I swallowed the last of my beer before slamming the empty glass on the tabletop. “Another round?”
Across from me, Chrissy’s brown eyes smiled. Brown-eyed girls always lived up to their song’s reputation. “Are you trying to get me drunk?” she asked.
“I’m just enjoying the company.”
I met Chrissy online. Her pictures were definitely from a couple of years ago, which caused me not to recognize her when I met her outside the bar. I usually stuck to the free dating sites, especially because it was still the age of endless swiping. You know, before finding love became monetized?
Slowly, my friends paired off with their future husbands and wives. That’s when I decided I wanted to get serious about finding love.
Get serious about love.
What’s that even mean?
It means I paid for an online matchmaking service that relied on me taking pictures that painted me in the best light while articulating who I was as a human being and what I wanted in life and love in less than six hundred characters.
Chrissy was only the second paid-online search woman who agreed to go out with me.
When our college-something server came to check on us, Chrissy ordered a dark stout.
“Clown Shoes Space Cake,” I said. It was a strong beer that tastes smooth, but I ordered it because I liked saying the name.
Chrissy sighed when our server left. “I want someone as fucked up as me.”
“I’m throwing these back as fast as I can.”
Chrissy laughed. “Someone who understands how fucked up life is. I can’t keep dating these naïve man-children from perfect coddled fucking families. I need someone as fucked up as me. Someone a little broken.”
Maybe it was the six beers.
Maybe it was the way Chrissy’s nose wiggled when she laughed.
Whatever it was, I realized what all my previous relationships lacked.
Someone as fucked up as me.
“My college girlfriend was fucking my friend behind my back,” I said. “I caught her, and she denied it. Read texts and saw pictures of them making out. She still denies it to this day.”
“Why are you still talking to her?” Chrissy asked.
“Well, I’m not… I’m just…”
“I’m kidding. Don’t get all defensive over there,” she said. “That’s nothing though.”
“Whatcha got?” I asked.
Chrissy told me a whole lot of Jerry Springer drama. Backstabbing friends, a cheating boyfriend, best friends fighting, sexcapades, roommates fucking and a pregnancy scare consumed Chrissy’s life from high school through college. Between the beers and the puzzle that was Chrissy’s love life, I lost track of what was going on. I smiled and nodded along.
Was Chrissy the crazy one, or was it her ex-boyfriend from college that was nuts?
I wasn’t sure.
“And that’s when I found an ultrasound in his underwear drawer,” she said. “Been single ever since.”
I took a long gulp of my beer. “Fuck. What did you do when you found it?”
“I punched his fucking lights out,” Chrissy said. “Haven’t seen him since.”
“I’m sorry. That flat out sucks.”
Chrissy finished most of her drink. “On that note, I’m going to go to the bathroom.”
It had been nearly a decade since she broke up with him, but she wasn’t over it. That much was obvious. I watched Chrissy’s dark jeans sway towards the back of the bar.
I took a swig of my beer.
It always starts with a smile, a line, and a great ass.
Most people bore the hell out of me, so I get drunk on dates to make it worth my while. Chrissy told me she did the same. Even the most boring of people get a little loose after a beer or two. I didn’t trust anyone who didn’t let loose once in a while and let go of control. Boring drinkers make boring people. If you can’t get a little wild when tipsy, you’re a control freak.
Live a little.
Chrissy said we’d have a beer or two and that was it for the date. We connected over our love of the Philadelphia Eagles. She was a die-hard fan. She showed me photos on her phone from the time she was a toddler until now. She was proud of her fandom throughout the years. We had another drink. The smiles always kept, and the beer continued to flow. Chrissy told me she had season tickets. She became more attractive. We ordered another round. And another after that. The flirting got more physical, and another beer followed it.
Now we were in the real shit.
The beer truth.
We both were too old to play the dating game.
No finesse in the courtship at this age.
If Chrissy and I made it past this trauma vomit, we’d hit that honeymoon phase for a bit. Hopefully, it would be awhile before the relationships flamed out. Drunken late-night dates become take out and streaming. Spontaneous adventures turn into early bedtimes for home project weekends. Kissing? Done out of habit. Spontaneous sex? No way. Sex gets put on ‘the schedule’. The scheduled sex never happens. Resentment builds. Fighting over improperly folded clothes and pots that aren’t scrubbed all the way clean happens next. The romance dies.
Chrissy exaggerated her hips as she walked back from the bathroom. She smiled when I noticed. I was too drunk to play finesse. She climbed onto her stool and grabbed her nearly empty beer. She threw it all back in a single gulp.
“One more?” she asked.
I smiled and nodded at Chrissy. “As long as another beer gets me a second date. I haven’t had a second date in a long time. I thought I was on a second date once, and it turns out, I wasn’t. This is a date, right?”
Chrissy laughed. “You’re the weirdest person I’ve ever had a crush on.”
“As long as I’m the best at something.”
I swore to myself that this time would be different.
But I’ve said that before.