I went to a speed dating event on Tuesday after work. It was a last minute thing. My best friend Astrid got food poisoning from her lunchtime Chipotle burrito, and the $10 ticket was nonrefundable. In return for bringing her $10 worth of Bruce Cost Ginger Ale and Pocari Sweat, she gave me the ticket. Her apartment smelled like vomit and also like vanilla lavender incense which was supposed to mask the vomit smell but did not. I walked her dog so that she wouldn’t have to, and I borrowed the dress she had with owls on it because I was still wearing my work polo and Astrid wanted me to look cute.
The event was at a Soho bookstore and it was for women who wanted to meet women. There was one for men who wanted to meet men the next day, and one for men and women the day after that. I thought about buying a ticket to that one too, but if everyone was straight I probably wouldn’t fit in.
It was so warm inside the bookstore that I had to take off my jacket immediately. It was a motorcycle jacket and without it I no longer looked punk rock.
My first partner’s eyes were the same color that my hands sometimes got when my Raynaud’s disease acted up. She said that she voted for Trump in the last election. I told her that I was the Angel of Death and when she gave me a blank look I said that I was trying to empathize with her by telling her something similar to what she had just told me. She said that I wasn’t funny and that she didn’t appreciate being condescended to.
I thought about going home right then, but then the event director’s iPhone played the “Night Owl” alarm, and we had to switch to the next person and I auto-piloted to the next table.
My next partner asked me what my favorite book was. I wasn’t sure if this meant that she was pretentious or if she actually just really liked books a lot. I thought about telling her that my favorite book was the My Hero Academia manga series, but I didn’t. I told her it was Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Her jaw hung open for a few seconds, and she swallowed so hard I could hear it. Then she told me that Charlotte Bronte’s work was far superior, and could she get my number so that we could discuss this in more detail. She gave me her phone. It had a case on it that said A Well Read Woman is a Dangerous Creature in cursive. Mine had a picture of the @dril tweet that said user named “beavis_sinatra ” has been terrorizing me since 2004, by sending me pictures of cups that are too close to the edge of the table.
We exchanged numbers. I thought about giving her a fake name, but decided to tell her my real one, which was Lucinda. Her name was Daisy, which made me think about Astrid, and how I wanted Astrid to be jealous that I’d gotten a girl’s number. It made me think of all the times that her mouth wasn’t full of vomit, and I’d wanted to kiss her, but didn’t.
Daisy started trying to talk about why Charlotte Bronte was a better writer than Emily Bronte even though we had planned to do it later, but before she could get past the first incorrect sentence about Jane Eyre being more socially progressive, “Night Owl” played again.
Next I sat across from a woman wearing a pre-faded Ramones t-shirt and bright red plasticky high heels. Her lipstick matched the heels. We exchanged names and professions – her name was Clare and she was a paralegal. I was a little distracted because I was wondering whether or not Astrid was keeping down the fluids I brought her, but I managed to tell Clare that I was a cashier and a dog walker and also I transcribed things online.
Clare wanted to know when I realized that I was a lesbian. I told her that I hadn’t realized anything like that – I was probably bisexual but wasn’t sure. I said this mumbling into my hands. She raised an eyebrow and sneered, then said, “Oh. I don’t date bi girls – can’t trust them not to run off with a man.”
I was a little mad at her, but I didn’t feel like I could yell at her. I’d never encountered this specific type of biphobia in real life before. It made me feel like I’d just eaten a spoiled burrito from Chipotle.
I thought about texting Daisy and arguing with her over hot chocolate, but Jacques Torres was closed and when I typed hot chocolate near me into Google my phone thought that I was in midtown and gave me suggestions that would take an hour to get to from Soho. I tried to summon the emotional energy to text her anyway. To even just send her an emoji. I also thought about texting Clare, whose number I did not have, and telling her to go to hell.
But then I noticed that Astrid had texted me three times asking me to bring her back soup from Whole Foods so I had to do that instead. She wanted broccoli cheddar, so I had to remind her that she was lactose intolerant. Then I told Astrid about Clare, and Astrid said she’d punch her if she ever met her. I told her about Daisy and she said she sounded like a fun new friend, but not quite my type. Then we started talking about what we were going to watch on Netflix when I got back to her place, and I thought that I’d probably been in love with Astrid the whole time.
Anna Lindwasser is a freelance writer and educator living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been published in The Molotov Cocktail, Bridge Eight, and Scarlet Leaf Review, among others. She can be found on Twitter @annalindwasser, or on her website, annalindwasser.com.