hungry, desirous eyes that she bore that weight somewhat uncomfortably.

Round and full and in her eyes and nose and sexy, sometimes pouting mouth a flagrant hot glossiness, as I’ve tried to describe already. Her lips were naturally wet. Her soft mellow flesh produced its own alluring make-up, and her nose was described often as “cute.” The tits she had been granted spilled out extravagantly no matter what she tried to contain them with. These gorgeous breasts fairly dared you to ogle their sumptuous milky excess. All other women eyed them hissingly, they were burned and insulted by them. The kind of cleavage that hypnotizes even Ass-men and homosexuals, and makes you feel for a second as if the abyss was calling, tottering there like a horny schoolboy, ready to spill over into those firm pillows of soft lovejoy. If all this were not enough, and it was, she had a stunning, softening, sexy voice that clung to me like a lustful koala and which I had managed to trap once on my cell phone’s memory.

But there’s a profound soul lurking in her anyway, for all that magical sexy gloss, and in any language this spells trouble, and wounds that suppurate long after inflicted. I’m telling you this girl is like a tempest among rotted trees, and lots of men probably either flee from her in terror or stay transfixed and hope they can survive the psychic trauma of so much fantastic, howling physical presence, while struggling to make a decent impression.

Yes when you talk to her you can see that she is good and has substance. It is confusing. She follows the philosophy, she says, of loving everybody in the beginning and letting them prove themselves from there; adamantly she suggests she does not judge people’s hearts and she appears sincere and humble, in all. Her mind is good and she can rely upon herself; she told me she sometimes sits in the dark and quiet and thinks for hours. I knew this to be an un-American way to carry on, and it made me hot. There is more.

She likes to take baths. She sent me a picture of her in one. At first I could not make out the subject, as it was all foamy and dusky and candlelit. But finally I made out her huge floating mammaries and one winky serpentine eyeball. Then one night she sent me a picture of her bed, aglow and soft, piled with the insurmountable number of pillows girls will sometimes enchant their lives with. That did me no real good, it sent me wandering straight into the desert, slobbery-faced into the cruel dry desert of wanting someone I had never met, and worse and more parched a reality still, a lush internet coquette at that. This girl was a sex panther and liked and intimately knew Kahlil Gibran. What tender-souled sex panther does not? On her internet social profile she posted the Lebanese god-child's work. I saved the bath-time pic on my phone and it was there for me to see all the time, for days, a subtle sample of screen-saving sex magic, with flames. The afternoon before our first date, I spent a couple of hours making a mix of soul music that would please her as she bathed, and it’s playing now. She hasn’t heard it. I erased that picture and want a new one now but that depends on her. This will not happen, my stomach and its cradle of ulcers say.

I wanted to see her and I’d been pushing her in that direction for a while. She had once before said yes. And I was one of innumerable, insufferable internet suitors accessing her profile, pushing to see her. My one picture was sufficiently handsome, and I could write decent sentences. These were my ins. So we started a flirtation and after a discreet period of time she gave me her number. I wrote her and talked on the phone to her a bit about politics and the truth and such irritating, potentially lethal nonsense. And yet having a brain, to the eyes of an American woman raised in the "deep" South, is a fascinating and strange thing. It’s an unaccustomed pleasure for them to find one in the male, very often. She was able to see that I was not a total fraud, moron or sadist, not a typical boy, and yet she dug me. I fancied her immediately for that, anyway. She claimed to enjoy our conversations and she meant it seriously I think. Then again I couldn’t see her eyes.

I asked her about her dreams and she did not disappoint me. Vivid strange descriptions that intrigued me completely. Even I had to write some of them down, but I won’t go into her dreams here, or probably anywhere, at anytime.

Men can fall in love based purely and only on physical beauty that contains great sweetness. The beauty part is elementary. Sweetness is metaphysical, and I know this, in part, because I see it displayed and gleaming from people’s eyes, mostly. It can’t itself talk very well and doesn’t wear bright livery, and one of its hallmarks is that people do not really ever speak deeply or meaningfully of it, or of kindness; as if these qualities were ghosts, or space aliens, or foreign policy. When they do speak of it, it’s with the imprecision we reserve for speaking of our age or body weight, or finding the g-spot, or defining gallicisms. I rarely find these qualities in print, or in politics, or exhibited among society. Generated by something much bigger and finer than us in the oversoul, kindness and sympathy are like long golden shadows cast forward by a good individual and you can almost see them coming if you are attuned. They exist of their own power and they can’t be forced or suppressed. Kindness is so hounded, so rare, so wretched, in a sense, that I glow in fascination and worship if it ever comes blazing briefly through my view. She had a kind heart and amazingly, didn’t even try to hide it beneath layers of protective shit and posturing.

So, early on she said yes but I called her that weekend, precipitously, after her caving in. I called her after drinking some alcohol. It was after midnight but before indecency, I felt, on a weekend, maybe the Sabbath. And I left a message that was both harmless and drunk. She was none pleased and I didn’t hear from her for some many, many days. During that time I wrote to her as if things were not hopelessly smashed apart. I did not realize she had a real problem with guys calling late and drunk, not to speak of being a stranger totally. Her father, she said, had been a drunk and that bothered her. I could understand this.

But I was also hurt at being hung out to dry until I disintegrated. I never could understand or deal with that sort of thing and my friends are also nonplussed at having in their own lives been lopped off coldly as if by a mute executioner, whenever they have disturbed some seismic female whim. There is Certain Ruthlessness to the female prerogative. They don’t mind making you dance the craziest jigs for It, out of the blue, in part, maybe, because they assume you are after only It. And if you are a poor dancer, or if you fail to preempt some silent caprice or another, then you may get to enjoy all her ancient powers of contempt and chilliness.
(I think few people, of either sexual encampment, can deal very well with being stymied with no charge of conduct, no bill of sale, no receipt or explanation. It seems I have always been especially unable to take rejection well, unless I was given a detailed explanation of the unimaginable impetus. This may be my own vain idiosyncrasy.)
Once it was clear she was ignoring me without a statement of purpose after we agreed we would meet, I wrote letters describing my outrage in terms calculated not to drive her away completely. As all men know, this brand of female fickleness has to be treated gingerly and with grim resolve, like a gangrenous and possibly untreatable wound. But the Very Beautiful Woman has an even more radioactive sensitivity, owing to her millions of options and suitors and the distinct, constantly reinforced idea of her rare and extreme appeal. She cannot be told how wrong and hurtful her behavior might possibly be, for instance----only how slighted one’s manhood or humanity is, and shit like that.

