“Byron?” asked a gruff voice. I looked up to see a man approaching my table at a bar in Lakeview. It was my blind date, and he had to be at least 60.
I was 23. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t judge. Date who you want! I just wasn’t expecting that this promised “Quantum Leap’s Scott Bakula look-alike” would mirror Bakula present day—plus 15 years. I never went for older guys, so I was shocked that my twentysomething friend even set us up.
I gave it a chance. We made small talk. He said he had recently retired and was thinking of moving to California. I recited some California-related Saved by the Bell reference. He stared at me blankly. Of course he didn’t understand—he was over 40 when that show aired. I was ten. (Oh. My. God.)
Here’s the deal: I’m a pop-culture guy. Quote Mrs. Doubtfire and I’ll be your BFF for life. Yes, I have other interests beyond knowing every lyric from Jagged Little Pill. But nostalgia has always connected me with best friends, and a partner should be a best friend. He was Bonanza. I was Blossom. Our generation gap couldn’t be bigger.
The kicker was when he asked why I became a writer. “Probably because I read every R.L. Stine book as a kid,” I said. “It’s my childhood feat!” R.L. Stine was my hero. I spent all my allowance on his books. I once started a book club devoted to the Fear Street collection. I still have every single copy.
My date’s response: “Who’s R.L. Stine?”
I wrapped up that evening as quickly as My So-Called Life was canceled. You can dis my TV, but don’t you dare dis my Goosebumps.—Byron, 28/male/gay/in a relationship/South Loop