Private Magazine

Tag: Casual Encounters

Great Expectations

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This weekend, my maniacally reclusive BFF/fellow writer/ex-boyfriend, Eddie, is setting me up on a blind date.

Eddie gets me. We’ve shared many treasured moments. We used to have this thing where we’d get drunk at Hutch’s. We consumed their entire Fall/Winter 2013 cocktail menu. One time Eddie wore overalls there. Not really sure why, but I’m going to let him set me up on a date.

The man Eddie’s setting me up with is Kevin. Kevin’s the brother of a married man I know – one that I would have a scandalous affair with, given the opportunity.  In lieu of that, I guess his brother could suffice. The married guy never sealed the deal.

Eddie told me that Kevin is in desperate need of a woman. He’s allegedly “handsome” and a “talented musician.” Kevin is ten years younger than his married brother, aka in his forties.

Eddie arranged it so I’m supposed to show up at Kevin’s house this Friday night. I just got out of a strenuous three month relationship – it’s time to let my wild side back out.

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Friday rears it’s head, like the Lockness Monster ready to party. I scroll through Kevin’s Facebook photos again. He seems fuckable. I apply scandalous perfume, Elizabeth & James Black, which has a similar effect on men as Calvin Klein Euphoria did in 2009. Men love that shit.

Then I realize something. I can’t show up at Kevin’s empty handed. I mean, I wasn’t planning to get tipsy at a stranger’s house. But bringing a bottle of wine is the polite thing to do. Luckily my favorite store, Liquors, is on the way.

It’s seven on the dot when I pull up to Kevin’s crib. He lives on Englewood. I think this is his house, anyway, or near it at least. It’s hard to see numbers this time of night. A tall, lean-bordering-on-skeletal figure is walking towards me. He’s coming from the driveway next door. Whoever it is, they’re concealed by shadows.

“Hey!” I say. “Kevin? I brought this, um, wine.”

The presence gets closer, until he’s standing next to me. Kevin has skinny legs clad in black denim. Thin, straight locks of hair brush against his sharp jaw. I zoom in on the outline of his lips parting through the night air.

“That’s great,” he says. “Well, let’s go inside”.

Kevin leads the way towards a house that’s kind of Frank-Lloyd-Wright at below-sea-level. He pushes the screen door wide. There are two lit stairways. One is ascending towards light, and the second is basement-bound.

We descend the basement steps. A thin veil of light slowly envelops us. I was told (warned?) by Eddie that Kevin lives in a basement.  It’s ok, though, because he owns the house and rents it out.

The basement is bare, not the cozy Man Cave I was expecting. There’s no couch. It doesn’t smell like weed. There’s not even a poster of Chris Cornell on the wall. My fantasy totally implodes. Kevin awkwardly pats at his midsection, like he’s broken out in a rash. Maybe female DNA hasn’t yet been introduced to this domicile.

There’s a mattress on the floor, computer desk, and tiny makeshift kitchen. Kevin heads towards an open bottle of Barefoot Refresh, sitting on the counter. I hear something…. the flaccid, jingling sounds of a song I haven’t heard since college. It can’t be. Is that the fucking Shins on the stereo?

I’m confused. Eddie told me that Kevin is “aggressive.” But Barefoot Refresh and The Shins are telling me otherwise. I pour myself a glass of the real shit I brought.

“So!” I say, “What did you want to do tonight?”

“Stay here I guess,” Kevin says. He sits at the computer desk. There is a guitar on the floor.

“Hey, play me a song! What kind of music do you like? Wait – is this Elliott Smith?” I pause. “A Fond Farewell” is on.

“Yes, yes it is,” he says.

“I’m a fan,” I say, “Do you think he was murdered?”

“I’m actually very into that idea,” Kevin says. “Yes, yes I do.”

I sit across from him in a shabby chic armchair with a hand-dyed tapestry flung across it. I have to say, Kevin could be sexy. He just needs self confidence. There could be a makeout session on tonight’s horizon. Especially since, let’s be honest, I’ll probably drink all of this wine.

My phone rings. It’s my friend Maurice. He’s a total social butterfly. I’m sure he knows what’s going on tonight.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Maurice says.

“I’m not sure. I’m on this date,” I say, sitting on Kevin’s lap. This surprises him.

“Ya, I’m not sure where I’m going, but I know I will be doing some dancing,” Maurice says, “There is a show at Dreamland, maybe Nietzsche’s.”

I put my hand over the receiver and ask Kevin, “Do you want to go out? To Dreamland?”

“Uh, I’ve never been there. Been wanting to, but haven’t,” he says.

I get back on the line with Maurice, stand up, pace around the basement in my black velour peep-toe pumps with metallic silver heel.

“I’m not sure what we are going to do, but if we venture out, I’ll call you,” I say to Maurice. “Ta-ta.”

Ciao,” says Maurice.

Spinning around, I see Kevin making himself cozy in the chair. I have a feeling we won’t be going out.

“I mean, we don’t have to go out,” I say. “We can watch a movie.”

“Yeah, uh, sure,” Kevin says.