I eventually reeled her back in through careful literary pleading, and the sheer fact of my serious, empirical goodness. This was authentic emotional business. I wanted her badly, and I knew exactly why. This girl would not get away easily; I vowed to expend energy, and make a small meal here and there of pride, and burn votive incense. She later told me that in the end my persistence was a good thing. But she appeared to admit that she hadn’t read the letters entirely. She didn’t feel in the mood for bad news or rebukes so she skimmed some of them. There are some things in her life that are very seriously sad, I think, and oppressive. And if one lives in a tiny space they shouldn't let loose with the gratuitous farting, it's only wise. In addition to my words I sent several other pictures of me. I am modestly confident in my physical composition and I felt these pictures could not hurt, particularly those I had manipulated with a computer. These and a shameful poem I wrote about my fiendish, demoniac love for cunnilingus seemed to have some regenerative effect on our friendship.

Before long we were writing notes and exchanging quips and entendres again, with more enthusiasm, even. She was interested and curious, the two best things in Life. One thing bothered me about her, or rather, about this half-imaginary figure whose profile I had been admiring and poring over for weeks, but still had not met.

The bothering problem was she was simply too uncommonly beautiful and she could not help but know it and what a common problem this is. There are many pretty women but her beauty is exotic. It leaps at you and snarls and leaves you visibly upset and cramped. That is the nub of it. As I have tried to explain, she is an unusually sexy girl. Her features paused men and made them both glad and unsure. She was not one to go without attention in public places, and there was a flock of men gurgling and stamping and frothing around her social internet profile page. But strangely---and this is perhaps the last time I try to express this---she was also the sort of woman a fellow instinctively knew he could flirt with while not being a total anxious ape, because she felt as if she were nice. She was sweet. She was not definably vain or off-putting like so many rare beauties. Hot and sweet yet wholesome, like some kind of nourishing sweetcake prepared not in a factory but in your grandmother's oven. She changed one or two pictures often and there was not much to her profile. But there was enough for men who were only heat-seeking, and also men who looked deeper. And modest, too, did I mention…

There was not much to her profile until you found her blogs. She has written very few, but almost everything she writes is limned by mysticism. When I read her more recent stuff, I couldn’t avoid slipping closer. She was yearning for some lost insensible man, who had forgotten his scent in her bedroom. I ached in various places and hated the internet, and loved it, and felt strongly about things in general, all because of this stranger. Her remarkable sweetness and glossy, elvish peculiarity pinned me to the wall for Science and Anthropology. So fertile and voluptuous, such a fine meaty woman: My gibbering, aggressive, inner Paleo-Man adored her mountains of estrogen and wanted to form words of praise to paint on the cavewall of the web. Instead it moaned through heavy animal lips and clutched at its cudgel and denied the urge to repeatedly hammer the "send" button. She wrote of needing somebody to hold her. There was a snuggling deficit.

I say she is a fine stroke of humanity and if she doesn’t find happiness soon (with mating, also, and consistent, toe-twisting orgasms of every sort and method) then the world is a far more insane and barbarically stupid place than I had thought. As to being too beautiful and how this is a poisonous problem---which was my departed point---Julia did not, as I’ve tried to express, suffer from the eclipsing vanity that blinds so many beautiful creatures, male and female. Perhaps she suffered only from the Sensualism that the beautiful are physiologically prey to. All the animals will do their proper thing, and to the greatest extent possible. Rams want to bash heads, for example, and Bonobo chimps have lots of creative sex hanging from the canopies because they are so much like us and the females understand and love orgasms; and hugely proportioned men are drawn to mindless self-aggrandizing rituals like combative sports, and to roles like intimidator and bully, and law-enforcer. The beautiful person’s rare exception seems to drive them to want to get laid a lot, to feel that copious and expert fucking is their deserved Fate, or at least the experience of plenty of intimacy. Preferably or exclusively with other beauties. That’s the active ingredient, or the sine qua non of the beautiful person’s sex life. They fuck and mate with other rare beauties. They do this because they can. It is just a matter of getting a very enjoyable use of fine tools one is lucky enough to have been born with, and it’s all extremely logical: but it follows from this that many beautiful people are fickle and deteriorated from excess, their minds droop from the weight of their bodies, and many of them become shallow, vapid whores: in this way they are exactly like talented athletes. But when she tells me the shockingly small number of men she has been with and talks of her “selectiveness” I completely believe her because it fits. She has the sweetness, shyness, and brains, after all, to know what she is worth.

We finally agree to meet. The day arrives, a Saturday, named after Saturn, and a day intended to be festive. Again, my failure to sacrifice to the Olympians may have been costly. We talk on the phone and I learn that her cousin and a friend of his named after an American Blue Jeans company are attempting to go out with her also, that night. The friend must surely be heat-seeking the girl, I deduce. The Heavens beam later and I get a call, an unnatural call because she is the hot pin-up girl and I normally call her, and she informs me we are to meet, after all, and the implication is that we are to be alone, free of any cousins. She is less imperious than all that, but nonetheless the power lies entirely with her, the awful, core equation that simple Man labors beneath. She dictates the time and the places and the moods, Woman. So then Julia is to check into the issue of clothing and I ask her to wear red jokingly and I am got back to in the form of a text message which says, mysteriously, “Meet me at such-and-such-a-House-of-Liquor-and-Fun at 9:30.”

