David A. Schwinghammer
· Soldier's Gap
· Mengele's Double, Chapter 9
· Seminary Boy, a memoir
· Fisher of Men, Chapter Nine
· Soldier's Gap, Chapter Three
· Honest Thief, Tender Murderer, Chapter Nine
· Fisher of Men, Chapter 8
· Honest Thief, Tender Murderer, Chapter Eight
· Mengele's Double, Chapter Eight
· Bereavement Blues
· Fisher of Men, Chapter 7
· The Wilderness of Ruin, book review
· A Beautiful Mind, book review
· Another Planet, book review
· The Three Stooges, book review
· The God Particle
· Empire of Sin, book review
· Science at the Edge, book review
· Obama, a Modern Caesar?
· Americans Need to Pull Together
· Voices of the French Revolution, book review
· Widow's Peak
· Alumni Game
· Girls Who Wear Glasses
· The Do Drop Inn
· Ode to Neve Campbell
· Jacks or Better 101
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Unable to get over a bad break-up, a broken-hearted fellow agrees to try
Speed Dating With Janeane Garofalo
“You look like my uncle Bud,” she said in that tone of voice you might hear in a Winona Ryder movie from one of her smart-aleck girlfriends, maybe Janeane Garofalo.
It had been my do-gooder friend Hank’s idea to enlist in this speed dating thing. I’d been really depressed since Lacey and I had broken up. Sitting on the sofa, watching Gilligan’s Island reruns, not bothering to get out of my pajamas on weekends, calling in sick for work.
Janeane was my fourth five-minute date. The first had been an overweight cat lady who grabbed onto my hand and wouldn’t let got until I agreed to give her my phone number. “I’ll know if it’s fake,” she said menacingly. I took a chance.
The second had one of those bad perms with the oily ringlets and she had to be at least thirty-five. She also had one of those baby doll voices that hurt my ears.
“Is that a good thing?” I asked
Janeane shrugged. Her real name was Shirley Wolf, but once I made a first impression it was entrenched forever. I almost called her Janeane.
“This is such a farce,” she said. “Like most girls can’t sit on a park bench, cross their legs and have a dozen guys stop and try to give her all of their money.”
“That’s awfully cynical,” I said.
“Look . . . Dick, we’ve only got five minutes, four thanks to you. Let’s get to the nitty gritty, huh? What do you do for a living?” My name is actually Richard, but she made it sound like the other interpretation of the word.
“You’re not doing too well, here, Dick. That has to be my least favorite profession.”
“Well excuse me,” I said. “What do you do?”
“Can’t you tell? I’m a reporter.”
“Never would have guessed.”
She took out one of those femmy cigarettes and lit it with a flame thrower lighter she extracted from her purse. “So are you originally from Chicago?” she asked, blowing smoke in my face. This was supposed to be a smoke free environment, but no one made a move to throw her out in the street and kick her while she was down.
“Nope. Murfreesboro, Tennessee.”
“Oh my God,” she said. “A frickin’ hillbilly.”
I looked at the clock. Somehow we still had three minutes to go. I inched toward the edge of the booth preparing for a quick getaway.
“I hope you’re not the sensitive type,” she said. “I calls ‘em the way I sees ‘em. I must say I never would’ve known. You don’t have an accent with no red neck-isms.”
“My folks were from New York originally.”
“Oh, really? I’ve been to the Big Apple interviewing several time. It’s every reporter’s dream to work for the TIMES or one of the other papers.”
“I would’ve thought you’d be more the National Enquirer type.”
“Ouch! Tit for tat. I like a guy who can dish it out as well as take it. You may not be such a loser after all.”
Mercifully the gong sounded and we moved on to the next date. I met a couple of girls who were likely candidates. One of them was an assistant English instructor at Loyola. I’d always been a bookworm. Besides, she reminded me of Lacey. Another girl, a blonde with imposing bosoms came onto me big time, playing footsie under the table. I wrote down their names at the end of the evening when the host asked us to pick those dates we’d like to see again.
For some god forsaken reason Janeane listed me and for some equally perverted reason I called her instead of the college prof or the nympho. Maybe because she was the only one who left my name.
“Let’s go someplace simple where either of us can make a break for it if it gets too unbearable,” she said.
“Why did you choose me again?”
“I told you,” she said. “You remind me of my Uncle Bud. He was my favorite uncle growing up. He took us for rides on his motorcycle. My mother had a bird when she found out.”
“You didn’t choose me, did you?” she said when I arrived at her apartment to pick her up.
