Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Annette/Benjamin: Practice Date Night

The funny thing about writing about yourself is that, in trying to get an idea across through your own experiences, you can often wind up presenting a fairly skewed version of reality. The last few weeks haven't been nearly as despairing as you might think from reading about me looking for work - that process did, after all, overlap the trip to New York. Weirdness that comes from seeing Benny, Kareena, and Ravi aside, that was a lot of fun.

There was more fun to be had later. Looking through the shoebox of stuff that Ronan had left behind, I found a couple of things he didn't tell me about. I sent him a message on Facebook, but when he didn't respond after a half-hour or so, I called Missy.

"So," I said, "there are these two tickets to Friday night's Red Sox game here, and there's no reason why Ronan and... his wife, I guess we'll call her, wouldn't be coming down here to use them, especially since he must have figured on being himself again by game day, but I can't get hold of them. Would us using the tickets be awful?"

Missy thought for a second on the other end of the line. "If he was planning on using it after he changed back, then wouldn't he have been planning on going with Sandra?"

I hadn't thought of that. "You're right! We would be stealing Sandra's date! Fuck her!"

Missy approved of my enthusiasm, at least, and we agreed to meet up in front of Gate C before game time. I quickly recalled that I had a shift that night, but it's Boston, and even when it's the end of a losing season and you've just started a new job, saying that you have Sox tickets excuses any need for last-minute schedule shuffling. I'd have to pull a double on Sunday, but no big deal.

We both wound up getting there fairly early - I was nervous about the Green Line being even more of a nightmare than usual and she lives close enough that it was a short walk when she saw me tweet out a selfie in front of the "Teammates" statue.

(Is having a social media presence weird in our situation? Or maybe just at the start? I kind of feel like I'm misrepresenting myself or Benny, but if this is me for either the rest of my life or an open-ended amount of time, I want to be out there.)

Messy showed up about ten or fifteen minutes later, and even though she's short compared to some in the crowd, she was tough to miss. She wasn't the only Asian girl, not by a long shot, but I suspect that there's something about her gait, especially in flats that don't force her to be especially feminine, that says "guy in girl's body" to those of us in the know.

Plus, she was doing her best to bend the brim of a newly-purchased Mets cap despite her fairly small hands. It didn't quite match the rest of her outfit - white top with polka dots and a scoop neckline, new-looking red canvas sneakers, and jeans that I swear must have been specifically tailored to her legs and butt - but it hardly ruined the effect, either.

"You say that you don't dress up for me, but, damn, you look nice."

She shrugged, trying to give the impression that this just happened but not blushing enough to sell it. "I inherited a closet full of nice stuff, is all."

"Uh-huh. Still trying to root for the old team?"

"Just because I'm living here now doesn't make me a Red Sox fan, and this is the Mets' best team in years..."

There was a bit of an auto ward silence for a moment, which Missy made a little weirder by commenting that it must look kind of like "Benny & Missy" was still a thing. I joked that if this were the case, the evening would have started with dinner, at which point Missy sort of cocked her head toward the various spots behind the ballpark and pointed out that we could skip stadium sausages. Since I was, in fact, kind of hungry, we went into the one with what looked like the shortest line, since there was just an hour or so until the game.

Conversation was kind of slow, at first, I think because she had read my previous entry and didn't want to depress me with how much fun she was having at college. I appreciated it, although it was weird, and after about ten minutes I asked if there was some other Trading Post-like place in Hong Kong, because considerate, stylish Missy seemed like a different person than caustic slob Jordan.  She had a bit of attitude when asking if that was a compliment or complaint, and then rolled her eyes when I said to never mind as a result.

The food, at least, was pretty decent, although she sighed a bit when she got halfway through her burger and said that should probably be it for her. I started eating fries off her plate and asked if she missed overeating.

She shrugged. "Not more than I like looking cute." Then she smiled and struck a pose with her head tilted and resting on clasped hands, before sticking her tongue out at me.

When the bill came, she reached out to take it even though it had been placed more on my side of the table than hers, actually coming off her chair a bit to do so, and though the server wasn't that old - mid-thirties, I would guess - she was apparently a bit of a traditionalist about certain things, because she gave me a disapproving look, like I was sub-human if I didn't snatch that leatherette folder with the receipt in it out of her hands right away.

Missy took a second to notice, and there was a moment when it looked like she thought she'd screwed up, but instead her eyes got a "mind your own business" look as she pulled a credit card out of her wallet, stuck it into the plastic holder, and held the whole thing out so that the waitress had to take it from her hand.

It was a weirdly contentious moment, so I tried to be playful once we were by ourselves again. "Forget who's the girl on this date?"

"No, it's just that getting something to eat was my idea and I... Fine, maybe a little. I didn't go out with guys as Deirdre so I didn't develop the habit of thinking someone else might pay."