Anyplace is fine with me and I do not fear the crowds of pomaded mongrels and their stupid, sinister bitches. That’s how I chose to think of it, even though these places tend to make me feel like I've been picking at corpses. This is the extra-fetching girl who drips with sweetness and some kind of shining, affectionate, sexually magic dew which I am confident only I can see and harvest, probably. I’ve made her a nice lovely musical mix of soul music, and bought her a fragrant gift of green tea body applicant, which is an unction that turns me into a raging sultry romantic as soon as it grazes my consciousness. I see us taking a bath because her tits will float nicely like half-submerged holy mountains wreathed in downy clouds and she seems perfect and because I like treating myself to fine sexual fantasies.

I’m off but I have to take a taxi, which is my peculiar handicap in our motivated land. This act alone could have proved lethal. and I don’t know yet because the investigation is not yet complete. The story lacks a tight, proper ending.

The cab service I relied on, so to speak, provided me with a series of outrageous lies and also, exactly 56 minutes after I called them, the same odd, slow-moving, bug-eyed female cabbie who had once before transported me and told me she liked rap music though she was pushing 50 in her whiteness. So I was just over one half hour late for my date with this fascinating and lovely lady I sort of adored against Better Judgment, may my ancestors bless that rare condition and give it higher accord in my future. I had text-messaged her and apologized as profusely as I could through the gadget, saying I’d be there soon, twice or so. She responded twice that it was not a problem and she was going to wait outside in her car. It was then that I broke the dreadful and irreversible news to her: I did not own an automobile. This was alright with her and there was no pause at all that I could detect with the sensitive radar of my proud pauper’s ego. Another reason to appreciate and love her.

“Am I Blue? Was I gay…till today?”

I tipped the flirtatious bug-eyed cabbie five Federal Reserve notes with a bold suggestion that she scold her dispatcher for being a fork-tongued blood merchant. ‘Two people driving cabs that night,’ she leaked. I know I could have run there faster, but I had been thrown by all the tricky lying. This is a provincial town, a cursed, slow, redneck town.

Julia had waited long enough and had gone in and that was fine with me. I got there and looked around and the place was a bourgeois mad house that I immediately regretted coming into or near. What was this about? A trick? A sadistic game? My subconscious must have been alerted but I thought not much of it; it was sort of exciting with all the noise and bluster and spiritual chaos. Not the kind of place I figured she wanted to be for a first date but there could be many reasons. She could be insane. Or an age difference thing.

Not a normal bar, but one of these modern flesh emporiums. Lots of lightly dressed nubiles striving to in, out, and overdo each other; people staring at and through their companions blankly in search of better cuts of meat. Lots of tanned white southerners in decent clothing and a horrible scene altogether. I sensed a hipness of a crippled Anglo-Saxon fashion and saw too many large muscle-bound men displaying their thews and bristling at one another. I later learned from a local musician friend that the place was called ‘Cocaine Alley.’ This was as fine an explanation for the ensuing depraved scurviness as I have had, yet. The men were just the sort who would come there with Viagra in their bloodstream because of the place’s reputation for attracting all the fine flitting ingenues, and, occasionally, someone like Julia snuck in. This was a place I could relax in and feel superior and little did I know that this kind of hard cynicism turned her off. In hindsight, I appear as any other hero of fables entering the dragon’s dank den, looking for the perfect maiden, but not deserving her without a nasty fucking trial.

The bar was a shaped like a horseshoe and the people thronged it like a life boat; a wing of the establishment was partly sectioned off for a private party. I looked around a bit and got whiskey robotically. There she was. At the curve of the horseshoe she was surrounded, flanked by two evil solicitous white men. At least, two were openly leering at her and enjoying the glow she emanated. There’s just a good stupid feeling of naturally feeling like a man when you’re around a woman that beautiful. It elicits a moronic, genetic felicity that can’t be stifled or contained any more than an erection that rises from a sleeping body. The cheer comes out of you despite your limitations and lasts as long as they favor you or until you wake up or are caught somehow. Truly, it is a pleasure to see men in the company of a beautiful woman, most of the time. Bathed in the softening glow of the double X chromosomes, they look for a moment less like cannibal trolls to me.

I savored the thrill of searching out and recognizing someone I had only seen in images, and being wildly attracted to them all over again. A dream realized, like seeing a movie star in the flesh finally. It’s funny to think so many people are enjoying this feeling these days, under these cyber-circumstances, for the first time in history really. I suspect these relationships might often lead quickly to meaningless sex and poor relations. At its core, the internet strikes me as an elaborate skein of triviality and lies; and myspace a brilliant forum for fools to affect a faux-celebrity. We become famous in miniature, on borrowed code, and it does make it exciting in some insipid theatrical way when we finally meet someone we have been lusting after only in j-peg---even so, as if they had been distant Hollywood personalities. It appeals to our vanity.

She was herself, exactly like the gorgeous pictures and I wasn’t surprised. Her features couldn’t be faked or muted or changed. She was hot and luminous and a girl like this can’t ever go five minutes without attracting frantic insects at the bar, if she is alone.

Well I couldn’t resist the urge to spy. I had to see if she recognized me at first. I sort of looked towards her until she looked at me. She looked at me over there and no, she did not linger or seem to place me. Perhaps she was very engaged. This was a marked disappointment, and possibly the first of many subtle points against me.

I circled around her and her suitors, and it was clear that the one standing next to her was attractive and aggressively seeking nectar, fruit, or hindquarters, depending on his diet. The determined urge to consume her was immediately apparent in his disgusting, well-conditioned body. The other insect attendant had practically faded out and was a bit too old to be in the place. I had a nice hat on and have pleasant enough angles along my body, which give me confidence and unusual balance. Under the hat I have begun to lose my hair, but not so much that I am frightful. We three bar flies formed an interesting spectrum, all attracted to this one light. Few people in the south wore Kangols in those unfashionable days and I felt like a freak among freaks, but not minding at all. She probably wondered at the hat a bit. I stood there right behind them for almost fifteen seconds listening and watching, with my arm resting on her bar chair. I heard him say
“So how long until your friend gets here…how long have you been waiting now?” or something evil and soulless like this.

