Tips for a successful first date: show up two hours late, your calves caked in mud and blades of grass, skin pruned and dank from being hit with a deluge of rain earlier in the day, smelling of a smoked cigar and stinking drunk, completely underdressed and, oh yeah, wearing a pair of your friend’s underwear.
Despite having an 8:30 AM tee time out on Long Island Saturday morning, I agreed to go on a first date with a girl back in Manhattan in the early evening. Not smart, especially considering weekend rounds on tristate public courses seem to take anywhere from six to even eight fucking hours. But I do like to live by the skin of my Crest Whitestripped teeth.
I so rarely get to golf and I so dearly love the game that I could barely contain myself on Friday night. I chose to try and get to bed early, polishing of a few strong brews in order to aid the process, but I still wasn’t asleep til 1 or so. Bursting with exciting I was back awake at 5:30, shocked to learn that the sun comes up that early. Who knew? I was also shocked to see people under the age of 70 actually out and about at the 7 AM hour in Manhattan. Why would any one wake up that early on the weekends unless they were going to golf or catch a poorly scheduled flight? I often returned home from epic drinking sessions at that hour in my younger days.
The golf went splendid and I shot a very pleasurable 87–hey, thanks for asking–soundly defeating my two friends whose names I will not mention as they do not wish to be associated with my blog. I don’t love to drink when I golf because it makes me quickly lose motor skills and not give a damn. Not good for such a fiery competitor as myself. However, a cigar is perfect for the course. It doesn’t affect one’s suppleness one iota yet it still relaxes the mind and body, an absolute necessity on the links. In Timothy Gallwey’s seminal “The Inner Game of Tennis” he espouses how significant it is to one’s performance in tennis to approach it in a zen manner, allowing the mind to get out of the fucking way as the body takes over in playing. So you don’t think about hitting a topspin forehand, you just do it. Sounds simple, but it’s incredibly difficult. The same works for golf. In fact, there’s few things in life where you wouldn’t find it better to be able to shut off your mind while trying to go about the task: tennis, golf, driving, fucking, writing, it’s always better to act uninhibited and just “be.” A cigar is like a quick dose of uninhibitedness, relaxing my mind and letting my body do all the work. It also allowed me to handle the lame punning and excruciating “jokes” of the teetotaling Pole wearing a Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil golf polo who had been most unfortunately paired with us as he was a single. Both on the golf course and throughout most of his life I’m imagining. I would have probably been more scathing toward him had I not been stoned by my cigar.
After last week’s Nat Sherman debacle, I hit up another respectable store in my hood, De La Concha on Sixth Avenue, to find the perfect golf smoke. After goofing on their competitors’ horrible suggestion, I told the salesman exactly what I was looking for: a cigar with some bite and one–I half-joked–which would last me all eighteen. He complied by recommending the house cigar in a massive seven-inch, 50-ring gauge Churchill form, noting that it’s so popular they sell 3,000 of them a day. I didn’t exactly want to be pointed toward another house cigar but I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt and snagged one. Right he was on his rec, as this smoke lasted me from the 3rd hole par three all the way to the 16th when I snubbed out the two smokeable inches of it still remaining. And it had bite too, a nice one at that with a great draw. I give it a PASSing grade.
The cart girl was apparently blowing her grounds crew boyfriend in the clubhouse so there was no food or drink on the course for the front nine, leaving me a bit wobbly as the tobacco hit my empty stomach. It was no better at the turn as the nonogenarian working the clubhouse grill told me it would take him thirty to forty minutes to whip up the cheeseburger I so yearned for. I mean seriously, I take my burgers medium rare, that should take no longer than a few minutes. Was this guy going to kill the cow and ground the beef? Thus, I was forced to order what appeared to be–though I can’t confirm that it was rabbinically approved–a kosher hot dog. It was tasty, but even slathered in kraut and relish, barely enough to fill my belly. I also got my only beer of the round, a horrendously skunky Becks (no review forthcoming but a D- beer at the least.)
For the entire day the sky was ominous and by eighteen it opened and sheets of rain began to fall as we started to sprint to the clubhouse, our shoes sloshing around like leaky galoshes. Under an awning, waiting for the downpour to subside, we drank a plastic sack full of $3 canned Buds, trying to dry off. Our shoes were filled with rainwater, our khaki shorts so drenched they had almost become translucent, causing us to worry about potential lewdness charges. By the time the rains had ended it was about 3:00. A smart person would have jetted for Manhattan to relax and freshen up for their impending date. Not I, however. I was convinced to return to my friends’ neighborhood in Astoria, Queens for some quaffs. We needed them.
First though, we would need some dry clothes as I’ve never been so drenched in my life. I didn’t think that level of wetness was even scientifically possible. In fact, my golf clothes currently sit in the corner of my bathroom, still sopping wet some 36 hours after getting rained on. Unbelievable. Even more unbelievable will be how long I leave them in the bathroom, no doubt not taking them to the laundromat until mold spores have formed and God has created some new life on my duds.
My friend lent me a pair of cargo shorts, a baby blue H&M t-shirt, and a pair of slightly small Adidas soccer slide sandals with massaging nub soles. However, not willing to go sans underpants, I had to hint at a most inevitable but still unfortunate question. “You know, my underwear are drenched too, dot, dot, dot, ellipses…” I literally spoke aloud.
Maybe it was because we were buzzed, perhaps it is because we are jaded deviants, but, not surprisingly my friend didn’t bat an eye, tossing me an old pair of Hanes boxer briefs he told me he had been planning on tossing for months any how. Even less surprisingly, and with no qualms, I put on the underwear which had some dead elastic and a piss flap that refused to stay closed.
