People often ask me “Do you go out with weird guys on purpose just so you can write about them?” Most of the time, no. Of course I knew what I was getting myself into with The Mime and The Hasid… but usually when I go on dates, I genuinely hope things go well. Although, sometimes the men who seem the most appealing in their profile end up being the strangest in person. Like “Ed,” a gentleman I went on a date with a couple weeks ago.
Ed was attractive, mature, and laid back. He ran a cafe in Brooklyn specializing in local organics. He biked everywhere. He had a dog, swoopy hair, glasses, and tattoos. We met at a bar in Fort Greene for drinks after work one evening and, although he was quiet, we had a nice conversation. One beer turned into two, then three, and suddenly his speech began to slur. I was a little confused because I had matched him beer-for-beer and was barely tipsy… but maybe he was a lightweight. After our beers were finished, we discovered that we lived by each other and were walking the same route home.
"Lemme buy you one more drink at Black Swan” Ed proposed with a tipsy grin. That bar is only a block and a half from my apartment– what harm could it do?
Ed bought me a glass of wine and procured a giant beer for himself. I pretended not to notice when he stumbled a bit during the journey back to the stools where we were sitting. His slurring increased as the conversation turned from typical to downright strange. He brought up a DUI he had received a few years ago for falling asleep with his engine running, then switched topics to a family member who had lost a leg in Afghanistan. Ed went into great detail about how, if this individual wants to utilize a certain male reproductive organ, he has to give himself a shot where the sun don’t shine. I asked how he knew so much about this procedure and he responded that he had watched him do it. EEK.
Apparently all of this elegant first-date discourse had worked up his appetite because he announced that he was going to order some food. Black Swan has a dish called “Camden, 7am” (supposedly John Lennon’s favorite) which is a big bowl of french fries topped with baked beans and a fried egg. By the time his food arrived he was having trouble maintaining his balance atop his barstool and kept steadying himself with his hands on either side of the table. He offered me some fries, which I accepted, stabbing a couple with a fork. The second my fork vacated the area, he went to town on his meal like nothing I’ve ever seen before in my life. He positioned his face two inches over the bowl and shoveled fries, beans, and egg in like a ravenous beast, sucking it all up like a cartoon character devouring a bowl of hot spaghetti. Fries, forks, knives, and napkins all plummeted to the floor as he demolished his dinner. I tried to look away. But I couldn’t. Halfway through his race to the finish line with his Camden 7am, he lost his precarious balance on that pesky barstool and, I shit you not, fell face-first into the bowl. He looked up, blinked, and wiped the beans and yoke off his face as I dug my fingernails into my arm to keep from laughing. I could feel all surrounding eyes and open mouths aimed in our direction.
“Oh, they didn’t want me to” he responded to a question that had not, to my knowledge, been asked.
"Sorry guys,” he continued as he scooped some beans.
"Who are you talking to… the beans?” I asked him, my concern for his mental health growing.
"No, I’m sorry, I was talking to these guys ABOUT the beans.” WHAT GUYS? I sat quietly while Ed continued talking to himself (or his invisible friend as the case may be) in sentences that made absolutely no sense.
"It came off the ledge!” he exclaimed to no one in particular as I asked for the check. That’s for damn sure, I thought to myself. He signed the bill with a illegible squiggle and we walked outside, where Ed managed to get out “I’mmmgonna walk you home now mmmmk?” I told him that would not be necessary and if anyone needed assistance getting home it was probably him. But he had made up what was left of his mind, so he staggered alongside me for a block and a half.
"Bye! Thanks for a lovely evening!” I blurted out as I raced up the steps and shut the door behind me. Once safely inside, I watched from my window to make sure he was walking on the sidewalk and not in the middle of the street. An hour or so later, as I was starting to fall asleep, I received a text from Ed that read “Are you still at the bar?” I guess he had forgotten the romantic walk we had shared after the bar, but I figured it was easiest not to confuse him further. I haven’t heard from him since.
Who would’ve thought I’d start the night with a quiet, normal-seeming guy with a cool job, and end it with him talking to himself, putting his face in a bowl of beans and losing his damn mind? You just never know what you’re going to get… hence one of the reasons for my blog title. This time a crazy person was in the box.