Aug 29, 2009 by

Read TESS 1 here

Read TESS 2 here

Round 3 Challenge: Incorporate the death of a dog into your next passage. It should be no more than 400 words long.

If you want my personal opinion, lesbians have it better than us straight girls. I wasn’t expecting ‘virtual boy’ Ashton to be any Kutcher in person, but he managed to limbo under even my lowest expectations.

We met at Yoshi. We’d chatted previously over Skype so at least there was no sad blind date awkwardness like in the Stars song “Personal” (those lyrics kill me every time). He hogged most of the table, leaning on it as if those eighties wannabe elbow pads were dinner cushions. His beard, which once seemed rugged, soon became a storehouse for nori and rice.

Though he’d invited me out and ordered twice the sushi I did, he expected us to split the bill. It was no better when we went to meet my girlfriends Liz and Deb at Lolita. He said hi, saw that their drinks were empty, and scurried off to the bathroom. God forbid he buy a round. If he hadn’t vanished to the bathroom, he probably would have “realized” he needed to go to the ATM.

I shouldn’t have gone to his place afterwards but I was curious to see his room. It was small and sad. You can’t tell over webcam.

Now that he didn’t have to pay, he was all about plying me with vodka tonics. Then he started telling me about how his parents’ Basset hound, Hunter, had just died and how “devastating” it was for him.

It was such a transparent sob story. He was trying the death-of-the-family-pet line just to get pity sex out of me or a consolation bj or something. Sure, I overreacted. It didn’t help that I was drunk or that I was slightly PMSey or that Liz and Ashton had been flirting openly at Lolita, right after I’d bought them drinks.

Whatever it was, I went off. I told him he was a sleazebag who was just using Hunter’s death to get me naked and that he should just go to a whorehouse but, oh, I forgot, he’s too stingy for that. I don’t remember what else I said but I pretty much tore him to shreds. Then I grabbed my purse, downed my vodka to show him what I was made of, and stormed out.

By the time I got home he had already unfriended, unfollowed, and blocked me. Amen.

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  1. Where’s it going Tess? This was too self-contained without creating sufficient expectation as too what is to follow. Liked some of the references but being a different generation had to look them up!!

    • “Where’s it going” is exactly right, JD… Welcome to the world of 21st century dating! lol

  2. Lots of telling her rather than showing. Some dialogue between the two would have helped make this more lively. Liked the last sentence though. Hope you survive another week and get things moving a bit more.

    • i first wrote it as dialogue but it took up twice as many words. show don’t tell doesn’t always work when you only have a few paragraphs to work with & you want to cram a whole crummy date in!

  3. Tess a tip – write the dialogue – and then pick out the important bits of it, or funny bits and weave as back story or as a flash back. Also leave the dialogue attribution – because you’ve got short punchy prose and most of the time it is totally unnecessary between two people talking.

    You open with a really strong sentence and your sense of humour shines through. Even though I was there more than 10 years ago – it still makes me laugh and I believe that shows up in the poll results from last round. Of the three of you writing romantic fiction … it is obvious your writing is what is resounding with the readers.

    Given the style really is alot about telling rather than showing – after all it is a monologue – I don’t think there is too much wrong with it, as long as you keep it lively – which is what you did until the final two paragraphs. I felt it lost momentum there and became a little too self conscious/self absorbed. Just telling us she wasn’t into pity sex or the fact he’d flirted with her best friend would have been enough.

    The final paragraphs are saved by the final sentences though. Where to now for our intrepid twenty something? I can’t wait to see.

    • wow jodi you’re on fire tonight!! you deserve an MVP commentators award! thanks for the nice words and the tips but what do you mean about “leave the dialogue attribution.” did you mean “leave OUT the dialogue attribution” because if you did, then you left out a word… 😉

      a little too self-conscious, self-absorbed in my last two paragraphs? you mean in ALL of my paragraphs. but that’s the whole point. the whole new york dating scene is too self-conscious and self-absorbed. we’re all messing everything up and drifting from person to person because all we think about is me me me. people made fun of isis but she was right about the whole ego thing. i’m ok with the writing giving that feel. like rhae and her *mechanical* writing. it fits the mood.

      • Yes I meant “leave out” … but used the Aussie colloquialism, which actually drops the “out”.

        I don’t find the rest of it self indulgent or self conscious AT ALL! The tone changes in those final two paragraphs, which makes it feel as you read if self indulgent and self conscious. Maybe it becomes whimsical or something?

        And as for the graveside thing – I can’t save I’ve ever been on a first date to a funeral .. but thought of it in terms of “just having to stop by here on the way to dinner” or something like that. A bit of pet cremation for entree. But perhaps that is my sick sense of humour :)

  4. oh – I meant to add … I envisaged the first date being a grave side one for a pet. I wanted to see how she’d handle that?

    • first date a graveside one? i dunno what the aussie dating scene is like, jodi, but over on this side of the world we try to usually save the funerals for the second date (as in, the second date IS the funeral). lol.

  5. Auggie

    i was initially biased against your writing because i thought it’d just amount to man bashing. but it turned out to be so very believable that you won me over. you are observant–a key trait for good writing.
    dont worry about the critics in these comments. they are just spewing rules they learned in writing classes. ignore those preordained conceptions of what your writing should be. it is pure and that is enough.

    • thanks Auggie!!! calling my writing pure is one of the highest compliments i’ve ever received. i’m sure i do bash men but you bet i bash the girls too. we all deserve it.

      you and jodi have injected new life into the comments. i can’t believe i’m saying this, but i agree with tuck… keep being nasty! 😉

  6. I like this first person voice quite a bit! Not that fond of NY dating stories, now that I’m old and married and have a tween. But I like your snappy tone and your description of this guy. I agree, more dialog instead of summation would be great.

    • thanks! i don’t mind the New York dating stories, but i’m not that fond of new york dating itself. did you see the cover of Time Out New York this week? It says “Meet straight, single men. They exist–on page 102!” Whoohoo. A whole city of women and a single page of men (one of them states “I like a woman who likes to cuddle.” Hel-LO… ALL women like to cuddle. That’s just code for “I like a woman who likes to cuddle with me” which means most of them don’t like to.)

      OK, ok, I get the message. Dialogue coming up next time.

  7. poor fyor :( i dont even know him & i feel bad. maybe i’m just sad 2 c teh name go 😉

    *applause* 4 coco u deserved it. would someone pls take me 2 us open? looks so much fun!

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