Suddenly, he stands up and just kisses me out of nowhere. With his teeth. It lasts approximately seven seconds. His kissing style could be described as “Iguana-esque.”

“Oh, wow, ok,” I say.

He puts a movie on, “The Machinist” starring Christian Bale. We are watching on his laptop. The last time I watched a movie on a laptop with a guy was in my room at Hendrix Dorm. Who knew I could get nostalgic for my college days while hanging with a middle-aged dude?

Watching the movie is awkward because we are sitting in two different chairs. It’s not cozy. No couch, remember? The credits begin streaming down the laptop screen. I’ve had like four glasses of wine, and decide to teach this guy how to make out. Eddie’s words flash in my mind – “I think you could bring out his aggressive side.”

After forty minutes of intense, one-on-one makeout coaching, I consider him a lost cause, and pass out in his bed.

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The next day, I send Eddie a Facebook message depicting my date. I’ll have to wait another day for his reply, since he’s not back from Portland yet. He was there hanging with one of his Craigslist sugar mommas.

“I really don’t know, I’m confused,” Eddie says.

I tell Eddie about taking my shirt off and passing out in Kevin’s bed. I tell him how Saturday and Sunday have passed, but Kevin hasn’t called me. I tell Eddie that I feel like I’ve made a lackluster impression. But why?

“I was tipsy,” I say, “I couldn’t drive home. But I’m proud of myself for only being mildly-drunk-in-high school slutty. Not full-blown, hit-it-and quit it-on a-first date-slutty. I left him wanting more.”

“Well ok, dear,” Eddie says. “I’m sure you did. I’ll email Kevin and find out what he thought.”

I just have the gut feeling that I scared Kevin away. But how?

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“Kevin told me that he doesn’t want ANY type of relationship at all,” Eddie says. “Not sure what that means. He said you’re pretty and cool, but thought you were going to have sex with him. That’s why he thought you went over there, and why he can’t talk to you anymore.”

“He doesn’t want to talk to me…because I didn’t have sex with him the day I met him?” I say.

“Yeah, I guess so, dear,” Eddie says. “He is a lost cause.”

“Yeah, I’ll say.”

I learned a valuable lesson from my date with Kevin – the answer to the age-old question of “Is there such a thing as hittin’ it too soon”? The answer is yes, obviously, but the conundrum doesn’t end there.

Whatever energy I project to the male species, I yield the equal and opposite reaction.  I wanted a noncommittal makeout session. Kevin seemed like a good possibility for someone I could go out with casually from time to time. Who knew a socially-awkward, romantically-inept basement dweller would diss me? For not having sex with him two hours after meeting him? Maybe humanity really is fucked.

It was silly of me to try and make Kevin a stand-in for his married brother, anyway. Now the married brother probably found out an exaggerated version of the story, and is all jealous and annoyed. But maybe he has no clue. I think I’ll just stick to that pursuit for now.

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The Craigslist Orgy

mustashe “Didn’t you write about Video Liquidators?”

I look up from my wine glass, eyes landing on a mustachioed guy I sort-of know. It’s 10 p.m. at The Gypsy Parlor, and a hip-hop show is going on.

“Yeah, I did. You read it?”

“I was deeply moved by the article,” this mustached guy, whose name is Eugene, says.

The comments to “Movie Date at the Video Liquidators Theater” have been pouring in. I love it, readers – thank you! “Joe”s confession that he’s “been there alone a few times” moved me… as did his invitation to a potential orgy. I’m sorry I couldn’t come, Joe! (That’s what she said).  It has found readers in Brazil, Australia, Germany… and other awesome countries! I wish “Tom” luck with taking his girlfriend there for the first time. How did it go?

“Oh, ok.” I say, surprised.

“I feel that I am your soulmate to accompany you on your next journalistic expedition.”

“Sure!”

Eugene wanders away and begins pumping his fists to the emcee on stage. He looks attractive.

——————————–

It’s the following Saturday. Eugene and I are drinking wine in Delaware Park. It’s pouring rain.  We each have our own bottle in a brown paper bag.

“So I was thinking we could pretend to be swingers and infiltrate the Buffalo Swingers Scene,” I say. “It would be an undercover investigation.” I take a swig of my Drama Queen Pinot Grigio from Gates Circle Liquor. “I’m talking with an editor who is potentially interested in the idea.”

“Great, awesome!” Eugene raises his brown paper beverage to the rainy sky – an offering to the gods. “Yes, there’s definitely a Buffalo Swingers Scene. I’ve been to a few things.”

Things…?” I ask. But then I decide not to ask too many questions. I kind of have a crush on Eugene. “Yeah, swingers… cool!”

“I can be your research assistant,” Eugene says.  

We are steadily sipping our vino beneath the Casino in Delaware Park, wandering around aimlessly whenever the rain lets up. Eugene strokes his mustache, as rainwater patters down on his arm tattoos, making them glisten.

