“Hello, and welcome to NotAPsycho.com. We’ve already established that your future partner is not mentally unstable, not dangerous and will not harm you in any way. Would you like to proceed?” the automated, female voice asked.
“Yes,” she said, without stroking one key on the unnecessary board in front of her. She stared at the screen with wide eyes. She almost wished there was something to click so she could feel more proactive; but, she wouldn’t complain. There was nothing to complain about these days. She sat on her fidgety fingers and listened for the next prompt.
“Tell me a bit about yourself. What is your name?” the monotone voice continued.
“Does your bisexual orientation extend to transgender women?”
“Does your bisexual orientation extend to transgender men?”
“Five feet, six inches.”
“U.S. size seven, women’s.”
“St. Louis, Missouri.”
“Computer Software Developer.”
“Chocolate or Vanilla?”
“Which receives precedence, the peanut butter or the jelly?”
“Please refrain from using utterings like ‘Um’ and ‘Well’.”
“Half Irish, Half Kenyan.”
“An African American specifically known as ‘mixed’ referring to having one white parent and one black parent.”
“Three favorite hobbies?”
“Tennis, Drawing, Watching Movies.”
“Thank you, Olive. Now let’s talk about your desired preferences in a partner.”
“Male or female?”
“We are here to create your perfect match, ‘No preference’ is not an available option.”
“Cisgender or transgender?”
“No pref… um, oh shit, sorry, all religions may apply?”
“All religions. Again, please refrain from using utterings like ‘Um’.”
“We are here for you. There is never a need for you to apologize.”
“Six feet tall.”
“Light-skinned or Dark-skinned?”
Olive hated that she had to pick. Again, she wouldn’t complain.
“Mocha, chestnut or charcoal? Please refer to the examples on your screen.”
“Lean, muscular or a perfect mix of the two?”
“Unique name or simple to pronounce?”
“Simple to pronounce.”
“We are calculating your perfect match. Please stand by.”
Olive watched the screen. Her fidgety fingers freed themselves from under her bottom and twirled through her hair.
The screen read, “Loading.”
Ten long seconds later a smiley face emoji appeared, written underneath: CONGRATULATIONS!
“Olive,” the voice returned, “Out of the options that will now appear on your screen, what is your ideal first date.”
She took a moment to read through her options.
“I would say, B. SIT ON THE COUCH IN OUR PAJAMAS AND WATCH MOVIES.”
“Olive, are your living quarters clean, currently?”
“Yes, they are.”
“Are you menstruating?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Would you like to meet your future partner?”
“Yes, now. We do not like to waste time here at NotAPsycho.com.”
Olive looked around her small, studio apartment. She walked away from the screen in front of her and headed to the mirror in the bathroom. Did she look okay? Okay enough to meet her future partner? She grabbed her toothbrush and scurried around her cluttered counter in search for the paste. She found it under a hair bonnet and twisted the cap open as fast as she could.
As she brushed she heard the automated, female voice return, in what sounded like a louder volume.
“Olive? Olive are you still there?”
“Coming!” Olive struggled to return through frantic brush strokes.
She spit and rinsed. She ran to her closet, ripped off the old, tattered t-shirt she wore and short shorts covered in white paint, threw on a flowy, pink sundress and some deodorant and returned to her seat in front of the screen.
“Olive, is that you?” the voice asked.
“Yes, I’m here.”
“That wasn’t necessary, Olive.”
“What do you mean?”
“The clothes, the teeth brushing. There is no need to worry, your future partner accepts you just the way you are.”
“Right. I understand.”
“Would you like to go on your first date now?”
“Yes, I would.”
“What is your exact address?”
“391 Sherman Street. Apartment 3F. St. Louis, Missouri 63199.”
“Please change into whatever pajamas you wore last night.”
Olive walked to her closet slowly and tried to steady her heart. She retrieved the tossed t-shirt and shorts and changed before returning to her seat.
“Thank you, Olive.”
The screen went black and almost instantly there was a knock at the door.
He was six feet tall exactly with warm brown skin, a rich and even tone. He wore a white tank top that pronounced his acceptable physique and gray sweat pants. He flashed a surprising smile. Olive was surprised perfect teeth didn’t include an upcharge.
“Wow,” he said instantly.
“Excuse me?” Olivia asked.
“You’re perfect, more than I could have asked for. Sorry, I just, I, um, didn’t think this site would actually work.”
“The site is here for you. There is never a need for you to apologize.”
They laughed together.
“That’s right. I forgot,” he said.
“Would you like to come in?” she asked.
Olive closed the door behind him and caught a whiff of his scent. He smelled like Irish Spring soap and Old Spice deodorant.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, David.”
“The pleasure is all mine, I assure you.”
“What’s that?” Olive asked, gesturing to a DVD case in David’s hand.
“The Bridges of Madison County,” he said, holding up the movie. “I thought we could watch it tonight, if that’s alright with you?”
“It’s my favorite.”
He smiled that perfect smile.
“Good, I’m glad.”
For a process that was so smoothly orchestrated, Olive felt nervous. The butterflies bombarded her stomach but she didn’t mind. She welcomed the reminder that she was alive.
“Would you like some popcorn?” she asked her guest that was undoubtedly not mentally unstable, dangerous or a harm to her in any way.
“Sounds great, I’ll put the DVD in while it pops.”
Olive and David sat on the couch with no inches between them. He put his arm around her and she rested her bent knee on his thigh.
The butterflies persisted but after a little red wine, the flutters succumbed.
After the movie David looked deep into Olive’s eyes.
“I’m glad I’m here,” he said. “I’m glad it’s you.”
Olive smiled and bit her bottom lip, a physical warning to her tear ducts to keep in control.
“I’m glad it’s you too, so very glad,” she said.
They moved to her bed and climbed under her covers.
He lied behind her and scooped her close.
She was safe and warm.
He told her about his parents, his sisters and his nephew.
She told him about her boring job, her dashed dreams of being a tennis star and her desire to travel more.
He promised he’d take her wherever she wanted to go.
Eventually, they drifted off to sleep, staying in each other’s arms, separating only when he needed to stretch his arm. Then they would separate but somehow always managing to find each other again. They both slept soundly, dreaming peaceful dreams neither would remember in the morning.
The first date was a success, like they always were once two individuals were ready. Tomorrow, they would worry about the future, but for tonight, they would rest.