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GETTING PERSONAL | TELL

She'd like his flirting to go

October 06, 2005|Katie Love | Special to The Times

Now here's a guy I could get serious with. He's kind, he's cute, and he's generous. He has in-depth knowledge of tequila, making him an invaluable guest at any party. He's attentive and laughs at all my jokes. He has a job. The dog likes him. He's what grandmothers call "A Nice Fella."

Just one character flaw: He flirts with waitresses.

I don't mean the gorgeous "I'm really an actress" waitress. I mean any waitress, in every restaurant, night or day, Spago or Twain's, doesn't matter. The guy has a thing for waitresses.

The first time it happened, I dismissed it as first-date jitters. The second time, I dismissed it as Rescue-the-Damsel-in-Distress syndrome. The third time it happened, I suggested we do takeout and watch reruns of Dr. Phil.

Usually, it starts off with mild flirtation that borders on stupidity, catching the victim a tad off guard. This morning is no different as we settle into a booth at an all-night diner after a Hollywood Hills party of all drink and no food. "Hi, Debbie," he says, reading her nametag. "What a great name. Debbie. I like the way that sounds. Duh-eeee-bbb-eeeeee.

"Debbie, what's a pretty girl like you doing serving me?" I look up at Debbie. Deb's had a long night and the fluorescent lights aren't doing her crow's-feet any favors. Her hair is swept up by a plastic clip that holds not only her hair, but remnants of the biscuits and gravy special. The uniform is too orange, and too tight.

She laughs nervously and looks at me for approval. I smile back with the "he's harmless" look.

I order a nondescript omelet and consider how I will break up with him. Since it is somewhat of a melodrama, I feel I should be veiled in a black scarf, very Katharine Hepburn, flash my profile and say something like, "Look, fella, it's over. You're no good. Do you hear me? No good."

There is the loud drink-a-watta in your face, high-pitched Rosie Perez breakup. Nah, too overkill. There is the Jilted Jane, starting with a single tear rolling down the cheek and ending in incoherent sobbing.

I think about my dog, and how kind she is to pretend she likes this cad. It wasn't her fault. We were going into our second month. She was getting hopeful and he did carry a Frisbee in his trunk. That kind of faith deserves a treat. I put a piece of bacon in my napkin.

Debbie has been invited to sit with us, which she does for a moment before receiving a cursory glance from her manager whose white shirt has taken on the look of a greasy appetizer.

"Oh goodness, I really have to go," she gasps. "This is our busy time. You folks have a really nice night."

It seems there is no time between my putting the bacon in my purse and putting the key in the ignition. His beaming face appears at the window, happy, content, another episode of successful waitress-wooing under his belt. I realize I have forgotten to say goodbye.

He taps on the window. "I'll drive, sweetheart." He tries the door. "Open up." I do appreciate his optimism.

Now would be a good time for the rolling tear, but in its place is laughter, the kind you hear in an old horror movie. I pull out of the parking lot and add a new exit technique to my repertoire: The Joker.

*

Katie Love can be reached at weekend@latimes.com.

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