I agreed to meet a guy for dinner earlier this week. He was a friend of a friend and needed help with a script. He’d rung a few times over the last few months but I’d been busy, but finally he got me on a day when I was hungry and there was something amusingly desperate in his plea to sit down and talk about screenplay formatting – I myself was curious to see how long anyone could drag out a conversation on that topic for. It wasn’t that he wasn’t a nice guy, he just lacked…he just lacked a clue, or perhaps various clues – like the time when he was dating my old flatmate and they went to a “Dress up as who you want to f**k” fancy dress party (you know Angelina Jolie, Fred Savage – the more obvious choices) and he went dressed as her younger sister.
Now I don’t know about anyone of you, and I can really only speak from my own experience, but when someone calls you to talk about macro templates for Word documents I think it’s a bit of a stretch on anyone’s behalf to infer that what was about to precede could be seen as a date – but as with what has increasingly become the case with men born of women these days, I found myself sitting opposite this guy Rob who clearly thought he was on to something with me – completely unaware that I was looking at him imagining myself naked, slit with a thousand razor blades and bathing in a bath of lemon juice and vinegar – because that’s where I’d rather be then on this misconstrued and socially awkward encounter.
“Hey” he said as I took my seat.
I plopped down some old screenplays I’d bought along and popped my water bottle back into my bag that now had only one handle due an incident the week before.
‘You should get a new bag’ he suggested as he brandished his Crumpler messenger bag across the table in what can only be described as an elaborate attempt to make me jealous. It was working. My current attempt to protect my own laptop was a result of me wrapping it in a towel off my bathroom floor from earlier that day. Sure it did the trick but the reality of my situation left me sad and contemplative.
“So I’ve bought some old scripts I’ve collected over the years for you to just have a look at, but you can pretty much download most of them online” (in fact this whole conversation could’ve been avoided thanks to Google…)
I eyed off the waiter, ok granted in a slightly pervy way, but more so because I needed a glass of wine. He knew I was eager from the minute I walked in the door so he was more inclined to stay away for now but I could work around this.
“Could you order me a glass of wine? I asked Rob.
He smirked “oh so that’s what 20 years of the women’s movement gets you…”
I stared at him so as he could imagine me doing something rather bad to him.
“Yep…ok, so I think I’ll stop there” he stammered.
But I wasn’t done yet “and just so you know, the women’s movement has been around for a lot longer than 20 years.”
He leaned back into his chair “I suspect you’re right. Women have been known to move and I’ve got no doubt it’s been something they’ve been doing for quite some time.”
He crinkled his nose up as he gathered my scripts and began stuffing them in his oversized bag.
“I guess you can just post them back to me when you’re done” I suggested.
“Oh I thought you were giving them to me, you know like a present.”
He started thumbing through the scripts.
“Surely you don’t want Mallrats back…and really, Chasing Amy?”
I was growing annoyed. It was no business of his that at an earlier stage in my formative screenwriting career I had admired the juvenile if not pop-heavy ‘ya mama’ humour of Kevin Smith and that maybe Chasing Amy had been more than a film to me, but rather a cornerstone in my sexual development, because if it hadn’t been for Jason Lee I might never have finally acknowledged my undeniable and unexplainable attraction to that bit of stomach on a man just above his belt – but the thing is I didn’t need to explain myself to Rob.
So I went with… “Kevin Smith is just really underrated as someone who knows how to format a good script.”
“And fart jokes” Rob reminded me.
“Yes and fart jokes.” I concurred.
Finally the waiter decided to sate my desire and took my order for a glass of wine and for Rob’s Bailey’s and milk. It was at that point I realised that no matter how hard I tried I could not find this guy attractive. We’re all guilty of it – looking at someone you have no particular interest in any conceivable way and thinking to ourselves “well if I had to and he was laying on his side….and the future of humanity depended on it…” but as he sipped his date-rape drink I knew that had we been the last two people left on earth then life as we knew it would stop existing, but probably, knowing my luck before that moment came I’d find him wanking off into a tree defending his actions with the all to often heard cliché of “but she understands me better than you, she actually listens.”
He ordered another drink and I knew it was time to leave, I had a gig in two and half hours, really had to go and spend some time on the 5 minutes of pure comedy gold I would no doubt be unleashing that night. I grabbed at my bag.
“Thanks for meeting up with me Lou.” He said leaning forward.
“That’s cool, it was just writing stuff – glad to help.”
“It’s more than that” he said “do you know Lou, do you know how hard it is to find a decent woman to talk to in Melbourne?”
“Personally I don’t think it’s that hard.”
He kept going “Yeah sure I guess when you’re talking about women’s stuff but I’m talking about real man and woman stuff, you know natural, organic conversation.’
I kept looking at him trying for the life of me to figure out how my old flatmate ever let him touch her – he had nice finger nails, but you can’t really hang a relationship on, well not in my experience. Looking back she was on anti-depressant medication at the time and rumour had it she was back on the heroin – further cemented by her night after night attempts to crawl into bed with me after a hit – and I’m telling you, no amount of pillow wall building can save you from what happens in the dark.
“Listen Rob, I’m sure there are plenty of girls out there for you to talk to, but I really don’t think I’m one of them, I’m rubbish at conversation, just words in general.”
“I’m not going to pay for conversation Lou.”
“I didn’t say you were…”
“But you were alluding to it.”
“No, I really wasn’t.”
“Well anyway, you’re the one that agreed to dinner with me.”
“No, I agreed to meet with you to talk writing as a favour to my friend the junkie.”
“She’s a habitual user Lou, not a junkie.”
“Please don’t play the specific game with me Rob.”
“Specific – well yes maybe I should’ve been more specific when I asked you out.”
“This is not a date.”
“Don’t you get it Lou, I think you’re the kinda girl I could find attractive.”
“Gee Rob, as encouraging as that is, this is still not a date.”
I looked at my phone. I needed to leave – someone might ring at any moment and I didn’t want to be caught unawares.
“And you know what Lou, you have short hair and I don’t really go for girls with short hair.”
“It’s great to see you’re stepping out of your comfort zone there Rob, but I really need to leave.” I stood up, only to notice that Rob’s fly was undone.
“Your flies undone.” I pointed out.
“Oh yeah, like what you see do you?” he attempted to purr.
“I was just being polite.” I reiterated as I skulled the remainder of my drink.
“I think you might want to touch me, just a bit.” He murmured.
Oh why you can’t just die already – I thought to myself.
“Alright, so you take care Rob” and with that I turned and left, leaving Rob to explain to the restaurant manager why he was exposing himself in a restaurant.
Leaving the restaurant I walked into a nearby police station to see if I could have my suspicions confirmed that Rob might be on the sex offenders register and if not how I might go about getting him placed on it. As I waited for someone to see me I commended myself on my stand alone policy of only going on dates with people who I wanted to touch – inappropriately – but in a good way – yep, I really was just a hopeless romantic.