Crazy characters come out during this fast-paced matchmaking event.
Dating can be such a tedious affair. For several weeks, you meticulously choose your outfit, your words and your toothpaste, only to eventually learn that he isn’t man enough to handle a few skeletons —or in my case, two-week-old chicken bones—in your closet. But by then, who knows how much time, money and collect calls to Cheaters you’ve wasted on this relationship?
That’s why I believe, if you want to find a real ride-or-die lover, dishonesty is the best policy—at least in the beginning. If he can handle me at my most eccentric, strange and unbalanced, then he’ll definitely love me when he discovers my true genteel nature. I couldn’t think of a better occasion to test my twisted theory than at a speed-dating event on the 33rd floor of the Loews Hotel, thrown by Philly Black Gay Pride.
Arriving at the registration table, I was originally going to use the alias Princeton Crisp III, but decided that was silly: Swarthmore “Hollandaise Sauce” Jones has a much better ring to it. Unfortunately, neither would fit on the name tag, so I was left with my government handle.
The first contestant was as handsome as he was shy. After we both fumbled for the right words, I discovered he was 32, looking to settle down—and lived across the street from me. In other words, he was perfect. I refrained from testing him with any crazy embellishments, apprehensive of scaring off both a potential love interest and my neighbor.
I felt more comfortable bending reality with date No. 2. “I’m really freaky,” I said, concealing my promise ring. “What’s the freakiest thing you’ve ever done?”
He leaned in close, smiled, and said in a whisper, “Well, if you really want to know … I had sex with my foster brother.” He let out a hearty, mischievous laugh.
I clutched my pearls in horror. This experiment would be harder than I thought.
“What do you like to do for fun?” I asked the third contestant.
“I like to play pool …”
“Playing pool is for the devil,” I interrupted him. “Do you go to church?”
“I don’t go much,” he replied. I felt anointed to introduce him to my black Jesus.
“The Lord loves you, even though you play pool,” I said. “Would you like to say a prayer with me so that King Jesus will find you a good church?”
He shrugged and nodded. I took his hand and we bowed our heads. “Lord, please guide this young man in his journey to find a church that nourishes his soul,” I said with the trembling cadence of a Baptist preacher. “As you can see, he is so lost—and so, so homely.” After the prayer—which awkwardly rambled on for a full minute, touching on everything from his salvation to his cornrows—I asked him if he felt any different. He shrugged and nodded.
“So what do you do for a living?” he asked. “I write erotic fiction,” I replied.
By the time I got to my fourth date, I had hit my stride. “I’m a porn star,” I told him. “And it’s just really hard finding somebody who can get past all of the bestiality.” He instantly clasped my hand and gave me a rousing lecture on how to love myself.
I informed my next date that I’m going through a heated child custody battle and need his support at tomorrow’s hearing. Unfortuately, he turned out to be a deadbeat, refusing to sign my hand-written contract guaranteeing that he would be there for me and the kids.
After almost an hour of character performances, the event came to an end. The moderator invited us to reconvene on our own in the lobby and approach anybody with whom we felt a connection.
Finally, my chance to see who loved me for not me. I stood against the bar, threw back a beer, and waited for a brave soul to snatch me up. Unfortunately, nobody said a word to me except Helga the bartender—who commented in her Eastern European accent that I’m strange because “brothas don’t drink Yuengling.”
I rolled my eyes, but then it hit me: Helga was right. I am strange. Not because I drink Yuengling—I gave up 40s years ago—but because I’m a proselytizing porn star with child custody drama. On top of that, most of my dates were Philly natives. I would now be the town scandal, ruining my chance of ever finding a good mate.
Just then, date No. 2 interrupted my solitude with his incestuous presence. “You’re really cute,” he said. I smiled, relieved that somebody was finally able to overlook my scarlet letter and see my appeal.
A real man’s man, I didn’t want to go in drag, but I did welcome a good excuse to be bitchy.
Damn you, country line-dancing, with your impossibly smooth moves and endearingly slutty men. I wish I knew how to quit you!
But just when my Luther Vandross séance started to kick off, my phone tumbled down onto the urinal cake. “Does the three-second rule apply to this situation?” I wondered, aghast.
Calendar: Aug. 26-Sept. 2