THINGS UNSAID

A Perfect Match

Synopsis

A Perfect Match is a sly social commentary about the frontier of online dating.   The 32-year-old everywoman, Courtney Seymour, lives in Silicon Valley and has everything except a soulmate.   A  friends-to-lovers story with a double blind plot, A Perfect Match explores  not only Courtney’s dating journey but also an evolving insight into  herself as her office friendship transitions into a romantic relationship.  The Silicon Valley venue and a dash of Buddhism on the part of one Tinder dude add uniqueness to the story.

Excerpts from A Perfect Match

Rod is closer to being two decades older and will be the oldest guy I probably will ever go out with. Even so, this could be an interesting date. He better have a good story, though, to explain why he’s taking a thirty-something to ChezTJ’s and taking advice from friends of his mother. I don’t want to hear how the Valley had been farm land, famous for juicy Blenheim apricots before circuit boards were the regional crop. On the other hand, this evening he could be my private historian of high tech in northern California. He’s old enough and I love history.

“Hey, Courtney Seymour?” I nod. “You’re gorgeous and certainly not like the photo on the Plan Ahead website. What a nice surprise,” he adds. Is Rod trying to pull off smiling shyly, or is it genuine? Still, I like his smile. But then his face seems to close, to shut down somehow, like his performance is over. I actually can see his charm evaporate.

“I like your hair color, Courtney. It’s very Nebraska-like. You know, the corn huskers. Or should I say Iowa corn? Your grandparents were originally from there, weren’t they?” I’m surprised. He must have interrogated Gran or his mother had for him. Blind dates are, by their very nature, extremely awkward. At least for me.
“Oh, I Googled you ahead of time,” Rod continues, wiping the sweat off his brow with a monogrammed lavender handkerchief. Who even uses handkerchiefs nowadays–so Seville Row? I’m surprised I kind of like his style–something a bit different and unexpected.

“Your grandmother mentioned the name of your employer to my mother”–Mother! She must be 100!–“and from there it was easy. Even saw your condo on Google maps. Nice place for a starter real estate investment, that is–Palo Alto.” I actually can hear him sniff me as he leans near my ear to give me the slightest of kisses. Next I wonder if he’ll try to guess my perfume, to show he still can be in the game–that he’s a hipster and knows women. Or is he suggesting he can smell my pheromones? His eyelids close; his mouth stretches across his lower face in what I assume he thinks is a smile. Perhaps he’s as uncomfortable as I am.

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I look at my lamb, turning yellow and grey. No more appetite.

“Nice rack, Court,” Rod snickers again. Is that his attempt at a joke? He isn’t looking at my lamb. He cracks the steaming hot lobster, reaching for a crepe, as the juices spurt out across the table and onto my face, the butter and lobster juices drizzling down my dress. Shit! It may be ruined. “I can lick it off for you,” he smiles, his mouth open so I can see the pinkish lobster flesh stuck to his front teeth. “Let’s eat”, he grins, as he polishes off his second entree. Okay, that is Strike Three. How can I escape?

“You seem to really be attacking that poor creature with a vengeance.” I fight hard to compose my face, and wondering what it looks like to him. Rod slobbers over his lobster, not at all unlike Bumble’s drool on my face. Bumble is my favorite dog. “Maybe ordering all those supplemental dishes isn’t a good idea, Rod. We hardly have room on our table.” How can I cut off this evening early? I wish I could just disappear.

“Yeah, but I can’t resist lobster. Sometimes I’ll get one and just let it float in my salt water hot tub. I enjoy watching the creature slowly turn red and motionless.” Rod looks amused. Who doesn’t like animals? I assume he isn’t Buddhist and has no love for sentient beings. I’m going to strangle Gran first chance I get.

“Got to excuse myself for a moment,” Rod says, pushing his chair away from the table. “All that wine, I guess, with all that rich food. Will be back in just a moment. Don’t let your lamb get cold on account of me.” Standing up, Rod removes his lobster bib. I always think those bibs make the diner look like a big baby.

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{At Shalala, a ramen bar in Mountain View]
“Hey, I’m Courtney,” I whisper into the petite redhead’s ear, long chandelier earrings hanging, partly stuck between strands of unbelievably gossamer strawberry blond hair. Even her ear lobes look like they belong on a Hollywood starlet. “Do you want to play a joke on my friend over there?” I point to Simon who now looks up, stunned, his mouth actually open like a donut–or, in the circular shape of a miniature ramen bowl. I whisper my invitation.

“I’m Rachel. Sure…I’ll play along. You say it’s for his birthday? But, we really won’t do anything?”
I nod. “Nothing, I promise.  You follow me. His name is Simon.”
“Yeah, I figured that one out for myself. He’s texting me.”
“Nice to meet you and thanks. You can call me Court.” Every guy in Shalala is staring–at Rachel, not me, as we walk around the U-shaped counter back towards Simon.
“Hey Simon, I’d like to be part of your present along with Court here. For a threesome.” The redhead tosses her waves of hair, which don’t seem to stop undulating, the way I imagine Simon thinks Rachel would be in bed. Simon stumbles, trying to stand up, but almost falls off his stool instead. I catch his seat before it tips over.
“Whoa,” Simon mumbles. “Uh, uh…”
“Court and I go way back. So, I’d love to join you and party. Right after we eat our ramen, let’s go. My place or yours?” Rachel asks. “This calls for a celebration.”
Simon is silent, remembering his living situation with his mama, I suppose….

Rachel waves to the waiter to bring her noodles to where she has now moved. Somehow, in spite of the steam moistening her hair and face, she makes gulping noodles with sea vegetables look sexy. [from Chapter One, Gridlock]