He was handsome, I suppose, with a square jaw and a very tight shirt that displayed his physique to advantage. The confidence of the alpha-male who is not totally moronic diffused from his scrubbed pores. His somewhat noticeable pock marks may only have aggravated his aggressiveness. He was leaning into her like a conspirator and the plotting had to be stopped, and I was thirty minutes late, fuck it all mercilessly. I poked her gently and softly in the ribs. Perhaps another point against me.
Julia turned around and I regret to say that I can’t say for certain whether she regarded me with the quick spark of visceral favor or not, and in large part because I felt the quick genetic urge to look into the eyes of my contender and grip his extended hand and sort of ignore her. We men are total idiots when it comes right down to it. A large, greasy smile was on his smiley face as he revealed his name was actually “Brad.”
“Oh is this your friend?” and all that from him. No matter how admirably formed a man like this is, he is usually horribly ugly to me and I hold women in contempt for their fawning allegiance to his type. But there was nothing especially contemptible about him at first, aside from his general malignance as my competitor and the excessively firm handshake he gave.
I can’t recall the first words she said. Affirmation, recognition, and surprise, quickly altogether. We looked at each other for the first time, we two phone and internet play-dates, through a kind of brand-new, temporally strange filter, and paddled for a second near the hybrid shark-insect called Brad, uncertainly. The situation was too knotty for rational thought, and so Instinct carried the day. I had actually wandered around a bit before locating them, and found a nice secluded VIP style booth up in the reaches of the private party sector. So I was introduced and quickly offered my totally sincere and flummoxed apologies.

And then I said something to the effect of “well let’s hasten over here away from this vicious land shark sucking at your neck, shall we?” But in reality I kind of spoke low to her and suggested and just sort of guided her over into the curved red vinyl corner. It proved not to be private enough.

I don’t think the spark was necessarily there, but I was late and all and she had an obvious tendency to keep her eyes downcast, or not meet mine at least. We never truly have an idea if we make a good first physical impression, unless there are some pure gestures one can’t possibly mistake. There is always doubt, initially, within the minuet, and intrinsic to it. The more boldly demonstrative a person, the less difficult it is to gauge their interest. And she was shy, sort of, and there is the universal instinct to hold one’s cards in check. In my general experience, we are totally unsubtle people practicing a self-conscious child’s subtlety, it seems.

We sat there in the red pleather curves and every single minute I was with her I felt high and pleased and aroused. Yes I was more than a little excited. Her hair framed and hid her face beautifully and she was an indistinct mix of all the prettiest American races, a perfect genetic mystery needing to be loved and cataloged and fucked very well. We sampled of and pried respectfully at each other and nothing was going especially right except for the simple, queer, inescapable male problem of mine: I dug her completely and so it was pleasant merely being near her even though the needed signals were not exactly flowing forth. But she tolerated me and did not grimace at my comments. She seemed to like me well enough. Those downcast sweet eyes. Points were scored for her because she was shy and thoughtful, just as she had been in writing and on the phone.

There was no immediate burst, except inside me and that did not surprise or shake me because I felt it early and somehow knew it would continue to be that way; I could not help but feel a sense of an uphill struggle. Only two or so references were made to my glaring tardiness, and we did not dwell on that I was a pedestrian. I wanted her as much as I had feared and fantasized, and it rushed and throbbed through me.

There was a mirror behind me in the booth and she would occasionally and even often spy activity and look behind her and each time was a slight pain because who does not want to be fascinating and entrancing and all? Further, how is it, I thought, that this rambling and noisome crowd of sexual buzzards holds any more attraction than me? She had a thing with looking at my chest. It seemed so at least. To look back on it I enjoy this thing of hers a lot, it’s sort of crazy. Once she spoke of her old boyfriend with whom she would physically fight, and said she kind of liked that. She looked briefly at my arm and bicep when she was talking then. Measuring my manhood. I looked at her eyes and thanked God I suppose. She wore a red shirt that showed her lovely lines and curves. That was nice of her all around. She heard me and catered.
There are so few times in an average man’s life, I know mathematically, that he may sit with such a gorgeous and queer, likable and subtle woman for an hour or two. I am not an average man, and I’ve sat with a few gorgeous women, but she is something, God damn.

She spoke of being with another woman in the past month or so, for the first time. At a party a six-foot beauty had begun a furious flirtation with Julia and they eventually repaired to one of the mansion’s bedrooms, and behind a carefully locked door, spent the night gratifying one another. She said they were kind of clumsy. I asked her if she made her cum, if the six-foot beauty had made her cum. These obtrusive, gritty questions come naturally to me, as if from an impish or angelic voice that demands audience from somewhere at the fore of my brain. She called me bold and seemed genuinely taken aback, slightly annoyed. But she said “yes.” Actually I can’t remember what she said and you can imagine how badly this aggravates me. Yes, she said yes. I think so at least, but I was off balance, I suppose, because she was slightly offended, or made a show of it.

But it is also past my memory whether or not this talk of lesbianism was before or after the first visitation of the Aryan predator, Brad, with the silvery chain necklaces and the mousse, wrapped like an obscene gift to silly women in his constricting shirt. He appeared at the cozy entrance to our Very Important retreat, tucked away from the sloppy foolishness as we were, and flashing his teeth bright and wide, brought us a ringing, foolish, corrosive sloppiness that we had not been missing, whatsoever. With this one, this blind evil ape, it would get gooder and gooder.
“Whoa I am here” and all this bluster and then he was sitting, carrying on in a tireless, spastic way that had me later deciding he was skilled at snorting cocaine, among all his other daring skills.
Within one minute I was far too acquainted with Brad. He is the kind of marvelous and toxic specimen who should be hunted, shot, and stuffed before he passes beyond his prime. I say this with no malice or cynicism. He was a curiously difficult to like human being. Some people would call him shitty, or a pestilence. His willful breach of normal conduct and manners would continue on throughout the short evening like a disease that I had not been inoculated against. I would learn the hard way with Brad, and later during this tortured imbroglio I had an idle comic fantasy in which I gravely asked him if he were possessed by a demon.