“How did you know?”
“Your face turned red when I called you a hillbilly. I thought you were going to stroke out, I really did. So how’s come you called?”
I shrugged. Two could play at this game.
“Strong silent type. I like that.”
We went to see a Chicago White Sox game. She or I could just disappear into the crowd if we couldn’t take it anymore, an increasing likelihood. She was actually a baseball fan. I couldn’t believe it.
“Started out in sports,” she said. “It was the only job I could get out of college.”
“I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during one of your interviews,” I said.
She actually laughed. I seemed to be growing on her, but there was no way this was going to get to second base.
The Sox beat the Twins that day, 10-2, and we both managed to make it through the whole game without making a run for it. We even stopped for a pizza afterwards.
We went roller skating on our second date. I should’ve know better. I never really learned how and a spent most of the time on my bottom, Janeane, a master skater herself, in hysterics.
“I must say you’re a fun date,” she said later at her apartment. “What possessed you to take me skating when you didn’t know how?”
“I have this death wish.”
“Let’s go sky diving next time, huh?” When she saw the look on my face she stuck an elbow in my ribs and said, “Just kidding. God, you’re so gullible.”
I still hadn’t made it past the threshold of her door. We’d done a little necking in the car, but whenever I got a little too frisky, she suddenly had errands to run before bedtime.
My worry was that Janeane might be a closet homosexual, but the actual problem was much worse than that.
The next time I phoned her my call went right to voice mail. Same thing with the next several attempts. Janeane had disappeared.
She called me several days later. We needed to talk. Same thing as with Lacey. I hated those words.
We met at a local coffee shop. She said she wanted to confront me face to face. She wasn’t the type to do these things on the phone. I deserved an explanation. We had to break things off, she said. It wasn’t fair to me to put me through what I’d need to experience if we kept on going out.
“Okay,” I said. “Do you have some sort of terminal disease or something?”
“This always happens,” she said. “I should’ve known better than to go to that speed dating thing in the first place. I go with a guy for a couple of dates, then I start to pick him apart.”
“More than usual you mean?” I said, trying to lighten the mood. She grinned, then went serious again. Definitely bi-polar. Should have known. “There’s something about the way you walk, your bone structure. You never seem to smile and you seem rather arrogant, as if you’re better than every one else.”
“Sounds more like you than me.”
“Don’t interrupt. You mumble, too. And you talk out of the side of your mouth.”
“I’ll video tape you if you want me to.”
“Is there more? Do I have bad breath?”
“Don’t take this personally. I’m telling you I do this with every single boy I’ve ever gone out with. It’s into the dozens.”
“Have you been to a therapist?”
“You’re telling me I need a shrink?”
“You do if you really want a relationship, and this thing you do keeps getting in the way.”
“I hadn’t thought of that. I never would have gone to that speed dating thing if I didn’t want a relationship, right? Maybe you’re not such an arrogant prick after all. Why do I get the impression you think you’re better than me?”
“It’s a cover-up. I’m trying to make people believe I don’t care what they think. And I didn’t really know I looked arrogant to other people. Wait, there is one thing. I’m a huge Elvis Presley fan. Maybe I’ve unconsciously taken on some of his mannerisms.”
“That’s it! That’s who you remind me of. I hate Elvis Presley!”
“I don’t especially like his later music myself. I don’t see why those impersonators do ‘Suspicious Minds’ or ‘C.C. Rider’. Those are terrible Elvis songs.”
“You’re boring me, Dick. I like classical myself.”
“You mean like Mozart? I like some classical music, too. I like Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, and I have some of the classical records they advertise on TV.”
She rolled her eyes. “So, do you go to concerts? I’ll bet you’re one of those dilettantes who only go to show off how high class they are.”
“I don’t pretend to like all of it. I can only stand to listen to Pavarotti for a few minutes.”
“A sacrilege. I wish you’d find someone else to bore.”
“I’m learning so much about myself I didn’t know. I appreciate your frankness.”
“I think you’re a masochist is what you are. I suppose you think your feigned humility is going to impress me. I tell you some people just don’t hit it off. We’re having what some people call a personality conflict. I must tell you I also don’t like your penchant for rationalization. There is no excuse for dabbling in this and that. It’s the whole hog or nothing with me.”
“I know all about rationalization. I’ve taken more than my share of psychology classes. I do have a college degree, a graduate degree as a matter of fact.”
“Well la de da. I suppose you went to some state college where degrees are a dime a dozen. Maybe it’s not so much the way you look. Maybe it’s your sexual orientation. I’ll bet you’re gay, aren’t you?”
