I have been so busy working on the final stages of My Manhattan Project, a project that I will unveil in the not too distant future, that Valentine’s Day almost completely missed my radar … aside from the gourmet cupcake that my boss, Elsbeth, sprang for.
Back to the present, here’s a Lame Adventures-style love story for sappy romantics:
That First Kiss
Even though I bear a striking resemblance to a Chia Pet, I have had a fair amount of success with the lasses that prefer their women fuzzy and awkward. Currently, I am dating Marketa. My father, who is deaf as a post, refers to her as Marketing, a name that has stuck in my head. To avoid any possible slips of the tongue, I have taken to calling my beloved, M. She has a term of endearment for me, too: Yawn.
M and I met two years ago July in the upscale ablutions store she manages. This is one of those stores where the staff wears white lab coats as they ring up a bottle of 8.4 oz oatmeal fortified shampoo to the tune of twenty clams. A word to the wise: if you crave oatmeal on a chilly Saturday, but you’re too hung over to trot up the street to the store, so you nuke a third of a cup of your shampoo instead, suffice to say you’ll find yourself belching soap bubbles well into Tuesday.
Or, so I’ve heard that could happen.
When I met M on a Wednesday, she looked very thought provoking in her white lab coat. Actually, I could barely concentrate on why I was there, ostensibly to replenish my significantly depleted bottle of shampoo, but I was so discombobulated ogling her I mistakenly purchased a similarly sized container of canine flea powder instead. This gaffe proved fortuitous since it allowed me to return for another encounter with this vixen of my dreams. To control my newly acquired white lab coat fetish, I reminded myself to think repeatedly of my similarly attired dentist, Ira Kluckhorn, who is also a dedicated practitioner of halitosis. This helped me exchange the silly grin on my face for an expression akin to the gag reflex.
While exchanging the bottle of flea powder for oatmeal fortified shampoo, M and I shared a delightful dialogue. Holding a pen in preparation for taking notes, M asked, “Is there a specific reason why you’re returning the flea powder?”
I offered, “For starters, I don’t have a dog. In addition, I keep my personal flea and tick problem under control with a sensitive skin unscented beauty bar. Plus, I wanted to see you again.”
M scribbled, “TMI.”
She suggested, “We have an unscented beauty bar for dry, scaly skin like yours that I highly recommend.” Intrigued, she asked, “Do you have any body piercings or tattoos?”
I reflected, “I have a single scar. I once unintentionally crucified my left thumb with a staple gun. I also happen to have a wide array of liver spots. Do they count? One resembles a vuvuzela.” Then, I wondered aloud, “Is your beauty bar available in a multi-pack for $5.99-ish?”
M matter-of-factly replied, “No. Ours is only available by the three-ounce bar for eleven dollars each. I love the vuvuzela. It’s so melodic.”
I pondered her response for the length of a palpitation. “Bargain. I’ll take two. Will you go out with me sometime, maybe to a concert featuring a vuvuzela-ist?”
She scribbled her number on the back of her business card and cooed, “I’m busy, but call me. In November – after Thanksgiving.”
Encouraged, I spent the following four months organizing my humble abode into Venus Flytrap shape. When Black Friday arrived, I called M. The chat was overwhelmingly flirtatious.
“Hi! Last July, you told me to call you after Thanksgiving.”
M asked, “Who is this?”
I reminded her about our flea powder exchange and her affinity for the vuvuzela. Then, I cut to the chase, “Would you like to see a film, concert, play or maybe all three in an evening with me?” I considered adding “naked” but thought that suggestion might be premature.
M said she recalled my liver spot, and added, “Why would I go out with you?” I explained that I was quite sure that she was a believer in love at third sight. Then, I dropped the charm bomb, “I’m not a serial killer. I’ve hardly ever been to Long Island.” We started dating a week later, but M insisted on taking things slow.
I suggested that she don her white lab coat for it might be easier for me to recognize her were she clad in it. M groaned, “You’re not one of those freaks that’s into me for that lab coat, are you?” Quickly, I backtracked, “Wear whatever you like,” and suggested for added measure, “Or don’t wear anything at all!” Maybe she’s a nudist!
For the next four dates, she wore a frock that distinctly resembled a burka.
Eventually, our relationship blossomed and I was confident that I could share a kiss with M without incurring too many of the maneuvers she had recently learned in a self-defense class she’d been taking. Yet, I wanted that kiss to be magical and occur in a place with both privacy and lighting that would shave a few inches off my nose.
I recalled a quaint alley in lower Manhattan and surmised that if we were not mugged, she raped, and I murdered, this could yield a very romantic dividend. Although we were heading to a play in Midtown, I insisted traveling there via this downtown alley would be resplendent. As we neared the alley, I grabbed her hand and quickened our pace. Just when I was about to pull her into a doorway for a Technicolor moment of bliss, we both slammed our brakes. There was an unseemly splash of vomit that could have easily filled an Olympic-sized pool. This prompted me to suggest, “Maybe it would behoove us to take a cab to the theater after all.”
Later that night, M took it upon herself to kiss me under a dogwood tree. It was a kiss that was memorably tender, caring and loving. Such a nice offset to the five minutes of dry hacking I suffered afterward due to it being allergy season.