The scene is a dive bar off of 19th Avenue and I don’t remember the cross street in San Francisco, CA. Pre-Covid, before the city became “dangerous and dirty”. Liska walks into the very dimly lit bar from the bright light of day and squints her eyes as she adjusts to the setting. She sees him across the bar.
“So…what do you like…like in a woman”, Liska asked coyly, as she tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear, looking into his brown eyes flirtatiously.
“Well…I could tell you what you’re probably used to hearing, “Oh yeah? What’s that” Liska interrupts. She felt particularly feisty tonight, backed by the 2 tequila shots she had taken with a practical stranger, her latest tinder date.
“That I’m into tall blondes with big tits.”
Liska smiled, she liked him already.
“But uhhh here’s the thing..you’re not on this date with me. I’m a Personal Dater.”
Liska “What’s a”
“Yeah, let me explain”
“I work for a global firm that offers personal dating concierge services. It means, the client you’re really on a date with had his Tinder, Instagram, his complete online presence carefully crafted by us.”
“But, you look like the guy from the profile pic”
“Yeah, we’re a global firm, so we fly out the concierge who looks the most like our client. You know…to go out on dates.”
All of the flirtatiousness deflated from Liska’s face, as she realized he was dead serious.
She had been on some weird dates, but this took the cake, man.
“Okay, so whose the real guy I’m on a date with and why did he hire you?”
“You can find everything you want to know about him online. I’m sure you’ve done the usual searches; checked his socials, income, how much his home is worth, past relationships. You know who he is”
“Yeah but you’re saying you put together his online presence. That’s dishonest. How can I know anything about him is true?”
“How do you know anything about anyone you date is true?”
“Fair point, but they didn’t hire a dating concierge or whatever you are.” flicking her hand carelessly as she said the later part.
Liska leaned back in her chair now, she had lost interest. The guy was sexy, but he wasn’t budging, she wasn’t going to get anywhere with him. She was frustrated, but the curiosity kept her in her seat.
“Okay so what exactly are we doing here? If I’m supposed to be dating your client..what happens, do you report back to make sure I’m not a catfish?”
“Make sure your in person image is accurate based upon your perceived virtual image, yes.”
What the fuck does that even mean, Liska said to herself, letting out a deep sign. She felt like she was Alice in Wonderland.
“So how does this date go?”
He looks down at his watch “It’s going according to schedule. Now you’re caught up on the set up, and we can get into some..let’s start with search retrieval”
He pulled out a device that somehow looked both old and futuristic. About the size of an iPad. He pressed a button and it sprung into full size, to reveal itself as a box. He could see something on his side of the box she couldn’t.
“So you have a bit of a shopping addiction, I see”
“What the fuck, what. No-what are you looking at?!”
“You spend 80% of your student loans on clothes. My questions is…how do you pay for re- Oh! I see.”
“What the fuck. What are you doing. STOP”
Liska leaned across the table to try to grab the weird box thingy from her weirdo date and realized it was somehow nailed to the table.
“What the-“ She stood up and walked to the other side of the box, to reveal what was on the screen.
“Can’t see it” he said, “you need one of these”. He held up a gold key that was hung around his neck on a thin metallic chain.
He was right, the box was blank on his side of the table too.
“You ready to sit and talk like adults now?”
“You’re going to have to buy me another drink”.
“So you’ve been seeing him for 2 and a half years now, he pays your rent, and subsidizes any other expenses you have.”
“Yeah, but it’s just to help me through college”
“Hey, I’m not judging” he says, with a knowing smile.
“So what interests you in dating my client?”
“What the- fine,” deep sign “real love and someone who can take over for what he does for me. I don’t love him”
“There you go”
She was embarrassed now. She was not used to having to be this upfront with her intentions. Especially not on a date.