My college roommate Jim was always in pursuit of one girl or another, usually another. I, on the other hand, had a steady girlfriend up until the time when I no longer did. When whomever he was seeing at the time would pay a visit to our apartment, I gladly played the role of convivial comrade, making small talk and telling jokes, fetching beers, and wishing Jim + lady a pleasant evening as they headed out for whatever party and/or dive bar was their plan for the evening.

On two occasions, I was asked to step in to make the fourth in a foursome. The first time was when a girl Jim was seeing at another university in a neighboring city asked him to come to a Sadie Hawkins dance. He received her call and accepted the date, then fell silent on the phone for a few moments before saying, “Ask him yourself,” and tossing the handset in my direction. I got on the line and was asked if I’d be willing to be her roommate’s blind date for the same event. I said sure, why not — didn’t even ask what the roommate looked like and wasn’t prompted about her “great personality”. We drove to their campus the following Saturday afternoon, found their dorm, and were told they’d cleared one of the restrooms on their floor so we could change into our semi-formal attire. Other than being in tow with my mother during my toddler days, this was the first time I’d been in a women’s bathroom. We came out dressed in our slacks, shirts and ties — holding our jackets in one hand and small brown paper sacks in the other. “How do you girls get your lunches into these little bags?” we chuckled, effectively ending our chances of getting laid that evening. The girls said they’d rented a limo and were taking us out to dinner before the dance. This seemed pretty classy right up until six other couples crammed into the vehicle with us. It was like riding in the way-back in your parents’ station wagon when you were a kid, along with your brothers, sisters and most of your cousins. When we were seated at the restaurant my date with the great personality told me to order anything I wanted. I told the waiter I’d have the chateaubriand… then winked at my lady friend and said I was just kidding and the chicken fingers would suit me, putting any lingering doubts regarding my sexual opportunities that evening to rest. The dance was OK — my date and I didn’t have that much in common, but I do recall getting along very well with another girl there as part of our octet of couples. After we returned from the dance I ended up in the dorm lobby having an intense conversation with that girl, and right at the moment I was ready to make my move she jumped up from the couch and said, “Good night!” and that was that. I sat around for another few hours while Jim luxuriated in his girlfriend’s embrace in some empty room, he having convinced her I was the one who’d come up with the “lunch bag” wisecrack. He was not wrong about that.

The second time was during the next semester. Jim was now seeing a different girl, someone from his home town whom he was trying to convince to come for a weekend visit. She agreed to do so only if she could bring a friend with her. Again I was asked if I’d be willing to serve as an escort over the weekend and again I agreed to. The girls showed up and we chatted and drank and were actually getting along very well — I kept the crass comments in check and got the sense things were setting up nicely for a very pleasant evening. Our plan was to take the ladies out for dinner so when it was time to go we offered them use of the bathroom to freshen up. Once they were finished, Jim stepped in to wash up and then it was my turn, after which we’d be ready to head out. I stepped in, closed the door, sat on the toilet and… well, there’s no sense in being coy about it — I pooped. A lot. Occasionally offering what is known on Law & Order as an “excited utterance.” I finished, flushed, cleaned up, and came out all smiles, exclaiming, “Let’s go!” Our apartment was on the second floor of a converted house, and the ladies stepped out first to walk down the covered stairway to the sidewalk. As I started through the door Jim pulled me back and said, quietly, “We could hear you in there.” Upon reflection, that may solve the mystery behind why my date’s budding ardor toward me had evaporated by the time we’d all stepped outside. I presumed I’d be sitting in the rear seat of Jim’s VW Beetle with my new lady friend, but Jim’s girl said she and her friend would sit together in the back and Jim and I could sit up front. I don’t recall anything about dinner or the rest of the weekend other than I slept on the couch, by myself.

The only other blind date I ever went on was detailed here, so you can see I was three-for-three in that department. There was one other time when a co-worker asked me if I’d come along with his fiancé and a friend of hers who was going to be joining them that evening after work, but I begged off by saying, “I’m pooped.” Little did he know the depth of embarrassment I’d just saved everyone from.