I get really into things for a while and then I drop them completely. It’s no wonder I don’t have better relationships with women. When I discovered internet dating in all of its wonder and flippant chaos, I went at that shit like an eight year old with Pokémon, gotta date em all. While it’s a fun way to go broke between every paycheck and see bars in every neighborhood in the city, internet dating still is a haven for the same things the rest of the internet provides a haven to, weird shit you don’t see every day. For instance, once on a date with a wonderful girl, beautiful, smart enough to make me feel inferior, everything was going great. However, the oddity came out in the middle of our first bout of passionate fucking. Let’s just say her chest was drastically lopsided. Now there is nothing wrong with that, I am very well aware that breasts come in all shapes and sizes. I am even aware that many women, if not most women have some discrepancy between the size of their breasts. In fact, if it helps, my left testicle is bigger than my right. That all being said, I was still somewhat thrown off by the inequality of this girl’s bosom, but I am getting off track, this story is about a different girl altogether. My point is, much like this girls boobs, lopsided.
A warm Tuesday night in Park Slope Brooklyn, I had donned my best black t-shirt and beat up pair of converse to meet a new girl, Lauren. We had been talking on one of the various dating apps. This app happened to have a ranking system that provided you with grades. I was a solid B, always have been, this app was very wise. Meanwhile this girl was an A-, the ever-accessible jackpot. We met at a little bar near her place, typically my go to option, for two reasons. One, it’s a great way to see new neighborhoods and bars. Two, if all goes well it’s much easier to leave the girl’s place at the end of the night.
I showed up a little late, she was already there, sitting at a table to the left of the door. The bar was very divey and mostly empty, my favorite. I approached Lauren and compared her to her pictures. I was in luck. She looked the way she displayed herself online. Her blonde hair, was actually blonde, her above average attractive face, it was still of above average attractiveness. Then for the final test, she did not weigh more than she appeared to in her pictures, as has been known to happen. Things were off to a great start. In all seriousness, she was actually very pretty; she had kind eyes and a slightly shy smile. The kind of smile that immediately made you, more at ease. You could sense the vulnerability behind it.
She stood up and we did the awkward, we are now meeting for the first time, but I already know how many pets you have and what your relationship with your father is like dance, a rare byproduct of tinder culture. Some girls go in for the hug, others stand and shake your hand like it is a business deal, then you’ve got the cheek kissers, and my personal favorite, are the girls who don’t even get off the barstool to greet you. Honestly I think I chase those girls the most because they are just so damn cool, the type who ride a motorcycle and never knew their dad cause he spent your childhood in prison kind of cool, I could always get into that. But I digress and Lauren is waiting. After our first somewhat uncomfortable hug, I spoke.
“Wait here, I’ll get us some drinks, what would you like?” I asked her. What a girl drinks on our date always interests me. Is she going to go for what she thinks is classy and order wine in a bar that has never owned a wine glass? Will she go for a string of vodka sodas that would drown Stalingrad? Is she simple and responsible, sticking to beer because it’s a weeknight? Is she trying too hard to be hipster so she goes for the new Brooklyn favorite, obscure bourbon? As a side note, if I ever find a girl who drinks straight whiskey as habitually as I do, I’m putting a ring on it ASAP.
“I’ll have white wine.” She replied. It was definitely one of those bars that didn’t have wine glasses. “And don’t worry, I am well aware they only have two types of wine here, red and white, and I’m getting it in a water glass.” Wonderful, a girl who was self aware enough to realize where she was any wine was just going to taste like boozy grape juice but she was totally cool with it.
“Alright great, I’ll be right back.” Moments later I returned with her wine in a water glass and my Jameson neat, the drink of kings and Irish liver failures, my personal favorite.
