100 Bad Dates: #89

Date #89 was another football player. What is it about me and jocks? I swear I am way more about brains than brawn, but when life hands you football-shaped lemons you make leathery-tasting lemonade. And that’s what I did when I met her. That’s right, I said “her.” *Women’s* Professional Football.

Date #89 was another football player. What is it about me and jocks? I swear I am way more about brains than brawn, but when life hands you football-shaped lemons you make leathery-tasting lemonade and don’t ask questions. And that’s what I did when I met her. That’s right, I said “her.” Women’s Professional Football. But I am ahead of myself.

I met Date #89 while tagging along on a first date my friend was on with a girl she had met at work. She wasn’t convinced she really liked the coworker, so she asked me to join them and make it a more casual groupish thing. Except it was just the three of us and, while I am a chunk, I am hardly a group. It was a bit uncomfortable.

We went to a local bar up in my part of town which I affectionately called The Gayborhood. After having grown up on the extremely rural and homogeneous outskirts of town, I made a conscious decision to move to someplace a bit more diverse as an adult. I picked the part of the city that my parents refused to drive through, stating it was full of “those people.” I wasn’t sure who those people were, but I was definitely the outcast in my family and thought I’d probably have more in common with “those people” than the ones I was genetically related to.

As I sat on my stool, observing my fellow bar patrons and trying to ignore my friend (whom I guess had decided in favor of the coworker) and her date totally macking, I heard a voice behind me and felt a hand on my shoulder.

“Hey. Is anyone sitting here?”

There was an empty stool beside me at our table for four. The residents of Makeout City didn’t stop tonguing to answer, so I turned.

“No. Go ahead.”

The owner of the voice was tall and sturdy with quite a few traits that would traditionally be considered masculine, including a deep voice. But there were also breasts. If you remember, Y2K date also possessed bodacious tots, so I still wasn’t sure exactly which gender I was beholding. A hand was offered.

“Hi. My name is Shannon.”

Damn. Shannon could go either way. Like Pat. Shannon went on.

“Are you a lesbian?”

Just like that. Very forward.

“Oh. No? I don’t think so. I mean, I’ve dated girls but I don’t consider myself a lesbian.”

“Oh. Well, I am.”

“Great. That’s really great.”

There are only so many things you can say to that, most of them awkward sounding.

Date #89 and I talked for a while and she was really nice. Very quiet, sort of private, but nice. She told me she was an accountant from nine to five and football player in the Women’s Professional Football League in her spare time. She told me in her very deep voice that the company she worked for was ultra-conservative, and her parents were elderly, so she wasn’t out to any of them.

“Really? You REALLY don’t think anybody knows?”

I couldn’t help it. Obviously, her less than stereotypically feminine voice and physique did not necessarily mean she was a lesbian, and neither did the fact that she played professional football, but anyone with even the most broadly-tuned gaydar could figure out that this girl was not strictly dickly.

“No, I haven’t told them. Why?”

B’okay, I am no Judge Reinhold, so I let it go. We talked for a while longer and she was sweetly awkward. Like a pre-teen boy. Finally, my friend and her facemate were ready to take it to the next level, and I really wasn’t down for being the third wheel on that dyke trike, so I suggested they drop me off at my house on the way to whichever bed they would be fouling. I turned to Date #89 and told her we were taking off and asked if she wanted to hang out again sometime. She gave me her number and told me that when I called I needed to specifically state I was a coworker of hers and calling about business.

“My roommate doesn’t know I’m gay, either.”

I called a few days later and asked her to coffee, but she had a hard time deciding where we could go that we wouldn’t be seen by anyone she knew. She settled on a place that was 30 minutes away and I told her I’d get back to her. I thought about how much effort I was willing to put into this thing with someone who was nice but definitely didn’t give me a girlrection — it didn’t involve hiding in dark gay bars and driving by a hundred Starbucks to get to one where her secret was safe. I called back and told her exactly that. She told me she was disappointed but understood. Too bad, I really would’ve liked to have seen that football uniform. Plus, I can rock a set of pompoms like nobody’s biz. I really hope that by now she’s found herself and a nice girl to be her prom queen.

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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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