Michael Teller was my eleventh online dating service date. Five of my earlier dates were total disasters. Michael turned out to be… shall I say different?
When I answered the doorbell, he was standing there in a clown costume, honking a bicycle horn at his side. He was wearing what looked like yellow pajamas decorated with carefully planted red and blue flowers. He wore the standard white face with his eyes highlighted, large red lips and the standard red nose. His hair was the best part, though. It was straight out of bozo the clown, an orange frizzy thing.
Two thoughts went through my mind. First, that this might be a contemporary version of Cyrano de Bergerac with the real Michael hiding somewhere nearby. Second, that this was his way of making some kind of political statement about online dating services and that this man in the clown suit was about to tell me to forget about it, because online dating was for clowns. That wasn’t the case, though.
“Hello, Jenean,” Michael said in a French accent, “we meet at last. Vous avez l'airun peu choqué. Just a little shocked you look, are you?”
“Yes,” I said. “You aren’t what I was expecting. I haven’t had a clown at the door since I was eight.”
“Then I am flattered. You are as lovely as your pictures.” I was waiting for him to drop the French accent, but he continued with it. “You said you wanted someone to make you laugh. The stand-up comedian, I am not, but I can be very funny, very funny. You shall see. Am I making you laugh?”
I don’t know why he asked because anyone watching could have seen that I was. “Are you French?”
“Non, je ne suis pas français. Je suis Michel Teller, et le clown at your service. Are you ready to go?”
“Are you going like that?”
“Oh, oui, mademoiselle, but of course. We are going to a very nice restaurant and then the show just as we agreed.”
I was torn two ways. First, this guy was very funny and might turn out to be fun to be with, but second, he was crazy and he might turn out to be.
‘What the hell,’ I thought. ‘I never dated a clown before.’
As we walked to his car I thought about one of the lines in my online profile:
It would be nice if you are really creative, but if I’m not laughing. You might as well say… It’s been nice, because if you don’t I will.
He was creative and I was laughing; there was little doubt about that. Nevertheless, he got some very strange looks at the restaurant, many smiles, and some laughter. It was a very strange experience.
Once inside, the head waiter didn’t bat an eye as he turned and led us to our table. Michael took my hand and said, “Tonight we are going to have a wonderful evening and I will make sure you laugh a lot, just like you want.”
He took my hand as we followed the waiter and I felt a felt a little tingling sensation. No, it wasn’t love. It was a joy buzzer.
While the head waiter placed the menus on the table, Michael honked his bicycle horn twice, then, like a true gentleman, pulled out my chair for me. I thought he was silly, but he was nice.
I always glance at chairs before I sit in them at bars and restaurants because you never know what might be on them. This one looked clean so I sat down only to jump back up. Anyone in the restaurant who wasn’t looking at us before certainly was when they heard the sound I made when I sat on the whoopee cushion that Michael somehow slid between me and the chair.
Now, he was starting to go too far. Now he was slipping over the edge of the cliff. Whatever I was feeling, it was no longer anything close to love. Although I couldn’t tell because of all the makeup, I thought he knew he was trying too hard, but he didn’t apologize.
To say I was embarrassed, was not saying enough. As I looked around the restaurant though, everyone seemed to be going back to their meals and conversations. I figured they most likely thought the clown was one of the acts at the nearby comedy club.
Michael ordered a bottle of wine. When the waiter brought it, Michael went a little overboard honking his horn and whooping, “This is goo-ood! Bon, tres bon.” Then he started picking on the waiter. First, the clown squirted a stream of water into the waiter’s face.
I think Michael was laughing too hard and enjoying himself too much to see what I was doing. I’m pretty sure he was coming out of the restaurant as the taxi whisked me away. I have to admit, though, I was giggling to myself all the way home because the waiter did look kind of funny standing there with an entire chocolate cream pie sliding down his face, while Michael was gleefully honking his horn.