Julia did not withdraw her attention from me so much as she directed it to the unavoidable force of this attractive man’s sterling, rat-fink personality. The boy had that allure which seems to be dreadfully universal to Woman. It may involve a woman’s genetic attraction to a kind of confidence singular to the highway bandit and the boxer: an apparently sexy sort of brutal pirate charm.
His chatter was deadly to my designs and he knew it. The words flew out of him and he and I knew he meant harm. He had the gift of bar-room gabbing, I will give him that, and he wanted the girl. It does seem obvious to me now that he was enchanted by Cocaine.
What Brad greatly seemed to enjoy pretending here was that he was not a poisonous Rhinoceros stampeding into my first date with Julia, a girl he actually worked with, in some real estate concern, as it turned out. During the week, he had ample time to flirt with her and threaten her dignity, and yet here he was, targeting our first weekend idyll.

He sat there and jabbered relentlessly about himself and his dim opinions, as they were. I could not make them out, but I didn’t try hard. His gelatin head and his shocking insolence put me in a bad mood, I’m afraid, and his shoulders hunched towards Julia. I watched as she might perhaps have inadvertently glanced at his chest, and perhaps at his arms. It was all one of the worst injustices I have ever slogged through, you see. To have the company of this woman I found so beautiful and rare, pretty much ruined by this raging idiot who had the satanic nerve to sit and blather on and on… It was perverse and troublesome. I dug her so much and she would later admit that it turned her off that I seemed unable to deal with either the place or the Brad’s behavior. She did not seem to sympathize enough, by my almost Teutonic standards.

“The Rockies may crumble...They’re only made of clay.”

Brad was an accepted and seemingly popular quantity at this bar. The private party was hosted by his close lady friend. Brad had bought the first drink for Julia while I was being late. During the course of his sociopathic interruption he managed to unctuously acquire for us two more drinks, one for me the gracious bastard, and then bragged that he never paid for them because his close friend was the bartender. Brad was a wonderful host and I know that I could make many sword handles out of his skin.

Within three minutes something unpleasant happened and I felt sort of like I was at the auction house, bidding for Julia. She began describing the main, outstanding talents of Brad, in various areas. Maybe the first thing she announced was his enrollment in the VMI. She had thought it stood for something else. I am glad she did not know what VMI was because who the bloody fuck needs to know about that fascist animal shit anyway.
But Brad had learned her I guess and the coke enthusiast was on his way to being a military officer, if he could not start a durable business in assassinating other men’s fantasies, probably.
He eventually commented that one of many potential futures of his could include “commanding the world’s best troops.” He referred to American troops but I’m not sure if he was aware of the endless world war at all.

Julia, with repeated gestures of the fist and arm, then demonstrated that Brad played Lacrosse and practiced some kind of martial arts, to my great delight. Not only a belligerent and intolerable asshole but an accomplished athlete and roughneck. She didn’t know the name of his discipline, and good. She was torturing me with all this talk of Brad but at least she didn’t seem to be totally digging him. After all, they worked together but nothing had happened between them that was apparent. Still, I felt there was some subterranean workings underfoot, some evolutionary challenge being suggested. Soon there could even be violence.

He said he was a “fly fighter” and said something else about Brazil, where his school of tusslin’ heralded from. This bloated narcissist needed to be gone but it was clear that he was comfortable in his role of execrable social menace, and was in it for the long haul. He eventually showed his greasy tattered cards and got up, boisterously insisting that we abandon our first date and go join his party, so that he could flourish and preen on his footing, among his friends. At this point I resolved that the virus needed containment, and I looked into my drained drink he had generously stolen for me, and spoke. I insisted that he give us privacy because we were on a date. I would have enjoyed adding that he could not possibly hope to respect himself, for years to come, after this display of semen-filled hubris, but my tongue was proper.

He replied, rebuffed, “oh alright dude, I didn’t mean to but in, offend, etc..” and all this. He had mistaken my silence and my willful show of ignoring him to mean that I was a total pushover, most likely.
I could not at this point tell if Julia dug me. Dug me in any lasting sense that is bound to get past the dependable and sleepless fickleness of female behavior. At that point I started to talk about how I felt about the offensive toy soldier and fly-fighter, why I dismissed him as I felt I had to, and before long I knew that I might have fumed too much for her tastes. I was ranting mildly against the archetype of the devilish white male storm-trooper, possibly. I know now that she did not see Brad as a Nazi storm-trooper. Even so, she may have desired me more than she desired this one-dog stampede of bleating smarm. It was all in limbo, all unknowable, as it often is with the white man. And I am half-white.
Battling, and drinking the gentleman’s drinks as I was, it was getting harder to work out, but I was feeling limber and kept my eyes fixed upon the receding hope of shit going right.

