I pull up to the valet and smile at the 20-something parking attendant who smiles back, no interest in me. He hands me a valet ticket, jumps in my car, revs the engine, then guns my Honda down Ventura Blvd. like it was a Masarati.
I head towards the restaurant, tugging at my skirt, not remembering it being quite this tight. It takes a second for my eyes to adjust to the orange lighting inside the too-hip-for-me tapas bar where we had agreed to meet. It’s filled with people all laughing with the ease of those who have been blessed with social ease. I am not one of them.
I see him, sitting alone at the bar. He had checked “Caucasian, not Hispanic” in his profile, but it’s clear he’s the latter. “Latin is sexy,” I tell myself, then head towards him, trying to forget that I haven’t met him yet, and I already know he’s a liar.
He stares up at me trying to find any sign of the woman in the five year old picture I’ve posted, and I realize that he already knows I’m a liar, too.
And then his eyes mist over.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
He tells me it’s nothing, then picks up a napkin and begins to dab at his eyes. He offers to buy me a drink to distract me, then calls to the bartender: “A glass of house wine for the lady.”
House wine. Now I feel like crying.
“You’re very pretty. Much prettier than your picture.” He clearly feels bad about the misting eye thing, so he lies again. “I’m sorry, it’s probably too soon for me to date,” he adds. It’s a vulnerable admission, and I feel sympathy now.
“How long have you been divorced?” I ask gently.
“Nine Years,” he answers.
“I’m sorry… Did you say nine years?” I stammer, sympathy gone.
“My wife was very special,” he explains, then starts to cry again. I glance at my watch wondering if I can make it home in time for The Bachelor.
“I’ve just been so depressed. Some days, I don’t even get out of bed.” He sucks back tears now.
And suddenly I feel sad. Sad that the Compatibility Matching System at eHarmony found something about me that lead them to believe that, out of their over 20 million members, this would be my perfect match. I vow to add words like “Fun, outgoing, and happy” to my Personality Profile. I would even lie and say I loved the outdoors.
I pass my crying date a tissue, throw back my house wine, then signal the bartender for another.