Last night I went to see “Into the Wild” at the Cable Car*. Going to the Cable Car always reminds me of my first date. I was 16. Said date took me to see Pulp Fiction at the Cable Car. He had seen it at least a couple of times and was excited for me to see his favorite movie. I was excited get picked up in a car by a boy! I only had a learner’s permit. He had his license and access to his mom’s Nissan Stanza, which was a stick shift. I thought this was very very cool. I wanted so badly to think Pulp Fiction was even half as cool I as found the whole car thing but I didn’t. Even having seen it one or two more times subsequently, all I can make sense of is a lot of drugs and liberal use of the F word. Oh, and I enjoyed the soundtrack. I think I might still have a tape of it somewhere. But as far as the movie goes… I remember not being able to follow the plot and not having any idea what it was about. I hoped against hope we would not have to have a big discussion about it. Afterward, he asked me what I thought, I said I loved it, we went for ice cream, and the film never again came up in conversation. The next day he called to ask if I would be his date to the Winter Ball. Success!
Less than a year later, I was dating someone else. One night he asked me what I wanted to do.
I wanted to see this particular movie they were showing at the Avon. I knew it was about something to do with modelling. He was game. I was quite pleased to be holding hands with my first real boyfriend during the movie, but I swear I was paying attention. So I did not hesitate when he asked me what I thought of the flick.
“I definitely liked it, but I found the plot to be especially slow… I mean really it was almost like there was no plot.”
“It was a documentary.” His tone told me this was meant to be an explanation.
“Oh, right, yeah….” I made an urgent mental note LOOK UP “DOCUMENTARY.”
He broke up with me shortly thereafter… something about not wanting to be in a relationship. I wonder what could have been had I not pretended to know what a documentary was. Or better yet, had I actually known what it was.
Many years later I was out with a Duke medical student. I was quite razzle-dazzled by his status as a future doctor. I would later find out, he was pretty impressed with himself as well.
In an effort to impress the would-be M.D. I did some pre-date research. Although I knew virtually nothing about baseball I knew he was a Yankees fan. I should have known it would never work from the start, being that he rooted for the Duke and the Yankees, while my loyalties were to the Tar Heels and the Red Sox. The day of our date, I flipped to the SportsMonday section of the New York Times over breakfast. Derek Jeter had apparently done something no one had ever done before. I can’t tell you what it was now, but I’m sure anyone who paid attention to this Yankees-Mariners game of fall 2001 knows the history-making play to which I refer. I read the article several times. I memorized the gist of the play. By the time the med student picked me up for the State Fair that evening, all my ducks were in a row; I was wearing a carefully chosen super-cute outfit and I was ready to talk about baseball. As we started out toward I40, he asked if I would mind if he just put the radio on for a moment to check on the score.
“Oh great, I was curious myself.” I lied. We got the score. Emboldened, I continued the charade, “So how about Derek Yeter!?” He looked at me quizzically. I explained,
“Last night? Against Seattle? Yeter caught that ball?”
“You mean Derek Jeter?”
SHIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIIIIIT! I THOUGHT IT WAS ONE OF THOSE WIERD SILENT J’s. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT. JETER!?? YOU PRONOUNCE THE J!? WHAT THE F*CK IS THAT!? WHY DID THE NEW YORK TIMES FAIL TO MENTION THIS!??????
“Oh right, Jeter, yeah… I um, just read about it and so I thought you pronounced it different.. but yeah, Jeter….”
I wanted aliens to take me far far away. Instead we spent the evening at the fair, partaking of a deep fried Milky Way, getting dizzy on shoddily constructed rides, and peeking at the largest pig in the state of North Carolina. He said he would call. He never did. I did not yet know that if a guy doesn’t call it means he is not interested. After much debate I called him several days later. But not before pressing *67. After some chit-chat he called me out,
“Where are you calling from?”
“Then why does it come up on my caller id as restricted?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did you press *67?”
“Nooooo.” (pronounced with 3 syllables as in hell-no-who-would-do-that??)
I never saw or heard from him again, except one time at Lucy’s (my then-favorite Chapel Hill bar), when I was really really drunk and accidently fell off my chair, narrowly missing his freshly post-operative fractured ankle en route to the floor.
He was the last guy I tried to impress by pretending to know something I did not actually know. I was 2 for 3. Enough was enough. I am not sure why I am still single but at least I know its not because I’ve been trying to woo men under false pretenses.
*This is a small independent movie theater in Providence, where they have couches for seating