Never date a man who calls himself short, fat,
bald and ugly
He didn't believe me.
"Admit it," he said. "You're a Harrison Ford type, aren't you? All women your age are Harrison Ford types."
I admitted to the copy of InStyle next to my bed; the photo of Harrison and Calista on the cover.
"Okay, " he said, "start with Harrison. Take away his hair, his height, his chin, his body. Take away his money, his humor and his fame. What you got?"
A normal man, as far as I could calculate.
"How bad can it be?" I coaxed. "I mean, we're none of us as pretty as we were when we were in our twenties."
"I'm a dog," his voice on the phone was self-mocking and I knew he was teasing me.
"So, what does that mean?"
"A real dog," he said. "Think, Lassie on steroids."
"Lassie is darling," I cooed.
"Well, then think Sargent Preston's dog. King. On steroids."
"You're not kind to yourself, " I preached. "If you're a dog, you need to dig for a little self esteem."
"I got nothing to esteem," he said.
"So, what are you trying to tell me?"
"I'm trying to tell you - if you're shallow, insincere and caught up in looks, you won't like me," he said. It was a challenge any good woman would rise to accept.
"I don't believe you," I said. "You're much too hard on yourself. Are you telling me you are short, fat, bald and ugly?" I laughed.
"No," I said. "You can't be all that."
"Wait and see," he warned. "Wait."
I waited two days.
We agreed to meet on the patio at W.A. Frost for a mojito. The agreement was this; if I thought he was too ugly for a serious relationship, we would try to be friends. If he was too repulsive for friendship, it would be our last time together.
This was all new to me. Most fifty-something men take a different approach to dating. They toot a horn louder than anything Louis Armstrong ever played. They're all tall, strong, fit, active.
They send photos taken ten, twenty years prior to your phone conversation and swear they were shot Christmas, last year.
This guy was different. That's why I wanted to meet him.
The patio at Frost's was empty except for a little man, perched on a cocktail stool, sipping a tall mojito and frowning.
I couldn't tell how short he was. A man seated on a stool can fool a good woman.
He was bald. That didn't surprise me. They're all bald.
He had a huge, red nose that took over most of his face; the kind of nose a man acquires from years of hard drinking, bad personal hygiene and too much sun.
His feet were tiny; his hands were tiny; his eyes were beady, his complexion like the flip side of a Nestle Crunch bar.
It was true. He was an ugly, ugly man.
But he was funny.
"See?" he said as I approached. "I didn't lie. I'm a two bagger."
"So ugly I wear two bags over my head. If the first one falls off, the second one does the job."
We agreed we would go to the movies the following Friday.
He didn't have much money, he said, and so I agreed to pay my own admission. He called me a "good sport" and told me to meet him in the second row of the middle section of the dollar theatre on Lexington.
"I'll take you out for pizza if we still like each other," he promised.
The movie was old; something with Will Ferrell and I'd seen it on video six months earlier. The popcorn was stale, the seats in the dollar theater were broken and stained. And my date reeked with powerful body odor.
"This is going well, don't you think?" he asked during the trailers. I smiled. Nothing seemed to be going anywhere from where I sat.
The film ended and he asked if I would drive us to Pizza Hut in my Volkswagen. His truck was low on gas.
I was numb, shocked by a sense of entrapment. This man was smelly, grotesque in appearance, and I could not remember how I thought him charming at all.
Worse, when we stood to exit the theater I realized how short he was.
His forehead came to my elbow. The guy needed four, five inches to reach five feet. He was short like the Munchkins are short. Short like that little guy on Chelsea Lately's show. He was a short, short, short man; shorter than anyone I'd ever seen in public on the streets of St. Paul, Minnesota.
I stepped into the parking lot, looked down at his tiny, scuffed shoes walking next to mine and knew the date had to be over.
He knew it too, and sense of ugly doom hung over us.
I reached to open the door of the Volkswagen when he jumped me.
Like a toddler, trying to leap into his mother's arms, he threw himself at my chest.
"Good lord!" I said as I pushed him away. "What are you doing?"
"I'm getting what I want," he murmered as he pushed his face into my stomach and clawed my bosom. "I spent good money on you, Kristine, You owe me a little something."
"You spent nothing!" I shouted.
"That mojito at Frost's was over eight bucks!" he snarled.
Holding his shoulders and thrusting him away from me, I screamed for help. He stopped, shocked.
"I swear, I'll scream again if you come anywhere near me."
"What the hell?" he shouted. "You're all alike, you know it? Every last one of you."
Later, before I went to bed, I checked my email. I found a note from him.
"There's a reason you're alone," he wrote. "You're a cold, cold bitch. If you want a relationship with a real man you're going to have to give up being frigid."
Two key strokes and he was deleted and blocked.
I picked up my copy of InStyle and reconsidered. Take everything tall, charming, sophisticated, beautiful and elegant away from Harrison Ford and what do you have?
A creepy, horny little man.