We talked for a while longer. We talked for maybe another twenty minutes or thirty. But the fact is that when you are with someone who pins you with dreams to the wall of Reason, the sense of time fades and is challenged. It has been a while and I don’t remember what we talked about. She showed me a phone picture of her mother and her, and her mother’s young child, too. She told me she didn’t like angry, bitter men. Julia, that is. Me neither. I felt she was trying to tell me I came off like that. The circumstances were not good for allowing me to seem otherwise. At one point she remarked or confirmed that I am sort of serious. Beyond the fact that I am a winsome, impetuously light-hearted gagster that must laugh regularly in order to live, I am somewhat serious in my temperament but I want her to want me anyway and this weighs upon me as the fact of our age difference weighs upon me, struggling to maintain my dignity and my Kleos in this society of child-worshippers and self-fondlers.
I hadn’t been on a date in a while. She’s intoxicating and when you find someone like this there is a silent terror one feels about seeming too turned on and attracted. A long time ago it ceased being very fashionable to show more than a basic chilly interest in someone you were interested in. With extreme beauty comes even more extreme tactics. Think of the jungle cat that pretends a kind of indifference precisely when it is uncommonly hungry (this is what rare beauty inspires, uncommon hunger) and roaming near the ungulate herds that normally half-tolerate his familiar presence. It moves in a relaxed way though its belly is tight and noisy. When you’re with someone very attractive, I suppose you have to pretend as if you are not stunned, or too mindful of your hunger, that exact, disappointing distance between desire and reality. If you wanted to be novel about it all and further compare the rituals of courtship to the predatory life, then you might say this was a mixture of hunting while strenuously giving the impression that you are already well-fed, or could be hunting elsewhere, just as well, among perhaps sleeker and vaster herds.

Instead, fatuously, I act just like myself and tell her at one point that I wish she were my girlfriend. Many times I’ve wondered what it was I answered when she asked me “why?” Because I know what I want, I think I said something like this. It is true. I make it known that I want to leave the place with her. I thought I was not being creepy, sleazy. Other places would have been nice, to talk with her in some kind of quiet, to be away from predators so that I did not have to keep the spear close. She did not warm to my entreaties to leave.
After a little while she went to the restroom again. The first time she had done so, Brad and I were left alone together and he wasted no time at all throwing down the gauntlet. It was to the point at least, and I respect that alone of all his actions that night.

“You seem kind of quiet, man.” This was the gauntlet. A little sentence laced with a challenge for me to explain myself and show my grit. Ah, what a contemptible, vicious little rag-doll of a man, I thought. His parents must have been dumb and hateful. I informed him of our unique triple position there. With admirable civility we then moved on to talking about my accent and my obvious threatening difference from him. I was from New York and was intellectual, and decent. I didn’t dislike the French and disagreed with his opinions on the greatness of our mercenary troops. As we sorted our differences in a kind of martial secret code Brad repeatedly took stock of his physical beauty in the mirror behind me. Before long he got a call from a stooge friend of his and Brad made chauvinist talk about all the hot ladies there that wanted the friend to take them home tonight, and that he should come down because of their VIP status, etc. He did not slip from character, he only relaxed his grip. When she returned that first time he played a cute trick of saying that I had misrepresented my provenance to him; that I was in fact a southerner just like them by the statute of limitations, I suppose. Everybody loves and fears the cachet of the Empire State, you know. He pulled it off with aplomb, like the unwashable rascal he is: as if he was not trying to insult me.

“He’s a fool and don’t I know it…but a fool can have his charms,”

She had pardoned herself for a second time. I sit alone and watch Brad out there among his only partly self-appointed subjects, because my limited purview just happens to be that punishing and evil. He is an odd fascinating display of uncloaked idiot bravado. He shadow boxes a man’s face, curling around him from behind. He is very drunk and hyper, it seems. Probably this play tussling is meant to remind people of his dangerous physical skills, but I also get the impression that it’s a basic release valve for his childish energies, which, as I’ve tried already pointing out, may have been enhanced by the processed powder of the opiate coca leaf. The idea that he was not on coke is now equally disturbing and annoying to me. I am still waiting for Julia, you can imagine. This damn lovely girl with all her options.

“I went out of my wa-ay to get into a lot of …trouble...
“…I went out of mind, when you stopped being kind…and gentle.”

Julia, the fine, fey woman with the sweet personality that had something totally essential and interesting in reserve, came out from the restroom. I then see a rather impressive show of either monomaniacal heat-seeking or keen peripheral vision. All females that are hot are constantly on the officer’s radar, one assumes. There are only maybe twenty footsteps from Julia’s entrance, to the booth, but Brad somehow extricates himself from his performance among a nearby knot of pals and emerges from them to offer one of those confident male invitations that you may have seen before.
These seem to involve using physical interpolation, and grabbing and holding. There is an ineluctable male force about it, but we are only talking of the invitations of handsome alpha-males who are not used to considering much of anything apart from their brilliance and undeniable beauty. Of course, the shang-hai, under these circumstances, is patently illegal.

For several minutes or whatever she receives their gang attentions. He is “introducing” her, a harmless blustery introduction by lasso. She returns. We continue to practice a weird half-dating. It’s not very clear where she sits with me and I slide closer to her, perhaps, at this time. Nothing could change how beaten into a frenzy I have become over this woman. I know from the distant seat of Reason that her allure has to have been increased because of the challenges and the sense of her slipping away. It probably doesn’t register because the seat of Reason is not at all like this VIP booth, all squishy and immediate and dimly pornographic.

Later I wonder how it is that I could not make lemonade out of Corporal Rainy Parades’ sabotage tactics, or from the sheer gaudy silliness of the bar. Neither of these forces is insurmountable, or very threatening to me. It all had something to do with the freakish climax of meeting someone I had formed real feelings for, and yet, bizarrely, for and towards whom all the timid advancing steps of the first date still needed to be made. Not only were the signs not totally there---though she’s a shy girl with some substance and reserve, Man, believe me---but the experiment was hopelessly tainted by the presence of this heat-seeking shark-borne disease. I am tired of wondering if I over-reacted. It is too much, to see some idea that is sweet and desirable smashed in one evening.

Eventually the pestilence returns, remorseless, frothy, from out of the horrifying din. He sort of reminds me of the man who stole a girlfriend from me, sort of, three years ago. It was all my fault then, and my fault that he and I had a nasty fight in front of Alexia’s apartment that morning, spitting, bleeding, head-butting and hating one another pointlessly for no more than five minutes. (The psyche digresses, not me.) Brad has more drinks in him of course and his insolence is now in full swing. It is almost impressive, or exciting, to see doggish animal cunning and impertinence like this in action, and not in some movie that makes you merely annoyed and uncomfortable. I wonder later if Julia had not asked him to watch out for her, this being an internet date with a stranger. Maybe she knew he would be here, and so was guilty of a small harmless lie when she said it was coincidence.

