Story Submitted by Bruce:
Arianna was an engineer I met online. She was hands-down the smartest person I had ever met on the Internet, and that, to me, was sexy.
Over e-mail, she was talkative, but didn't seem very interested in me. I surmised that she wouldn't be talking to me if she wasn't somehow intrigued, so I surrendered various life details about myself that I thought were interesting: my hikes in Australia, my cooking awards, even my time spent as a stuntman (very short career path).
She never asked me details about a single thing. She didn't even acknowledge that I had mentioned them in the first place. Maybe she was shy.
I took her out to a nice Italian place for our date, intending to be as understanding as possible. Having been shy for most of my life, I promised myself that I'd gently break her out of her shell.
She talked about herself quite a bit and even repeated stories that she had already told me, as if she was on some sort of life-story loop.
She had just finished a story about cyclohexane or butane when I began taking the conversation away from her. I started with, "When I was in college, I responded to an ad for a local production company who needed a stuntman."
During the story, she sucked her lip, sighed, looked away, and at one point even held up her spoon to check out her reflection.
"Am I boring you?" I asked.
"Kind of, yeah," she said, "Sorry."
I offered to tell her something else about myself, but right around the point, the food arrived and she dived right into it as if she had never eaten before.
That didn't stop me, though. I went on about various adventures I'd had, while all the time she didn't even make eye contact with me or respond, beyond inhaling a fist-sized hunk of spaghetti.
I stopped talking after a while, and she finally picked up the slack. "So I'm working on a project in which I take [some chemical I can't remember] and [another chemical I can't recall] and try to [do some sort of process that I didn't follow, although I tried to]."
I said, "You've told me that. Twice."
She rolled her eyes and said, "Like your life is more exciting?"
I said, "You don't really seem to want to hear about it."
"Whatever," she said.
She clearly didn't want to be there, and I asked for the check. She didn't offer to help with it, and I was ready to forget all about this wasted night.
But it wasn't over yet. Her phone rang and she took the call. It was someone from her lab, I gathered, possibly an assistant.
Now Arianna, who had barely betrayed emotion all night long, suddenly turned into some sort of demon creature.
"What?" she shouted into the phone, "Are you sure? Check again!"
After a moment, she said, "You're a miserable piece of shit, you know that?"
"You are. You just proved how worthless you are. I'll be right in to show you."
She hung up the phone. "I have to go. Bye," she said, and left. Thank goodness.
Story Submitted by Bruce: