All the Latest Thoughts & Ideas from Ray
Listen to the theme to Ray's Place, by Milwaukee Youth Children's Choir, aka MC Frontalot
Jun 4, 2003
Okay, I don't know if any of you read all of my column last week. They told me it was like over eight pages long, and that some of the language was either too lame or too dirty for most people to like. I'm sorry, people. I got kind of carried away with what a good day I had had, plus talkin' about the new lady I had met (Crystal from the Fossil store).
So anyway! Crystal and I went out on Friday night. I had a pretty good time plannin' the date out, you know, like choosin' which restaurant and outfits and all that stuff. I was real good: I let her know ahead of time what I'd be wearing so she could choose an appropriate outfit (ladies don't like to be under- or over-dressed compared to their date). I love bein' old enough to really know what's classy and what isn't. The other day I saw a bunch of high school prom kids, all in just the most ludicrous rented tuxedos and dumb dresses, gettin' outta this big white limo. Sure enough, they all went into the most expensive restaurant in town, the dudes' cummerbunds matching the girls' dresses, everyone trying as hard as they could to fake that they knew how to be classy. Man, prom should be all casual, like with dudes wearing just jeans and their first dry-cleaned shirt, and ladies in some low-rise jeans and a scoop-neck top with real adult perfume that doesn't smell like it just sprayed outta Hello Kitty's ass hole.
Seriously! I know not to go over the top on the first date. I wasn't gonna get no limo or anything, and I sure as hell wasn't gonna show up in no tux and tails with a top hat and cane, all with some man on a small flat trailer behind the limo playin' a baby grand. That is so bogus. I put me on some rad full-cut distressed Calvins, kinda loose with a nice black leather Coach belt, and a pretty sweet lavender Armani Exchange button-down made outta that fabric which kind of shows different subtle color qualities in different light. Footwear? You guessed it: Kenneth got me covered in some thick-tread black patent buckles. I was stone cold casual, but polished up like a diamond. Like a diamond drenched in some hella musky Gucci Rush.
Now let me drop some first date science on y'all. I been on enough of these suckers to write a college textbook on the matter, complete with my picture in the back, all wearin' a kind of corduroy coat with contrasting suede elbow patches. On the subject of restaurant choices I would have an entire chapter, complete with graphs, photos and marginalia talking about things like the difference between scampi and bay shrimp, or charts of how much to tip based on the quality of service. I am serious: there are things to learn about first dates, and I have learned them over and over again.
My first point goes mainly out to dudes, but some ladies could learn from it as well: don't look like you're tryin' too hard. If the other person senses that you're pullin' out all the stops, they're gonna be repelled by all your attention. The game ain't no fun if one person is in control from the get-go. And you can't respect someone who treats the date like some sort of old-fashioned courtship ritual, all with doors bein' held open and the man ordering food for the lady so that she does not suffer the restaurant the rudeness of speaking, etc. Things got to flow. You can't practice clever lines in your room before you pick her up because they will just seem phony, and you will probably say them at the wrong time. Ain't no lady comin' back to the table from the bathroom want to be told that she looks like a “delicious, silken rose”! Hell, she probably just spent five minutes usin' some SPRAY called “Silken Rose”! Under her armpits, all out into the hallway in front of the bathroom, in her hair, all up in—ha ha, I'm gettin' carried away, but you take my point. Even though a lady is beautiful, certain things about her are always ugly.
Like I said, I been on a thousand first dates. So what do I pick for me and Crystal? I know right away that Olive Garden would be too tacky. That's the kind of place we'd go when we had kids already, and were interested in greater food quantity over quality of food or experience. And some three-star French place would be too much, with all huge drapes and over seventeen forks to the left of the plate. So what did I choose? Easy. There's this little Italian place called Cucina Della Mamma down in the Underground, and it's not a chain or anything. There are real actual Italian dudes there, and it is some damn good food without a big showy atmosphere or “™” after anything on the menu. A dude and a lady can be alone there in their own booth, just a couple candles and low light, and it's not a big production. Always go Italian on the first date, I say. Sushi is so dicey with everyone, Chinese is so salty and oily, and Mexican has all that bloaty rice and beans. There's a reason that Italian people are known for always gettin' it on, and why all the other cultures are known to at best get it on maybe a couple times a year.
