This is the experience that in hindsight made me want to write a dating memoir.
In 2007, I was play ultimate frisbee when a handsome ginger asked me out. S worked for the forest service and met all of my wild, hippie fantasies. He was soft spoken, a great athlete, smart and interesting. He’d traveled a bunch and it didn’t take long before we were regularly spending time together. Indoor rock climbing was his thing; I tried my best looking cute in stretchy pants on an early date.
My friend Mini was organizing a 30th birthday party for her husband, Jason. The party was themed “James Bond.” Men were to wear tuxedos and women to wear fancy gowns. We were going to enjoy martinis shaken not stirred (or whatever suited your fancy), play cards and have fun. I’d been spending a bit of time with S before I asked him if he wanted to come to the party. Mini’s father JT was the one who got me interested in ultimate frisbee, so S would another man attending.
He didn’t hesitate. Yes, he wanted to go. He even had a tuxedo t-shirt that was perfect.
I was delighted.
The week of the party, we went to dinner at a local brewery. It was a Tuesday. We ate and chatted and at the end of the meal he looked at me, suddenly serious.
“I can’t do this.” He jabbed at his empty plate with his fork.
“Okay.” I felt my neck grow warm.
“I’m sorry. I really like you but I am newly out of a relationship and I am just not ready.”
“Okay.” Now, I felt resolute. And stupid. There was a girl on another team — a blonde — who regularly hung around our matches. I’d seen them speaking. The cards were falling into place. “That’s fine. This isn’t anything anyway.”
Silence. We sat there as the server came and left, water glasses were refilled and people wandered by wondering about the awkwardness happening at table 12.
Finally and impatiently I said, “Look. We don’t have to break up. There is nothing to break up. That’s fine. I’ll see you next week at ultimate and that is enough.” I started to grab my purse.
“But what about the party Saturday?” He looked at me with wide eyes.
“What? You can’t possibly still want…”
“No. I said I was going and I am going and that’s that. I am going. It will be fine. We can go as friends, right?”
FRIENDS? We are not friends! We are people who are just getting to know each other who have shared a couple awkward kisses in a Honda Civic. We do not have to do this. I was kidding about ultimate. I’m obviously going to be “sick!”
“Great. Okay. So, let’s meet at my house. Saturday at what time?”
“Well, the party starts at 7, so I guess I could come get you then…”
I just didn’t know what else to say. Fast forward to Friday when we email and he says he is still excited and has his outfit picked out, etc.
Saturday morning I wake up and decide I need an ice breaker. I need something silly to break the tension when I seem him. Also, I need a great dress. I spend the day shopping and show up at his door at bit after 7 pm in a Bond girl dress cut to my navel, my bits and pieces strategically hiked upward with abandon, and two squirt guns and a bottle of tequila. I am also wearing stilettos. I only make mention of this because I am terribly clumsy and tall, and more so in stupid shoes like stilettos.
So, there I am teetering toward his doorstep in a dress cut to here and shoes up to there, holding squirt guns and a bottle of tequila when he opens the door and looks at me from head to toe. It was in this moment of sizing each other up that I realized:
- He’d somehow forgotten this commitment in the last 24 hours. He was wearing dirty hiking clothes.
- The blonde from the ultimate league was standing in his living room, just behind him, also in hiking clothes.
- I looked like an idiotic prostitute.
He stumbled saying “Oh, I… um… am so sorry. I don’t feel well and…”
I looked him in the eye and said, “Never speak to me again.” I turned, very carefully, on one tiny toothpick of a shoe, and then ran as quickly as I could back to my car carrying the unexplained props. I’d thought we could fill the squirt guns with tequila and bring them as our props to the party — shooting people in the mouth when possible.
I went to the party. I came as Gullible Galore. You might remember her as the Bond Girl with two squirt guns, a few tears and a great story.