Friday, May 13, 2016

The Enterprise - 53

There was a place I always took my online dates. You walked through a door along the wall of a cacophonous, blaring, second-floor sushi restaurant in the East Village to enter a hushed, dim realm where black-and-white clad bartenders solemnly worked their craft, fussing with jiggers and bar fruit, ever so lightly rattling the sides of shakers as they stirred with slender silver spoons. There was an ornate artwork on the wall above the mirror, as I recall. Perhaps a hunting scene. I don’t think there was music. Or there was. If there was music, its style and volume were precisely calculated so you’d hear it only if you tried.

I met a lovely, young Japanese woman there. She said her roommate, a guy, a white guy, had once left a pile of Asian-fetish pornography on the coffee table, as some kind of provocation. It wasn’t clear what had motivated him. Desire, obsession? Rage? I tried to imagine what brought him to that point, what he expected. She wasn’t telling the story flirtatiously. She wasn’t even telling it for laughs. She was scared. She was scared and bewildered, and nervous. As though she’d just fallen into this incomprehensible world of angry American lust, and had nowhere to go, no one to talk to but a stranger from a dating site. Me. She really was very nice. I never saw her again.

I got stood up once. I think I gave her forty-five minutes. Lots of leeway. But I was happy. Drinking, observing. There were couples here and there. Probably some first dates. People who’d arrived at the appointed time, whether they really wanted to or not, no matter how trepidatious. I was relieved to not be engaging in forced conversation, to feel that desperate pressure to be funny, to be interesting, to not say something strange. It was like I got a reprieve. Then again, some of these guys would likely be ejaculating inside their companion’s vagina tonight, after a few more drinks, then dinner, then some drinks after that, then a cab ride in which they paw and grope and bite each others’ lips. It’ll all be worth it then, for sure. I shook what was left of the ice cubes in my glass, took a couple in my mouth. They tasted a little bit of whisky. But mostly water. Mostly nothing.