The epic saga of '90s dating

August 01, 1994|By KEVIN COWHERD

Gerry and Trish, a modern romance:

BOY MEETS GIRL, SORT OF -- Gerry calls Trish from his car phone. Trish punches Caller ID, sees unfamiliar number, barks into phone: "How'd you get this number, creep? Look, I got Mace, I got a brown belt in karate, I got a big dog here, might as well be a timber wolf. Plus I'm armed."

Gerry explains that he got her number through a computer dating service they both belong to. He's calling to ask her out to dinner Saturday night.

"Oh," says Trish. "Around what, 8 o'clock?"

They agree to meet at a Szechuan restaurant. Gerry takes eyes off road momentarily to hang up the phone and nearly rear-ends a UPS truck.

FIRST DATE -- In his computer dating service bio, Gerry described himself as "tall and athletic-looking." It turns out he looks vaguely like Teller of the Penn & Teller magic duet, only shorter.

Trish's bio listed her as "caring, positive, a people person." When she sits down, a can of pepper spray rolls out of her purse and clatters onto the floor.

Nevertheless, the food is good. He likes her smile. She likes his sense of humor. They agree to see each other again.

SECOND DATE -- Dinner at a Mexican restaurant and a casual exchange of relationship histories.

THIRD DATE -- A swim party, followed by a more detailed and frank examination of sexual biographies.

FOURTH DATE -- Steamed crabs and pitchers of beer, highlighted by the exchange of blood test results.

FIFTH DATE -- Dinner at an Italian restaurant, winding up with a joint analysis of polygraph data.

SIXTH DATE -- A jazz concert at a harbor amphitheater, during which Trish makes a mental note to hire a private investigator to look into Gerry's affairs, see if he's secretly married, bi-sexual, a coke addict, etc.

SEVENTH DATE -- Gerry and Trish take in a ballgame, have a few drinks, end up at his place.

Then -- ta-daa! -- it happens. Wild, spontaneous sex -- preceded by a brief timeout for adjustment of bedroom lighting, placement of Ravel's "Bolero" on the CD player, proper positioning of bed's hydraulic seven-position headrest, fitting of condom, etc.

EIGHTH DATE -- Gerry takes Trish sailing -- she spends the afternoon cold, miserable, seasick. Lately she finds herself becoming increasingly annoyed at the way he ends each sentence with the expression " 'kay?" ("So I take the car to the mechanic, 'kay? And the mechanic says it's the transmission, 'kay? He wants $1700 bucks to fix it, 'kay?")

NINTH DATE -- Burgers and Amstel Lights at this retro-diner kind of place, art deco stuff on the ceiling, pictures of Eisenhower, Joe DiMaggio and Mr. Ed on the walls.

Gerry hates the place, it was her idea. He's about to tell her he hates the place when she launches into one of her umpteenth stories about her stupid cat, Moses.

Gerry finds his attention drifting to an old photo of Dennis the Menace.

"You're not much of a cat person, are you?" he hears Trish say. He snaps his head around, but it's too late.

For the rest of the evening, she is very quiet.

TENTH DATE -- Dinner at a Thai joint. The conversation is awkward, strained.

Suddenly, Trish leans forward to say something. Gerry thinks: Oh, geez, here we go about Moses the Super Cat again. But instead Trish says: "We have to talk."

In quiet, measured tones, she accuses Gerry of being self-centered, inconsiderate, superficial and remote -- not to mention incredibly biased against cats.

Reeling, Gerry says he has never met anyone as petty and demanding, and wonders aloud about her unseemly fondness for weapons.

"What are we packing today," he sneers, "Chinese throwing stars and a .38 with a silencer?"

By the time dessert arrives, Gerry and Trish have decided not to see each other anymore.

However, they agree to part as "friends."

EPILOGUE -- On her next date, with a pale, thin man who sells bathroom fixtures and who described himself in his computer dating service bio as a "rugged outdoorsman," Trish says: "My last boyfriend? I . . . I'm not ready to talk about it. We were so in love."

Gerry does not date again for many weeks. He does, however, tack this addendum to his computer bio: "No games, no cat-worshipers, please."

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