Portland. In an attempt to jump-start his dating life, Butch Putts, a freshman at the local college, registered his profile with an online dating site, Last Best Hope Dating, Inc.
LBHD is currently offering a 20% discount for first-time daters and a 95% discount for returning daters, who've lost all hope but are willing to give it another try. "At 95% off, what do I have to lose but a little more self-respect?" asked Mary June Dot, who, other than offering that quote, has nothing to do with this story.
"I was a little nervous at first," Butch admitted. "When the dating site asked for my interests, I thought that was getting pretty intrusive. And there was no way I was going to include a picture or my real name. Geeze, what would the guys in the dart league say?"
When the intern assigned to this story pointed out that a photo and a few sentences outlining his basic interests was standard procedure, Butch responded, "No way. The next thing you know, they'll be asking me to describe myself and what I like in a woman. Which would be fine if I ever went out with one, which I haven't, which is why I'm not about to go answering all kinds of personal questions."
Despite his limited cooperation, Butch received a message from Sylvia, another online dater signed up with Last Best Hope Dating, Inc. Her skeletal profile details and a lack of a photo intrigued Butch. "I have to admit," he smiled, "she was even less willing to cooperate with the dating site than I was. I liked that about her, right from the get-go."
Sylvia wanted to meet on Friday night, which made Butch extremely nervous. He called his mother Hedvig, and she offered three quick tips: (1) just to be himself, (2) don't be like his father, and (3) please don't talk about darts. She also had a date on Friday night, having separated from her husband and Butch's father for six months, due to excessive time spent in dart tournaments, which, according to their family counselor, metastasized into a full-blown, irretrievable, and unrecoverable family disruption.
Hedvig said she and Butch would have to "compare notes" after their dates. It would be fun.
If it didn't already, at this point, the story takes sort of an icky turn.
In his finest To the Point dart league shirt, Butch arrived early at Han's All-You-Can-Eat Chinese restaurant as he and Sylvia had agreed in their brief correspondence. At first, the only other people in the restaurant were the Bull's-eye Buddies, in from their convention for a supper break. Then Butch saw his mother. "We both got nervous at that point," he later admitted. "That's the last thing I needed-my mother hovering over me on my first date." Her date had not shown up either, as far as she could tell. To be clear, they both thought their dates did not show up. Yet they did show up, as they would soon find out.
Now, Sylvia (Hedvig) and Butch could have gone home feeling rejected from having been stood up. However, Hedvig wasn't going to take being stood up sitting down, so to speak.
"I wasn't going to take being stood up sitting down," she said to reporters, although the intern was under the impression she had sole rights to this story. "So I logged into Last Best Hope Dating, Inc., and left a message with my would-be rotten scoundrel of a date. While I was doing that, Butch, a chip off his mother's block, decided to do the same thing. Well, it didn't take a brain surgeon to figure out we were leaving messages to each other. I have to admit, my language embarrassed me. I usually protect Butch from such 'rough' talk, if you know what I mean."
Butch's reaction was nearly identical to his mother's. "I couldn't believe I was going out on a date with my mother, but when you think about it, it sort of made sense."
"I was embarrassed by my language. I called her some names that I'd probably never call my own mother, if I knew she was my mother, if you know what I mean."
To wrap up this dating-story-turned-family-affair, Butch and Hedvig decided to make a date of it at Han's All-You-Can-Eat Chinese restaurant. They had a nice conversation, after the initial nerves settled down.
When Butch later reported to the intern assigned to this story that he could imagine telling this story to his grandchildren, his mother interrupted, "Let's keep this between us."
Happily, they went back for seconds, had something unpronounceable for dessert, and Butch left the tip.
In a follow-up to the story, one of the Bull's-eye Buddies asked Hedvig out on a date. She declined. "I'm through with dart players," she sighed, "and besides, Butch and I have a date next week. We're having tuna salad."
A spokesperson for Last Best Hope Dating, Inc., could not be reached for comment.