Like breathing

Pub date June 12, 2007
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap EatsSectionFood & Drink


CHEAP EATS Oh, I gave up on Internet dating a long time ago. Like: March? Then, on June 1, this:

My response to his personal ad left him breathless, he said, because blah blah blah. (I’m paraphrasing.) But he definitely said "breathless." I know because I peed my pants when I read it. To leave someone breathless … that’s big. That’s every girl’s dream, or, at the very least, every transgender chicken farmer’s dream.

Touched (and wet and uncomfortable and stinky), I scoured my "Sent" folder for the response in question. It was dated March 19.

To leave someone breathless is huge. To leave them breathless for 71 days … that’s downright life threatening. I resisted the urge to write back and say: Breathe!!!! Immediately!!!! Where do you live?! What do you need?! I’ll be right there! Please stay alive!! I love you! Sincerely, Chicken Farmer.

My new strategy is to play it cool. For example, instead of asking guys out, I look at them. Instead of telling them I love them, if they do ask me out, I go, "… OK …" With as many dots as possible, and without even one single exclamation mark.

But they don’t, of course, ask me out. Generally speaking. I swear, ever since I unleashed myself on the straight male world, the marriage rate has risen. The divorce rate has declined. Traditional family values thrive. Statistics show this.

Or at any rate, I have eyes. I mean, I walk down the street, exuding sexuality and chicken shit, and people fucking cling to their partners. Previously blasé dates compose and perform extemporaneous sonnets, hands on hearts, in the middle of the burrito line. Noncommittal rocker boys drop down on stage-dive-scarred knees and propose marriage. Even gays and lesbians want in on it. Polyamory, until very recently all the rage, is out the window.

These two, moments ago, were throwing things through windows, packing bags. Then, out of the corners of half-closed and tearful eyes, they see me down below on the sidewalk, looking blurry but available, and they fall into each other’s arms and make passionate love for the first time in seven years.

Sometimes they don’t even have to see me. They sense me out there somewhere, looking for dates, and reconsider the harsh words on the tips of their tongues, or the crass act.

This is great! Without lifting a finger or so much as my skirt, I have inspired reconsideration, forgiveness, conciliation, peace, love, and, you know, compassion and shit. You think I’m on drugs, or drunk, or crazy, but tally it up and you’ll see: I’ve done more to promote peace and quiet and interpersonal harmony than Jesus and Doctor Phil put together.

Of course, I suppose if you factor in the Crusades, modern-day old-fashioned Christian violence, rapist priests, and, well, Dr. Phil … then everyone else in the world, even Mike Tyson, deserves some sort of peace prize too. So once again I have come crashing and clanging to the bottom of the page without actually saying a goddamn thing.

Except I think what I was driving at, before the train wreck, was that I didn’t e-mail back and profess anything or in any way return this guy’s breathlessness. The institution of marriage and the notion of traditional family values need me right now. I wrote back and said, in effect, "OK."

P.S. Who are you?

Because I didn’t have a clue. And still don’t, since he still hasn’t re-responded. I can wait. I’m patient, realistic, and good at math. On August 9 I give up. In the meantime: slow, deep breaths, and business as usual.

Speaking of which, my new favorite restaurant? Hide-a-Way Cafe. On Telegraph. Nice patio. Real nice patio. Go on a pretty day. East Bay Matt, who is now of course East Coast Matt, damn him, took me there. And I say took, even though I drove, because he paid, bless him.

Matt’s a genuine, PhD’d perfesser now, and that means that, yes, I love to sit for hours in a place with him and talk about sociological … things, and music scenes and communication and pedagogy. But also it means, when he offers to treat, I let him. I not only let him, I order a steak with my eggs.

It was only $8.50, same as an omelet! And it wasn’t a huge slab of meat, but it was good and juicy and tasty. And the taters were great, home fried with peppers and onions and, yeah: new favorite restaurant. *


6430 Telegraph, Oakl.

Tues.–Fri., 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m.; Sat.–Sun., 7:15 a.m.–3 p.m.

Cash only

No alcohol

Wheelchair accessible