Monday, November 28, 2005

Montreal: LR: Taking Two From Tam-Tams (Part 1)

Part 1 (posted 7/30/05)

Wed July 27, 2005. I attempted my first “Elimi-date” style meet. I invited two girls to meet me at the same place at the same time. Two girls who don’t know each other. Two girls who are not expecting to rendezvous within an entourage. (How’s that for French appreciation.)

It happened by accident. Tuesday I call up one of the girls and she answers. I say, “Maybe I’m mistaken, but weren’t you supposed to meet me today at 5:30?” No, we’re meeting tomorrow. “Uh…you’re sure.” Positive.

Fuck. My mistake. I’m double-booked. I sent identical emails and forgot to change the day of the meet. Two girls on Wednesday; same time same place. Let’s see what happens….

So, I’m committed to doing this. Could be fun. Could go sour. I’m so excited by the possibility of a dramatic crash-n-learn that I actually, early Wednesday, send out invites to THREE MORE women that I am pursuing. Just for fun. So potentially I could have had FIVE girls show. What was I thinking?

I was fairly certain that the two solid girls would show. And they did. But no others.

The players:

HBnurse—age 26, 5’9, cute brunette, Leo, best quality: “good listener”
HBgraphicartist—age 23, 5’5 stunning brunette, Capricorn, best quality: “empathy”
GoneSavage—international man of leisure, freelance flirt, and continental drifter

The first meet:

Every Sunday there's a spontaneous festival in Park Jeanne Mance, at the base of Mont Royal. It's called Tam-Tams, which is the Quebecois word for bongos. All the hippies and hipsters and twenty-something work-a-day folks come out the park and play drums and dance and get high. It’s a fun event with people sunning and throwing Frisbees and just mixing and mingling.

Both girls were met here on July 24th. In fact, I contact closed five girls that day. What seemed to be the most solid close (we were making out in the park)—this girl next’ed herself. The two girls that are set to meet were the next two most seemingly solid closes. The other two closes were made without gaining much rapport at the park, but I’ve got them all to email me at least once. We’ll see.

HBnurse was with a friend, both lying on a blanket. I plop myself right between them, deliver my signature opener, and go into Montreal stories. I talk about being there for this seminar on interpersonal philosophy and, since I drove, I’m able to hang around and check out Tam-Tams and the city sights. Then I showed her a visualization exercise known as The Cube and she says that she has done it before with her sister. She says her sister is studying psychology and that she should introduce us. I ask if her sister is as cute as her and she says “almost.” She says that I am probably closer to the age of her sister than her, another reason I should meet sis. I volunteer my age first and, haha, I’m the same age as her, whereas her sister is 21. At any rate, she’s more relaxed now. She has a guy friend show up and I talk to him a bit about the US, where he goes often for work. The other girl just keeps reading a book. I have my girl make a list of her favorite museums, parks, restaurants and bars, write down her contact info and I tell her that I will be in touch and we will explore the city. I talked to her for about twenty minutes tops.

HBgraphicartist was in the park solo reading a book. After I opened her and asked about the book, I told a couple stories of my time there so far and showed her The Cube. Fun girl, very smart. The interaction was similar to that with HBnurse, except I think I had this girl teaching me more French. Plus she was sitting in the shade, and I kept getting bitten by mosquitoes, so I moved her a few meters into the sunshine. At the time, she was dressed “down” very casually and I had not realized upon the first meet that she was quite so attractive. After I got her contact info, I had her stand up and spin so I could check her out and we hugged before I left. Twenty-five minutes contact, tops.

The good news is that both are professional women; creative, intelligent and truly bilingual—so none of this francophone miscommunication that I keep running into.

The Emails:

I sent them both the same email, as noted before. It is four sentences long. The structure is this:
1) Compliment/warm read. (Good to meet you, you seem x…)
2) Strong SOI. (I offer you respect, adoration, stimulating conversation, etc)
3) Time constraint. (My time here is limited, but we should make an effort…)
4) Call to action. (I’m going to be at x place at x time, hope to see you there)

In the email to HBnurse, I mentioned something about the sister she said I should meet. Couldn’t resist.

So from there, it is a matter of agreeing on a time and place and perhaps addressing any concerns she would have about meeting. In this case, as noted above, I accidentally booked them both on the same day: 5:30 at the fountain in front of the Place-des-Arts. (Plus I had another date that evening lined up at 8PM—I’ll get to that issue in a minute.)


“Hey guy from Georgia. You're fast.... not loosing time, eh? ;) Well it's exactly what I was going to propose you...museums are free on Wednesdays and I’m never going enough so... if you want to eat before I know the cheapest place in town, it's good and a kind-of exotic tiny hidden place.”


I would like to accept your invitation. I do, however, work during the weekdays. Luckily, the MMFA is open until 9pm Wednesdays and I finish work by 5ish. Of course, I have decided that I don't want to introduce you to my sister, but would rather keep you to myself. I think I am deserving, mais non? Did you have fun last night?”

The Day2 meet with both women:

I show up about ten minutes late, expecting the women to be standing next to each other or something. I’m imagining this awkward pause where I have to decide whom to greet first. Or calling them both to me and the surprise they would each have when someone else came to me. Or like all five actually showing. Maybe next time.

It’s been raining all day. I see HBgraphicartist immediately. I scan to see if I recognize anyone else. Nope. I feel kind of relieved. Wow, she looks damn good. She’s got on this nice black shirt and her hair is done-up and she has the slightest bit of makeup around her eyes. She sees me too and smiles. I close my umbrella and give her a hug.

