The last line of the digital notice Pat and Tiff sent me prior to our blind double date read “have an open mind and no expectations.” I think that this was Tiff’s way of trying to assuage my fears and rising anxiety about the whole dating-process.

Dating and I are like oil and vinegar. We rarely mix well and end up tasting really bland on the dinner table over iceberg lettuce. Years ago, my first date involved the sister of a friend in college, who I only briefly knew, and judging by our short unappealing conversations, my friend thought that we might make a good couple. Though disaster hung about my head like a guillotine, I agreed after some persuasion, if anything for the sake of curiosity about the whole dating-process. I had witnessed individuals dating before – mostly on TV and in comic books – and I thus wondered if the ritual truly reflected the fun and excitement of these examples.

The short answer was “No.” “Please Lord, let this night end,” would provide an even longer but still pretty accurate answer. After picking up the girl, whose name I remember incorrectly as Alice, we drove off to a flick and some dinner afterwards. Alice knows little about movies, cares little about them, and possessed the personality of a clam. Every “Have you seen any good flicks this year?” or “Hey, what do you think about those previews? Anything look interesting?” or “How’s classes going? Have you decided on a major?” seemed to only draw her even further into a vegetative state. Now albeit I probably was a little annoying, trying every conversation topic possible to provoke . . . a pulse or two, yet nothing seemed to pry open her shell until I asked about music.

Apparently Alice loved David Matthews Band, to whom I occasionally listened on the radio, “Ants Marching” being a popular song at the time. Alice seemed to ready to stalk the man, citing every visit DMB made to the East Coast, which ironically enough coincided with various roadtrips she and her friends had made over the last few years. She knew every single, every band-member, every instrument, and CD cover. Over the few hours I nearly drowned in data about Matthew’s eating habits, dental records, and how if those bastards at the cleaners used less starch his clothes would not rip off so easily. It was around this time that I noticed the colorful necklace she wore and fingered while speaking seemed threaded with a plaid polyester dress-shirt.

The level of obsession here scared me, yet any attempts to change the subject met with a cold glare and gloomy silence for the rest of the evening. Later the following Monday, we exchanged brief pleasantries about the evening and I wished her well in her studies, almost afraid to broach another subject. A week later, my friend told me that Alice had decided to try homosexuality for awhile. Even now, I never found out whether he was joking or not.

PS: In the end Saturday’s double date ended quite well. We all enjoyed ourselves albeit after a surprising turn of events at the Belmont Stakes (Pat and I were hyped for a Triple Crown victory). Even the 104 degree temperature which left us sticky and slow, gave me ample reason to break my no-coffee rule with a mint java chip frappaccino. Mmmm . . . nothing says summer like sweet chocolate drinks and shattered New Year’s resolutions.