A harmless embellishment puts our hero center stage.
After almost three months with an online dating profile, and exactly no dates to my name, I learned that “being myself” just wasn’t enough for the demanding e-babes of the internet. So, I decided to take some liberties with what I was putting out there. An embellished salary here, a few made-up travel destinations there—I figured that all girls expect you to lie a little. And, evidently, it worked. I soon landed a date with a girl who seemed just my type, and when we eventually met up, she was even prettier than her photos suggested. Unfortunately, the first words out of her mouth were, “So, tell me about this famous indie rock band that you’re in.”
To be fair, I never used the word “famous” in my profile. However, I did kind of claim to have toured Japan in a two-piece folk-rock thing. I had to roll with it. “Yeah, I’m in a band,” I told her nonchalantly, hoping it would end there. But it didn’t. She kept asking me about my music—whether I still played, how many albums I’d released, and whether I checked out that one okonomiyaki place in Shimokitazawa while I was on tour. (Apparently, it’s pretty good.) She was really into my story, and by extension, she was really into me.
On our third date, she asked again to hear one of my songs. I knew I was in the deep end, but at this point, I was lying so pathologically about my supposed music career that I was beginning to believe it myself. So, I nervously searched through my phone for the most obscure band I could think of—someone I hoped she wouldn’t have heard before—and told her it was me. As soon as I pressed play, I could see her heart beginning to melt in front of my very eyes, and it was all thanks to a rare bootleg recording of an impromptu Mark Kozelek performance in Prague.
It’s at this point that I feel the need to assure you that I’m not a complete sociopath. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and I felt awful that this girl was only really into me because I claimed to have written Gentle Moon. It wasn’t even my favorite song of his. But we had a few smooches, and I felt better about things.
As you can imagine, things ultimately ended when some guy who smelled like patchouli called me out at a mutual friend’s party. I was embarrassed, and she, understandably, felt a bit betrayed.
I’ve gone on a few embellishment-free dates since, and it turns out that you don’t need to pretend to be in a famous indie rock band to attract the e-babes. I probably should have come clean from the start, but in the end I learned more by facing the music.