Pub date March 24, 2009
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap EatsSectionFood & Drink


CHEAP EATS I did the math. This is Part Five of a Three-Part Series, and therefore the last part. Henceforth, I will leave my neighborhood alone and just live in it.

Speaking of five, I had five first dates in five days. I should say, I made five dates but only had four of them. The first was in an accident on his way to see me and wound up in the hospital.

He sent a picture of the car. One of those ones where you wonder how the driver survived. Well, he’s a fireman. My best guess is that firemen know how (to survive). Which is dangerous knowledge to have. He calls every day, addresses me as dear, and is in a lot of pain.

Shhh. He doesn’t know about my man on the train, to whom I am not technically betrothed, but committed, yes, because I looked deep into his bloodshot eyes and said what he wanted to hear: that I would represent him.

One of my favorite things about being romantically connected to a recovering gangster who was being taken into police custody the last time I saw him is that you can pretty much start fooling around immediately.

And I use the words "fooling around" loosely … No, really, I only actually carried on with one of the five first dates. Meaning my very very seriously irretractable vow to never ever EVER under any conceivable circumstance have sex on a first date, not even once, is still 80 percent intact! For the week.

Nobody approves of the choices I make. Except this one guy. But most of my girlfriends and all of the women’s magazines and dating advice columnists … it’s unanimousish: don’t be desperate. Whatever you do, you’re not supposed to be, or seem, desperate.

"But what if you’re desperate?" I have to ask. It is almost my job to ask, and I think maybe it is my job to answer. Or try.

Well, desperation has a bad rap. Which is easy for me to say. I embody desperation. I am one of desperation’s foremost practitioners and appreciators. Desperate people who don’t embrace, or at least act out of desperation, will never get to lick a ruby in a dangerous drunk’s front tooth, for example. Or …

Or …

There are other examples too unmentionable to mention.

This one isn’t: The best kisser I ever kissed, the man who will now, for me, set the standard for quality kisses, was of course All Wrong, by the book, and an act of desperation on my part. He was the one-in-five, and technically still married. I kinda knew I’d never see him again, and I definitely knew I would want to. Oh, and he wasn’t even very good-looking, nor well-spoken — which turns me on more than good looks. But: none of that. He was an amazing kisser, and I wasn’t wrong to guess that that would translate to great sex.

Minus my being starved for affection, however, it never would have happened. And I never would have made the five dates in five days, probably, if I hadn’t been so impressed and/or horrified by my shenanigans with that man on the train. Not because he was a gangster; because, cool dentistry notwithstanding, he was a terrible, terrible kisser, all force and no finesse.

Somebody save me! Right?

This is not what I want. It’s what I’ve got. I will work with it, laugh and enjoy and wrangle it into words, as always, for your amusement, but it wouldn’t be true desperation without the underlying fact that it ain’t what I want. I want sweet, sexy boredom and juicy burritos with a reliable, commitment-capable man with a soft, spicy tongue, safe driving habits, something to say, and question marks for eyes.

I know you’re out there. Sort it out and step up, please, sir. It’s hard, I know. I know it’s scary. But imagine the meals we will make, and all the great restaurants in our oystery world, as simple as salt plus what?

You’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, when I am absolutely desperate for a burrito:


Mon.–Sat.: 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sun.: 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

5259 College, Oakl.

(510) 658-7646

No alcohol


L.E. Leone’s new book is Big Bend (Sparkle Street Books), a collection of short fiction.