I slow down to a halt. Screeeeeeeeeech. I do not want to imbibe all of this wine and do stupid things that I’ll later regret. But do I ever regret anything,  I’m thinking to myself? Suddenly, Eugene’s voice breaks my meditative cloud, my foggy wine haze.

“Let’s go to the Video Liquidators Theater!” Eugene yells. It echoes.

“Oh, I was just there,” I say, exasperated. Did I really just say that?  “Yeah, I mean, why not? It could be interesting…But we’ll have to sneak this wine in.”

I look at my miniscule metallic evening clutch. There’s no fitting wine in there.

“How are we going to smuggle wine into Video Liquidators?” Eugene asks, truly perplexed. Raindrops on his face look like tears.

“Why don’t we go back to my bungalow? I’ll transfer everything to my most giant purse, and we’ll be good to go.”

That’s exactly what we do. We travel the short drive in Eugene’s rugged truck.

“This is the largest bag that I own,” I’m rushing over to my shelf of bags, fetching an obnoxiously large, embroidered, boho-chic Lucky Jeans bag. I throw it on my kitchen table.

“Ok. I’ll be in my bathroom.”

I run into my bathroom, grab some Nars lipstick in a shade called Damned, smear it on. I’m spraying myself down with strawberry, coconut oil-based mist when I hear a commotion.  I peek into my apartment, and spot Eugene standing completely naked in the middle of my kitchen.

“Is this the first time someone has decided to take off their clothes in your kitchen for no apparent reason?” he asks.

“Actually, no -” I reply. “My downstairs neighbor Kurt did the same thing last winter.”

Eugene appears hurt and looks at the ground. beiber ——————————————————————-

We hop back into Eugene’s truck and drive to Video Liquidators. I‘m drunker than  Mary Tyler Moore at the corner store in 1964.  We arrive at Video Liquidators, and stagger through the grimy concrete corridor. Familiar fluorescent lights jar me awake; one bulb flickers and my eyelid twitches. It all seems more foggy, more pastel colored, than I remember. .. Bimbos on the covers of smutty mags cast judgmental glares. We wander to the back of the store, looking for the  entrance of the seedy porn theater.

“Where’s the theater?” I shriek. “Could’ve sworn it was over here. I was only here once, after all.”

“You’re supposed to be the expert,” Eugene mutters under his breath.

What?” I’m disturbed. I’m a Video Liquidators expert?!

I push open the metal door, and lead Eugene into the depths of darkness. About 20 guys are loafing around inside the grimy theater, which apparently is showing gay porn this evening. I tip-toe down the center aisle, trying not to attract attention…but that is impossible, since the two wine bottles are clanging around in my bag.

“SHHH!” I turn around. Eugene is obscured by the shadows. “Let’s sit over there.”

We sneak down to a vacant aisle and collapse – drunkenly, wearily – into our seats. The wine bottles rattle and clank obnoxiously. I stifle laughter, and uncork my wine…until I look around and realize that some of these guys are staring at me. I slump down low in my seat and hide under my bag, knocking over my wine bottle in the process.

——————————

It’s a cool, crisp night on Eugene’s roof. We just picked up some wine from the bulletproof liquor store on Ontario Street. Eugene’s face is illuminated by the glow of his iPhone, as he scrolls through Casual Encounters on Craigslist.

“What kind of shit can we get into?” Eugene wonders, mustache twitching.

It never really worked out with the swingers. So I thought that Craigslist could provide journalistic inspiration.

“Oh, here’s one,” Eugene stops, tapping the screen on a recent post.  “Sexy young couple looking to set up NHL-theme swingers club.”

For those not familiar with Casual Encounters – reading it is more entertaining than an entire season of The Wire (sometimes). I’m sure the majority of these folks make everything up. I know this because Eugene and I have been sending them e-mails. In the mw4mw section, a couple is “desperately seeking” another couple, for, I don’t know, whatever. It’s never clear. I don’t personally get it,  but thing is – lots of Buffalo people are posting these things up. I’m sure we pass each other on the street, maybe every day. What does it all mean?! What drives such a covert preoccupation? And who the hell is Craig?

“Well, I’ve been involved with these types of things before,” Eugene says.

“You…you have?” What kinds of things? But I decide not to ask too many questions.

——————————————–

I’ve been hanging out with Eugene for a couple of months now. Like I said, I have a crush on Eugene, despite the fact that he went on a drunken diatribe about “relationships being pointless” and “never wanting to be in one, ever.” The only thing he ever wants to do is snoop around the Casual Encounters section. Randomly, when I’m at work, my “research assistant”  forwards me messages/pictures from these Craigslist Creatures.

“OMG – look at this weird guy,” Eugene writes.

“Thug Nigga in2 Spankin House Party. Age 25.”

Only problem is – most of these Craigslist ads are accompanied by completely X-Rated, bad quality photos. One time I accidentally opened one at work and let out a terrified scream. My boss was like, What now? I was like, Nothing.

———————————– condoms2 It never did work out with Eugene. I think he was more into Craigslist orgies than he was into me. But I’ll always have fond memories of the plans that we made, plans which never manifested. I guess he was just my number one fan.