I walked up to our regular table in the bland office cafeteria to find Darlene and Shauna deep in conversation. I pulled out a chair and quietly joined them.
“…so I thought of you right away,” finished Darlene.
“I’m not even looking to date, though,” Shauna responded.
Darlene sighed, rolled her eyes, and gave her a look. “I met him at a Walmart… how bad could he be?”
Shauna shifted in her seat and finally recognized the fact that I sat down.
“Hey, how’s it going?”
“Good. They were out of tuna salad. What’s going on?”
“Darlene met some random guy at the Walmart the other day, struck up a conversation with him, and then decided he was my dream guy.”
Darlene frowned. “He’s good looking, and has a job!”
“What’s his job? I won’t date another landscaper…”
“He’s got some office job, not sure. But he’s good looking!”
“Does he have red hair? Because I don’t want to date someone with red hair.”
“I already told you, his hair is brown. And no, before you ask, he’s not balding.”
Shauna looked at me. “She actually asked the guy if he thought he would bald eventually. With me right there on the phone. Can you believe that?”
I shook my head no and I brushed my hand through my own hair, wondering.
“Then she handed me the phone, and I had what was probably the most awkward conversation in my life.”
“He’s nice!” she added. “I would date him if I weren’t already married to Pete.”
“Does he have a lisp or a limp?” Shauna asked.
“DOES HE HAVE A LISP OR A LIMP? I won’t date a guy who has either.”
“You talked to him, did it sound like he had a lisp?” she asked.
“No, but still.”
“No. To both. No limp, no lisp.”
“Wait,” I broke in. “What if he had a limp, but it was only temporary?” Shauna looked at me like I was crazy. “Like if he stubbed his toe, like an hour ago. Or that time I sprained my ankle. I had a limp, but it wasn’t permanent…”
Shauna looked away from me and back to Darlene. “Okay let me ask you this. Does he look like he would spend a lot of time playing Modern Warfare? Because I’ve done that already… I do not want to date someone else who plays video games ninety percent of the time.”
Darlene shook her head. “I don’t think so. I didn’t ask…”
“Is he a Trekkie?”
“Star Trek! Does he look like he would watch a lot of weird TV shows?”
“I think he watches Lost. Is that similar?”
I couldn’t believe I was hearing this conversation. It seemed scary to experience a woman’s thought process as she decided if someone is date-worthy. I wondered if all women thought this way, or if this was just Shauna’s perspective. I did secretly love Lost, but I wasn’t sure which way she leaned on that topic.
“Darlene, come on. Do you think he’s crazy?”
“Crazy crazy, you know. Is he a creeper?”
“What’s a creeper?”
“Would I set you up with someone creepy?
“I don’t know. Is he creepy?”
Darlene sighed again and took a bite of her sandwich to keep from answering.
“You do have to be careful with crazy,” I blurted, trying to fill in the quiet. “I once dated a girl who wouldn’t let me look at her in the morning.”
All eyes pointed towards me like a lobster had just crawled out of my pants.
“What?” they both said.
“She had some sort of mental thing… she’d spend an hour in the bathroom every morning before I could look at her.”
“Body dysmorphic disorder! That’s what it’s called.”
Still staring at me.
“Although sometimes I think she spent most of the time in the bathroom crying…”
I should probably shut up.
“That’s… that’s really crazy, Ben. That can’t have been a good relationship.”
I looked down at my food. “It was okay.”
Darlene surprised me. “So that means there was no morning sex? Damn, I love morning sex. What a great way to start the day.”
Now all eyes were on her.
“TMI, Darlene,” Shauna said.
We both rolled our eyes.
Darlene continued. “Didn’t he add you on Facebook?”
I looked up. I didn’t even know Shauna had a Facebook. Why wasn’t I her friend on there?
“Then you saw his pictures. He has some up, right?”
“Yeah… but pictures… I dunno…”
I broke in. “People always pick the ones they look best in, and sometimes they are lies. The photos could be old, or even someone else! Or just from a good angle. I once had this Internet date and the girl…”
“Okay, stop right there,” interrupted Darlene. “He’s not a bad looking guy in real life. Okay? Can you take my word for it?”
“Well anyway, the guy doesn’t have a limp or a lisp, he has a full head of not-red hair, and as far as I know he’s not a sci-fi nerd or a Trekkie or anything else but a normal guy.”
“Except he shops at Walmart.”
“Except for that, yes.”
“I don’t shop at Walmart,” I said. I thought about just shutting up, since every single thing I said got me odd looks.
Darlene picked up her tray. “Okay, I’m done. I’ve got to get back to the office; we’re buried in work up there. Have a nice date tonight!”
Shauna and I waved goodbye.
“You’re going out with him tonight?”
“Well… good luck?”
She nodded again.
“How long have you known Darlene?”