Billie Holiday is a woman.

My last first date was 15 years ago.


First dates are awkward. You’re being judged. You’re judging. Everything you do and say is taken into consideration – what you wear, how you speak, maybe even how you smell.

Am I pretty enough? Did my comment about whiskey make me sound like an alcoholic? Say something witty. Talk. Say something. Anything. I should tell him how I almost died in a  flood last night. Wait, don’t be dramatic. Ok, he’s funny. He pointed out we’re both shy. That’s cute. 

15 years later, I still wonder if I’m pretty enough. I still dress up for dates. I curl my hair and I wear heels. Ok, I lied. I don’t wear heels because that makes me taller than Scott and he hates that. I know what Scott will order at a restaurant. And he knows I’ll never turn down a whiskey. And, no, that doesn’t make me an alcoholic. We don’t need to judge each other because we already know each other.

Oh, does the man still make me laugh.


Scott: After you’re finished eating, let’s pay and get out of here. I don’t really like this band.

Me: Really? Jazz? This is old Kansas City. Don’t you feel like we’re on the Cosby Show or something?

Scott: I feel like I want to go to bed.


I cold-walked in front of Scott in the parking lot. I couldn’t wait for the car heater to blast in my face.

Scott: And there she goes. Leaving me behind with the cold-walk.

Me: I’m freezing! Hurry up!

I opened the driver’s door and waited for Scott to catch up.

Scott: I know this is probably a dumb question but is Billie Holiday dead? He’s dead, right?

Me: Scott.

I stared.

Scott: (laughs) He’s dead! He’s old. Never mind.

We sat inside the car and I turned the ignition on. I tapped the heat button up and pulled out of the restaurant’s parking lot.

Me: Are you serious?

Scott: What? Did he die a long time ago?

Me: No. I mean, well, yes. I mean Billie Holiday is a woman. He is a she. And yes, she’s dead.

Scott: What, so she’s like Billie-with-an-i or something?

Me: Billie-with-an-i-e, actually.

Scott: How am I supposed to know these things? Billie Holiday is a woman? And how do you know who Billie Holiday is? Name one song.

Me: Oh, you know. That one song. It’s popular. It’s on The Notebook. Hold on, let me think.

Scott: Well, sorry I don’t watch The Notebook over and over.

Me: Ok, Ryan Gosling.

Scott: Huh?

Me: It’s a popular song in that era…hold on. You’re distracting me. I can hear it.

Scott lifted his phone. Billie Holiday’s songs started.

Scott: This one?

Me: No.

Scott: This one?

Me: No.

Scott: All these ringtones and none of them are it?

Me: Ringtones?

Scott: I figured her most popular songs would be a ringtone. This one?

Me: That’s it! I’ll be seeing you. I’ll be see-ee’ing youuu. It’s in The Notebook. You know when they’re old and dancing.

Scott: No. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve seen The Notebook once and it sucked.

Me: But Ryan Gosling.

Scott: What?

Me: Wait. Haven’t you seen Clueless?

Scott: Yeah, once. Like 30 years ago.

Me: When Cher is on that date with that guy – who ends up being gay – but anyway, he picks her up in the car and he asks, “do you like Billie Holiday?” and Cher says, “I love him.” and she flips her hair like this and he kinda smirks at her. You didn’t get that joke?

Scott: No, I probably thought she loves Billie-with-a-y.

Me: You live in Kansas City. This is a jazz town. You’re required to know that Billie Holiday is a woman.

Scott: (continues to play Billie Holiday music on his phone) This is awful. She sounds like…like, noise.

Me: Noise?! She had one of the greatest jazz voices that ever lived.

Scott: Her ring tones suck. You can’t tell me you like these ring tones.

Me: It’s not my favorite but I like it. Actually, it reminds me of coffee shop music. Or my grandma’s jukebox in her basement. This is like my grandparents’ music. I imagine my Grandma Crowder going on a blind date with my grandpa in Kansas City. This is what they listened to. It’s sweet.

Scott: It’s noise.

Scott played A Milli by Lil Wayne.

Scott: “Young money. Ya dig Mack I’m goin’ in. I’m a millionaire, I’m a young money millionaire…A milli…a milli…ah ah ah a milli.”

Me: This is embarrassing.

Scott: For who? (continues to dance and raps)

Me: Our grandkids. They’re going to be like, “Listen to this noise. A milli. A milli. A millionaire.” They’re going to laugh and say, “Can you believe our grandparents used to listen to this when they went on dates?”

For the record, Scott’s favorite genre of music is country.

Also for the record, Billie Holiday is a woman. And she passed away on the day Scott and I would get married, well before Scott and I were born.

I looked up how she died. I don’t know why, really. Other than this is one of those times this blog possesses a life of its own. A giant wheel, connecting everything together. Billie Holiday lived and died in the wrong era. We would have been great friends.

Billie Holiday’s cause of death: too much whiskey.


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