The Eugene Date
6/23/2011 9:57:00 AM
Erick Davidson is an early thirtysomething from New Jersey who has lived in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade.
"I'm confused," Chris says to Erick. The two met up after work at The Hudson on Crescent Heights Avenue in West Hollywood for a quick Happy Hour before a client dinner Chris had in the area. "You want to go on a date?"
"Yes," Erick replies, taking a sip of Pinot Grigio.
"But the date is not with me."
"Are you looking to see other people?"
"Not at all. Even if I did, it'd be a downgrade."
A mixed reaction registers on Chris's face as he isn't sure whether to acknowledge the compliment or continue his line of questioning. "So why do you want to go on a date with someone else?"
"Because it's not a date date in the date sense."
"Then what it is?"
"It's a EUGENE date."
Erick and Eugene met in an online chat room in 2007. Erick had been on a bit of a point-making rant in the main room claiming that good-looking guys only want to talk, date and make with other good-looking guys -- something that Erick didn't consider himself to be at the time. To prove his point, Erick sent a private message to the slim, six-foot-three, dark-haired, doe-eyed looker with the kind face who hadn't been paying much attention to the conversation. Erick was very surprised to receive a message back. That initial chat lasted a few hours and they've been texting, emailing or speaking on the phone almost daily ever since.
The two, however, have yet to meet in person. Though they were both living in Los Angeles at the time of that first e-conversation, Erick was in the process of being transferred to Massachusetts for work. Shortly thereafter, Eugene was sent to New York. While they still had planned on visiting each other, Eugene was soon laid off and eventually took a job in Germany.
Erick returned to Los Angeles in 2009 and now that Eugene has just done the same, the two were very anxious to finally meet.
"What is a EUGENE date?" Chris asks as he takes a sip of his cranberry vodka.
"It's like a regular date, but not an actual regular date because I have a boyfriend -- who isn't being invited since the two participants involved are meeting for the first time. It's all very technical."
Chris slowly nods his head. "And when is this EUGENE date?"
Erick hesitates. "It's...well....around the same time you'll be leaving for your meeting."
Chris shakes his head and laughs. "Is that how you planned it?"
"Actually, no. It just kinda happened that way. He asked me what I was doing tonight. I told him that you and I were coming here after work before your meeting and he said that this was just as good a place as any for our first face-to-face. Plus, he wanted to finally meet the fortunate man who got to me before he did."
Chris takes a longer sip of cranberry vodka. "It sounds like he was quite interested in you."
"And at varying times I was interested in him. We've talked relationship, but not since I met you," Erick explains.
Chris tilts his head quizzically. "How do you talk about relationships with someone you've never met?"
Erick takes another swig of Pinot. "It's easy. It's all fantasy. We spoke about it only on an 'if we ever met, here's how we'd like it to go' basis."
"I see," Chris says with a smirk. "So what's he like?"
Erick conjures up his constructed image of Eugene in his mind. "Eugene is like that guy who epitomizes all you've dreamt of but don't believe actually exists."
Chris raises an eyebrow and takes another sip of his cranberry vodka. "This Eugene guy sounds pretty special. I think you still have feelings for him," he teases.
Erick snaps out of his haze. "At this point, I can only have feelings for the construct of Eugene that exists in my head."
"What if he lives up to it?" Chris asks, continuing his tease.
Erick takes another sip of wine. "Then you're shit outta luck."
Chris takes another sip of his cranberry vodka while reaching under the bar to tickle Erick's thigh as a retaliatory measure. While Erick is giggling and struggling to slap Chris's hand away, he sees what he believes to be Eugene walking into the bar. Eugene begins looking around to see if he can find and recognize Erick.
"Ok, you win! You win! I think that's Eugene," Erick says as she slides off of the bar stool and directs his attention toward the entrance.
Chris turns around in his bar stool. Erick and Eugene make eye contact. Eugene smiles and walks toward Erick. Chris stands up next to Erick. Chris's eyes pop and his jaw drops. "Wow, I think I'm going to skip that meeting," he says to himself.
Erick and Eugene embrace. "It's so great to finally meet you," Eugene says.
"Likewise," Erick replies. "I can't believe this is finally happening."
Erick and Eugene come out of their embrace. Erick starts to introduce him to Chris, whose jaw is still dropped. Erick manually lifts Chris's jaw up to close the gap. Eugene gives Erick a once-over. "You've really not given yourself justice," he says.
Erick waves Eugene off and takes in the view. "You're exactly as I pictured -- which is quite an accomplishment since I had quite the vision of you in my head."
"Thanks," Eugene responds with a shy laugh.
"Eugene, this is Chris. Chris, this is Eugene," Erick says.
Chris extends a hand. "It's nice to meet you Eugene."
Eugene meets Chris's hand with his. "Likewise, Chris."
"I hate to meet and run but I have a dinner to attend," Chris announces as he pulls Erick aside. "I won't ask any questions tomorrow."
"What do you mean?" Erick asks.
"I don't know what you had in your mind but that's far from a downgrade."
Erick wraps his arms around Chris's waist and looks up into his eyes. "Don't worry. If there were any questions to ask...I wouldn't answer them anyway. Now go to dinner," he says with a wink and a smile.
Chris chuckles and kisses Erick on the forehead. "Have fun tonight," he says as he offers a goodbye nod to Eugene on his way out the door. Erick notices Chris take one last glance at Eugene from behind and giggles.
"What are you laughing at?" Eugene asks.
"My boyfriend has the hots for you."
Terrence Moss is a short fiction writer and media commentator with articles featured on Associated Content and Suite 101. "Starring Erick Davidson" also appears in the books section of www.thenewgay.net. More Erick Davidson stories and other works can be found at www.terrencemoss.blogspot.com.