Episode V: “The Storyteller”

Just as I was arriving home after last week’s terrible Craigslist encounter, I was pretty much done with online dating. However, before I had the chance to delete my post asking for romance, someone else had emailed me. Given my current general ‘why not’ attitude, I accepted his offer to discuss a possible date, over Apple’s iChat.

He seemed ‘normal’, and even though he chose to abbreviate his name to Mat spelled with one ‘t,’ I forgave it and continued on. However, in a shallow fashion, when he sent over his credentials (yes, I’m talking jpegs), he proved to be one of the most attractive people I had ever laid my eyes on. Mat was quite forward in his approach. Well, I guess as forward as one can be on a keyboard. I liked that. In retrospect, let’s just say at this point I was more than a little needy, and the attention of being pursued was more exciting than it should have been.

We agreed to dinner at Nuba, a Lebanese restaurant near Gastown. I showed up ten minutes early - a rare feat - and he was already there with two empty beers on the table. “I left work early,” he said. “It’s been a long week at the office.” It was only Monday. He then told me how his job was a complete joke, and even though he worked as an architectural developer, he never went through school for it, and lied through his teeth on his resume and interview in order to be hired.

I ordered a hummus wrap, and he got a lamb kebab. It was only after he inquired about my vegetarianism that he decided to make ridiculous noises of sheep fatalities in between bites. I’m not one to preach about my diet, but there’s a certain way to stay tasteful in conversation about it. My choices were to tell him to get fucked, or to drink away my problem. Needless to say, I went for the latter, and given my low tolerance level, I was hazy in no time. The problem with that decision was that beneath my belligerence, my drunk goggles masked his narcissistic yet self-deprecating persona. His looks, which were more than fine in the first place, only bettered under the influence.

All his stories poured out, one after the other. “Actually, I’m friends with Douglas Coupland, and he tried to set me up on a date with Keanu Reeves,” to “Oh god, I forgot I only have $80 until pay day, because my friends and I spent like $500 on cocaine last night!” He even told me about his brother’s funeral and how it was “A big crazy dance party! Imagine your sibling dies and you get to dance to Justice with your grandparents?” These stories, so ridiculous in their grandiosity, so overcooked in flashy details, flew right under the radar due to my alcohol content. Clearly I looked bemused in my stare, because the next thing I knew we were on our way to the bar for round two. Had I been sober, I would hope I’d have called bullshit immediately. Alas.

We ordered a pitcher, and he continued with the ridiculous tales. This round I was treated to the adventures of him and his ex-boyfriend, and how he had called the ex last week asking him to bring over some non prescription painkillers “for fun” and then begged him to hold him, since he refused to fuck him. Am I a bit prudish, or is this a bit sensitive for a first date? The real highlight of this pitstop came during 2008’s most painful radio wank, “Apologize” by OneRepublic. Right as I was about to roll my eyes and make a ridiculous comment, he told me the tune was his favourite, removed his jacket and shirt, and serenaded me with the lyrics as if they were his own, bare-chested.

I don’t know whether I was more mortified for the both of us, or worried our asses would be kicked out or beaten up. Did I mention this was a local pub, not a gay bar? After the song, he regained some sort of dignity, and re-dressed before realizing he was late meeting his other brother for drinks. But (surprise!), he had left his money at home in case he was tempted to spend it on “bad things.” He asked if I would cab with him home and back downtown, stopping briefly at the liquor store for a bottle of Jack. Somehow, in inebriation, I was still amused and interested enough to make out in the back of a moving taxi. Not my finest moment, that’s for sure.

The cab took me home (on his dime) after he got back to his brother’s club hangout, and I woke up the next morning with a pretty severe hangover. The nausea was nothing compared to the drunken phone call I received the next day at 2am, explaining that he was near Waterfront with two homeless men singing to their guitar jam session. I officially retired from this one prematurely with a firm but pleasant “Goodnight, Mat… Take care.” I never heard from him again, much to my relief.

// JJ Brewis

JJ brewis is a Cap student. he writes
about his experience as a mid-20s gay
man who suddenly finds himself single
for the first time since adolescence, and at-
tempts the reverse order of dating after a

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