I met the Comic at a bar after a class. We texted for a week and then agreed to meet at a pub downtown. He was cute, Jewish, taller than me, and according to his profession, funny. I was hopeful.
Me: I’d love a glass of the house red.
Comic: I’ll just have water.
Me: Is it that you don’t drink? Or can’t drink?
Comic: I shouldn’t drink. Do all your dates need to drink?
Me: It’s part of my life. I’d have a hard time dating a vegetarian too.
That seemed a little oppositional for an opening. I tried another move. His day job was in theater, but his soul wanted to stand up.
Me: How did you become a comic?
Comic: I went to grad school for acting. Acting is mostly about celebrity. Stars don’t have any privacy. Acting was just my ego talking.
Now I was the antagonistic one: acting was about celebrity, not Shakespeare? What is stand-up if not egos, talking? I ordered more wine.
Comic: I was in the military before I went to grad school.
Me: Wow. You’re one of the few Jews for whom that’s true.
Comic: I signed up. Nobody can complain about war when we have a volunteer army.
Me: Um, the military is the only way a lot of my friends could get to school. I’m not sure it’s so voluntary when the other option is $200,000 in student debt.
I started playing chess with my wine glass on the red-checked tablecloth, square by square, moving the booze across the table. Red queen’s knight to C3.
Comic: Obama is just another Ronald Regan.
Me: What does that mean?
Comic: We haven’t had a good president since George Washington.
Me: My dead boyfriend, James Madison, did a pretty good job.
With my wine I jumped the salt and captured the sugar. The Comic wasn’t just surly, he was ill-informed. It was his shtick. But sometimes it is easier to play through a weird date than to get up and leave.
Comic: Israel has no business existing as a country.
I don’t actually have any idea how to play chess. I was losing and it wasn’t funny at all.