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By S.A.M. I AM

It started off as a joke.

At the urging of my friends, I filled out a personal ad since 1) I was single, and more significant, 2) I was seemingly sentenced to a lifetime of social deprivation. Or so it felt.

What the hell, I thought, nothing ventured nothing gained -- or is that pained?

So I had fun with it. Being the ever humorous Chinese American male that I am, I composed this ounce of wit:

Single Asian Male, 28, tall, cut, fit, gorgeous, humble, modest, seeks verbal sparring partner for kicks. You must be attractive, flexible, and be able to sweep me off my feet. Literally. Attack now.

Now, truth be told, I had played the personal ads game before a few years back. My girlfriend and I had just broken up, and I was looking for a little excitement in my life. While I did meet some interesting women through the personals, none of them were really my type, for one reason or another.

For example, there was:

The JAMAICAN WOMAN who was getting her PhD in literature at Stanford. Dates: 1 (coffee shop). Problem: She was way too smart for my B-lifetime-average ass.

A VIETNAMESE LADY who was in dental school. Dates: 2 (coffee shop, dinner at crepe restaurant). Problem: While attractive, I couldn't get over the fact that she had an affair with a married man. Gag me with a toothbrush.

A CAUCASIAN GAL, student, who had a thing for Asian guys. Dates: 1 (coffee shop). Problem: She was bisexual. Hmmm, come to think of it, that was a problem?

And an AFRICAN AMERICAN woman who was studying psychiatry. She had dazzling eyes and a cute figure. Dates: 2 (coffee shop, video at my place). Problem: Quiet people make me nervous, and especially quiet psychiatry students. Was she analyzing me? What did she see? I didn't want to know.

So given my batting average through the personals, I really didn't expect much this time at the plate.

Soon after my ad ran, I recorded a voice greeting for those responding to my ad. My message went something like this:

Hi. Thanks for calling. Like my ads says, I'm a single Asian American male, attractive, tall and fit, looking for someone fun and attractive. I hate flakes, insincerity and red-light runners. I love sexy shoes. Leave me a message.

Immediately I got a response from a woman with a thick Russian accent (imagine Yeltsin with a higher voice): "I really liked your ad. My name is ------. Give me a call."

Since she didn't leave any description of herself, I imagined the worst. So I deleted her message.

A few days later, I got another reply. But this one sounded interesting:

"Wow. I really liked your ad. It really jumped out at me. You sound really interesting. My name is -----, I'm a strawberry blond, thin, attractive, I used to dance so I am flexible. I hate flakes too, and drive really well and don't run lights. And it's so funny how you said you like sexy shoes. I have lots of sexy shoes. Give me a call."

So I called. She wasn't home.

After some phone tag, however, we finally connected. We had a good conversation, so we decided a date was in order.

We met at a Mexican restaurant near her neighborhood, which is primarily white yuppie, as us non-white yuppies like to say. I arrived on time for my blind date – always a nerve-wracking experience – and scanned the joint for my sexy shoe woman. I didn't see anyone who fit her description.

So I took a seat at the bar, and scanned the room again, hoping that someone would scan back. No luck.

About five excruciatingly long minutes later, an attractive blonde, about 5'6" and slender with shoulder-length hair, walked in wearing a black jacket, black sarong and black strappy shoes with high heels. She scanned the restaurant and her eyes stopped on me. She smiled. And it was a great one at that.

Of course, I was easy to pick out: tall, Asian, muscular, modest. I must have stood out like a chopstick in a room full of forks.

I walked over to her and introduced myself. She was out of breath and admitted as much. Once she calmed down, we sat and began talking about ourselves. She did most of the talking, however.

From our two-hour date, I found out that:

  • She gets lots of marriage proposals
  • She always wondered what it would be like to date an Asian guy (in the same way I wonder what mango ice cream tastes like)
  • She's an aspiring screenwriter
  • She likes my black hair (which she started stroking)
  • She's very friendly (she kept touching my arm as she spoke, and at one point, grabbed my right bicep)
  • Her family's rich
  • She goes to church
  • She doesn't sleep around but believes in premarital sex

I guess I didn't come off as some weird psycho-stalker, since she asked me to give her a ride home. Our date ended with me walking her to her doorsteps and me meeting her huge dog, who sniffed me like I had Alpo in my boxers.

A few weeks passed before our next date because we were both in Hawaii – different islands, however. When we both got back home, I gave her a call. I caught her in bed, which was enticing enough, but then she had to go on and heighten my sexual tension over the phone:

"I bought these really nasty shoes in Hawaii. Oh, they're so nasty, I can't wear them outside the house. Maybe next time if we eat in I'll wear them for you. Oh, and I bought this really droopy dress. I'll model it for you. It'll be like a fashion show."

Good God. I knew my writing ability would pay off some day. So we had a second date, this time at a Chinese restaurant called the Firecracker in a hip/dangerous part of San Francisco. The food was adequate, although I was more impressed by the decor of the establishment.

During our one-and-a-half-hour date, I learned:

  • She likes to talk about herself
  • She enjoys eating, including things off my plate
  • She was married once, for less than a year
  • She really, really likes to talk about herself

Granted, she seemed decent enough of a person, but man, you'd think the food she was inhaling would slow down her talking. But it didn't. At one point, I felt like I could have slipped out of the restaurant for a few minutes and slipped back in, and she would have still been talking. I felt invisible.

I mean, I like people who know how to express themselves, and share information about who they are. But conversation is a two-way street, and the light in her mouth was an eternal green, with DO NOT ENTER signs protruding from her ears.

By the end of the night, it felt as though she not only bent my ear, but ripped it from my head, consumed it over rice with fava beans and a nice chianti.

The night ended with a tour of her apartment, more of her dog, and some subtle hints that I should kiss her good night.

It didn't feel right, so I didn't, to most of my male friends' dismay. "What the hell's wrong with you?!" my buddies, who were desperately trying to live vicariously through me, would say.

I don't know. Rather than get swept off my feet, I felt like I got sucker-punched in the head.

Exit the Dragon.