It is during this bout of dealing with him that he confesses, as I suspected, that he does not like the French, and asks who does? Perhaps he was trying to bait me with this highly charged trick question. I raised my hand because I know that the French cannot possibly be worse than the Americans, with whom I am deeply familiar. More and more I am familiar with them. Mock stupefaction, a glib defense of our Gallic and Frankish brethren that is not worth remembering. He had already said something about wanting to perhaps command the world’s greatest troops, among his various widely spread options, which is all too hilarious and revealing, as I’ve tried pointing out already.

It has been clear the whole time that he knows he is being wrong, but is still on the offensive. Julia seems to enjoy him and I am bothered by this and am…sad, embarrassed for us all. Troubled surprise is called disappointment, I believe. This seems to be a breach of decorum, the voice of reason murmurs, like a dying heart.

I am complacent with my drink, I am capable of realizing. The foolishness rages and I sip. The drink drains and I listen to his egotistical talk. I did the bare minimum and probably longed to be alone with her or at least out of the path of the VMI heat wave. I might admit that this barbaric and asymmetrical second offensive had caught me by surprise. Greater stores of chemical energy might have won the day for Brad, or maybe just the inexhaustible fount of will that a huge, oblivious ego supplies.
Eventually I reach for the cell phone as they converse at my expense. As much a show of having something else to do aside from listen to these pitches of snake oil, as anything. I begin to text Julia. Right now as I write this, I understand this was stupid. Then it was a kind of tender joke, a protest against something for which I could only muster quiet disdain. This time I wanted her help, basically, and felt it was due and proper. I wanted to know that she would not mind him gone, to be with me and talking again. The possibility that she had made some sort of choice in favor of this human scarecrow had occurred to me but repulsed and did nobody any good so was discarded. I was in the process of typing to her,
“Save me, Julia..” something remotely like this but it’s foolish and less significant because at that moment the shrewd young fascist leaped upon my preoccupation and got up. Textbook tactic of the white man, it is said, to befuddle the primitive when he is mystified with western technology.

More of the unctuous words came from him. The delivery was a memorable yet unimaginable broadside. He said this was cool and all, this booth but it was time we mingled. Like so. He said something rude and foolish just like this to two people on their first date. This second blatant attempt to fuck with another man and assert his own self threw me. I pretty much gave up, even as I saw Julia stand up slowly and seem to beckon me. She was observably hesitant, expectant. I will always like her even more because I could tell she wanted me to come, that she expected me to come, indeed. Or not. Maybe I imagined this. Later it was clear from her few words to me that by the end of the date she wanted to know if I could get past all this, and whether I was capable of having fun in this place which I had shown distaste for, and which she didn’t seem to mind.

But I had had it and I sat there pretending to be engrossed in texting, when it was her I was trying to reach and there she was leaving, with my consent. Odd stuff. Odd, heinous business. Oh I’ll catch up; I waved them on. My contempt had to have been obvious.

I drank the drink my date Brad had bought me. No…this was one I had bought myself. In a freely admitted and somewhat shocked haze I sent the message on to her. God only knows how many times a man may emasculate himself in one evening while courting. I was literally writing this one off, as I sensed that I had made some grave errors, some related to how women often have a mystic attitude that recognizes many behaviors as irreversible or taboo. The worst, of course, was that I had no certain idea that she was attracted to me, or not. The mixed romantic signal is the worst. It corrodes long after the broadcast.

Through the crowd of revelers. The idea he had put forth as he led her away was to mingle and give her an introduction, of course, what else? To the birthday girl, who he assured us was crazy---in the way of fun. "She's crazy!" The hosting gambit of his was so base, thickly spread and ham-fisted, that it made a thudding noise when initiated. It was under these conditions the only decent ruse for a murderous, talking shark to employ. So I looked for them among the birthday minglers. But I found them at the bar, near the bartender and the register, Brad’s good friends. A place of power and plenty. The alleged introduction to the crazy birthday girl must have been fast and furious, but not fun enough, for there they were, the officer and my date, his victim, cadging more cheap or free drinks and being guided by his carnie-charm, four minutes after they had left the booth, toward a more lubricated fun, the easier to make her forget me and love his inviting staleness.

So I did more of the watching bit, like any forlorn lover and detective. Perhaps the worst part of the date came then, when I watched her unsolicited and exuberant hand grab Brad’s bicep. In a poem I described this as the girl checking on the quality of the goods without realizing their rottenness. In truth I had no idea what kind of friendship they had. I could have landed in the middle of something. It certainly smelled rank.

That touch of his arm got me because she had not touched me at all. I was keenly aware of the obvious drama the three of us formed and it was time to go. An observant person could have watched us, even casually, from the time I arrived to the time Brad left the booth with her on a beeline to secure her greater, gratis drunkenness, and the observer could tell what was going down, and might have reasonably expected a fight to materialize because men are stupid and this is a Culture of Honor around here.

I sat there gratifying myself with such self-conscious, dull thoughts as I saw some folks looking at me, sitting there with a very nearly empty drink… I made only a slight effort at not obviously watching them, mainly her. At this point, an attractive young woman in a difficult to make out elastic number that showed she was tanned, above perhaps all things in the world, came past me and got Brad’s attention. She seemed to hesitate momentarily as Brad was standing with the pretty Julia, but Brad looked at her and they greeted. He hugged her I believe and I was very very glad he had another chance to display his extreme desirability. I also saw this as my chance to take my leave or see what was up at least. Walked towards her and ignored Brad entirely. I moved close to her with my back to him and said something about the birthday girl, a jostling, petulant kind of comment, and Julia told me they were having shots…perhaps she thought I had suddenly lost my eyesight. The sugary mini-drink sat before her. It was probably called the Adam’s Apple. I was anxious and hurt and determined to leave and I don’t know if she was somehow suggesting I join them. She was uncomfortable, as anyone would be, but I don’t know how much.
I told her I was leaving and let my irritation, my aggrieved offended aura speak for itself. Who speaks well, in times like that? Julia put an arm around me in a half-hug and it touched my heart and lessened the pain of whatever wound I can be said to have suffered at this moment of being terribly fucking alone and shocked by the carnal, idiot savagery of things. She did not have to hug me but she did, and it may mean nothing. But this was the first time we had touched since the initial meeting at the bar, and I was glad to know that this woman had the tenderness and warmth to see me leave with some sliver of affection.

