Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Epic Tragic Dating Fail... Over Les Miz

She was cute, okay? And she had an appreciation for books. She wasn't insane about them, like I am, but she respected them.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Allow me to set the scene...

This is our first date. I have treated her to some frozen yogurt, which went over quite well. The date is going smoothly, but somewhat lackluster... we haven't really connected. Yet.

Let's see... what else... oh, yes, I smell WAY too good. I'd stopped at my cousin's house before the date, and she made me put on some of her husband's cologne to give me an edge. Two spritzes, apparently, is too much. They meant it when they said 'one' on the label. It has been over an hour since I used it, and I can STILL smell myself. It is throwing me off, badly, and I am not at the top of my game. (I have a really good sense of smell... it is a gift, and a curse.)

Okay. So we've got a smart and pretty girl, a self-conscious boy who smells like a French dog-house, and a bookstore. Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Yes. It's a fantastic place to take a date. You find out some hugely important things. Like whether they like to read or not. Whether they can read or not. Whether they like the genre you write. Whether they have good taste in the genre you write. 'Cause when you're a writer, you're not just dating a potential soul mate. More importantly, you're dating a potential prime beta reader.

Priorities, my friends. It's all about priorities.

Just kidding. ;) Mostly.

Somehow we ended up in the music section, and we were trying out each other's music.

"What's your favorite?" she asked.

That was fairly easy, at the time. I picked up the soundtrack to 'Les Miserables'. Les Miserables has some of my favorite Broadway songs ever written.

"I really like Broadway stuff," I said.

She wanted to try it out, (she wasn't much into Broadway and she didn't know Les Miz) so I scanned the jewel case in the little barcode scanner and she put the headphones on her head.

"Okay... let's see..." I was trying to remember the tracks in my head. I wanted to pick a track to wow her, show her the sheer beauty and magnificence of this music.

The first problem was, at this particular Barnes and Noble Bookstore, it doesn't show you the name of the track. It only shows you the track number on a little LED display. The headphones were already on Smart and Pretty Girl's ears, and so I was going off of memory.

The second problem is that I am a dodo; it occurred to me about 45 seconds too late to check the track number on the display against of the list of songs on the back of the CD.

I can't remember which song I decided on. I think that I was trying to pick 'I Dreamed a Dream' because it's a classic, it's gorgeous, and it occurs fairly early on on the CD. But I do remember that I selected track 5 of the first CD.

To her credit, she managed to keep her expression fairly neutral. For a while. But then she got this odd look in her eyes (yes, I was watching, thank goodness) that was a subtle mixture of these two emotions.

'What... am... I... listening to?'
 'Eeeeew... keep a straight face, keep a straight face, keep a straight face...'

If you have ever listened to 'Les Miserables' you know what I mean when I tell you that I had, inadvertently, selected the track 'Lovely Ladies' as my ambassador for my good taste in music.


Les Miserables is a Dickensian tale that includes a terrible struggle against life in the underworld of 19th century Paris. And... there are certain business aspects of said underworld discussed at length in the track 'Lovely Ladies' that are, to be blunt, disgusting. I skip that track every time. It's the raunchiest song in an album of otherwise beautiful music. (see links at bottom.) 


I am still smacking myself in the face over that one.

The date ended soon after. On amicable terms. She was kind enough to laugh with me and not at me about my mistake. And she even said something vague like 'see ya around' except she didn't make eye contact when she said it. It was the straw that broke the date-camel's back.

Did you learn anything from this, Ramirez?

Yes sir. And I will keep telling myself that LEARNING FROM MY MISTAKES IS WHAT MATTERS, DANGIT. :) Here are the things I learned. May you not be forced to learn them by experience, as I have.

1. One spritz is enough, if you go the cologne route.
2. First, listen to the dang song yourself. Find the right track. THEN hand the headphones over.
3. Why do you even have that soundtrack in the first place if it's nasty enough that you never listen to it? That's not you, man.
4. Don't be a dodo.

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