I forgot her name.
It’s only been a month since I spoke with her, but it’s gone, vapor, into the clouds. I’m looking at my phone right now, at our old messages. On the app, her screen name is just “JL” – her initials – and I have no idea what it could be.
It’s not something simple as Julie or Jennifer, or a derivative like Jen. It’s something plain and … Oh, wait, it was Jane. Nevermind. Jane.
I met Jane on Coffee Meets Bagel. We both “Super Liked” each other, or whatever version they have on that dating app. I opened conversation with, “Hey, we super like each other!” Fast forward the obligatory two weeks that you need to chat with LA women in order to secure the first date (in Toronto, it’s a matter of minutes before both parties agree to a quick coffee or beer).
“Hey, let’s go eat tomorrow,” I said.
“Well looks like someone finally grew some balls,” she said.
“What? Wait, no! I slowed my roll because you fucking Cali girls made me!”
Jane and I made plans to meet on Thursday night and then she promptly bailed on them. “I won’t able to meet until 10pm,” she said. “Can we reschedule?” LA is full of women – people – who are flaky as fuck, and as result I’m sadly part of the jaded masses who assume that every temporary reschedule is a permanent snub. “If you can meet me Friday night instead, I’ll figure everything out for us,” she said.
On Friday night, I jumped into an Uber for Dave & Buster’s. I arrived first and drank a mojito at the bar, rowdy with every single demographic imaginable, in every single age group. Bizarre, that even in an exciting city like Los Angeles, with bars and beaches and comedy shows and live music, the local Dave & Buster’s is still a choice venue for a Friday night.
I bought two game cards for us, whatever the special was, $39 for 30 games or some shit. It didn’t matter, we played exactly two games the entire night.
Jane texted that she just parked and was walking in. “I’m right at the entrance of the bar, at a stand up table.” She walked into the bar and we hugged and was grateful that she was exactly how she looked in her photos, a rarity on the online dating scene in LA!
Jane is tall, 5’9”, slim (verging on skinny), with a medium-length asymmetrical bob and what could be the bitchiest resting bitch face I’d ever seen. She was wearing fitted light blue jeans, a gray hoodie with a black leather motorcycle jacket on top. She was casual, but very well put together. She looked expensive, you know? Especially the Maserati key on her gold keychain.
“You look so much bitchier in person.” That was the first thing that I said to her. She gave me a glare – an ice-cold glare, with her bitchiest resting-bitch-face face – and I qualified it with, “I love it so much.”
“I get that often,” she smiled. I led her to the bar where I had a tab and ordered another pint while she got a Diet Coke. Jane used to drink whiskey, she said, but came to a point where she was drinking a bottle and not getting drunk, so knew it was time to quit alcohol forever. She’s now a connoisseur of marijuana and claims that she can mimic any state of drunkenness or high by combining different strains.
We walked around Dave & Busters, me with my beer and her with her Diet Coke. It was a good sign that we were in a place surrounded by stimuli, but were so engrossed in conversation that we weren’t distracted by any of it.
She’s 29 and in school to get her PhD. Something something fine arts. She grew up as an artist and wanted to “turn the pretentious art industry on its head”, which is a noble pursuit but so hopeless and nonsensical (in the grand scheme of things) that it sort of exploited her youngness (this is unfair). I had no idea she was in this world, and so when I told her about my foray into the scene – well, one gallery show and a slew of boxes for Godiva – she looked at me as if I was lying. She looked at me as if she were thinking, Why wouldn’t you bring this up sooner?
Her other job is to help young Korean hip-hop acts break into North America.
We played a racing game where I used up all of my nitrous oxide desperately and haphazardly, and handedly beat her when I really wanted to let her win and come in a respectable second place for myself.
I asked if she wanted to step outside, take a few puffs of her vaporizer. “I usually don’t smoke in front of new people, but okay.” I took a few drags and coughed violently, my throat no longer accustomed to a thick cloud of smoke. “This is sativa. I got it for my depression.”
“Oh right, you can just pretend you have depression and get a prescription, yeah?”
“No,” she said, “I really have depression sometimes.”
Back inside, we sat in a booth in the restaurant section and ordered more beer, more Diet Coke, and an order of French fries. She placed an empty plate in front of me and squirted some ketchup on the side. “I’ve never had anyone do that for me before,” I said.
Jane was high and I was drunk, so we talked about nothing and laughed about everything. Then I found out she had to wake up at 6am for a long drive to Big Bear Lake (or something) and urged her to go. “We’re going to meet again, aren’t we? So whatever, just go and get some sleep. I’m pretty sure we’re going to meet again.”
“Yeah, we are,” she said.
I walked her to the parking garage. It was a chilly night in February and so she had her hoodie pulled up over her ears, the collar of her black leather motorcycle popped up. I hugged her, said goodnight and kissed her on the cheek, or where her cheek would be if she hadn’t donned her hoodie. “Have fun snowboarding, I’ll see you when you get back,” I said.
We never met again.