On New Year’s Eve, while working at the Hat & Hare pub, I was given a phone number. This happens so rarely that it took me quite by surprise. Let me give you the short version.
During the climax of on of my routines, I ask someone to write a word on a playing card, and I attempt to guess the word they wrote. In the lead up, I intuited that the young lady who was participating, let’s call her Claire, had written a name – so i did a bit of fishing. I asked if she had written the name of a crush … and she acknowledged shyly that she had. I realized by her body language that she had, in fact, written my name. I was quite flattered (because blatant flirting does not happen very often to me) and, after the show, we chatted. She gave me her number without being asked and suggested that we text, if I was interested. She seemed sober and sincere (and reasonably close to my age) and so we corresponded over the course of the following week.
Feeling confident, I suggested we meet somewhere and talk over food. It’s a fine way to get to know someone … across a table. Yes, friends and neighbors: I was going on a date. Claire was very enthusiastic at first, happy to see me and full of smiles. She kept repeating that she couldn’t believe her luck. And then …
Over the course of the next couple of hours she became less and less interested. She asked the usual questions about my career and places i’d been, but was very reluctant to discuss her own life. Flags started to go up. Finally I realized the problem: she wanted stage Hannibal, not everyday guy Hannibal. In fact at one point she made the statement, “Well, this was fun, but I think I’ll just be part of your audience.”
It was a mild surprise. I was … a bit hurt. But similar things had happened before, getting to know someone who first me as a performer. We finished the meal up with friendly chatter, but I could tell she was ready to part ways. This happened amicably enough and I drove home just a wee bit sad.
No, I’m not looking for a committed relationship (and this information seemed to make Claire angry a little, because she instantly disqualified what we were doing as being a ‘date’) but I certainly have no objection to exploring romance and intimacy with consenting partners. Part of the consent means liking me for me: both the guy on stage and the not-quite-as-bombastic guy just wanting conversation and connection.
Alas: this time my ‘celebrity’ got in the way.