A friend of mine once told me that the good part of staying in a rut is that you have less chance of running off the road but I got the wild idea to apply the opposite theory to online dating. It seemed like I had been going out with the same type of guy over and over with almost no luck so maybe I just needed to change things up and go totally outside of my comfort zone. Stable, financially secure, well traveled and, most likely, working at a technology company? Not this time! Next up in the rotation was a minimally employed, destitute, vehicle free actor named William.
I had already decided that I wanted to shake things up when I got an email from a very cute guy that lived in the heart of downtown Seattle. All of William’s pictures were black and white and very artsy and hip. There were definitely no ‘shots taken with a cell phone in a bathroom mirror’ photos in his collection. The actual written profile was pretty minimal – I knew only that William loved independent movies, the urban life, bourbon cocktails and acting – and that made him all the more intriguing. In his second email, William suggested meeting after work at a speakeasy I had never even heard of for a drink and, damn it all, I took him up on the offer.
As I made my way down a dark alley in one of the seediest neighborhoods in Seattle looking for the door to the alleged bar, I thought for sure William had completely made the place up so he could attack me and drag me away. Finally, though, I found the entrance and stepped inside. The place was tiny and there were only about seven people there, none of whom looked like my date. “Kate. Kate!” A less-than-attractive guy that easily had about 15 years on me was waving from a dark corner. No, no, please, no. William looked nothing, absolutely nothing, like his urban glamour shots but more like an old, short, sandal-wearing man with, it was getting better as I moved closer!, incredibly awful teeth. Sweet mother of god.
I decided before I even hit my seat that the date was just something I had to get through and chalk up as a loss. It was going to be an unpleasant two hours, like going to the dentist, but I might as well just get it over with. I was so, so, so not attracted to William. But maybe we would have a dazzling, friendly conversation. We both ordered cocktails and I tried to come up with something for us to talk about. I asked about his acting career and what he had done lately and he just laughed and said, “Oh, we haven’t had enough to drink for me to go there.” What? I kind of laughed and said something about, lucky me, being the girl unknowingly on a date with a porn star. William just chuckled, uncomfortably took a chug of his Manhattan and said, “Well, not exactly. So what neighborhood did you say you live in?”
Holy hell – I was on a date with an adult film star! I had wanted a little change of pace and that is exactly what I got, times infinity. By the time William dropped that little bomb, I could tell that he was harmless, albeit not the guy for me, and I got curious. This might be the only time that I was on a date with a member of the adult film industry so I was going to take advantage of the opportunity.
When we finished our first round of drinks, William asked if I was interested in having one more before we headed out. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be murdered, he seemed safe enough, and I wasn’t leaving that bar until I found out the truth about his acting history. Halfway through the second cocktail I got him to spill the beans and, oh, my goodness, it looked like I was going to need a third drink.
William had indeed been in a sexually-themed movie and, although it had been shown at the Cannes Film Festival and was ‘tastefully’ done, the film involved relations with animals. Looking back, I am not sure how I kept a straight face as my date talked about his love scenes, artful ones, of course, with livestock, but I managed quite well. I have had men bring up all kinds of strange subjects on a date but this one clearly took the cake. The story behind the movie did actually sound intriguing but, honestly, did William just bring this up at family barbeques? That just might be the new definition of awkward.
I was absolutely dying to ask William how his other dates had reacted to his acting role but I was afraid showing too much interest would imply that I was tempted to go out with him again. The bill came and William threw down a $10 bill and asked if I would mind picking up the rest – he hadn’t gotten paid yet – and, actually, could he also get a ride home? Oh, right, right, he was a starving actor. I figured that I had gotten my money’s worth just for the story of our date so I picked up the rest of the tab and agreed to give him a lift.
After I dropped William off, I think I laughed the whole way home. Of course, OF COURSE, the first time I tried to deviate from my dating norm, I ended up out with a guy that had been naked with horses. Could the universe make it any more clear that I should stick with my own kind, as tedious as it might seem? At least the next engineer I ended up on a date with would seem delightfully boring compared to William. There is something to be said about ruts.