He had no idea what was a good piece of sushi versus a bad one, so he just ordered the ones with strange pronunciations and sat back to let fate dictate how it turned out. She was the type of girl that decorated her entire apartment with kitsch from Venice Beach, for under $20, he thought, so what did it really matter anyway?
His $300 jacket hung on the back of his chair. He regretted bringing it along, figured it might intimidate her, wished he had wore his Alman Brothers vintage t-shirt. The room buzzed with conversation, style — he was satisfied with his choice of venues. It pumped him full of confidence.
“So how long have you been in Los Angeles?” He asked.
“Oh, I’ve been here for five years. It’s home to me now. How about you?”
He looked her seductively in the eyes and lied, “I don’t like to talk about myself. I’d rather hear about you. What made you move here?” Truth is, he loved to talk about himself.
She hesitated. Then, “Um, okay. If you insist. I came out with my boyfriend, and because I had a pretty good job waiting for me. I promptly lost them both, but I liked it so much that I stayed. People give L.A. a bad rap but it’s just because they don’t give it a chance,” she mused. “There are nice people here. You’re nice.”
He took note of the compliment and quickly recalibrated his chances of getting laid tonight. “Thanks. That’s a great thing to say about someone. I think you’re pretty nice yourself.”
Her cheeks turned a redder shade and his calibration shifted up once again.
“I originally wanted to do hair and makeup but found that to be draining and pretty shallow. So now I teach English in high school, it’s draining but at least there are some rewarding moments when you see the students catch on and start to get it.”
He was surprised to hear that she was only a teacher, a little curious. “Yeah, but can’t you make a lot more in Hollywood?” He asked. “I mean, those stylists make a ton of money. Five hundred a day!”
“Yeah, but, I mean, at the end of the day, it’s not about a paycheck.”
He laughed. “Okay. I get it. I get it.”
The waitress dropped off the plates. “Oh, I love toro,” she said, quick to change the subject.
He had no idea which one the toro was. He smiled at her, made a joke inside his head about tuna, then offered, “Go ahead and have both pieces then.”
“Alright….” She took a piece in between three of her fingers and dipped it fish-side down in soy sauce.
He laughed.”Trouble with chopsticks?”
“Oh, no, I can use chopsticks just fine. This is how you’re really supposed to eat sushi. Americans do it wrong. I spent half a year in Japan when I was younger, teaching English. One of the best experiences of my life! I know what I’m doing.”
He was embarrassed, and slightly upset with her for showing him up. “Japan, huh? It’s kinda overrated.”
“Oh, you’ve been?”
“No, but… I just think it’s overcrowded and the culture is, what’s a good word for it? Busy. They just want to be Americans. It’s a very cluttered, obnoxious culture.”
She took another piece of toro, dipped it in soy sauce, then consumed it hole.
“You know where I’d like to go?” He continued. “Amsterdam!”
“Amsterdam, huh? That’s original.”
He took a swig of Asahi, then patted his mouth with his napkin. “Yeah, totally,” he said. “I think it’d be cool to visit the coffee shops and then explore the city and the dikes. Not lesbians, mind you, but all the canals.”
“Yeah, I know what dikes are,” she said, annoyed.
He chuckled and arched his eyebrows. “Oh, do you?” He asked.
She swallowed half of her large Saporo and excused herself to the bathroom. He sat at the table feeling pretty good about how the date was going. He liked the way her red hair curled around her ear and how her long legs traveled a freeway’s-length up to her perfectly-shaped ass. He tried a piece of mackeral and wondered how the Japanese could eat this stuff regularly. I hope I get to suck on those voluptuous breasts of hers, he thought, looking around the room at the other girls on dates.
She must be fixing her hair and makeup, it’s taking her so long, another good sign, he decided. After another fifteen minutes, when she still hadn’t come out of the bathroom, he started to recalibrate his chances of scoring downward. And then when he was still along twenty minutes after that he decided that she was a total dog to begin with and he had escaped a huge mistake. I knew it! She must have been intimidated by me, he reckoned. He paid the check and contemplated what the hell he should do with the rest of his Saturday night. There must be one chick out there who recognizes a stud when she sees one!