Times like these nobody, I think, but a pretentious fool knows what to say. It’s a time for speech-making and pulling out our hidden stuffing and that is difficult and unpleasant, for most. The things that are deep and valuable within us are at play and want to be expressed. But it’s not the place and drama between strangers is pointless anyway. The look on my face is totally past my memory or my ability to analyze. There was some intensity to it, to be sure. The words might as well have been gibberish but I didn’t stammer. I left cocaine alley and a woman I deeply wanted, and briefly imagined that she was coming after me because wishful thinking had transformed some girl behind me in red into Julia.

“My Baby Don’t Care for Clothes…My Baby Just Cares for Me.”

I went to have some sushi and sake nearby before leaving by cab. Thought maybe she would want to meet again tonight, and discuss our lukewarm meltdown, as it were. The dying suspicion that the woman you want wants you but is slipping away, that doubt, is poison and lingers somewhat too long, you’ll agree. It is even more insidious and mournful a thought when you aren’t sure if she wants you at all.

The Japanese restaurant had a good many youngsters into DJ’s and electronic music and acting a little bit too hard for mannerliness. After drinking and eating, while waiting for a cab, I complimented a guy on his very pretty Asian girlfriend, but though my language may have been slightly off, I did it like a gentleman, all things considered. I was at this point sort of drunk and you could say a little bothered by my unpleasant experience. This young man was in no mood to have his girl complimented abruptly by a stranger, though the girl was inside and we were outside.
He bristled like an unloved mutt on a chain. But he could not make me out, from a genetic, flight-or-fight standpoint. He was tall but skinny, and I might have carried a dark presence then and do not look, physically, like a pushover. His outrage was confined to calling me a faggot as he walked away, after mock-complimenting my shoes, and throwing his cigarette butt violently out into the parking lot. I wished him a good night as he quickly went inside, defusing his own insult in the process. My shoes, I felt, were nice. I didn’t realize they looked uncool to the DJ sect and I made a mental note to buy more fashionable styles. It had been a while, I guess, since I bought me some shoes. They were brown and I regretted they didn’t strictly match my pants and here I was paying for it with horrible public shame, and I had been in such a good mood before that.

My own genetic combat system stirred and I reminded myself that I didn’t like angry, bitter men. Twice during this shameful and juvenile sake-based miscommunication, I told the offended party that I meant no disrespect, but nobody gets three kow-tows, I reminded myself. And I was absolved by the Golden Rule: I know I would not have minded at all if the tables were turned, and would probably have been flattered, but I am used to being more civilized than other men. So much of this nonsense comes from fear and doubt and the vast territory over which the ego reigns.
But I had gone from an evening in Purgatory to a potential instance of mindless fisticuffs. I was on a roll.

All around me the tension of insecure little boys grew. I didn’t necessarily want to fight three people at once but a plan of action began to form. I am sure that the dull nerve of manhood was already excited by the shark attack and the loss of the heavenly beauty beneath the dark waves. Fortunately it did not come to all that. During the entire time, before and after my grave offense, I had managed to impress two of DJ Princeling’s “boys,” or emissaries, with my even tone and dignified nature. They kind of stood up for me and calmed his highness down. The DJ might have smelled it out almost immediately that his girl was attracted to me, and his tantrum of stamping insecurity had probably not helped her opinion of him. He did need calming.

The cab came and I beat it without a beating. From the time I regretfully left Julia with that black hole of male egotism to the time I got home and started listening to the soul mix composed for her, I sent her four different text messages altogether. There was not a reply. I left one phone message. Little dignity in all that messaging and I know how dangerous that is but sometimes it does not matter. The thought of her hanging with him throughout the night, and of the foul taste generated by the whole debacle clinging longer than it needed to… more because I could not talk with her….that thought was powerfully present with me, with the music, and with the solitary drinks I took. I don’t know what happened to her that night or when she left. Of course, the writing of these words took the place of my need to sleep, which could not be met.

No man can send five unreturned texts in one night and easily recover his dignity. Especially sent within two hours. Even when women do it, they are generally considered to be in hysterics. But I am different.

Still I can’t expect her to see or care about that. She eventually returned my messages, which grew longer, and then shorter, and possibly more bitter. I cannot be blamed too harshly. Those whom I tell about this night almost always sympathize with me and I can see in their eyes that the experience would hurt them, too. If there is one thing our kind have forgotten that is more disastrous than the forgetting of anything else, it is the use of that tool, and I don’t mean the wheel or the gatlin gun, which made us what we are, and I don’t here mean bloodthirsty killers: it is our tongue, connected to our mind. We don’t communicate well, for all our talking, and we are hurtful, as we are selfish. We must not bite into one another and then claim that the blood in the water threw us into a frenzy.
Julia apologized for not getting back to me, but there was never an apology for her letting it go down as it did. Even a fool and a beauty has her charms, though, and the story is far from over, I am hoping. She wanted to know why I became upset, morose, fed up. It started when I sensed that she might have stopped being kind, gentle, and desirable.

Behind me, Buddha sits and is pleased. I hear laughter instead of the laconic Voice of Reason. I managed to produce lemonade after all, and am not ashamed that it had to be heavily spiked to be taken.

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