Romance Funny

It is a rare individual who does not desire and need the love of others.

Larry Peppercap, an accomplished young man, but quite modest in appearance, longed for feminine companionship and love. Tall, muscular, handsome and athletic, he was not. But determined to find a genuine relationship, he was.

Following the advice of his male friends, Larry opened a profile on an internet dating service, Lovemetonight.com. The posting of photos on this website was optional. And for that, Larry was most grateful. Larry was not photogenic, and usually had the vague appearance of a chipmunk, depending on the lighting. When photographed, he would be cognizant not to assume a side view due to his deficient chin and generous, xanthic overbite.

He certainly avoided any mention of the nickname he acquired in high school: the Can Opener.

On his profile page, he discussed his work as a veterinarian and his love of animals. He included his love of art and music. And he proffered his desire for a family and children.

Within a few days, he received a response from a very lovely woman named Linda. She expressed her appreciation for Larry’s love of animals. Linda shared that love and often stopped off at the local animal shelter at 6 AM to help walk the dogs. She worked as a graphic artist and illustrator, and was intrigued by Larry’s love of art. And, most importantly, Linda was approaching her mid-30s and desperately wanted to have a family.

Larry suggested meeting at a local restaurant, where cozy private booths and tables allowed for an intimate experience and warm milieu. The menu included a diverse selection from simple appetizers up to complete dinners. Larry felt that such a menu would accommodate any appetite or palette.

Larry was sure to arrive at the appointed place slightly early. He believed the man should be at the chosen venue to greet the woman when she arrives, to show respect and interest. Despite his mediocre looks, he was quite chivalrous.

And at exactly 8 pm, his date walked in.

Larry was apprehensive about his appearance and whether his new love interest would recoil. Fortunately, her initial reaction did not outwardly display disappointment. In fact, she seemed quite eager to meet Larry and spend an evening getting to know him. And for that, Larry was extremely relieved.

Larry’s first impression of his young lady was quite favorable. He immediately noticed her silky blonde hair limned sensually by the light from the full moon outside. She had a sweet, allicient smile, and although clearly not a beauty queen, her appearance was one of substance and elegance.

The two young sweethearts were ushered to a small table which was bracketed by tables on either side. Although close enough to eavesdrop on the conversations of other couples, the ambiance allowed for a comfortable, private conversation.

The two ordered appetizers. The young lady requested a farro salad, while Larry asked for some mushroom and goat cheese flatbread. Each requested a glass of shiraz. The waiter lit a single candle within a glass carafe stationed between the budding lovebirds, a soft yellow flame illuminating the table. The lights were low, and gentle music wafted above, consisting of Barry White’s alluring and seductive baritone. The scene was set.

As the appetizers arrived, the maitre-d’ escorted another couple to the neighboring table. The young man conspicuously pulled out the chair for the woman, a chivalrous move for sure. The young fellow then took his seat just to the left of Larry.

The conversation between Larry and his young date initially seemed quite smooth. The young lady spent a fair amount of time telling Larry about her education and employment history, to which Larry listened intently. At one point, Larry inadvertently put into his mouth a large chunk of fat and grizzle from his steak, just as his date was excitedly telling him a story about her college days while maintaining close eye contact. Larry simply could not consider spitting out this large chunk of grizzle while his date was staring at him, and as a result, had to keep the chunk of fat in his mouth for more than 15 minutes, finally getting a quiet opportunity to use a napkin, inconspicuously to jettison the chunk as his date looked at her phone.

But as the conversation continued, the young woman mentioned that she doesn’t have much of an appreciation for art.

Larry, confused, posed a question.

“Linda, did you say you don’t appreciate art? I thought you said on your profile that you love art. Did I misunderstand that?”

The young woman responded, “First of all, my name is Lydia, not Linda. And, no, you didn’t misunderstand that, because I never had a profile. I don’t believe in dating apps. What profile are you talking about?”

“Linda, oh, I mean Lydia, didn’t you fill out a profile on Lovemetonight.com?”

Lydia shrugged, “No, I told you, I don’t believe in dating apps. I only agreed to meet you on this blind date based on the advice of my friend Sandra.”

“Blind date? This isn’t a blind date. You responded to my profile. And who’s Sandra?”

Larry sat speechless for a moment, his butterscotch overbite gleaming in the candlelight.

Just then, the young man at the table to his left leaned over and spoke.

“Excuse me, but I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation. Miss, is your name Lydia Roberts, and is your friend Sandra Jarmolow?”

Lydia smiled and responded, “Yes, it is! Are you Larry Meadows?”

The young man said, “I sure am! What a weird situation! I guess you’re on a date?”

Lydia chirped, “I guess I am.”

Then the woman at the table to the left broke in.

“Excuse me, but is your name Larry, and were you the one with the profile on Lovemetonight.com?”