I sensed there was something she wasn't saying, either about our respective bank accounts or what dating had been like for Jordan before the Inn, but maybe that was more on my mind than hers.  "Well, I clearly have to practice being the guy in that situation. It was actually a weird thing when I was Ravi - I usually paid when going out with Kareena, but when it was with other guys, it was sort of expected that we'd take a minute to figure out how it was going to work."

Once the bill came back, I talked Missy out of leaving a tiny tip, and we headed to Fenway. She made a big show of not being impressed, because everything in CitiField and Yankee Stadium (along with their predecessors) was bigger and newer, and Wally is apparently no Mr. Met.

Fortunately, it was a pretty great game. We were in the right-field bleachers, close enough to the visiting bullpen to yell abuse if we were in that sort of mood, although it wasn't the sort of game where that happened. Rich Hill, a local guy who was out of baseball at one point shut the Orioles down, and Bogaerts almost overtook Pedroia between third and home. I kind of wonder if I sounded like some jackass guy mansplaining baseball to the foreign girl at any point, even if I was mostly giving names because her favorite team was in the NL.

The end was terrific, with Hill almost giving up a home run with two out in the ninth, except Mookie Betts jumped and went halfway into the bullpen, using his throwing arm to brace himself and haul the ball back onto the field for the last at of the game.

Fenway went nuts! Everyone was screaming, and even Missy was excited enough by that point to start jumping up and down.  At some point, her hat flew off, and being distracted by that had her next bounce carry her in my direction. I caught her, stumbled a bit...

And then we were kissing.

It just sort of happened - her bottom had sort of landed in my hands, she grabbed at my back for support, and with our faces so close together, it was like instinct just took over.

It was really nice - she has soft lips, her breasts were pressed into my chest, and her butt felt great!  As soon as I felt her tongue on mine, though, I let go and let her drop, taking a step back as she released her own grasp, just in case I were to set hard and make things really weird.

"I'm sorry!" I couldn't think of anything else to say, especially around a bunch of people starting to leave the ballpark and some wanting to get past us.

She crouched down to get her cap, giving me a dear line of sight down her top, and it didn't set my dick off or anything, but it just suddenly seemed like a thing that add be misinterpreted. After picking it up, she stood and started walking backward, keeping eye contact. "It's okay."

People behind me wanting to set out, I walked toward her. ''Are you sure?"

There wasn't much more she could do but say "yes" as the route to the concourse and gate just became a serious mass of people, and I kind of lost track of her until we were out on Landsdowne Street and the crowd thinned out a bit. She was smiling at my embarrassment. "Some game. And that ending!"

"Stop it!"

"What? You're a good kisser!"  She started doing a butt-swaying one-foot-directly-in-front-of-the-other walk in my direction. "What else are you good at, I wonder?"

"Cut it out! I was just excited and then you were right on top of of me! It wasn't about you, exactly."

She crossed her arms and then used them to push her breasts up so that there was a fair amount of cleavage peeking out of her top. "That's not a very nice thing to tell a girl!"

I turned and started to walk away, but only made it a step or two before turning around. "What is with you? Why aren't you freaking out?  That's your first kiss as a girl; it should have come from a guy that really wants you as a woman, not the person who taught you how to put on make-up and bras and is still kind of weirded out that some switch has been flipped in his brain to make him start  to like girls!"

She dropped the coquette act and shrugged. "I was glad it was someone who understood who he was kissing."

"Oh. I guess that makes sense." A lot of sense, really.  "But you know that the next guy probably won't."

"Probably not." She put her Mets cap back on, pulling her ponytail through the hole. "I'm just glad you were my first!"

She said that with a breathy sarcasm, and I pulled the cap down over her eyes. ''If you're going to be all teen love story, I'm going to have to walk you home."

She lifted her cap and then held out an elbow. "Might as well; nothing to do in this town after 8pm for those of us too young to drink." We were passing the movie theater and she looked up at the listings. "Unless you want to help me pass as a Chinese film major by checking out the new Johnnie To movie? It's a musical about the financial crisis!"

"Yeah, I think we've done enough of the pretend date for tonight."

"You sure?" She smiled while asking. "It's okay, I'm going with some of 'my' school friends tomorrow. Good chance to practice my Mandarin, at least."

We chatted about some other stuff - baseball was safe.  It wasn't long before we got to her building, and she got a bit silly again. "Want to come up?"

I played along a bit. "Do I look like that kind of guy?"

"From what you told me..."

I gave her the finger, and she mimed catching a blown kiss against her chest. I opened the rest of my hand, turned around, and started walking away.

"Hey!" I turned around to see her running toward me, getting about halfway and stopping. "Maybe we can do another practice date sometime, get the paying for stuff and paying the right compliments down before trying it on the rubes."

I chuckled, turned around, and called out goodbye.

It had been a weird night, but it was good practice - and she did feel pretty good up against me.  As much as I can't really see going any further than that with Missy, this being a heterosexual man thing could be fun.

- Annette/Benjamin

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