By R. CHASE
Miyamoto Musashi, the great sword duelist from Edo period Japan, once said that he won the first half of his duels with technique, but the second half purely with strategy.
The most famous example was his duel with Sasaki Kojiro, in which he arrived an hour late, hungover, unkempt, with nothing but a crudely carved boat-oar for a sword he had fashioned on the way there. His opponent was so insulted and enraged that he made a foolishly rash downward cut at his head.
What Kojiro didnâ€™t know was that Musashi had carefully studied his opponent, and knew the exact length of his weapon. He had deliberately carved the boat oar to be 3 inches longer, and the moment his opponent struck he made an identical attack from a comfortable 3-inch margin, crushing his skull with the blunt instrument and killing him immediately.
Thatâ€™s what I like about Musashi. He planned ahead.
I called my sister in Miami as I drove down Broadway, heading towards the Brown Hotel.
â€œHey, do you remember what this woman even looked like?â€ Iâ€™d been so drunk at the sushi bar in San Francisco that I barely remembered asking her out.
â€œNo. I was the only person there drunker than you were. Why the hell are you going out on Wednesday?â€
â€œBecause nobody gets lucky on Tuesday.â€
Musashi. Strategy. Think ahead.
She worked for a company that did business in Louisville and she said she was flying in Monday night and flying out Thursday morning. I had to make a choice.
Tuesday is not a sexy night. Tuesday is the night girls watch TV in their un-sexy underwear. Tuesday is the night they take Jazzer-Yoga-Lates-Zumba class and eat Qdoba burritos and Kizito cookies in bed. Tuesday is Popular Dramatic Television Night.
I chose Wednesday.
I planned everything. I got reservations at Seviche, which was one of the best restaurants in town, and it didnâ€™t come with a ton of heavy carbs or bread that might make me feel bloated or tired after the meal. It was also expensive as hell and had a high quality of service.
In the ragged holes of my memory this woman was jet-black haired, slightly â€œhippyâ€ and from the Czech Republic. She was actually a â€œchestyâ€ blonde Ukranian wearing a dress so tight I was afraid it would tear straight up the seam when she squeezed into the car.
Would Musashi get so drunk he couldnâ€™t remember some woman he asked out 4,000 miles away?
We had a great meal, and more importantly than that, a great conversation. Either the education level of Eastern European women was surprisingly high, or Iâ€™d been spending way too much time talking to girls who thought â€œCosmopolitanâ€ was akin to Faulkner and â€œDancing With the Starsâ€ compelling television.
When the bill came, I refused to let her pay, despite the fact that my internal accountant was having a grand-mal seizure.
The Incan kings of old used to drink a bitter cacao mixture to prepare for long hours of mating rituals with the royal concubines.
I ordered dessert. Chocolate. We shared it.
We had a nightcap at the Brown, and I casually mentioned that I was working on a creative project, somewhere online, that Iâ€™d love to share with her. She suggested we go to her room so that she could check it out before the night got late and she had to get to bed. We finished our drinks and walked up to her room.
The dress came off almost immediately after the door creaked shut, and I saw the spirit of that ancient Japanese master, hovering over me like a ghostly Jedi Knight, silently giving me the sensei version of the high-five.
One of the advantages of getting older is the miracle of wisdom, or the ability to see everything several moves ahead, if only for the reason that youâ€™ve made the same avoidable mistakes so many damn times before that you finally get smart enough to set yourself up for success.
Itâ€™s not that dating is a sword duel – but itâ€™s definitely a set of circumstances that you can manipulate to achieve victory.
And whether that victory merely entails sneaking out of a room on the 14th story of the Brown Hotel at 4 a.m. with a nasty hangover, instead of bashing your rivalâ€™s head in with a boat oar, is pretty coincidental at this point in life.
Itâ€™s still a compelling example of the strategic concept.
R. Chase is a local writer and surveyor of single life on the Bourbon Trail. Follow him on twitter at @_Rchase.