6/5/13

The One That Got Away . . .

No. This is not me. I've only ever fished on a dock in the
Finger Lakes in beautiful Upstate New York
A long, long time ago (I can still remember how that music used to make me smile?) I was set up on a date. Sorta'.

This was the year 2000 (spring, specifically) and I was in DC. I had not been on a formal date in years and I had a client who - for whatever reason - deemed herself Cupid and decided she was going to personally end my drought of engaging conversation over food and/or beverages with a beautiful woman.

At this point in my life I was probably in the mid 400 pound range. This client (who was also a friend in many ways), bless her little heart, decided she would set me up with a woman from her social circle that I would be "perfect" for and vice versa. I was hesitant but I agreed. How bad could it be, right?

I was given nothing more than a quick overview of the woman. She seemed lovely. This was before Facebook and Twitter was in the early days of Google and LinkedIn. We could not just "look people up" at this point in time. It was horrible. I put together a plan of drinks and dinner and then, if it went well, some dessert at another location all in downtown/Chinatown (close to both our offices). Sent the details to my client - she got a confirmation from her friend. Bam. See (her) Tuesday!

Fast forward to Tuesday. I show up at the bar for drinks. My breath, teeth, and hair were right. My wardrobe was as good as it got (big men's fashion has changed a lot in 13 years). I had a few stories and 20 questions ready (if you've ever been on a date with me (you lucky, lucky, pitiful few) you know I am a "listener" (at first)). I waited. 30 minutes. 45 minutes. 58 minutes. Called client. She called back with apologies but told me to sit tight. I suggested her friend just meet me for dinner (reservations were just 20 minutes away).

I'm grumpy at this point. I'm meeting a super late stranger. I'm anxious to just meet her and get it over with. I am second guessing this whole thing. But I demure and walk to the restaurant (after closing my Diet Coke tab and generously tipping).

I walk in to the restaurant and there is this beautiful, radiant, five-foot-ten, wavy, chestnut hair topped, high heel wearing, nice get-away stick displaying, skirt suited, curvy Goddess with a leather attache and diamond tennis bracelet (have I mentioned I can be hyper-attentive and remember fine details?) at the hostess stand. Jack. Pot. I walk up GLOWING from ear to ear and introduce myself. What was MY problem? She shakes my hand, smiles back . . . and then wish her a lovely evening as it becomes clear she is not there "for" me.  I look around. No one else waiting. I start day dreaming that this woman's date blows her off and we find solace in each other - if only for that night (awkward). Her guy walks in shortly after. She introduces the two of us (this is DC - they network there (yes, I still remember both their names and where they worked)).

Fifteen minutes later a woman walks in the door. She's not quite the woman at the hostess stand but there is nothing wrong with this rubenesque beauty. We say "hellos" and approach the host who seats us and we're off to the races. I'm not a jerk (alllll the time) but a little "Hey, sorry I'm 90 minutes late to our first meeting." would have been very much appreciated. What ELSE would have been appreciated? Some personality. Some interest. Some energy. Some courtesy laughs for my jokes. Some positions on issues that are open to discussion vs. blank stares or a "Here we go." any time I disagreed with her (this is DC - they debate politics there). We ate dinner. No drinks. No dessert. No even discussion of spending more time together that evening.

I don't blame the woman. It was apparent the ONLY thing the two of us had in common was obesity. Plain and simple. Like a person setting up their only two black, gay, transgendered, widow(er)ed, Royals fans, etc. friends it was stupid, flawed, arrogant math that we might get along or have any spark based on just ONE joint trait. While I still found the woman attractive she clearly didn't feel the same way about me and that is where it got weird. I would have truly preferred a "Thanks for agreeing to meet me. Tonight got weird. Can we raincheck dinner?" as soon as she realized I was not for her. Truly. I would have grumbled but I would have had more time and money left at the end of the awkwardness.

Here's where it gets weird . . . I'm annoyed so I call my client the next day to see what review came back and my client/friend says "I've not talked to her - you should just call her yourself. Now that you've met you can have her information" so she gives me her friend (my date's) cell phone number and I wait 48 hours (my roommate at the time said that was the right amount of time) and called her. And THIS (approximated) is what I said in her voicemail . . .

"Hey, NAME. This is Sean, from Tuesday night. I just wanted to call and thank you for enduring some time with me. I apologize if I was not your cup of tea. BLANK thought we would be and I wish I'd asked more questions of her or maybe pushed for us to chat before meeting in person. It is obvious we didn't have much in common besides our love of complex carbohydrates and the couch (Editor's Note: This was the only joke we DID laugh, together, at our dinner.) I probably could have saved you an awkward dinner. I wish you the very best with your trip to the horrible island of Manhattan this weekend and I hope if we ever bump in to each other at a NAME arranged function, we can chat some more."

NOW - this would have been fine. Great. PERFECT. Probably one of the most mature things I did in the entire year 2000. But there was more . . .

"In the meantime I wanted to simply point out that you ruling me out because of my weight - and if it was anything more than my weight PLEASE correct my errant assumptions here - you should realize you are not only a hypocrite but you are a betrayal to all the maturity, grace, class, and other traits our mutual friend said you had. You'll someday rue letting someone fantastic - maybe even "the one" you so pathetically lamented waiting for the other night - get away. I'm not him. Clearly. I'm not that arrogant to presume we could have had a better evening if I had rock hard abs but I'm also not arrogant or presumptive enough to rule out you thinking I might have been better with them. Pound sand."

And CLICK. Fast forward three seconds and I'm horrified with and angry at myself but also proud that I did what I did. Then skip another four seconds when I realize a very important client put me in touch with a friend who I just told off for no real/justifiable reason. Imagine the next three minutes being a hasty e-mail to said client/friend telling her what I did and trying to pretend I was joking. Zoom ahead an hour or so to the call from the client/friend, via office phone (I might point out) laughing her fool head off and THANKING ME for finally telling one of her very best friends something the entire circle of friends had been trying for years to have the woman truly hear and for disclosing this is exactly why she set the two of us up to begin with. Finally, speed up 30 hours to a very drunken 3 AM phone call from somewhere in midtown Manhattan and a four-minute-long voicemail from the woman telling me exactly where I can/should go and how much sand I can pound along the way.

That is the end of the story. No moral. No silver lining. No glowing regroup about the friendship that came out of it. No second date. No nothing. Because even though the tools of the day would make it way, way easier to find this woman today and give you a full update, I choose not to. I CAN report, however, that the lovely slice of personified elegance that I first introduced myself to at the host stand is doing just fine in this life. I Googled her.