Everyone remembers their first date. I certainly remember mine. I was 22 and I had just been promoted from junior copywriter to copywriter. In fact, I remember my first date like it was yesterday. Her name was Judy or Joan or Jennifer or something. I remember it started with a â€˜Jâ€™ or possibly even an â€˜Mâ€™.
I took her to a fancy restaurant called Yellowfin. I had been staring at my menu for only five minutes before she asked me if I was ready and I told her I wasnâ€™t even done proofreading the menu yet, much less ready to order. I saw that the restaurant had misspelled osso buco and it had written your instead of youâ€™re. Obviously, I made the necessary marks with my red pen. When I looked up, she was looking at me as if she were about to ask a question and then decided against it. I felt ashamed. I wasnâ€™t sure I could date a woman who proofread faster than me. Up until that point, I was sure this was the woman I would fall in love with, move in with, marry, buy a cocker spaniel with, divorce over financial concerns, try to erase from my memory by dating a girl I met at a bar, realize I had made a mistake divorcing, re-marry, have twins with, nearly die trying to fix a flat tire for on the side of the highway, grow old with, and be buried alive by. But now?
Life is like that, you know. If you want to make God laugh, make a plan. Not that I believe in God or plans or laughter.
Our second date seemed to go pretty smoothly, although it did get awkward on the way home, when she and I played the Tagline Game. You know the one: where one person names a company and a year, and the other person guesses the tagline for that company during that year. Pretty common game. Sadly, she didnâ€™t get one correct answer. I started with a tough one: â€œMicrosoft, 1996.â€ She guessed, â€œWhat the fuck are you talking about?â€ when everyone knows the answer is â€œWhere do you want to go today?â€ Ten questions later, I threw a softball and said, â€œNike, 1999.â€ She guessed the tagline â€œJust. Please stop.â€ So close!
On our third date, she invited me up to her apartment and thatâ€™s when I really got a taste of her sense of humor. Upon walking in, I asked where all her books were. She laughed and said, â€œI donâ€™t read.â€ I joined in her laughter and let the joke ride, assuming that, in reality, she was probably just getting the booksâ€™ hardcovers professionally dusted at the local antiquarianâ€™s, like I do every few months. Later in the night, we watched television and things got pretty romantic. She was loosening my tie (Windsor knot) when a Ford commercial came on and, man, was it horrible! All style and no substance. I deconstructed it for her, explaining what made it a bad commercial and I guess she disagreed with me because she just kind of stared at me in wonder. I went over my argument again, point by point, and she shook her head and got all huffy. She was a tough nut to crack! â€œListen,â€ I said, â€œadvertising is subjective and thereâ€™s no reason to get all steamed up.â€ I then tried to lighten the mood by offering to play the Tagline Game, but I guess she was still sore from losing the other night because, at that point, she asked me to leave.
Obviously, I called her the next day, to make sure she was okay. Again, I told her it was fine if she disagreed with my deconstruction of the Ford commercial, but she told me that it wasnâ€™t my deconstruction that bothered her.Â It was clear that she was in denial. I recited to her the definition of â€˜denialâ€™ (I had memorized it during a previous relationship) and thatâ€™s when she hung up. Well thatâ€™s that, I thought. End of story, right?
Because something happened the next night. I was at home, putting my professionally-dusted books back onto the bookshelves when the same Ford commercial came on. I knew it was a sign. Obviously, she was thinking about me. So I did what any self-respecting man would do: I created a website that weighed the pros and cons of the Ford commercial. I made sure there were almost as many pros as there were consâ€”I didnâ€™t want her to think I was giving in to her opinion, but I also wanted her to feel good about her opinion. The Ford commercial was bad, but thinking otherwise didnâ€™t make her a bad person. And maybe she can recognize bad commericals for other companies, but just not Ford? That would be something.
Anyway, I emailed her the link to my website, but she changed her email address. Also, her phone number. And yes, yes, I wrote a tri-fold brochure and had an art-director buddy lay it out, which I mailed to her. But, alas, it was returned to sender.
What can I say? Itâ€™s just your typical â€œBoy Meets Girl, Boy Dates Girl, Boy Deconstructs A Ford Commercial, Girl Dumps Boy, Boy Creates Tri-Fold Brochureâ€ story. Nothing big. And sure, itâ€™s got a sad ending. I mean, I never saw her again and she broke my heart. But the good news is, I never saw that Ford commercial again.
Man, that commercial sucked.