Okay so it's this casual date and we're hittin' some good Italian place. I swing by her apartment fifteen easy minutes late (never visit a lady on time, they are ridiculously bad about preparing for a date), and she invites me in to sit on the couch while she puts a few finishing touches on. The place is kind of simple—spare, even—and it's like this brand new apartment building with light brown carpet and white paint everywhere. Some sliding glass door goes from the living room to some patio, and floor-length white vertical blinds hang all along that. There aren't any books or anything, which is kind of weird, but maybe she has her bookshelves in her bedroom 'cause she likes to read in bed. There's just like one plate and one glass in the dish drainer next to the brand new sink and I get all like immediately emotional to think of this fine lady spendin' so much terrible, empty time alone. I promise myself that I am going to take her on the best first date ever.
To get my spirits up after that painful emotional moment, I look around in her kitchen cupboards for a little nip of somethin' somethin'. All I can find is this brand new bottle of blue curaçao, so I crack that and take a healthy swig. I guess I didn't hear her finish up in the bathroom, because when I lower the bottle she's standin' there lookin' at me. I just try to laugh it off, but I guess my mouth was all blue because she got this real uncomfortable look on her face. I apologize and have a glass of water to clean me up, and then we take a nice walk down to the Underground.
I remembered that she smokes Marlboro Ultra Lights, so I have a pack of those all ready to offer during our walk. She seems impressed that I had remembered this small detail, so I figure I'm even for chuggin' blue curaçao outta her cupboard without asking. Life is good...for a while.
Before a first date I like to stop and have a cocktail, usually at a different place than the restaurant, to sort of show that I know my way around. We walk into Lorenzo's, sort of this upscale piano bar with real plush booths where two people can have good privacy. It's early, it's not too crowded, and the light is real nice. I go up to the bar to order us a few Bellinis, but I guess I forgot that Lorenzo's has a cocktail waitress, because when I get back with the drinks Crystal is sitting there with an additional round that she had ordered in the meantime. She had also gotten us Bellinis, so we had a good chuckle over that. And then the waitress got confused because the bartender had somehow misused the drink-ordering computer, so she brought us four more Bellinis. It was great! We just had the greatest laughs about that. Things felt great between us, and the Bellinis really helped us relate on an honest level. We cut through a lot of jive and I think at one point we even talked really pleasantly about my penis.
So, eight Bellinis and eighty bucks later, we find our way out of Lorenzo's and go lookin' for Cucina Della Mamma. Walking a bit made us both realize how turned around we were, her way more than me, so we decide to have some water first. There's a drinking fountain at the park, so we chill there a bit. She's not gettin' any better, though, and I've seen a lady in this condition before: she needs food in her to absorb the alcohol, and fast. I run into the Carl's Jr. next to the park and get us a bunch of fries and a burger and water. When I get back she's all lyin' on her back, napping. Real playful I put a fry in my mouth, and lay down next to her to kiss her and feed her the fry. I guide the fry into her mouth, which sort of opens and then I close my eyes and our lips meet.
I guess the fry fell down back into her throat and triggered some sort of reflex, because the next thing I knew my mouth was filling with this nasty warm liquid. Sure, it was mostly Bellini, but there were also some solids sort of the texture of crumbled hamburger. This made me urp too, so it was a pretty bad scene, both me and Crystal gettin' sick into each other's mouths. I use my shirt to wipe us both off, then we swig on the water. She's pretty embarrassed and doesn't say much, but she does kind of make a disgusted noise when she sees me start munchin' on the fries and eatin' around the part of the burger that got soggy during the incident.
Pretty soon she's ready to walk back to her apartment (we kind of mutually decided that we needed a rain check on dinner) and we sort of make it awkwardly home, not much talkin'. I have the shirt tied around my waist (I just couldn't throw that beautiful shirt in the garbage even though it was soiled) and these damn dogs keep tryin' to walk with us and sniff it. Finally we get to her apartment, but a kiss is kind of out of the question, you know, just on the primal level, so I lean against the doorway with my hands in my pockets and we kind of agree that I should probably call her next week. She sort of smiles and closes the door. Poor thing.
Since it was still early I went over and chilled with Lyle and we got pretty bent out of shape, throwin' back Stoli gimlets and listening to this Motörhead box set he found on eBay. I don't much care for Motörhead, but it was nice to unwind after what I guess was a pretty bad first date.
To tell you the truth, I don't think I'm gonna call Crystal back. I just feel kind of bad about the whole thing.
Until then, Gentlemen,