Not as far as I know. I don’t have any unusual dreams or anything.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? You have had sex, haven’t you? You’re not a virgin, are you? That would be just too rich.”
Just when I thought we were about done, she pulled another mood swing. “Tell you what I’m gonna do,” she said. “Your therapy idea wasn’t all that bad. If you go, I’ll go.”
“You mean couples therapy?”
“Exactly. It’ll be fun. We can make fun of the shrink.”
“Just so you don’t do it to his face.”
“You must really think you’re gonna get in my pants.”
That night Lacey called. Lacey and I had known each other since third grade when I’d left a mutilated valentine on her desk a couple of days after Valentine’s Day. I’d been out with the flu on the actual day, but I had to let her know that I liked her. She was a dead ringer for Shirley Temple and still was, the grown-up version who was a United Nations representative or whatever. From then on we’d been best pals. We even joined a co-ed softball team during the summer. Anyway, Lacey said she hadn’t realized how much she’d miss me. It had been over six months since we’d split and she’d been working up the courage to call for a couple of months. “I thought you’d tell me to go piss up a rope.”
“Well you know I’m still not ready to commit,” I said stupidly.
“We don’t have to get married. Marriage is so yesterday. Did you know that one out of two couples divorce?”
“Yeah, I think I did hear that. So . . . have you been seeing anybody while we were broken up?”
“Just a guy at the office. He was so arrogant you’d swear he was the guy in that Carly Simon song.”
“‘You’re so Vain’.”
“That’s a mean thing to say.”
“No, I meant that was the name of the song.”
“I know, I was joking.”
“Oh . . . same old Lacey.”
“How about you? Have you been seeing anybody? Don’t lie now, I’ll know if you are.”
“Just this girl I met at this singles thing. But she’s borderline psychotic. I won’t spill any tears dusting her off.”
“Be careful now. You know about a woman scorned, right?”
“Yeah, hell hath no fury.” We made a date for dinner and a movie that Friday night.”
For the life of me I could not think of a way to get out of the couples therapy session. I must have started dialing Janeane’s number a dozen times before I finally gave up and decided to just go. It might be kind of interesting. One thing was for sure; I wasn’t about to take any comments about hillbillies this time around without throwing a fit and dropkicking her out the window.
Dr. Kraywinkle was one of those guys who wore a tweed sports coat with leather patches. He apologized for the unlit pipe he had clenched between his teeth. He was trying to quit, but he still had an oral fixation.
Janeane gave me a look that was pretty easy to interpret. “I’ll bet he’s got an oral fixation all right!”
Dr. Kraywinkle also had a beard that was so well manicured you could see the streak marks from the comb he used to groom it. He wasn’t the type to just sit there and take notes. He did more talking than we did.
“So, what’s the problem, kiddies?” he said.
“It’s more me than anything,” she said. “He’s just along for the ride. I wouldn’t come unless he did.”
He’s just along for the ride? I wouldn’t come unless he did? Was she doing this on purpose.?
“Okay,” Kraywinkle said, stroking his beard. “So what’s your problem?”
“I’m always finding fault with men.”
“Don’t we all do find fault with our mates?” the doctor said.
“Not like I do. If you and I went out together, I’d obsess about the way you dress and that patchy beard of yours.”
“I think his beard suits him,” I said.
“You guys always take sides. Anyway, forget that. Dick and I were getting along famously, going to baseball games and sky diving and then I had to go and ruin it by hounding him about his virginity.”
“I’m not a virgin.”
“Oh . . . please. If you’re not a virgin neither is Dr. Freud here with the oral fetish.”
I stood up, stamped my foot like a two-year old and blurted, “That’s it, I’m out of here. Good luck with her, Doc. She’s about as hopeless as a Kim Kardashian acting career.”
And then I stomped on out of there trying to slam the door on my way out, but it was one of those new ones that you can’t slam, and I almost wrenched my arm off.
That Friday night Lacey and I went to Henri’s French Restaurant on Michigan Avenue. It was kind of spendy, in the $200-300 range for two, but I was so glad to have Lacey back I would have spent my last buck on her.
We were barely seated and were about to order some wine, when I noticed Dr. Kraywinkle and Janeane a couple of tables over. He looked afraid; she was giving him a tongue-lashing about something, and I noticed he’d shaved his beard and was wearing a tailored suit without patches on his sleeves. And there was no pipe anywhere to be seen. They were a couple made in heaven.
Site: Mystery Writer
David A. Schwinghammer