Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Bad Date: I can't help thinking about Bridget Harrison's stories through the looking glass. Thus:

I have a couple of friends who are convinced I should be dating more. One of them set me up with a pretty girl named Bridget the other night.

We met for drinks at Marion's. She was a writer and, like a lot of writers, she likes her drink and her drugs. After her third martini, she confessed to drinking 10 shots of tequila at a party last Saturday, after fortifying herself with a few lines of coke, and then throwing up on the F train on the way home. Not exactly typical first date conversation but at least she wasn't dull.

It got really strange when she told me she was trying to go on one date a week, in part to find a boyfriend for New Year's and in part as a gimmick for her paper. I was the fourth date, with six more to go.

I laughed. "You're not really planning to write about this are you?" I asked.

She nodded. "Oh definitely."

"So, uhm, here I am, actually on a date with you. No ulterior motives other than the usual ones. But for you, this is, well, a job?"

She took the top off her martini,* and then took the bottom off. "That's right. So you've got to be interesting or else I'll have to pull a Stephen Glass and make some shit up about you."

Since I had no interest in playing a role in her tabloid version of a reality dating show, I decided our date would come to an early close.

"Look. I'm not really up for this," I said. But she wasn't taking no for an answer. I wasn't getting out of here without giving her a story.

"Well, here's something. I run a website called Science Wars, its about real life menaces that seem like their right out of science fiction. Space spiders. Witch doctors who commune with Saddam Hussein and create giant scorpions," I told her. (Note: I'm not really crazy. I just play a crazy person at Science Wars.)

I've never seen horror and glee so perfectly mixed on someone's face. Once she had the goods, convinced I was a complete maniac, she was ready to say goodnight. She had her story, so she was happy.

The odd thing was, as I helped her into a cab, I had the impression that she expected a good night kiss from the man she was planning to exploit as a nutter in tomorrow's paper. I just shut the cab door, and headed toward Avenue A and the Library Bar.

[Originally published on Gothamist's comments.]

*N.B.: Manhattan Transfer is currently accepting offers for product placements when specific drinks are mentioned. The generic martini referenced above could become a "Kettle One martini", for example. Rates are negotiable. Product-as-payment offers will be considered.