I went on a blind date this afternoon—God knows why; my life is still pretty unsuited for any true intimacy. The fellow was a very tall, well-dressed European. We met at a coffee shop, but because this is NYC and lots of restaurant tables are too small to accommodate ballerinas, I suggested that we take a stroll to find a more comfortable venue.
He seemed charmed by my attempt to converse in his native language and graciously did not correct my bad grammar. He shared some shrewd observations about individuals we interacted with. He walked at a fast clip, which I appreciated (I am a fast and purposeful walker myself). He demonstrated familiarity with economics. I was enjoying our Village tour.
And then we passed a public art exhibit full of home-made ceramic plates. We paused to look at them.
“I wonder what these are all about?” I asked, because the theme was not obvious.
“Probably about 9/11,” my date said.
He turned to me, his gaze suddenly intense (especially intense, I mean—he seemed like an intense personality in general, which I find attractive in men, usually to my detriment).
“Have you studied the 9/11 attacks?” he asked me.
I have to admit, I was a little taken aback by the question, and not sure how to respond to it right away. It’s like asking someone if they’d studied Africa or invertebrate zoology.
“Umm, I read The Looming Tower, and parts of the official 9/11 Commission Report when it came out,” I answered.
“Well, you won’t get much good information from them!” he huffed.
“What do you mean?” (But, gentle reader, I immediately suspected what he meant, and a flower of despair began to bloom in my chest.)
“If you want to learn the truth about what really happened, the best thing to do is to watch documentaries online. There are lots of them. Then you will know what happened. The truth. The truth is not in those books you said.”
I almost asked him if he could recommend a few specific titles for me to look up, but then I decided against it. Somehow I knew he was not referring to Frontline PBS specials, and I knew that if I heard the words Loose Change falling from his lips, there was no way that I could continue our company. Indeed, it would probably induce me to run, shrieking, in the opposite direction.
I politely told him that I would look into it.
He offered me a ride back to my apartment, but I deferred, saying that my mother told me not to get into cars with strangers that offered me candy. While this is good advice and it is true that women are vulnerable, when I refused him, I was totally bullshitting. I’ve developed a good spider sense with dudes and I’m no naïve dummy, but let’s be honest—there’s a dangerous streak in my otherwise practical character that is not at all risk-adverse, and if I truly desired a strange man, I’d happily board his helicopter to God-knows-where. I really would. I’ve done it—scooped men up like they were salmon in ankle-deep waters. That’s one of the few true, undeniable advantages of being a female, and in my opinion, you’d best take advantage of it while you can, because it’s ephemeral, and it’s never going to be as good as it is now again.
No, the real reason I turned down the ride home was because his (suggested) acceptance of 9/11 conspiracy theories had instantly and utterly negated his attractiveness to me. Call me shallow or narrow-minded for it; I don’t give a shit. But as far as I was concerned, he might as well have defended burquas or said that he golfed with Dick Cheney every Sunday. Game over, buddy.
The Machinist, the Machinist. Why did I have to fuck it up with the Machinist?