Larry snapped his lax mandibles shut and responded incredulously, “Yes, I am!”

The four young lovers looked at each other for a moment, heads shaking and eyes bulging from the strange and unexpected juxtaposition.

The other Larry queried, “So, now what do we do?”

The perplexed quartet deliberated for a minute, then the decision was made. The other Larry proclaimed, “It looks like it’s going to be the old switcheroo!” And the other three nodded their agreement.

With the decision confirmed, Larry and the other Larry stood up and, with a handshake and head nod, exchanged places, each now facing his originally affianced mate. The two young ladies remained demure but eager.

Once the couples settled in and the food rearranged, the obligatory first-date conversations continued. First-date conversations are often difficult, with long periods of awkward silence, but this time, they took an ominous tone, as the subject matter turned to politics. It’s a well-known caveat never to discuss politics on a first date, especially in these partisan times.

Lydia was the first to fire a warning shot across the bow of the other Larry’s barge.

“You know, Larry, I hope you’re not a Trump supporter. I simply couldn’t even conceive of having anything to do with such a loser. Trump supporters are all ignorant, right-wing nut jobs.”

The other Larry, momentarily rendered dumbstruck, admitted, “Well, I hate to say this, but I love Trump. I was really disappointed when he lost the 2020 election. I hope you’re not a supporter of our current president, a bumbling, half-demented geezer who has made the wrong decision on every foreign policy issue in his career.”

Lydia, her face turning the color of a plate full of beets, responded, “A bumbling, half-demented geezer? I suppose you think a narcissistic, erratic oaf is better?”

The other Larry countered, “Listen, one thing that’s for sure. Any supporters of the Democrats are misguided, low-information snowflakes. When they finally move out of their parents’ basements, reality will sink in. Oh, maybe not. They might run to their safe spaces to avoid their perceived micro-aggressions.”

Lydia had heard enough. “That’s it. You can take your White Supremacist attitude and shove it. I’m out of here.” With that, she pushed her plate forward on the table and stood up.

At that exact moment, at the first table, overhearing the heated exchanges, Linda said to the first Larry, “I’m almost afraid to ask, but are you a Trump supporter?”

Larry, feeling very relieved, admitted, “Absolutely not! Are you kidding? I would never support such an aspiring dictator and overbearing goon. He’s obviously a Russian collaborator and supporter of neo-Nazis. I’m a strong supporter of Biden."

Linda responded, “Larry, everyone in my entire family is military. My father is a retired Marine commander and my brother just graduated the police academy. We love Trump. He’s wonderful. I’ve never known a more honest and intelligent politician. It’s America First all the way. Make America great again! I even have a MAGA hat in my car.” And with that, Linda pushed her plate forward and stood up.

The two Larrys sat stunned into silence as the women gathered their belongings and prepared to storm out. But, just then, the first Larry found the answer.

“Wait, ladies! Hang on a moment! I have the solution.”

The two women stopped and fixed their gaze on Larry, glowering with annoyance.

“Let’s just go back to the original arrangement. Linda, you’re with that Larry. Lydia, you’re with me. Cancel the switcheroo!”

The two inamorata stared at Larry for a moment, then looked at each other, then looked back at Larry. Then, looking at each other once again, the ladies shrugged and agreed, “OK, it’s worth a shot!” 

January 28, 2023 00:15

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Cara Fidler
09:02 Mar 28, 2024

Thought the switcheroo idea was quite ingenious. You misspelled grizzle--it's gristle. Nice job, Bruce.


22:00 Mar 28, 2024

Hi, Cara. Thanks for your comments, especially the spelling correction. I really learned something! I always thought it was grizzle.


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Roger Scypion
06:05 Feb 21, 2023

Great story! Fantastic writing, engaging throughout. The switcheroo...perfect!


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Helen A Smith
15:15 Feb 05, 2023

I really enjoyed reading this Bruce. It has some very funny lines. You set the scene well. Just as well they had the sense not to lose the opportunity. Let’s hope things worked out.


20:27 Feb 05, 2023

Something tells me these two relationships are doomed.


Helen A Smith
21:23 Feb 05, 2023

Give them a chance. You never know 😂


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Wendy Kaminski
04:04 Jan 28, 2023

Loved this piece, Bruce - it was hilarious! You do comedy so well, I look forward to more in this semi-dark-but-enjoyable style. I had to chuckle at "the Can Opener..." kids, right?! I was afraid a very bad time was coming up for Larry1 when I saw "substance and elegance," then read "looked at her phone." Yikes, Larry1 (politics aside!). :) Excellent twist and resolution, too. Keep up the great humor: you're a natural! :)


04:29 Jan 28, 2023

Thank you so much, Wendy. I’ll keep them coming. Looking forward to reading your next one, too.


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