At what point during a date is it acceptable to hurl your glass at the wall and, before you can even hear its explosive impact, begin frantically yelling at the person you entertained the idea would be your next girlfriend? Before you turn away, let me present you with the following which will, hopefully, provide enough context needed in justifying that question.
I met Sarah at one of NYC’s best beer gardens. Eying her from afar, my friend made me promise I would approach her by the end of the evening – side note, every guy needs a friend like that. Out of deference for my peer and noticing that she separated from her group of friends to order another drink, I glided to the bar and gregariously tested my luck.
She was even more enchanting up close but I kept it together best I could. Laughing and sharing rounds, we kept each other entertained at the bar watching live music for the next half hour. I have to admit, there was something mysterious about her that I loved. It sure made it easy to flirt and dally, which is why I was caught off guard when her friends told her it was time to go. Quickly, I took out my phone but before I could speak, Sarah affably said, “Hey, let me give you my number.”
Seeing how my last date never materialized, I convinced myself that no woman would ever want to go out for Italian for the first date. Instead, it’s best to play it safe and go with what I know. Therefore, I invited her to a stylish pub with great live music. She accepted and seemed rather excited about the idea.
I have said it before but because it was nothing but an impetuous false alarm, I’m finally going on a date after being dateless for more than a year, again. My friend even teased that I outdid myself this time and wished me luck.
To much of my surprise, Sarah not only showed up but was there before I was. At that very moment, I got a benign sense that she cared. Don’t you dare fuck this up, I jokingly threatened myself. We started conversing, which mainly consisted of light yelling due to the band playing, at a stand-up table by the wall. About 5 minutes into our conversation, a complete stranger walked over and stood within close proximity to our table, which was quite odd. It appeared as though he was half listening to the band and half listening to us. Then I realized that she knew him based on how she was glancing at him. After the band’s first song was over, he turned to us and she said (wait for it), “Oh, Single Guy in NYC, this is my boyfriend, Kevin.”
A tsunami of thoughts paralyzed me as I stood there frozen, staring down incredulously at Kevin’s extended hand. I hated him. I hated her. And he expected me to shake his ignorant hand? This was an execrable indignation. Christ! How did I miss this? Maybe this is why her friends gave me a few caustically dirty looks. They weren’t trying to be rude, they were trying to warn me! Shaking his hand would mean that I agreed that I was nothing but a fool and that, in fact, Kevin had been the rightful winner. He was not rueful and any effort to change that would be pointless.
I shook his hand.
The conversation only got worse. She truly didn’t realize how she led me on, nor could she pick up how much her boyfriend despised the fact that I was present. She wasn’t mysterious at all, she was clueless. I didn’t care what I said to her anymore. Besides, half of my words would be swallowed up by the band anyway. She continued.
“Sorry, I forgot to tell you. Hope you don’t mind that I -“
“No, no, course not! Totally fine and welcome. Granted, I was sort of under (finishing the sentence in my head) the impression you’d come here alone since it was you who gave me your number but whatever!”
“It’s just that we didn’t have anything to do tonight as well and we were looking for some good spots in the area. I’ve never been here.”
“Absolutely! Yeah, this is actually an amazing place. Hell, I’d be lying to you if I said it never came across my mind to bring a date here.”
Sensing at what I was getting at, Sarah asked “Did you bring anyone?”
“No! It’s just me. Yup, I’m alone. Living the dream.”
In the end, I didn’t hurl my glass at the wall. I didn’t yell, angrily that is, at anyone. I finished my drink and left them to enjoy their night together. There was no need to hate Kevin. The irony was that although he probably despised me, he had my back without knowing it. I wasn’t going to berate Sarah, he was.
Do you miss me Miss Misery like you say you do? -Elliott Smith
I think she does.
-Single Guy in NYC