For The Love Of Clowns

There are many secrets about clowns, and I’ve learned a lot, meeting two of them through online dating. I know, for instance, that it is very much a professional business and their stage names hold a copyright. So, in the stories that I have written about these two, I can’t use their stage names—and that’s unfortunate, because their names do represent their unique personalities.

Ian looked like a clown, with his gray, steel-wool hair and exaggerated features. His voice startled me, raspy, like tires on gravel. He wanted to meet me at a park and most women would balk at the location, but not me. I agreed. For some reason I trusted this guy.

He asked over the phone, “Do you mind if I bring my guitar?”

“Of course not,” I assured him.

When I parked in the lot, I saw the beat up white van, which he had described, and pulled alongside. We shook hands after the brief introduction and proceeded to walk down a path leading into the forest. It was fall and the leaves crunched and scuttled. The sun was out and the air held a bit of warmth, unusual for the late October day.

We made small talk as we walked deeper into the trees and bushes, most of which had lost their leaves and began to take on a sinister look that barren trees do.

“Follow me,” he instructed as he turned off the path and towards a fallen log a few hundred feet away.

Again, I didn’t hesitate. A gentle spirit exuded from him. He gestured towards the log, indicating I should sit, which I did. He sat on a stump across from me and told me he wanted to play a song that he wrote dedicated to the victims of the 9/11 disaster. I nodded in encouragement.

I’ve heard this song since, on a CD that he’s released, but it doesn’t sound anything like what I heard in the middle of the forest on that autumn day. The intro was a captivating melody and his voice was rang out clear and true. There was such passion in his playing and in his tone that I could not take my eyes off him. It was an electrifying performance. If all it took to fall in love was based on a song, I would be his forever.

I applauded after he finished. Suddenly, the forest sounded very hushed. It was a wonderful performance. We walked arm in arm back to our vehicles, but I knew that there wasn’t the chemistry needed for us to be more than friends, and I told him so before we parted. We have remained in touch.

He performs regularly, dressed up in a clown suit, singing his own compositions for children. He called me a while ago and we chatted about our dating experiences.

“I met someone I quite liked, Adrienne, and I invited her to one of my performances. It had been going so great on the phone and in our emails, I thought nothing of her coming and watching me.”

“You hadn’t met?”

“No. So I saw her in the audience and during intermission I went over to greet her. She looked so embarrassed to be seen with me. She turned and walked out without a word. Do you think maybe that was too soon for someone to see me in my clown costume?”

Ian is a bit odd looking dressed in his street clothes, I can’t imagine someone’s reaction to seeing him first with clown makeup and floppy shoes.

“I do. You should meet the same way you met me, Ian. I will never forget that serenade. You are magic with a guitar in your hands.”

Try not to floor them on the first date.

