We came. We listened. And we laughed empathetically as locals learned far too much information about their co-workers, elected representatives, newspaper writers, radio jockeys and Portland nonprofit heads last night at the Bagdad. That's where eight brave, heartsick souls —including Multnomah County Commish Jeff Cogen, Live Wire's Courtenay Hameister and WW's own Aaron Mesh— shared their worst dating stories at "It's Not Me, It's You," a surprisingly funny fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.
Here are 10 Things We Learned About Successful Dating Practices from these Portlanders:
1. Don't dismiss a woman as a potential mate just because she wears cat makeup in public. Local writer Caryn Brooks, who regaled the pizza-munching, beer-swilling crowd with a tale of gay online dating-gone -good, is actually still happily together with the subject of her story, a woman who goes by the online handle of "Rad Pumpkin Pants."
2. Co-ed dodge ball and evangelical Christian college kids don't mix. That is, unless like current sinner manAaron Mesh, you're okay with your first date being hit in the face very hard by a very large ball. "As you might imagine," Mesh noted. "I didn't have a lot of sex in college." [Interested parties, you can email Aaron at amesh [at] wweek.com]
3. Never let your mom set you up on a blind date—even if she promises you Grateful Dead tix in return. One time vegetarian animal lover Jeff Cogen found that out that hard way, when he found himself in a screaming match with a steak-devouring, fur-wearing she-beast from hell named Lishka in a fancy restaurant.
4. Listen to your inner warning bells. If not, you could end up marrying into a family of psychos, like former radio hostTara Dublindid. Even after her boyfriend's mom served ham to her (she's Jewish), her boyfriend's brothers took hits of acid before dinner and assaulted a Jello mold at the table (it was weird) and her man cranked up Crispin Glover's seminal masturbatory ode "Automanipulator" in the middle of family photos (ewww)—she still married the dude. They have since divorced.
5. Vodka makes everything better. Which is why the crowd cheered when hosts Karol Collymore and LeAnn Locher announced a raffle prize nicknamed "The Breakup": Six bottles of New Deal vodka, shot glass, gift cert for video store and a dozen cupcakes.
6. Better late than never. Just Out scribe and stage manJimmy Radosta didn't come outta the closet until he was 27 and didn't start dating until age 32. "But I've had a lifetime's worth of catastrophic dates in those six years," he noted. Dates which included: Attempts to convert straight men, local actors wearing nothing but electrical tape wound around their balls and terrifying close oral encounters with drunk, passed out drag queens. "I almost had to call for the jaws of life to free me from his lifeless jaws."
7. Courtenay Hameister has giant, hilarious lady-balls. We already knew that the Live Wire maven was funny, but as she progressed through her tale of her first "five night stand" she hit some new high notes. First, she observed that "Casual sex is an acquired taste, like Gorgonzola or Todd Solondz films." Later, she revealed that she deterred her short-term lover from pursuing an intimate confession by "reaching in to her girl's tool kit and distracting him with a blow job." She paused briefly and then pointed into the audience. "Hi mom," she said with a wave. "Yeah everybody, that's my mom. Right there." (Scroll down to watch the full video.)
8. "There is a delta between giving somebody a fake name after having sex and getting married." Apparently local political strategist Mark Wiener has no experiences between these two states of being.
9. "No teeth. No teeth." Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon headRoey Thorpe stole the show with the story of the one time her poker buddies set her up with a toothless hag under house arrest in a single wide trailer in Gresham. Thorpe's description of clinging to her lesbian potluck entry of a peach pie like as if it were a "combination of security blanket and dowry" was priceless.
10. All of these charming people survived their dating horror stories. If they can laugh about them in front of a giant crowd, you can certainly take a chance at love too. If it goes wrong, there's always "It's Not Me, It's You 2011."
Here's Courtenay Hameister's excellent dating horror story, complete with in-audience mom identification: