I sat at a table, well two tables pushed together, with my friend Lisa’s computer geek friends. I understood none of their computer jokes, yet they were friendly. Some of the DJ’s from The Fox classic radio station were also present. One guy showed a bit of potential. I assumed from his voice that he was one of the DJs. I meandered over to a table of my farmer friends, also friends of Lisa. I had made note of the white pickup with the dual wheels in the back, wondering if it was a diesel truck. I had a thing for farmers and diesel trucks. I had recently cut of my long red tresses, and died my hair very blonde. Yup, I was out to wash that man right out of my hair. It seemed to have worked. My new look was well received, and I was having fun, completely at ease. The pickup guys were easy to laugh with and talk to. It turned out, the one with the diesel truck was recently divorced also. He seemed kind and empathetic to my plight as a recent divorc’ee. He seemed genuine, yet something nagging me in the back of my mind told me to return to the “safe” table.
There was a couple there who seemed to take note of me, and began selling the guy with the good voice to me. It felt like a job interview and a setup both. They asked me questions about every aspect of my life. I noted that the very good voice guy was paying apt attention. When he got up to go to the bathroom, the hard sell began. Goodness! “Mike is a great guy.” Todd, the husband, offered. His wife, Amy, chimed in with, “If I were single, I would go out with Mike. He’s such a great guy!” Ok, I get it. I see what’s going on here. He’s not anything like my usual type. But, my usual type hasn’t worked so well for me. Hmmm. I mused to myself. I had no doubt that the minute I excused myself to the restroom with my friend Lisa, that the hard sell would ensue, Todd and Amy encouraging Mike to ask me out. I grinned as we entered the restroom. From the other stall, Lisa started in as well, “I think Mike really likes you. I’m not sure he can handle you, though.” Oh for heaven’s sake. This is ridiculous “Really, Lisa? Through the bathroom stall wall? You too? What’s going on here? He’s so not my type!” As we washed our hands and studied ourselves in the mirror, she caught my eye, “Yeah, well. Your type hasn’t worked out for shit, Dawn!”
As we returned to the table, I began to flirt a bit. Maybe he’s not even interested. The DJ in charge of happy hour announced the winner of tickets to go see Yellow Submarine. Mike won and asked if anyone wanted to go, as he had two tickets. I’m pretty sure others were volunteering, but he was looking at me. What the heck do I have to lose? I’ll bite. “Hey, I’ll go!” I offered. “Alright, movie starts in an hour,” Mike was trying to appear confident, but I recognized the nerves in his eyes and voice. By hour’s end, the gang decided to head to a different bar with live music. In the flurry of leaving, I forgot about the movie, and we all headed to whatever vehicle was closest. I didn’t want to appear too eager, still unsure of the whole thing. I hopped in the minivan of another guy, and we went straight to the other bar.
I took refuge at the black jack table, still not sure what to do, and wanting to thwart the attention of creeps near the dance floor. Amy joined me at the black jack table, but spared me further sales pitches. Some creep kept walking up behind me and sticking his hand up the back of my shirt. I wouldn’t even acknowledge whoever it was. I simply moved sideways in my chair. YUCK! So, whenever I saw Mike, I’d say “Hey, come over here and stand by me. I need someone to ward off the creeps!” I told him about the creepy handsey guy and continued to play the game. Was that a wink, a look, exchanged between Mike and Amy?
At the end of the night, Mike was kind enough to offer me a ride home. He drove an Oldsmobile. Open mind, Dawn. Come on. You can do this! “Great car!” I offered. “Thanks. It’s not a real girl getting car, but it’s reliable, get’s good mileage.” I did an inner eye roll, then chided myself. Hey! Give the guy a chance! Remember what Lisa said? Maybe opposite of what you’ve been doing is worth a shot. Well, he still looked pretty young. If he was younger, it was a total deal breaker, “How old did you say you were?” Relief flooded me when he told me he was thirty-seven, five years older than me. OK! I told him how old I was. We made general chit-chat. I learned that he was not, in fact a DJ, but rather the general manager of a Chuck E. Cheese’s, not a deal breaker. I wondered what his next move would be. He started out with, “I really want to take you home.” Oh boy, here we go. He seemed like such a boy scout. Oh well. “But…” he continued, “I’m taking you home to your home because I really like you, and I want to see you again.” Hm, I wasn’t expecting that. Nice guy, huh? OK, Ok, open mind! I gave Mike the address and he drove me home, walked me to the door, and there was an awkward hug/sort of half kiss. I gave him my number, not sure if I wanted to hear from him or not. I had, after all, sworn off dating.
I decided, if he called the next day, he was a goner. I was certain he would, and that would be that. The next day, I waited for the call, ready to turn him down flat. Day two, I thought “Who does he think he is? Why wouldn’t he call?” By day three, I was hoping to hear from him. Yes, the rule is ridiculous, and totally applies. It works! I’m not proud of having perpetuated the ridiculousness of it. I even called my friend, Lisa, “So, what’s up with your friend Mike? I haven’t heard m him. What’s his deal?” She giggled, “Wow, I thought you weren’t sure you wanted to hear from him.” The next day when the phone rang, and it was him, I found myself relieved and enthusiastic, “Hey! how’s it going?” I awkwardly started out. For the record, I hated the dating scene, and was clearly no good at it! “Um, Are you busy tonight? A bunch of us are going out for Chuck’s birthday.” I was relieved that it was a group thing, “No, that sounds great. what time?” He told me the time. It would be right in the middle of my dad’s work party. I was living with my parents. Yeah, I know. Real cool. So, I wasn’t exactly a catch. I dreaded the awkwardness of him coming to the door in the middle of my parents’ party. On the other hand, during the busyness, he might not even have to meet them.
Mike showed up, right on time, and we ducked out without incident. The evening was fine. I enjoyed the group and him. As we left the restaurant, he asked “So, do you want to see my place?” What?! I thought he wasn’t that guy. Ok, well, people know I’m with him, and he’s clearly not a serial killer or a creep. Just go. “Sure. OK, cool,” I agreed in the most awkward way possible. When we walked in, the first thing I saw was a mountain of boxes. “Are you moving?” the words flew out of my mouth before I really thought. No surprise there. He turned beet red, but replied casually, “No, I just had some things I wanted to donate to goodwill.” Then it hit me. He had spent the entire weekend cleaning! That’s why he didn’t call all weekend! But wow, awesome place he had. I was impressed. It was spotless, too. I considered that he might be a hoarder, but decided that he was just a typical messy bachelor who had worked hard all weekend so that I would be pleased with his home. Dang! I really gotta give this guy a chance. He was a perfect gentleman, walked me to the door when he took me home, and there was a kiss. I thought as I closed the door, “Ok, God. If this is the guy you picked for me, you better make some sparks fly here!” I might even have winked during that little prayer. What can I say?