 

~~~

 

The clown community is a small and close-knit. I would connect with Ian once more during the time that I dated another man, Clown #2.

They were familiar and respected each others shtick. I called Ian for advice when the short lived relationship with Clown #2 suddenly took a dive.

Meeting Ian was such an interesting experience that I didn’t hesitate when Clown # 2, Blair, ‘messaged’ and asked me out for coffee. But, as I would learn, no two clowns are alike.

Blair presented himself well on the internet. He posted a photogenic image and a link to his  site, which I scrutinized. I was impressed by how busy his schedule was—and shocked at the high cost to hire this clown. On the dating site he described himself as an energetic man working two jobs. His regular position was delivering mail—clowning was his side occupation, or passion, as he called it. We went on three coffee dates, all of them lasting a couple hours each.

He told me that soon after his wife left him, he took up with a psychiatrist lady. She apparently spent most of her evenings overnight, with him, and he figured she would be his forever.  One morning she left the house to go jogging and never came back. He was devastated. I figured, well, if a psychiatrist could handle him being a clown, maybe I ought to give him a chance.

It was through him that I learned about ‘the business’.

“Chuckles is the guru of clowning,” he informed me over hot chocolate. “A buddy of mine encouraged me to try this—he figured I had the personality for it.”

As I looked on, curious, Blair continued, “I sing and play the banjo. I kinda look the type. You know, I’m tall, thin and I have this curly hair,” he tugged at it.

I had to agree. He did look the type. Pale white skin, steely blue eyes, and especially noticeable, his extremely long fingers that reminded me of tapered piano keys just perfect for nimble tasks. Balloon art was his specialty.

“I went to clown college,” he winked at me. “There is a place in the United States that holds these classes and you learn the trade. On my own, I learned to ride the unicycle, and I took special courses where I learned about makeup and costume. Clowning is performance art—there is a lot to learn if you want to be successful and make some good money at it. It took me a couple of years to perfect my act.”

“So00—you mostly do parties?” I asked, setting my cup down and checking the time. We had been talking for nearly two hours.

“Kids’ birthday parties, special events, picnics, adult functions… I’m quite diversified,” he smiled at me.

“It sounds like it, Blair. So how long does it take you to get ready… for a performance?”

“I’m fast—about an hour, to be dressed and get my face on.”

I had a vision of us together, in marital bliss.

“Do you have to go out again on the weekend, Blair?”

“Well, yes I do, Adrienne, my fans depend on me.”

I wait, sitting on the bed, and watch as he paints his face. I observe as he transforms from a man I could love, to a clown. He puts on this curly wig, then a hat—the finishing touch is the bulbous, red nose. Adoringly, I watch as he slips into his polka-dot baggy pants with suspenders and slides his feet into flipper-sized shoes. He’s already blown up a cluster of colorful balloons that he will need for this particular child’s party. He gathers them together and ties them with string.

“Well, I’m off, my darling. Wish me luck and don’t wait up.”

He blows me a kiss and my clown leaves. I sit alone—again. I think of him driving in his Volkswagen and how he must illicit smiles from other drivers as he heads to his destination.

To be honest, I really couldn’t imagine my partner dressing up like Blair and behaving like a clown. But, I kept my mind open to the possibility. He certainly was attractive—and I wasn’t in any hurry. However, when I watched him leave for work, I figured that just might end any possibility of romantic feelings toward him.

Our conversations covered a vast array of topics. Food was a popular one. He was a fanatic about what he ate. He was into fiber, and special organic flushes designed to move food through the body quickly. He liked to talk about the intestinal cleansing—which he would do on a regular basis. And he loved his steam rooms. He went nightly.

“I feel so clean afterward, Adrienne. The best day for me is a successful colon cleanse and then a two hour steam at night.”

A saying came to mind during this time. I have an open mind, and that is well known among my friends, but the saying is: Don’t have such an open mind that your brains fall out. I should have heeded these wise words.

We discovered we had a mutual friend and I called her to get her take on him.

“Oh my gawd, Adrienne, this guy is bad news. Drop him like a hot potato!”

“Why? Why are you saying that? He’s a bit odd, yes, but what is so terrible?”

“Let me tell you, when my daughter worked at Fatboy’s takeout window, that guy would come through the drive-through wearing that stupid clown outfit and he’d pass her a lewd balloon—and just grin.”

“A lewd balloon? What do you mean? You don’t mean…”

“Yes, yes I do. Just imagine it. The full male equipment. And the worst of it, he loved every minute of it. Of course the girls would be upset, flustered—they didn’t know what to do. They complained. He was coming through every week—like clockwork.”

“And passing the girls a special balloon?”

“Yep. So they told the manager and the next time Mr. Lewd Balloons drove through, they called him. He spoke to your clown and said ‘Please quit doing that. The girls are quite offended.’ And do you know what that jerk said?”

“No! Tell me.”

“He said, ‘Well, that’s what I’m going for.’ ”

I called Ian, my first clown, and had a chat with him.

“I know him. He’s good at what he does. He’s into balloon sculpting and he’s fast. I’ve seen him at picnics and man, his hands are amazing. But, I’ve heard about this fetish of his and you are good to be rid of him, Adrienne. The guy is bad news. I’ve heard he’s working with Delilah, she’s a female clown—one of the few in this area—and they’ve kinda joined forces. She’s a strange one, too. I wouldn’t trust her either.”

Blair was supposed to drop by that evening. I tried to call him, but he didn’t answer. I decided to meet with him face-to-face and let him know I wasn’t interested. The buzzer rang and I let him in. He seemed agitated as soon as he walked in the door. He didn’t want to take his coat off and said he only had a minute. He had something to say to me. What?

“Adrienne, I don’t want to upset you. I’ve given us a lot of thought,” he put his hands with those long, intricate fingers on my shoulders and looked into my eyes. “We have to stop seeing each other—immediately.”

The room went a little blurry, like a strange circus dream.

He continued, “The sooner we get back into the search for the right partner, the better. I am sorry to have to disappoint you, Adrienne, I like you very much, but we just don’t have the right connection.”

I could have argued with him, debate about who is breaking up with whom, but suddenly I visualized him dressed in his clown costume with that happy face camouflaging his sad one and I thought—just let him have the last word.

Now as I reflect on these experiences, I think Red Skeleton said it best:

“I’m nuts and I know it. But so long as I make ’em laugh, they ain’t going to lock me up.”

 

For The Love Of Clowns © 2011 Adrienne S Moody for now.readthisplease.com. Click Adrienne’s profile for more online dating sagas.

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2 Responses to “For The Love Of Clowns”
  1. Gaboo says:

    I enjoyed the way you approached this installment, Adrienne. It could have been sad, or cliche, but you navigated a sincere approach, with some humor and grace. The more I read, the more I think you’re pretty cool.

  2. Adrienne S Moody says:

    Thanks for reading and your comment, G!

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