A recipe for disaster.
Dan knew that he was in store for a train wreck. Every time his brother tried to do something for him, it was always a train wreck. Tonight would be no different. When they were teenagers, Kevin had set them up with sisters. A classic double date. They went bowling, then to Yesterdog for chili dogs and cokes, and then to see “The Empire Strikes Back” at Studio 28. Kevin took turns making out with the sisters while Dan quietly ate popcorn, knowing that his brother was a member of the Dark Side. Or there was the party Kevin took him too.
“Dude, you’ve got to wear this mullet wig and this 1980’s outfit. We’re going to a kick ass Mullet party.” Dan had changed, showed up to meet Kevin only to discover that it wasn’t a Mullet party at all, but a surprise visit from their parents to celebrate Dan’s birthday. His parents still had the picture on the mantel: There’s Mom and Dad in their Sunday best, Kevin looking like he stepped out of a magazine, and Dan wearing a sleeveless Motley Crue t-shirt and a mullet wig to rival Chewbacca. Train wreck. How could tonight be any different?
He thought about his blind date while he took his shower, and went through his general pre-date rituals of brushing his teeth and shaving. He could see her now: she’d have big boobs and a little brain. They would have nothing to talk about. She didn’t look like the type of woman who talked much anyway. She probably just panted or something. He’d ask her a question and she’d…what? Purr? No. Tonight was a recipe for disaster. He just knew it. Dan opened the bathroom door, steam spilling out around him, and called, “Kevin! Forget it! No. No way. I’m not doing this!”
Kevin opened his bedroom door and glared at him. There was music pouring from his bedroom and Dan could see the weights dumped on his floor. “Bro, it’s time you got out of the house and got a piece. This woman wants you.” He flexed his arm muscles for emphasis.
“She responded to your email, not mine.”
“But it’s your picture.” Kevin walked past Dan’s closet, and into Dan’s bedroom, emerging with a red shirt. A shirt Kevin had given him two years ago and Dan had never worn. “Look, I’m doing you a favor,” Kevin said, and tossed him the shirt. “A favor for, you know, for letting me crash here for a bit.”
“A bit? It’s been almost a year. I’d call it taking root here as opposed to crashing.”
“Like I said,” Kevin continued, ignoring Dan completely, “you let me crash here, and I’m thanking you by setting you up with the woman of your dreams.”
“She’s not the woman of my dreams. She’s the woman of your dreams,” Dan said. “Your wet dreams.” He was still in his towel from the shower but he held onto the red shirt Kevin tossed him as if it were a shield.
“Dude. I have kick-ass dreams.” Kevin threw a pair of black pants at his brother’s face and told him to get dressed. “And to be honest, you’ve been a real downer since Kim dumped you.”
Dan’s face tightened. “She didn’t dump me,” he said.
“Whatever.” Kevin walked into the bathroom, nudged Dan out of the way, and rubbed the steam off the mirror. He ran his hands through his hair and checked his teeth. “She dumped you, man. You‘ve got to get over her. It’s not cool that you’ve been moping around here for two years. It’s gone past pathetic. Now it’s just weird. Get dressed, dude, you owe me.”
Dan was, again, exasperated. Only his brother could be cocky enough to say that Dan owed him when clearly it was the other way around. In the shower, Dan had decided firmly that no good would come from this night and it was a bad idea, and he still wasn’t convinced to take a chance counting on his brother.
“Tell you what,” Kevin said. “Look. You’re still pretty pissed at this Kim chick right?”
Dan nodded. He was pissed. And hurt. It was why he just couldn’t bring himself to meet anyone else. He couldn’t trust falling for a woman again. Kevin looked at him and for a brief flash, Dan felt like he was reading his mind.
“Then you’ve got to look at this date as an opportunity.” Kevin said.
“An opportunity to what?”
“An opportunity to get back at Kim by showing her you’ve moved on. Dude, you’re never going to get on with your life if you keep rehashing what went down with you and that chick, so move on to another chick. Even if it’s for just one night and she’s just a practice chick. Seriously. Think about it. Why do you think I chose this Easy Lady for you?” Dan looked at Kevin blankly. He really had no idea. “Because she’s Eaaaaaaaassssyyyyyy. This is gonna be a piece of cake. Get it? A piece! If you get stuck, just act like me. She’ll never know the difference.” Kevin turned to his brother and smiled. Dan couldn’t help but smile back. “Now get dressed,” Kevin said. “We’re meeting her in an hour and I want time to scope out the restaurant, have a couple of shots, and find a place where I can watch the action.”
Dan obediently got dressed, but couldn’t help thinking that just when he thought his brother was doing something decent, he’d go and bring up the word action. Dan knew that to Kevin everything eventually was reduced to action. It was the one thing Dan could still count on his life: his brother was entirely predictable. Still, there was comfort thinking that if he wanted to, he could act exactly like his brother with this…chick. He didn’t have to be himself. Women didn’t like him…at least Kim didn’t. He could be anyone really, and Easy Lady would never know the difference. She’d never guess that he was just playing a game to appease his brother, and maybe get over the love of his life.
He buttoned up his red shirt and looked at himself in the mirror. His red hair was sticking up in all the wrong places and with the red shirt he felt a bit, well, red. A bit defeated. What had Kim seen in him anyway? He had bad hair, a gut, and little sex appeal. True, he was a mean cook and tried to do all those sweet and wonderfully romantic things that leading men did in movies, but he hadn’t been enough for Kim. How could he be enough for anyone else?
He turned away from the mirror and realized that Kevin didn’t worry about how he looked or what women thought about him. Kevin was full of himself, pushy, and insensitive. It might be fun to pretend to be Kevin for a few hours. It really could be a relief to take on some of his brother’s qualities. And what better way to chase away his dating demons than on a woman who promised that everything in life was easy?