Story Sent in by Tom:
I found Kimberly on OKCupid. She was hot, her essays were smart, and I laughed about half a dozen times reading her profile, whereas most profiles I read barely made me smile. According to the site, she responded to messages often (which surprised me), and I messaged her.
After not hearing back from her for two and a half weeks, I had almost forgotten about her when one morning, she emailed me a note:
"Can you meet me at Stefano's? Tonight at 8? Come alone?"
That night was a Monday. I didn't have anything going on, but the brevity of her message was simultaneously intriguing, mysterious, and mysterious. That latter word bears repetition. "Come alone?" As opposed to bringing my sister's kindergarten class (my sister is a kindergarten teacher who stormed out of her last birthday party, held at a restaurant packed with family and friends, when she didn't receive the magazine subscription that she wanted. Like a kindergartener with progeria.).
I arrived alone at Stefano's, a decent Italian place, at 7:30. I was early because I just had a weird impression from her message. Maybe she was just being quirky and fun, as lots of girls were wont to be after Mayim Bialik turned "weird eccentric loner" into "quirky and fun."
Speaking of, Kimberly arrived 10 to eight, dressed up like a Gothic French maid. She sported a short skirt with black and white striped leggings, and a lacy black trim around most of her outfit. Fun and quirky.
The first words out of her mouth were, "Are you alone?"
I looked around to confirm that I was, then said, "Yes. You?"
She said, "I picked this place because they have candlelight."
She asked the host to seat us in a corner of the restaurant. "Away from windows," she instructed. Perhaps she was afraid of electric lights. And drafts. And thinking straight.
We were soon at our corner, candlelit table. Then, she said, "Okay" about 50 times, as if preparing to tell me the meaning of life, who really shot JFK, or that she was pregnant with a chicken.
She said, "Have you heard of Amway?"
It's a shame, as I was really hoping for the JFK thing. I said, "Yes."
She blurted, "Nothing could be further from the truth! It's a legitimate corporation with over 500–no, 50 years ago, Rich DeVos and Jay... something... urgh, okay, sorry, okay, okay, I'm doing this wrong, okay..."
I said, "Why don't you take a deep breath and start at the beginning? Minus anything about Amway."
"People have bad impressions about it, but nothing could be further from the truth! It's a legitimate corporation with over 50 years of experience building businesses and lifelong relationships from the ground up."
"Okay. Okay. You just need the desire to succeed. It was founded 50 years ago by Rich DeVos and Jay, it's a legitimate–"
"I'm not interested. Can we talk about something else?"
"I don't want to." She looked up, as if straining for the right words. She had seemingly practiced her sales pitch, assuming that the person to whom she'd be pitching would be extremely interested and therefore not really need much of a sales pitch, to begin with.
I threw in my best shot. "You look really good." And she did. That's the unfortunate part of it all. She looked great, and her profile was humorous and articulate. What happened?
"Nothing could be further from the truth..." she said, but to herself, like she was trying really hard to remember what came next.
The waiter came by for our drink orders. I opted for a Jack and Coke (that kind of night) and she ordered water. I tried over and over to talk about something other than her ludicrous sales pitch, and finally, I seemed to engage her on the topic of what it was like to be a high school music teacher (which is what she was).
The waiter delivered our drinks and took our food orders. Kimberly talked about the challenges she faced and the shows she wanted to direct. It was refreshing, and I can honestly say that that was the best part of the date. I really enjoyed myself.
When I followed up something she said with, "Isn't Rent a little tough to do, in a high school setting?"
She replied, "Have you given any more thought to it?"
"To what? Rent? It's a good show. Not my favorite."
"There's a show about Amway? That sucks."
"Okay. Founded in 1959, over 50 years ago, by Rich DeVos, it's a legitimate–"
"Kimberly!" I snapped.
That stopped her, but her lips quivered, like she was bursting to go on. I said, "Mention it again, and I'm moving to a separate table, to eat my dinner alone. And I really, really mean it."
She couldn't help herself. "Lots of people think it's, they have common bad impressions about it, but–"
I stood up from the table, likely more dramatically than was necessary. I found our waiter, briefly explained that things weren't working out on my date, and asked him if he'd be cool with splitting the check to two different tables. He was gracious enough to help me out on that. I picked a table out of Kimberly's view, and ate my dinner in peace. I didn't see her leave, but I didn't look for her. When I left, I didn't check to see if she was still there or not.
When I went home, I wrote this up, because I didn't want to forget anything. So glad I got it down.