Aug 16, 2018, 06:28AM

The End of the Affair

A once-promising first date comes to a swift conclusion.

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“Busy, huh?” asked dejected fanboy Danny Cater. “Jeez, most of the girls around here are super busy. Say, did I mention that I lost some pounds on the Weight Watchers program? I’ve been saving my points for the past three weeks, so perhaps we could share a 50-ounce Nutella cheesecake.”

Camden Camden twirled her empty straw wrapper around the finger where an engagement ring had once been. She wasn’t entirely sure why she’d decided to go out with this wan, uninteresting geekazoid, but she meant to end their first date as soon as possible. That recent New York Times hot take was right on the money, it seems: jocks rule and nerds drool. “That sounds nice, Danny, but I’ve got to get up around, uh, 3 a.m. for my Pure Barre.”

“That seems rather early for a bar association meeting,” Cater said. “Then again, I’m often deep into the action figurine painting forums around that time. Lost in the weeds, as they say, arguing whether Time Man’s shoulder pads would look better painted ‘rust umber’ or ‘technicolor peach.’”

Camden took another sip of her sea-salted vegan hot chocolate. Cater had bought it for her, but even his gift of this seasonally appropriate beverage wasn’t enough to salvage their dismal meet-cute. “That’s how it is with Pure Barre,” she said, forcing a smile. “We have to get there early in the morning, because most of us are so busy with all the other exciting things we do.”

Another busy woman! Cater couldn’t believe his bad luck. Why did he have to live in a fun suburban area where the women led such active lives, going to bar association meetings in strip malls and whatnot? “Well, it’s five in the afternoon and I got up an hour ago. The morning is still young, as they say.”

“Yes, that’s something they say. The ones who get up at 4 p.m., at least,” Camden agreed. “Anyway, I need to get going. You know, what with my being extra busy with Pure Barre and all.” 

“May I give you a sweet goodbye kiss?” Cater asked, bending forward across the table in case she actively consented to this overture. “I believe that’s the polite thing to do under these circumstances.”

A look of disgust flashed across Camden’s face. “Oh no, god no,” she said. Then, after composing herself, she added, “Look, dude, I’ll see you around. I mean, I’ll see you when I see you. Whenever that happens to be, you know.”

Cater rubbed his tiny hands together. “It’s been a pleasure,” he said. ”I think the Zoloft is making me a much more agreeable dinner companion.”

Camden got up and pulled her purse over her shoulder. “That’s good to hear, I guess. I hope you have the best of luck with your action figures and whatnot.”

After she’d departed, Cater checked his phone. It was almost 5:30 p.m. Another girl he’d met on Tinder would arrive in a few minutes, and he now had some spare time to reply to a few recent posts about action figurines. He was well ahead of schedule.


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