On Monday morning, 4am, I broke down and made an account on PleaseSomeone.com, against the advice of Mee-ma, who insisted I’d find a “sturdy” girl at mass. Mee-ma thinks I go to her church. Her church burnt down in 2006. Mee-ma puts salt in her coffee sometimes and hopes we don’t notice. Dad is building Mee-ma a tiny house in the backyard.
Dad told me not to bother finding a second wife, that sex is overrated, that I’d get used to jerking off. Mee-ma laughed until hot, salty coffee came out her nose and said masturbation was a Deadly Sin.
I’m in hell, here, Leah, take me back. I don’t want to date. Whatever I did, I don’t deserve this.
On PleaseSomeone.com, you fill out a twenty-six page profile. It asks you to choose fifteen favorite hobbies from a list of seventeen. Two of them are kayaking. None of them are smoking weed in the kitchen while dad takes Mee-ma to the park for a game of fetch. The kitchen is good for smoking weed because you can burn toast to mask the odor. Of weed. And shame. Shame smells like drinking Natural Light until falling asleep and pissing the mattress and exchanging the mattress with Mee-ma’s.
The PleaseSomeone.com algorithm matched me with Katie. I take an Uber to Nashville, thirty miles away, to meet her at a restaurant I can’t afford called Cork and Cow.
“Don’t tell her about the brain surgery,” I keep telling myself. I really want to tell her about the brain surgery: it’s my best story. High powered suction–skoosh. Usually, when I get to that part, I make the sound of that doodad the hygienist uses to suck the spit out of your mouth during a cleaning and people laugh.
Katie’s prettier than I expect her to be. She’s got kids. All the women on PleaseSomeone.com have kids because men don’t want to date women with children. Ask them. I like kids. I used to teach them useless shit, like how to make puppets and who Moliere was, until Vice Principal Maddox discovered me drinking a sixer in the wood shop during my plan time.
Katie is short. I’m tall. That’s the algorithm, maybe? Other than slightly crooked teeth, stunning. Stunning in a haggard way. PleaseSomeone.com does not do profile pics. My anxiety rockets. With no back up plan, I simply must tell her about the brain surgery. I launch into it immediately after ordering a diet Dr. Pepper. “I don’t drink,” I lie, “because of the seizures.” She knows I’m epileptic because of my profile info. All our medical history’s on there. Her endometriosis.
She finds my brain surgery story a riot. I follow up with the one about fighting the EMTs at O’Charley’s. That one lost me my driver’s license. That’s the short version. I tell the long version.
She agrees to pay for the meal. I apologize, then she offers to drive me all the way back to Lebanon from Nashville, but I chivalrously decline, realize halfway back that I screwed my opportunity to screw. But if she gives me five stars, I’ll roll the dice on a date with straight teeth. That’s my kink.
My Uber home smells like wet dog and raspberry vape. My driver, Grace, has Funko Pops of the Big Bang Theory characters on her dash. She doesn’t realize my brain surgery story is supposed to be funny. After several miles of silence, I tell it again.
Grace finally offers that she had a crown popped in recently.
“Skoosh?” I say.
“Skoosh,” she agrees.