Double Blind

I sat at the bar all dressed up– newly-glossed lips and everything– reading the obituary section.  I had tried looking casual sitting there nursing my Club Soda, but it wasn’t working so I grabbed a section of the paper that someone left at the end of the bar. Just my luck, it was the fucking obituaries.

I read with great interest about the people who’d recently passed on.

Cheery, pre-date literature

Cheery, pre-date literature

Tilly Mendelson– beloved wife and mother, survived by her husband John and her nine children.

Jesus Christ, was she Mormon?  Nine children? She has more offspring than I have friends and family combined.

My astonishment at Tilly’s fecundity notwithstanding, I decided that reading the obits was a bad way to pass the time before my date showed up.

Ten minutes ticked by.  The restaurant was filling in behind me with hungry patrons eager to get the Tuesday night prix fixe special. I could smell the steak frites at the table behind me.  I was the only one at the bar, and I felt sorry for the bored-looking bartender so I asked for more Club Soda with extra cherries.

Fuck it, I might as well talk to the bartender.

“I’m waiting for a blind date,” I offered.

“How long are you gonna wait?” He asked, while his hands were busy doing bartender-y things like wiping glasses with a white rag and arranging olives, cherries, and lime wedges in that plastic container that looked like adjacent coffins without lids.

“I’ve probably already waited too long. If this was a college literature class where the professor was late, I’d already be half way across the quad by now.”

Laughing, my new BF (bartender friend) suggested, “Never, ever wait more than 10 minutes.” He was so resolute.  He should know; he must see dating dramas play out all the time.  “Tell your friend who set you up to try harder next time,” he added amicably.

Then I laughed, since my friend Annie set me up on this blind date.  I didn’t tell my BF that I was laughing because Annie is severely visually impaired, so this date was actually a double-blind.

BF excused himself to wait on a couple who arrived a few stools down from me.  I read a few more obituaries– a state judge, a hospice worker, and a retired architect– all dearly departed and leaving behind loved ones whose names were crammed into the text columns of the newspaper.

At 22 minutes after 7 PM, I knew my blind date wasn’t going to show.  I left a $10.00 tip along with the dog-eared copy of the newspaper on the bar.  I walked home slowly lamenting that this double-blind experiment had failed.  I prayed not to turn the evening into a parade of self-pitying thoughts, all variations on the theme “I am alone, I will always be alone, and I will die alone.”

I caught a glimpse of myself in window of Anthropologie– my reflection brought me back to the present. I smiled at myself, the way I imagined that Tilly Mendelson’s husband and children smiled at her. What’s so different about me? Who says I won’t end up just like Tilly– a big family and a long life?

And it came over me– a sense that it was all going to be OK for me. Someday.  I was wandering in a romantic no-fly zone right then, but I could imagine with perfect clarity: one day I would pass a window just like this with someone’s hand in mine.

Not tonight, but someday.

Someday, I would be part of a couple, a family, a little world of people.  I didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes, and I wasn’t going to have to wait forever.


54 thoughts on “Double Blind

  1. Can I just say that I love that you used fecundity in a blog post?

    And I’ve been very clear — if something should happen to Scott and I end up single again, I’m refusing to date. Just not gonna do it. Dating sucks.

  2. I just love to pieces that you were reading the obituary section as you waited at the bar for your date. I also love the line “one day I would pass a window just like this with someone’s hand in mine.” There is so much hope and optimism in this line, and you were so right. Great story!

    • Wow. I am blown away. And not just because I am standing on a street corner in downtown Chicago. What a huge honor and a wonderful thing for you to share with me. I’ll check it out now.


  3. Your honesty and clarity blew me away. I could read a whole book if it was written like this.( I have a hard time staying focused on a novel because I’m such a flitter, but a collection of essays like this would keep my attention.) Keep writing!

  4. Dating is the worst. So far I’ve managed to avoid the blind date though. I really like how you went from I’m alone to I won’t always be alone. It can be hard to keep that faith sometimes.

  5. Oh, I hate being stood up. My high school prom date was 2.5 hours late to pick me up, in the pre-cell phone era, and my father saying, “Um, do you think you’ve been stood up?” is one of the only things I remember about that evening with any clarity. On the upside, getting stood up sure takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out if somebody is The One.

    • Hey, I keep trying to log on to your post and it won’t direct me there. DYING to read it. Am I doing something wrong?????

      and thank you.

      On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 10:48 PM, Outlaw Mama

    • I know– it’s good. I consider using that in friendships too, but then I could never make plans with my half my friends, who run late and I love ’em anyway.

      On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:18 PM, Outlaw Mama

  6. I never even had one blind date. My grandma tried to set me up once, but the guy refused. I think that’s worse than being stood up.

    • I might agree with that. I am trying to picture the guy my grandma would set me up with….he would have been a regular Bible study attendee and also he would have probably lived at home and worn overalls to our date. So it’s good she never went down the matchmaking route.

      On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:20 PM, Outlaw Mama

  7. My counsellor set me up with her son once. I thought it was a fairly good sign I wasn’t TOO crazy. Her son was a terrible date. Or maybe it was me.

    You’re good at this writing thing.

  8. Wow. I’ve totally been there. But I never had the presence of mind or optimism to imagine the future I have now, married to a wonderful “idiot” to my “asshole.” Loved this: “in that plastic container that looked like adjacent coffins without lids” Great way to describe that condiment tray and tie in your obituary world. Once again, a terrific, thoughtful, well-remembered and funny post. I seriously don’t know how you churn out so many of these…

  9. This was a perfect read…crisp, entertaining, thoughtful. Loved the “double-blind” and the romantic no-fly zone. The BF was right and so were you in the end. Only had one BD. Not my fav date, either.

  10. This was so wonderful! Just the right amount of humor mixed with introspection. The resolution was hopeful and inspired. And I love that you worked in one of my favorite words: fecundity. Interestingly enough, that word is used in one of my favorite songs of all time. It’s Camper Van Beethoven’s “All Her Favorite Fruit”. The line is “We dream our dreams and sing our songs of the fecundity of life and love…” Just like what you so beautifully wrote about here.

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