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Gentlemen Callers

First things first: I saw “The Glass Menagerie” on Broadway tonight. It was spectacular. Aside from The Bard, Tennessee Williams is my favorite playwright, and this play is one of his best. I loved every moment of it. And Cherry Jones. Oh my goodness. As a Southern woman and an actress I have infinite respect for the TRUTH behind her powerhouse performance. I'm not even sure New York audiences will fully appreciate how true to life her portrayal of Amanda, the fading Southern Belle, actually is. How she moved, the way she spoke, especially the way her voice lilted every time she mentioned "gentlemen callers"... I could have sworn I was watching my grandmother. Cherry Jones has spent the last 10 years following my grandmother around in preparation for this role, I swear.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, a Gentleman Caller is a very old-world way of describing a man who is coming over to your house to inquire as to your datability. They want to get to know you, and discover if there might be some mutual interest. They probably bring flowers and shake your hand before coming in for a nice cup of tea. If the tea goes well perhaps your step out to a movie or perhaps go on a nice long walk. Again, it's about getting to KNOW one another. If that's not civil AF I don't know what is.

Unfortunately that's not quite how it goes anymore… I was meant to meet a Gentleman Caller of my own from OkCupid this evening for drinks at 6:30pm before seeing the show. He was going to pick me up, walk me to the bar around the corner from the theater, then walk me to the show. CIVIL. But that didn’t happen. Instead, he texted me at 9am this morning asking if I could meet him for breakfast downtown at 10am.

Breakfast. Downtown. In an hour. That ain’t right.


He should be banned from all dating sites and put on the no-fly list. You don’t just pull a breakfast on a girl with so little warning! I had only just gotten out of the shower! A true Gentleman Caller would know better. That said, I'm not one to turn down free breakfast so y’all better believe I threw hot rollers in my hair and got my ass on the express train with all due haste.

It was an interesting date. I figured he had to change our plans because of something work related. Nope. He works an impressive job but does so from home, which we already established was on The Upper West Side just like me, and even though there are any number of delicious brunch places in our neighborhood, he insisted on this place downtown. During the meal he kept yawning. He apologized and explained that he was just really tired, to which I wanted to reply THEN WHY DID YOU CHANGE OUR DRINKS DATE TO A BREAKFAST DATE WHEN WE COULD BOTH BE BACK IN OUR RESPECTIVE BEDS ASLEEP OR CUDDLED UP WITH NETFLIX?!? But I didn’t. I just ate my granola. Dating is so weird, guys.

When the date came to an end I thought that he might be heading to a meeting or something in the area, or even to meet another friend, anything to justify the 20-minute train ride downtown. But he wasn’t. We actually ended up getting on the same uptown train, getting off at the same stop, and walking to our respective apartments, which are incidentally only blocks away from each other. On the train ride up he asked me if I wanted to come over and watch The Olympic hockey match that was about to start. How was this all of a sudden turning into a marathon date? I declined because I had a lot of errands to run before seeing the show that night, which was totally true, but said I hoped we could see each other again. And so we parted. In light of many obstacles, I persevered. I suppose I’ll live to date another day. I think my grandmother and Amanda both would be proud of me for handling my gentleman caller in such a way.

However... the next thing I know a few hours later he's texting me trying to get me to come over after the show for a glass of wine. I told him that the show wouldn’t get out till almost 11 and that I have a rehearsal early tomorrow morning, which I do, but maybe some other time. It’s now 11:45pm and he is still persisting. "It's really good wine", he says. It looks like this “gentleman caller” might turn out to be a bit of a “booty caller”.

This debutante doesn’t do booty calls... no matter how good the wine is.

I do hope I'm wrong about him though. He actually seemed really nice. Maybe all he meant by a glass of wine was just a glass of wine. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

With Grace and Good Humor,

My name is Mary Lane Haskell and my two "claims to fame" are that I have Dolly Parton's fax number and that Reese Witherspoon once liked a post on my Instagram.  I am an actor, a writer, and a profound Chipotle enthusiast making my way in Los Angeles while trying to stay true to my family's southern roots, all with grace and a touch a good humor.  I'm so glad you're here!


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