I am not going to bore you with the details of the getting to know you dance, it’s generally the same on ever first date, it becomes as mundane as pouring yourself a bowl of cold cereal after a while. What is worth knowing is we got hungry at some point in the night. We left the bar, set on finding ourselves a nice little place to continue with some food. As we crossed the blocks leading to our destination, the cool night air focused my senses. I looked at Lauren, starting to notice things that I hadn’t in the warm, dimly lit booth of our meeting place. This girl was fucking wasted. She stumbled slightly every couple of steps and she didn’t seem to have any control of the volume of her voice. She would be talking at a normal volume, then suddenly grow louder, but not in a way that made any sense. It was like someone was playing with the volume knob at random.
“How about some Pizza?” I asked.
“That SOUNDS great.” Her volume shifted as she talked. I was puzzled. As we entered the pizza place she stumbled into me.
“No problem. Bad wine gets me like that too.” I laughed. She was silent. We ate quickly and headed to another bar, a trendy place called Camp, a wood cabin themed bar that served s’mores. We sat on low seats that I’m pretty sure were actually foot stools. She broke the silence as we sipped our drinks, she had beer now and I had more Jameson.
“I need to tell you something.”
“Sure, go ahead.”
“I normally wouldn’t bring something like this up on a first date but I want to see you again so I think you should know.” This sent my mind racing. What was it? I’m a virgin? I have AIDs? I have a kid? I just got out of jail? I’m super racist? “I’m a lesbian and I’m trying guys for the first time? I really hoped it wasn’t the AIDs thing. Then she blew all of these away.
“I have a brain tumor.”
“Yeah, it’s not cancer but they don’t know what it is.”
“Wow.” What the fuck could I say to that?
“I wanted to let you know, that’s the reason I have been stumbling and all that.”
“Well that makes sense. I just thought you were drunk.”
“Jesus, I’m sorry.”
“I really like you so I wanted to tell you. Normally I would never say anything on a first date.” She looked very relieved, I was not. Well this changes things, I thought to myself. Wait, should this change things? How the fuck to I handle this. Oh shit Tony, this girl just told you she has a brain tumor and she really likes you, now you are just sitting here silently. Fucking say something.
“It’s all good. I like you too.” God damn it Tony, you don’t really like her too. At least not at a, ‘I have a brain tumor and I’m going to tell you all about it’ level. Why the fuck did you say that? I did what I could to cover up my awkwardness with whiskey. I think it worked. We sat there a while longer. She was going to LA the next week to get some tests done on her brain to see if they could remove it. I did my best to seem comfortable and understanding. I really did feel for her. I couldn’t fathom having a brain tumor at 23 that affected the way you function on a basic walking and talking level. She kissed me.
“I can’t believe you are so understanding. I was so nervous about telling you.” I nodded. She paused before she said, “Do you want to come over to my place?”
“Yeah, I’ll walk you home.” Oh god, my mind sprinted across the ethical minefield of sleeping with a girl with a brain tumor who was far more emotionally invested than you. As we walked she drew close to me, stumbling slightly every couple of yards. She stopped and turned to me.
“Well this is my place. I totally forgot, my parents are having the floors redone. They own the building and I am staying in their apartment, otherwise I would invite you in.”
“No problem, I get it.” Minefield avoided.
“I really do want to fuck you. When I get back from LA?”
“Yeah, I’ll text you. Goodnight.” Honestly, I wasn’t sure at the time if I would.
“Goodnight. I can’t believe I got so lucky finding you.” Guilt pulled tight at my chest. I couldn’t text her. We exchanged one last kiss. Her lips lingered and I pulled away.
“Good luck with everything in LA.” I said. She turned and walked up the steps into the building.
A few blocks into my walk home a cold rain started lightly. What was the right way to deal with this? Should I text her out of guilt, see her again motivated almost purely by feelings of pity? Would I tell her the truth, make her feel more isolation caused by a benign mass that already altered her daily existence? At least that option was honorable, honest, if not wholly kind. Another option entered my head. Could I be black hearted enough to use this good will for some throw away sex at her emotional expense? The last option was the coward’s approach. Non-action. Don’t text, don’t respond, let her fade into the night, a bastard who lied by empathy all night. I thought through my options, I knew which was the right choice. Unfortunately, I am a coward.