far too much writing, far too many photos

This is a true story:

During the 15 misguided months I spent in L.A. (misguided not because L.A. is a terrible place — it’s an interesting place, with a lot to hold one’s attention; it just wasn’t home and I had no real idea what in hell I was doing at that moment in what passes for my life), I had some notable adventures.  Some of them more notable than others, for varying reasons.

One of the more notable ones:   a womanfriend decided she wanted to set me up with someone she knew, I decided to go along with it.  A nice person, turned out (I’ll call her Joanne, this friend of a friend I was getting set up with).  As was I.  Two nice people, doing the dreaded blind date thing, one of the only times — maybe, now that I think about it, the only time — that I’ve ever consented to the blind date thing.

Joanne and I spoke by phone before the event, decided on a night of dinner and dancing.  I picked her up at her flat, she turned out to be friendly, bright, very cute.  (As was I.)  We checked each other out in that casual and not-so-casual way that happens on first dates, the overall vibe was chatty, well-intentioned, cautiously optimistic.  And despite all that, it quickly became one of those encounters where things just do not fall into place, no matter how much both people involved may want it to.  Awkward and clumsy rapidly became part of the overall vibe, to the consternation of us both.  And we just couldn’t find a way to shake that off.

The restaurant was a long ride from her flat.  The plan:   have a leisurely dinner, head to a disco, then I’d drive her home.  At the restaurant — as we gamely continued chatting, learning about each other, trying to figure out why things between us just did not want to go smoothly — she decided she had the wrong shoes for dancing and wanted me to drive her back to her place before going to the club.  A long detour through awful traffic, a prospect that had me feeling a teeny bit dismayed.  But that’s what she wanted and I didn’t argue — ’cause after all, it was her shoes, her feet — but at that point alarm bells began to go off for me.  The kind of big, whooping alarms that mean warning! warning! reverse course! get out now — this means you!

We made the big detour, she grabbed different footwear, we set course for the disco.

The disco: a big gay dance club I’d gone to with a bunch of friends two weekends earlier.  We were a coed group of six or eight, most of us going to this venue for the first time.  And it turned out to be big fun. Well-attended, great music system and light show, big dance floor — crowded, but stiflingly jampacked.

The club’s layout:   coatroom, lounge, huge dance floor.  The lounge had a pool table, comfy overstuffed chairs and sofas, a high ceiling.  The walls were used to project slides of locations around L.A., places both touristy and local, creating nice atmosphere.  We spent time around the pool table, then went in and danced for a long, long time.  A good evening — so much fun that I figured it would be failsafe with Joanne.

Which, in keeping with the general direction of the evening, did not turn out to be the case.  We arrived at the club, stopped at the coatroom.  And for some reason, whatever boys were doing coatroom duty that night decided they didn’t like Joanne or did not especially want a female on the premises that evening. Or something. Whatever was up, they made things difficult for her, unpleasant, and me trying to smooth things out had no effect.  It was like the slow-mo car accident thing — I watched it happen, had no power over it, could only hang on and hope too much blood wouldn’t get spilled.

When she finally stumbled away from that unpleasant scene, stunned at the inexplicable difficulty of, well, everything (much less what should have been a simple handing over of a jacket), she joined me in the lounge, stopped to catch her breath, took a moment to look around.  Which was when we both saw that the slides being projected all around us on the high walls were not those pretty L.A. scenes I remembered from two weeks earlier.  This evening they were shots of males in leather outfits, many of those outfits with strategic openings to air out certain body parts.  Bears, many of the males being shown — sizeable and hairy, doing the bear-dressed-in-kinky-leather-outfits thing. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Joanne and I stood for a minute, absorbing this unexpected spectacle.  After which she turned to me, face radiating a spicy mixture of unhappy emotions, and said, “WHAT KIND OF DATE ARE YOU?”

I had no answer and by that point I didn’t care.  ’Cause the fact that she’d come out with that single outraged question made the entire evening worth the discomfort.  It’s not every day that you get a great story (complete with punch line) out of a first date.

The first and only date in this case.  For some sweet but unfathomable reason, she called one evening a week or two later and actually suggested taking another stab at an evening out.  I had to pass.  ’Cause I am just not a glutton for punishment.


In case you’re wondering why this page has changed so suddenly in so many weird ways:

Google/Blogger decided they are no longer going to support the way this page was published up to now, forcing many folks who had published through Blogger for many years to, essentially, change or die.   Not a very nice thing to do to someone, but there it is.  In the case of this page it has meant a hurried shift to Wordpress, using one of their free, basic themes.  Not wildly attractive, with a cramped format, but better than a big, sudden vacuum.  And really, being able to publish like this (so that unsuspecting souls stumble upon this virtual house of horrors) is one huge, freakin’ miracle, so the part of me that wants to bitch and grumble about this abrupt, not so optimal change will just have to calm down and get a grip.  Tweaks and adjustments will happen during the coming weeks and life will go on.  You know?

In the meantime, profuse thanks to Kristen Fox for all her time and know-how.  Seriously — without her, this page would not be here.


This morning, Madrid — after a day and a night of rain:


España, te amo.

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