My Romantic Life:
A Walking Tour of
All right, if we can just get the people in the back to bunch up a bit so I don’t have to shout. That’s better. Welcome, everyone. First up on our tour is scenic Dolores Park. Check out the panoramic views of San Francisco! How picturesque! Off to the right we have two landmarks: the Bay Bridge and the Transamerica building. And to the left you can see the filigreed dome of City Hall. Now, if I can direct your attention to this patch of dead grass next to where that homeless man is sleeping. Yes, there, by the trash can.
It was at this exact spot, in the summer of 2006, that Jessica Patterson and I engaged in a spirited debate lasting three hours about whether she really wanted me to meet her parents or was just pretending to. An argument—and relationship—that ended with a clump of grass shoved into my mouth.
Feel free to stand near the spot and smell the grass. Imagine the acidic taste. As you do, let me list a few fun facts: Dolores Park was first established by the city in 1905; only a year later, it served as a makeshift shelter for victims of the 1906 earthquake; currently there are six tennis courts; and my friend request to Jessica on Facebook is still pending.
On to our next attraction! Here we are at 16th and Mission, beside the famous Roxie Theater. The Roxie is San Francisco’s oldest continuously operating movie house. Its first spool of film rumbled through a projector in 1909. This historic projector is still on display in the lobby.
So let’s head two doors down to this dilapidated bar where in March of 2002, Kaitlin Talver—my dating companion of six weeks—asked me during a drinking game if I could have sex with any one of her friends, who would it be? And when I answered a little too quickly, a little too breathlessly, a little too repetitively, “Caroline Wilson!” she flushed our relationship down love’s all too clogged drain. Legend has it that if you listen closely enough you can still hear that flushing sound.
OK. Please check out the Bloody Mary brunch special they serve here. It’s a winner. Also, now is a good time to use the restroom.
Point of historical interest: Caroline Wilson will also not speak to me.
Soaring up from the top of Nob Hill is the magnificent Grace Cathedral, which was completed in 1964 after thirty-six years of construction. What a spectacle of engineering! Today it stands as the nation’s third-largest Episcopal cathedral, as well as the location of Molly McDougal’s wedding last summer to an ugly moron I used to manage at DSW. This June wedding occurred despite the fact that Molly told me on_ several_ occasions that she didn’t believe in marriage as “an institution.” Also despite the groom’s early baldness and his being three inches shorter than me.
The happy couple have since suggested via their attorney that I “move on.” Before we heed their advice, let’s notice those beautiful ornate church doors. What a fantastic wedding that must have been!
More fun facts: The entrance doors are an exact replica of Florence’s “Gates of Paradise”; and, technically, Molly and I never dated.
Let’s continue on!
Ladies and gentlemen, our walking tour ends right here in the Italian neighborhood of North Beach. We’re currently standing at 1866 Mason St. Just down the street from us is City Lights Bookstore, the famed publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s influential manuscript, Howl. But here, on the third floor of this nondescript mid-rise apartment building is where my girlfriend of three months, Emily Burcyde, lives with her best friend, whose name I forget.
Last week, following an awkward attempt at homemade tapas, Emily expressed doubts about the trajectory of our relationship, using such phrases as “personal growth” “emotional maturity” and “none.” She’s asked me here today to talk. The nature of this talk will undoubtedly involve her regrets that our relationship has run its brief course. She might suggest she needs time for herself. She might also say that she’s sorry, though if we look at it, it’s probably nobody’s fault. It is at this precise moment that I will then emit my famous Doleful Yawp. A yawp that I will now demonstrate. Feel free to take pictures. Afterward, please join me inside for some patatas bravas.
SUGGESTED READSSan Francisco Nocturne
by Neal Pollack (10/31/2000)
My Year in Review
by Neal Pollack (10/6/2000)
List: Actual Titles of Résumés Posted by Job Seekers on a San Francisco-Area Website
by Tony Cross (12/17/2001)
RECENTLYSentient Cloud of Poisonous Gas Seeks Companion
by Sam Shelstad (2/27/2015)
Open Letters: An Open Letter to Women Who Shame Catcalling
by Wendy Litner (2/27/2015)
List: Existentialist Quotes for Social Media Platforms
by Jim Sabataso (2/27/2015)
POPULARList: What a Straight Man’s Favorite Musical Says About Him
by Mara Wilson (2/10/2015)
Reasons You Were Not Promoted That are Totally Unrelated to Gender
by Homa Mojtabai (1/27/2015)
Jamie and Jeff’s Birth Plan
by Paul William Davies (12/26/2012)