There’ve been others. Another engineer who stared out the window talking about how he didn’t need anybody but his motorcycle. There are lots of engineers on this site, but this one picked up the check so paid for my time. Men want something different from women even when it comes to company. Someone to listen while they talk about not needing anyone.
So as I approached the pub and saw the guy in the baseball cap, with the face and a gut that if it wasn’t so wobbly would be nine months gone, it doesn’t help any. These guys don’t always look like their pictures. Is that him?
No. As I cross the entryway beginning the weave through a sea of trendies clutching pints of beer, mine's sitting at the bar. He looks just like his picture as he folds the New York Times and puts it aside. But he’s not a liberal, he assures me. He’s got guns. Did I see the picture in his profile of him with a gun? One woman had the gall to email him, tell him he was a cute guy but what was with the gun? People are so fucking stupid. A gun is just a gun and he likes to shoot. I glance down, ratio of legs to floor factoring in the barstool. He said he was 5'7".
I say I’m glad he wasn’t the guy outside. He tells me about women misrepresenting themselves on the Internet too, so it’s not only guys. I shouldn't get the idea that it's just guys fixed in my head.
“You have a nice smile.” I want to get the thing going in a positive direction. Maybe he’s nervous. I get the feeling that if I took his pulse it would be racing but not from me. With pink blotchy cheeks, red neck, he’s one of those people probably lives his whole life like a shook up soda pop.
“Thanks. I take care of my teeth. I don’t know what some of these people are thinking. Don’t they ever look in the mirror?”
Hair’s coiffed, chest broad, no discernible fat. No hair on his forearms sticking out of the tasteful dress shirt. Does he shave them? He doesn’t look tall enough to be a swimmer.
Body hair has become a strange thing lately. Women shave their pudenda, guys shave their chests. Look at Anthony Weiner: completely hairless. You can’t help but look at Anthony Weiner these days though I guess within a week or two everyone will have a hard time remembering who he is. A politician with a wiener. Weiner by name and by nature.
Spitzer wasn’t an expectorator as far as I know. Just another wiener. By nature.
Kids. That’s what I’ll talk about. Maybe that will chill him out. Most people like to talk about their kids.
“I don’t see them much. My ex undermines me at every turn. I set rules and she doesn’t enforce them. Why would they want to come to my house? Well, not my house, 2200 square foot rental. Too big for me. All the laws, they’re on the landlords side. But I own my own business. That’s got to count for something.”
The bar is noisy. I have trouble hearing, started noticing it a few years ago in one of those restaurants with the high ducty tin ceilings. Nineties post fern garden chic. Beyond a particular noise level I have trouble discerning the conversation I am in from the background noise. I tell him I'd like to eat somewhere else.
“No,” he says. I’m gonna eat here. They have good burgers.” I order a fish taco inundated with over-seasoned corn relish that tastes of chipotle.
The burger doesn’t help his mood any. He hates this fucking city he’s been in for thirty-four years, or something. Worst drivers anywhere and he’s moving to Idaho.
Mark Fuhrman moved to Idaho. Aggreived men like it there.
He doesn't ask anything about me and when the check comes he stares at it like someone has just put a writhing sea slug in front of him. I pick it up, hand over a credit card. He gives me cash. His half undertipped. He has to go and pack for Idaho.
There’s a lot going on in the bar. Playoff game on TV. No Lakers for once, praise Jaysus. I just might stay and have another beer, wash him away but when he hops off the bar stool I’m admonished. “You coming?”
He’s 5’5” if he’s an inch. I’m 5’7” only the doctor tells me I’ve shrunk a half inch. I tower over him.
The breeze at the door sends his scent my way. He smells of drugstore aftershave and naked arms.