100 Bad Dates: #55

Date #55 was tan. Really, really tan. This guy made George Hamilton look like a mall-haunting goth. I met him through a personal ad in the local free paper…

Date #55 was tan. Really, really tan. This guy made George Hamilton look like a mall-haunting goth. I met him through a personal ad in the local free paper.

(What? Yeah, it was totally a thing before the Internet. Yep, a desperate, sad thing.)

Once we exchanged numbers through the attached voice mailbox service, we got to know each other a bit.

He seemed nice enough, slightly funny, and fairly intelligent. He told me he was the manager of a chain of tanning salons – California. 1990’s, this was huge business, people – and I couldn’t help but wonder how someone who spent most of his time around naked women in repose would have trouble finding one to repose with him.

I sat nervously at a downtown bar, waiting for him to show. When he came through the door he was just as he had described himself, but his skin was an odd color. The best way I can characterize it is like a burnt sienna crayon. Yes, that pretty much sums it up. I don’t know why, but I kind of thought that tanning in your own salon was like partaking of the drugs you were trying to deal: it made you sloppy and was just bad practice. I tried to cover my complete horror with a too-big smile. “So, you say you manage tanning salons?” I asked, imagining I must look like an evil clown.

After a few drinks, I loosened up and thought, “C’mon, it’s not THAT bad,” and moved closer to him. He actually wasn’t bad looking, once you got past the off-putting extreme caramel-y color of his skin. Besides, the sun had set and the pigment issue was much less noticeable in the dim light. He was tall and thin (thank goodness that my body size, which is in a constant state of flux, was on the downswing) and nicely-dressed. He seemed interested, though I was white as a ghost (Scots rule!), and moved closer to me, too. Before too long, his feet were resting on my bar stool, our legs intertwined. Then he kissed me, and sparks flew. Well, alcohol-induced sparks, anyway. Good enough!

We went back to his place and got a little bit nude. As you’ve probably guessed, he was tan nearly everywhere. I say “nearly” because there were parts of him you could lift and, well, he was less dark underneath. Don’t think I didn’t do it, too. Hey, I was tipsy and curious!

Once we got horizontal, he kept trying to go downtown. Like, KEPT trying to. That’s really not a first date kind of thing for me, and certainly not while I’m tipsy. Good gosh, pressure much?

“No, it’s okay, I LIKE to. Really, I LIKE TO,” he kept repeating, like it would be an impossible thing.

“Yes, I believe you, but I don’t really want that, thanks,” I answered, trying to sound assuring.

He admitted that maybe he should have told me earlier, but he had sort of an obsession with “heading south.” In fact, he said that it was the only thing that turned him on. Ooooooh, I thought his TAN was gonna be the thing. Nope, the thing was sexual. That’s a dealbreaker, ladies.

He asked again if he could, and, again, I declined. I got dressed and told him I should go. Then I noticed his shoulders shaking.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“It’s just that I want to so much,” he said, teary. “And girls are always turning me down.”

“It’s okay,” I said.

“It is?” he immediately piped up, making to take off my pants. I grabbed his hands and explained that I meant it was okay because everyone was into different things and I was sure he would find someone who was just as into that thing as he was.

“Are you sure you’re not that girl? Maybe if you gave me a chance, I could change your mind.” He reached for my pants again. I stood and left while he knelt and cried.

He called the next day and apologized for coming on so strong. He said that he liked me and wanted to see me again. I told him that he was nice but that I didn’t think we were right for each other. Again, he cried, and I imagined tears rolling down his russet cheeks.

“But I just wanna your ,” he sobbed.

I sighed and told him to take care. I’d LIKE to tell you that I didn’t share the story with my best friend and I’d also LIKE to tell you that we didn’t nickname him Downtown Mr. Brown, but I think we all know the truth. The harsh, chestnut-colored truth.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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