George was a commercial litigator who resided on the bougie side of the San Fernando Valley. He was definitely not my type, but my type– typically mid-to-late 30’s, unconventionally handsome, one foot still firmly rooted in adolescence– hadn’t been working out so well. So, in a spirited bid to break the status quo, I decided to try my luck dating gently used specimens pushing fifty.
We arranged to meet up at one of my favorite neighborhood establishments; a cozy, den-like, literary themed tavern. I spotted George at a table near the bar. When he looked my way, I smiled and gave a little wave. I got no reciprocation whatsoever. Zilch.
Upon my arrival at the table, I could tell immediately George didn’t find me the least bit attractive, and believe me, he was nothing to write home about, either, as I had already gathered from his blurry, unflattering profile photos; only I didn’t let that deter me, since a vast majority of my right swipes usually turned out to be much, much better looking in person. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with George, who also appeared much older than fifty.
Okay, so there was a massive lack of mutual attraction. It wasn’t the end of the world. I was out of the house, at my favorite bar, and felt there was no reason not to make the best of the rest of the date. I attempted some light chit chat while George scowled at the cocktail menu. I could see the vein at his temple pulsate. Sweet Jesus, someone get this guy a drink, or a stress ball, before he blows a gasket. As if she read my mind, the server sidled up. I ordered the “Catcher In The Rye” their tasty twist on a classic cocktail. The server turned to George, who rudely thrust the literary themed cocktail menu at her and ordered a scotch. Wow.
The moment the server took her leave, George launched into an aggressive, rapid fire interrogation. How long were you married? Why did you divorce? Do you get along with him? Kids? How old? Is she in school? Do you share custody? And on and on and on. I finally got a reprieve when the server returned with our drinks. Rye never tasted so good.
Now, I’ve never been the type to shy away from discussing any topic on a first date. Ask me a direct question and I’ll provide a direct answer, but this cross-examination was utterly ridiculous. George knocked back more than half of his Glenlivet and leveled his eyes at me.
“So, this dog walking thing. Is it some kind of whim? Is that what you really do for a living? Do even you make money doing that?”
Out of all the incredibly invasive questions he’d asked me, this was the one question that pissed me off and put me on the defensive. I felt my face flush. What an arrogant, condescending ass hat. How dare he take me to task for my occupation. I stifled a sudden urge to throw my drink in his obviously spray tanned face.
Instead of acting on my impulse, I remained composed as I informed George that dog walking was actually quite lucrative in a dog loving city like L.A. Not only did I make decent money, (as if that was any of his fucking business), I also very much enjoyed the perks that came from being my own boss, like spending my weekdays outdoors communing with nature and having a flexible schedule that allowed me the opportunity to write and pursue other interests. I refused to allow George to get the better of me. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help feeling a bit vexed.
I’m not gonna lie. Whenever it came to filling out the “What am I doing with my life?” section of my dating profiles, I often found myself floundering about trying to figure out a clever way to say “dog walker” without actually saying dog walker, so I’d write something like, “I run my own little professional dog walking operation,” hoping it made me seem more like a legit business owner, which I suppose I am, technically, but walking dogs for a living doesn’t exactly have the same gravitas as running a multi-national corporation. Luckily, most of the guys I’d met up with previous to George thought my job was cool. George, however, thought I was a loser. How did I surmise this? Because he basically said as much.
Exactly thirty minutes into our date, George received a text and excused himself. In the short time he was gone, I decided to call it a night as soon as he returned, only I didn’t have to because he beat me to it. “I have to be honest. This isn’t working for me.” He signaled for the bill.
Meanwhile, I still had a cocktail glass half full and I was not going to waste it. I took a long sip of my Old Fashioned. The bill came. I offered to pay for my drink, but he waved me away and plunked down his card. I thanked him and then, genuinely curious, I asked him about the type of woman he was looking for. My query seemed to catch him off guard. He sheepishly gazed into his empty glass and admitted he wasn’t sure how to answer. “I’m looking for someone who’s successful and makes good money. Someone who’s attractive… and… not controlling.” Ha.
I didn’t take his projection of his ex-wife onto me personally. I drained the last vestiges of bourbon and set my glass firmly on the table.
Goodnight, George, and Godspeed.