It was Valentine’s Day, or Night, since his car arrived around 9pm. I was headed to the Hop Louie in Chinatown to meet a friend for some drinks. A 5-Series Beemer rolls up to me and I reach for the door handle. It’s locked. The driver lowers the back window two inches and asks for my name. I pause for a moment, noting his caution. I respond and feel the door unlock beneath my fingers. I compliment him on his vehicle as I enter, he thanks me, and says it’s the reason for his cautiousness. He can’t risk letting just anyone in. The car begins to move.
My driver seems close to six feet tall, but it’s hard to tell while he’s seated. He’s bald, black, and built; more stocky than chiseled. We pass a cluster of outdoor seating in front of an upscale restaurant. Dates were taking place at every table. My driver scoffed at the money being spent on this high pressure holiday. “Whip out those credit cards boys! Prove you love her by stacking up some debt!” We both cracked up a bit. I was single and appreciated the cynicism. My driver had bought a gift today though. Diamond earrings, for his mother. She also drove for Uber.
We started talking about all the ways dating was expensive, from the gifts, to the meals, to the hotels, to the condoms. He proceeded to tell me a story from his younger days. HIs aunt worked at a sexual health clinic and gave him a bag full of brand-less contraceptives. Unimpressed, he tossed the sack of condoms into the trunk of his car, thinking he would never use them. A few weeks later, he did. The first two had torn mid-coitus, and the third got lost inside of his partner, resulting in an unplanned trip to the emergency room. He said that was the last time he would ever fuck with no-name condoms.
I asked what he did besides drive. He was a bodyguard. He seemed reluctant to talk about the kind of people he protected. He quickly directed the conversation towards his past, three years ago, when he worked as a bouncer at a strip club. He joked about how much pussy he’d seen . . . how all pussies are pink in the middle even if they look different on the outside. He decided to change careers when he found himself falling for all of the women around him. He wanted to have a relationship that wouldn’t make him madly jealous.
His app pinged, indicating that another rider would be joining us. Conversations tend to fade when someone new enters the car. The new rider was nowhere near the pickup location they’d requested, and we spent the remainder of the ride playing Marco Polo until we finally found a gentleman 2 blocks from where he was supposed to be.