Completely dressed, I looked like Vincent Vega and Jules Winfield did when Jimmie gave them some spare clean clothes after their cheap suits got dirty whilst cleaning up Jules’s blood and bone fragment-riddled 1974 Chevrolet Nova.
The Wolf: You guys look like… What do they look like, Jimmie?
Jimmie: Dorks. They look like a couple of dorks.
Jules: Ha-ha-ha. They’re your clothes, motherfucker.
With my friend’s underwear on we headed off to the bars to get loaded, T-minus 3 hours until my date. If you don’t know much about drinking in Astoria, it is very much a “locals” scene. It’s a big enough town with plenty of bars yet everyone there seems to know every one else.
My friend is a quality drunkard, hunkering down on a bar stool several days a week, so though he is not friends with most of the “regulars,” he knows all their stories. We laughed at tipplers such as the drunkard Columbia nuclear physics professor, so brilliant he needs alcohol to make his mind slow down. Or the Jeffrey Dahmer looking perv that sidled up next to us, wanting to know if we had any sublet opportunities available for him. But, my favorite regular I spied on from across the room was Dr. Ron. My pal told me this sixtyish year old Buck Henry lookalike was a fairly successful dentist out in Long Island with an incredibly perverted sexual fetish. Though he drags his retarded looking slug of a wife behind him at all times, he nevertheless goes from bar to bar throughout Astoria somehow successfully propositioning twenty-something women to return to his pad where he asks them to strip naked, sit on his face, and rip a fart. And indeed, we watched him procure the best looking girl at the bar within minutes upon her arrival, quickly departing arm-in-arm with her.
I’d already texted the girl twice to postpone our date, each time lying that my golf round was taking longer than normal (”Damn that group of slow-playing Koreans in front of us!”), but after a half-dozen beers I finally had to fight through the “Come on, just one more” peer pressure and head back to Hell’s Kitchen. Even though I made remarkable time, I still had no chance to do anything aside from dropping my clubs off in my apartment. Thus, with my calves caked in dry mud and blades of grass, my skin pruned and dank from being hit with a deluge of rain earlier in the day, my breath smelling of a smoked cigar and stinking drunk, my rained-on hair still matted to my skull, completely underdressed and, oh yeah, wearing a pair of my friend’s underwear, I arrived to my date two hours late.
I don’t believe in going on dates for dinner. Especially on the weekend. Too much…everything. Too long of time commitment should things go wrong, too unnecessarily expensive, too uptight, too boring, and too tension-filled. I barely even go to sit-down restaurant dinners with my best friends, why would I go with a complete stranger who may not have any raconteurial skills?! Instead, I always go to a place to get wasted. This accomplishes several things. Firstly, it lets me know the girl is cool if she is willing to immediately get smashed on pitchers of beer at Rudy’s or Jameson neats at some Irish pub with me. Also, as we all know “in vino veritas,” alcohol quickly pulls down the defenses and forces two strangers to learn tons about each other. Go to dinner with someone and you might not learn anything more than her favorite “Sex and the City” character and whether she prefers fries or onion rings as a side. Go get shitcanned with her and you’ll know her life story and every emotion she’s every felt by night’s end. Also, if you go get wasted, seduction becomes a lot easier. They say stuff like oysters and chocolate are aphrodisiacs, but I’ve always felt that 25 beers is a pretty good one.
For our first date, I picked one of my favorite places in the city, The Russian Vodka Room. Any place with a kind of alcohol literally in its name is clearly awesome, and indeed they do serve some terrific infused vodkas, big ass Russian beers, and delicious…uh…whatever the Russian word for tapas is. My date was surprisingly not angered at my tardy arrival, she didn’t act that turned-off or surprised by my ridiculous and filthy dress though I did notice an awkward double-take, however, she did seem a bit surprised, if not scared upon entering the Vodka Room. And, true, it can be a new and interesting experience. A dark, windowless bar with sexy/slutty Soviet bloc bartenders and patrons that look like they’re former spies for the KGB. And everyone is drinking hard. I’ll certainly offer a more thorough review of the place in time.
My date was dressed nicely, as were most everyone out at the establishment on that night. An entire crowd of people in subtle black outfits with one goofball in a bright blue shirt, shorts, and sandals. Luckily, my charisma is immense so I was able to keep my date amused and into me for the first 45 minutes or so. However, after several glasses of vodka chased by bottles of Baltikas I began feeling my lucidity quickly disappearing and concern developed. Then, paranoia arrived and I began realizing my date was no longer impressed with me, wondering why I had arrived in such a ridiculous manner and thinking she should probably leave. The only way to salvage the date would be by revealing the hilarious truth. And so I decided to press my luck, play the gambit, and probably add a degree of difficulty to my already thin chances of hooking up, by telling her how I came to be so drunk and wearing my friend’s underwear.
She must have found my candor enviable and my story ridiculously sublime as the tension was quickly cut. With hearty laughter I even began to sober up a bit. This was definitely a world-class icebreaker and the rest of the date went swimmingly.
Ultimately, she was so impressed by me that we headed back to her place where we stripped naked and farted on each other’s faces, her favorite sexual proclivity.
No, that’s not true, just kidding. That sure would have been a funny full-circle plot twist though, wouldn’t it?
I’ll just say we have a second date later this week. I’ve promised to shower and wear my own undies.