Banterist

From New York, original humor writing & commentary by Brian Sack. Subject to all the flexible quality standards of internet self-publishing.

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Imagining The First Date

Pictures and bios from the omnipresent online personals invite one to leap to conclusions about the first night out.

Photo: A young woman uncomfortably close to the camera.
Song or album that puts me in the mood: “Another Girl’s Paradise. Something about the way she speaks of Desire.”

While waiting for a table she asks me if I like “Sailor Moon” and tells me her favorite channel is Cartoon Network. I notice that she peppers everything with pseudo-intellectual buzzwords like a film student. Over appetizers it becomes clear she’s a socialist, which gets us into a long-winded political debate from which there can be no good outcome. By the time the entrees arrive, she knows I detest Noam Chomsky and I think Barbra Streisand is a semi-literate nitwit. She says I sound like a “neocon” and calls the U.S. an “imperialist hegemon.” We skip dessert, and I tell her my head hurts and I need to go home. I play Rainbow Six 3 on the Xbox until 3:40 in the morning.
Photo: A woman pulling the old ‘mega-close-up’ of her nose and lip which is usually done to hide unpleasantness under the guise of artistic exploration.
More about what I am looking for: “Someone who can get under my skin, be fearless as a gypsy, and laugh as much as I do.”

I arrive at the restaurant and look for her at the bar. I don’t recognize her because of the lousy photo. I hear my name called. She’s 326 pounds. She lied! She said she was “average.” I start to panic. I make up conversation, asking her why gypsies are considered fearless since all I knew about them was they annoyed most of Europe and were afraid of employment. Her eyes frighten me. I want her to stop staring. The panic is taking over. I imagine friends coming in and seeing me with her. I picture my high school having a reunion here. I’m shaking. She wants to touch. She keeps touching. Can’t breathe. Can’t breathe. The table is ready. Can’t do it. Can’t do it. I run through the revolving door with such violence that it sucks half the air conditioning out of the place. I’m free! I’m free! I run straight home and hide in the closet for three days.
Photo: A not very flattering headshot of a woman who might look better without a bandana on.
Why you should get to know me: “I am a real woman who can eat a steak that is still mooing at me.”

Although our reservation is for 8 p.m., the table is not ready. She yells, “This is bullshit!” at the hostess several times, attracting the attention of other patrons. This causes me to drink my pricey glass of Cabernet rather fast. Regardless of what we talk about, the conversation always steers towards her telling me how independent she is, how she doesn’t need anyone, how she likes “alone time.” And she hates her dad. She orders her steak “rare, like, bloody, it doesn’t matter, it can look at me for all I care…” at which point I excuse myself for the bathroom. I call my friend and ask him to meet me at Peter McManus.
Photo: A pouty woman stares vacantly off-camera into the warm glow of a computer monitor.
Why you should get to know me: “Cultural criticism turns me on.”

We meet at Zen Palate because she’s a veggie. I start criticizing culture. She seems interested. I ask what she’d like me to criticize. She doesn’t care. It’s all good, she says. I tell her that people can be very boring and terribly pretentious. She agrees. I tell her that these days, people can simply judge others as twits solely by something superficial- like a pouting, pretentious picture. She agrees, but doesn’t catch on. “I’m criticizing YOU!” I scream. I criticize her lame bio and ridiculous picture. She’s completely turned on. We rush back to her place and have sex on the living room floor. She commits suicide while I’m getting dressed.
Photo: A friendly enough woman looking straight into the camera for a change. Would make a swell passport photo.
More about what I am looking for: “Intelligent and sensitive to the arts and keen on science.”

After I get loosened up from our pre-dinner drink, I ask her what exactly it means to be “sensitive to the arts.” She tells me she doesn’t know either, and explains that she can’t write profiles to save her life. The talk turns to science, so I regale her with the story of my former boss and his psychotic brother who built his own Tesla Generator – a device that can light up fluorescent lights wirelessly with the unfortunate side-effect of destroying all FM radio signals in the immediate area. She has three martinis and gets very drunk. She asks if I want to hear her sing. She goes to the bathroom and doesn’t emerge for 30 minutes, at which point we mutually decide to call it a night. She tells me she really wants to get together again. I give her a fake phone number.
Photo: A blurry shot with a younger woman looking off. Her eyes reflect light, most likely the flash that has washed out the rest of her.
In my bedroom, you’ll find: “Nail polish, guitar picks, Japanese fashion magazines, and a general shrine to our Lady of Hello Kitty.”

She asks me to pick her up at her Brooklyn apartment. I show up, and she’s not yet ready to go out. I sit on her futon and play with her three cats. Her apartment smells like cat urine. The litterbox is in the kitchen. I tell her that I met the creators of Hello Kitty back when I was 12ish, which instantly nets me a few points. I ask her what her obsession with Japan is and she tells me she thinks Japanese girls are hot, and that she’s actually a bisexual. She tells me her pajamas have feet. I slip out of the apartment, the noise masked by the hum from her Sonicare toothbrush.
Photo: Black and White photo of an apparently happy, bohemian-looking woman with long hair.
Song or album that puts me in the mood: “Cat Stevens, or Yosef as he’s called these days.”

We meet for drinks only. I ask her if she thinks Cat Stevens is a jerk after he went all Muslim-loopy and called for the death of Salman Rushdie. “What are you talking about?” she asks me. I tell her that he supported the fatwa against Rushdie. “Who’s Rushdie?” she asks. I tell her he authored “The Satanic Verses” and Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him. “What’s a fatwa?” she asks. I tell her it’s a religious decree issued by an Islamic higher-up, in this case Khomeini’s fatwa called for Rushdie’s death. “Who’s Khomeini?” she asks. I feign a heart attack until she leaves.
Photo: A guy with a shit-eating grin.
The five items I can’t live without: “Fast cars, my dog, friends, TV, great food.”

We meet at a Ranch One. I tell him I’m not interested in dating him. Rather, I just wanted to meet him in person since his bio screamed “I’m a dullard!” and I had to see this in person. He seems shocked, like most of the no-talent hacks on American Idol when the truth hits. I tell him, “The smug photo, the trite list of items he can’t live without… dullard.” I tell him I bet he’s the kind of guy who says “shizzle” and “bro” a lot. He storms out. I order a chicken sandwich to go.


Previously

Years ago, for reasons even now I don't fully understand, I co-chaired a tutorial in political economic systems in a certain English university. This was unusual because I was not and am not an academic; …

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