She reminds me that we should eat. “Oh yeah…you’re supposed to take me to this local exotic out-of-the-way place that you love. Let’s go.” So it’s already like 5:45 and we’re crossing the street and here comes HBnurse, straight at me. Wow, she looks damn good. She’s wearing this sophisticated tight blazer, her hair is nice, and she has on heels. Very attractive girl. I give her a hug and tell her that “We have company today. I’m double-booked.”

The expression on her face when I pointed to the other woman was priceless.

I introduce them and they seem amicable. You know, at first.

GoneSavage: “So, we’re about to get something to eat. Have you eaten?”
HBnurse: “I’m not hungry. I thought we were going to the museum.”
GoneSavage: “We will in a minute. She wants to show us this cool restaurant.”
HBnurse: “Fine. I’ll watch you guys eat.”HBgraphicartist: “It’s this affordable place with great food. I love to go there and get a sandwich and sit in the park. It’s so nice.”
GoneSavage: “Well, it is wet and rainy. How about we get sandwiches and eat on the walk back to the museum. Cool?”
HBgraphicartist: “Yeah sure.”
GoneSavage: “Cool. Let’s roll…”
HBnurse: “So…HB…what do you do?”

Let the games begin! This was really fun. Personally I didn’t want them qualifying each other. My plan was to qualify them both, implicitly let them know this, and leave both open to be closed on Day3. This would involve careful calibration, throwing mixed signals, and leaving things artfully ambiguous.

I have to give HBgraphicartist credit for being really chill and just going with the flow. HBnurse was feistier and I complimented her on her “delightfully sassy nature.” I also complimented her attire and sense of style. I complimented HBgraphiccartist for knowing the cool spots in the city and leading us to new places. Called her the sexiest tour guide I could have asked for. The other girl laughed.

I’m trying to tell stories of stuff I had seen or done in Montreal to keep them both engaged with me and not each other. I try to walk between them both, but that is not always a constant. More likely I am walking with one and the other falls a little behind or walks a little ahead.

The restaurant is in Chinatown. We get to the friendship arch and I talk about the other friendship arches that I have seen including the one in Philly, which is the first built outside of China. Of course, HBnurse has a story about Philly. I say, I have to get a picture of you both.

HBnurse: “No way, I’m not photogenic. I’ll take a picture of you two.”

This was actually a good idea because it was the first chance I had to talk to them with a little bit of isolation, and with a little bit of touch. So I’mbeside HBgraphicartist in front of the arch while the other girl takes the picture. “I really thought you were meeting me yesterday. This is all your fault.” Of course I say this jokingly, but she apologizes anyway. “But I like how you are so calm and composed.” We smile.

Switch. I’ve got my arm around HBnurse now and the other girl frames the shot. “She was supposed to meet me yesterday. It’s entirely my fault. But I like how you don’t let her phase you.” We smile.

We get to her favorite restaurant and it’s this little shop that sells mincemeat sandwiches. We’re looking at the pictures. They all look like crap. HBnurse tells us she is vegetarian. I tell HBnurse to order me the chicken one, same as her. At the register, I say, “You got me right.” HBgraphicartist rolls her eyes, but buys my sandwich. For whatever reason, I winked at HBnurse, like, haha, I got her to pay, or some silly shit.

So we walk back. HBgraphicartist is ahead of us munching on the sandwich that she loves so much. She asks how I like it, “It’s certainly different…interesting.” I think it tastes horrible. HBnurse and I have our little secret when I tell her the sandwich tastes like pickled squid and fermented olives. It’s like she’s one-uped just because she didn’t get me a shitty sandwich. Good times.

The Contemporary Art Museum:

I worked the museum like this. Basically we all three wandered separately. Although I’m aware that they both stay aware of where I am always. I would cycle between them to talk about the art, tell stories, and ask fun qualifying type questions. Most of the exhibits were absurdly laughable. Oh well.

My anxiety level was a little higher than normal and I couldn’t even think of good questions. I would not ask both girls the same question, except the ‘best quality’ one. I just like the feeling of having fresh convo with each woman. And if one wandered into my conversation with the other, it wouldn’t have this set-question interview feel.

The “qualifying” questions:

What’s your best quality or trait?
If you could go anywhere, and money is not an issue, where would you go?
If you could gain one skill without training or risk of failure, what skill would you pick?
What animal do you most relate to?
What’s your greatest passion in life?
What’s your favorite book, movie, type of music?

That was really it. Just had fun like normal situations with playful teasing and reflexive answers. Casually bounced back and forth. Talked about some of my own art projects and some projects I have seen elsewhere. Didn’t dwell on the fact that I was with two independent women or ever insist that we had to stick together or anything like that.

“Where’s whats-her-face?” HBnurse said at one point. After I had been beside her a couple minutes with my arm around her waist. She would really lighten up when she got 1:1 attention.

But of course, HBgraphicartist invited me to see this interactive exhibit. It s a silly tiny room that you go in and close the door and a chandelier lights up and music plays. We danced for a second and I kissed her in here. Just a quick kiss on the lips, nothing passionate.

So that was it. We’d seen it all. HBnurse calls it a day.

HBnurse: “I’m starving. I’m going to go eat.”
GoneSavage: “I have a sandwich for you…just kidding. Okay, you’re turn to lead. Which way to your favorite vegetarian restaurant?”
HBnurse: “Actually I’m going to get on the Metro and go home.”
GoneSavage: “Well, thanks for coming out with me. Give me a hug.” I pull her near and whisper, “I’m sorry if this was awkward for you, but I know we’ll be in touch.”