The Harbus Intraview

Her Story

As I glammed myself up in preparation for my big date, I thought back three years to my last blind date. Sadly, on that date, the hottest thing that happened was the fire set by a group of drunken Greek men who set the floor alight with the aid of the contents of an entire bottle of Johnnie Walker. I had far more heated expectations for this evening, however. After all, when UncleJordie asked me to participate in this e-date, I did so on the condition that I be set up with a “hottie.” I didn’t know what to make of the fact that I had been selected because my date was looking for a “Maoist,” but if Maoist was what he wanted, Maoist was what he was going to get. I therefore proposed to Alex that we visit the local socialist bookstore followed by dinner followed by a nightcap of his choice. Alex enthusiastically embraced my suggestion, so arrangements were made for me to pick him up in my ’94 Camry for our sexy Tuesday-night date. This is the 00s after all.

Sadly, Alex’s dedication to the Entrepreneurial Manager was greater than his interest in visiting the Lucy Parsons Bookstore, so we skipped the visit and headed straight to the Franklin Caf‚ in the South End for dinner. After being told that we would have to wait at least an hour and a half for a table, we angled our way to the bar and decided to start drinking. By 10 PM, we had already shared our views on Michael Porter and the liberating effect that Venezuela has on people. Hmm, I thought—what else might we be sharing this evening?

Constantly mindful of the fact that I was being wined and dined (well, actually just wined) on the Harbus’s dime, I decided it was time to conduct a little market research on my burgeoning relationship. I turned to the gentlemen couple to our left to get their perspective on our chances. Unfortunately for me, however, Mark was far more interested in slipping my date his phone number than giving me a good quote, much to the chagrin of his date. Concerned about the growing competition for Alex’s attentions, I decided it was time to move on to Big City, where we were to meet up with Alex’s friends from Section A. Once at Big City, unnamed members of Section A grilled me on my sexual proclivities regarding body hair, midgets, and porn. What’s going on in Section A?

By that point, it was well past midnight and well past my bedtime, so like the good date that I was, I dropped Alex off at his door and thanked him for a lovely evening—fun, but it looks like one-time fun. So unless something changes by press time, I’m still waiting to take that special someone for a spin in my ’94 Camry.

His Story

So, there I was, maxin’ and relaxin’ at 7 Story Street, enjoying my roomies’ highly competitive Foozball ™ game and drinking a can of Schlitz (“the beer that made Milwaukee famous”), when I realized I had two minutes to get ready for my big Harbus Intraview (r). I threw on my hippest $10 Salvation Army Gucci knock-off and bounded down our ill-lit stairs to meet Beth, who luckily had a car. Beth and I were matched on this Intraview because my #1 criterion that I shared with LuvMasta’ Uncle Jordie was, and I quote, “1. A Marxist or Maoist.” Beth used to live in China, ergo, Intraview.

Our conversation got off to a rousing start by debating Michael Porter’s thoughts on affirmative action, environmental regulation and “meddlesome” government. Before going to drink and eat, we paid a visit to the Lucy Parsons Project socialist book store, in honor of our BGIE class on ole Uncle Joe [Stalin]. As we subsequently sidled into hipster Franklin Caf‚ in the South End, we were quickly accosted by an Old Testmament hostess, who: a) advised us of a 60-90 minute wait; and, b) told us after an hour the wait would be about one hour. Due to Beth’s persuasive prowess, while I took a leak, she convinced the Kafkaesque hostess to let us have a table. Thereupon I got to learn all about the cool places the indefatigable Ms. Howe has lived, like Johannesburg, China and Caracas. I was particularly delighted to hear about the numerous clubbing outfits Beth had acquired in Venezuela.

Beth interviewed several folks during our intraview, sort of like the play within the play in Hamlet. While the bartender remarked that we were “totally average” customers, one member of the gay couple we interviewed, Mark Garber, noted he thought I was “a keeper.” When I accepted his business card-I swear to get his name right in this venerable publication-both Beth and his date grew suspicious.

Whatever tension had arisen was quickly dissipated by Ms. Howe’s masterful narration of her visit with a friend to a Turkish bath house in Paris. Pretty good story. Involved mutual washing.

By this time, since we were both fighting three-case-day fatigue, we decided to go play some pool with some Section A homies. One, who I shall refer to as K’B (not Kendall Bailey), thought he’d make Beth comfortable by engaging her in a conversation about shaving (yes, that kind of shaving). Then, I watched my friend Ricky Ayers’ visage twist in pain as he saw Beth responding to K’B that “first I will explain my opinion on adult cinema, then midgets, then midgets in adult cinema.” Beth was a successful consultant at Monitor, so she know how to answer a complex question by breaking the problem down into the appropriate buckets.

As she graciously drove me home, I was happy to have met someone I might get to study with at the JFK school next year, and grateful that she didn’t press charges against K’B for Community Standards violations (at least not yet). ­Viva la Harbus Intraview!