“What on earth are you listening to?” bellows Fernando from around the corner, barely audible over the heavy beats pumping through my speakers. The sound of a door closing follows.
“Disco,” I call back with a pant, pausing my dance break to lower the volume. “You don’t listen to disco in the afternoon?”
Fernando enters the combined kitchen and living area, where he sets down a bag on the counter. “Jesus, Oliver. It sounds like the seventies exploded in here.”
“Now that would be a pain to clean. Sequins everywhere.”
Fernando proceeds to unearth mysterious grocery-things from the bag. It’s one of those hip reusable bags, emblazoned with some health foods logo. I always forget to use them. Whenever I come in, arms loaded with white plastic evil, Fernando will yell, “All hail! Here enters the destroyer of Earth, polluter of Mother Nature and hater of all that is good and clean!” Or something like that. I don’t really listen.
“What are you doing?” he asks, eyeing my jazzercise uniform.
“What are you doing?” I return. Fernando doesn’t actually live here. He just always seems to be here. I’ve considered asking the landlady if he came with the house (and in which case, was I allowed to paint him?) but I can’t complain. He does most of the cooking. … All of the cooking.
“I’m making dinner,” he replies. (See?) “I can understand why you’d ask; I know how confusing this must look. This here? This is called a pot. You cook with it. And this is called a potato. It’s something you eat.”
I give him my best mystified look, before melodramatically shaking my head. “I don’t think I’ll ever understand.”
“Hammer Time” comes up on my iPod, so I immediately blast the volume. I call this playlist PUMP IT UP, and along with disco and MC Hammer it includes the likes of Rihanna, Pitbull, various other club hits, and Wagner. (Have you ever heard Wagner? It’ll mess you up.) My musical choices have always baffled Fernando, but he’s someone who voluntarily listens to smoooooth jaaaaazz, so I don’t put much stock into his approval.
He pointedly turns off the music, settles on the couch, and looks half-interestedly at the laptop screen in front of him. Half-interest turns into puzzlement. “Oliver… What is this?”
“I thought you were going to cook.”
“I’m boiling water.”
“Mmm, my favorite.”
“Seriously, what is this?” His brow furrows as he scrolls down the screen. Then he looks at me. “You’re making an online dating profile?”
“Yep,” I say, hammer sliding over to the couch. “OkCupid is really something.”
“Guess I’m not enough for you now?”
“You were never enough for me.”
He groans and shakes his head, but there’s a smile in there too.
In a lot of ways we have a relationship, but Fernando isn’t actually my boyfriend. Fernando isn’t actually a lot of things. For starters, he isn’t actually named Fernando. I think he’s named Mike or Jim or some boring name like that, so I changed it for him. And by “changed it,” I mean I kept calling him Fernando until he got tired of whining at me to cut it out. Maybe one day I’ll go back to Mike or Jim (or was it Dan?) just to mess with him.
I suppose I could call Fernando my boyfriend, since we do all the mushy things that boyfriends are supposed to do, like spoon and talk about feelings and sleep with other people… Wait, that’s not right. See, I’m always mixing that part up!
Fernando’s content with the situation. He says he is, anyway. He’s allowed free reign himself, but doesn’t take it. Maybe his monogamous nature is too ingrained, or maybe it’s because he’s a homebody. Plus I, a player of both teams, possess the unfair advantage of double the options.
“And why, pray tell, are you making an online dating profile?” my semi-boyfriend asks. (Fernando likes to use stuffy phrases such as “pray tell” when acting superior. Other condescending verbiage includes “do go on” and… Well, I already said I don’t pay much attention.)
“Not just any dating profile,” I explain. “An OkCupid dating profile!”
“So you said.”
“They have quizzes.”
“Oh, well if they have quizzes…”
I pull up the in-site mailbox. “Look, these messages are priceless. I’ve had this profile up for about ten minutes and I’ve already got—one, two… seven messages. Look at this one.”
I show him a message by one SurferDudeX50X: “hay wut up u look good hit me bak.”
Fernando smirks. “Bad spelling and no punctuation? Sounds like a keeper. I hope you and SurferDude have a very long and happy life.”
“Lyfe with a Y.”
Fernando sighs and gets up to check on the boiling water. Or maybe he wants to get SurferDudeX50X’s grammar-cooties off of him.
“So are you going to meet any of these people?” he asks, his voice punctuated by the sound of a knife against a cutting board. Fernando loves healthy, wholesome home-cooking. Snobbishly so. Trying to get him to order a pizza is like pulling teeth. In fact, I bet if dentists knew him, they would say pulling teeth is like trying to get Fernando to order a pizza.
“Probably not,” I say, clicking on the screen name BOOTYGURL4U. (Why the caps? Does capslock mean even more booty?)
(Aaaaand that’s where I stopped. This was just a fun little character study I was playing with that I couldn’t find an end to, so, there ya go! I actually wrote this a few years ago when I was developing characters for a new novel, but none of it went anywhere. The idea is still hanging around my head though. Someday 🙂 )