Date Four. Part One.

“Fuck the juice cleanse!”

“Fuck the juice cleanse?”

“Yes! Fuck it!” she said, and she threateningly waved her champagne glass at me.

I looked over at Caitlyn and Marlie. “Fuck the juice cleanse?”

“Fuck it,” said Marlie, nodding.

“Yep. Fuck the juice cleanse,” Caitlyn agreed.

“Hmm,” I said, mulling this over. “Fuck the juice cleanse…”

It was Saturday night and Marlie and I had gone over to Caitlyn’s to watch ‘Return to Eden,’ which if you’ve never seen, is quite fabulous and hysterical. Perhaps unintentionally. Caitlyn’s friend Lisa, who now Marlie and I both know well and adore, had joined us. As is per our usual whenever we try to have Movie Night, we ended up talking so much we just shut off the film, opting to catch-up instead.

Lisa was reprimanding me for suggesting I decline a date that Tuesday because I was to be on a juice cleanse. Now, I am not one to go on any sort of cleanse, but when my friend and co-worker McKenzie had said she’d gotten a good deal through Groupon I’d thought, “Why the heck not?” Perhaps after the three days, I would emerge as the personification of detoxed perfection.

It wasn’t until after I’d purchased the package, she’d told me she’d thrown up the first night on it.

Oh.

“I don’t know,” I said to the group warily. “What if I’m really tired or out of it? After all, it’s just juice all day and one small dinner.”

“Then you suck it up!” Lisa said. “You know how competitive it is out there! If you put this guy off for a week so you can do your stupid cleanse, he could be hooked up with someone else.”

“She’s right,” Caitlyn said, as she set out a fresh batch of pigs-in-a-blanket. She always makes these when we come over because she knows I love them oh so very much.

“Can’t you just do the cleanse another week?” Marlie asked.

I took a sip of champagne. And then sighed, “No. It’s the kind of thing where you have to actually reserve a time because they make your juice every morning and then you pick it up each day. If I don’t do it now, the offer will expire. I’ve got to get it over with.” I reached for a tortilla chip and dipped it into the pot of spinach-artichoke dip. I continued on. “The thing is, I really, really don’t want to drink on this cleanse. I spent a lot of money on it and I want to do it correctly.”

“So don’t drink,” Marlie offered.

“Exactly,” said Lisa. “Just don’t drink.”

“Look, I have no problem not drinking on dates,” I said. “I’m fine meeting for coffee or whatever. But we already agreed to do drinks and I feel weird going to a bar and not drinking.” I only said this because once, during my other immersion into online dating, I’d met a guy at a bar and he’d taken that moment to reveal he didn’t drink. It made me incredibly uncomfortable because to not have a drink seemed contrived in order to impress him, but to have a drink felt odd.

“So then offer to do coffee,” said Caitlyn.

“Yeah, maybe.” I thought this over a moment and then said brightly, “Maybe I could just tell him the truth! That I’m doing a juice cleanse and I don’t want to drink.”

“Are you kidding, no!!!” Lisa cried, shaking her head vigorously. “The minute you mention a juice cleanse, it sucks the fun out of everything.”

“Seriously,” said Caitlyn.

“You’re right,” I laughed. “I guess I’ll just have to take my chances then.”

“Good call,” said Lisa. She turned to Caitlyn. “Cait, do you have any more of that Cava?”

“Of course, honey,” Caitlyn replied. She took Lisa’s glass and moved to the kitchen. I sunk back into the plush couch.

When I returned home later that night, I confirmed with my date.

We were on for drinks that Tuesday.

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