Strike Two. No one said this was going to be easy.
Text to Matthew:Hey! I just got off work. I hope your day went well. I am looking forward to seeing you tonight.
I met Matthew for the first time on Saturday night. After returning his message online the night before, it was less than 24 hours before we had arranged our first date. He arrived at my apartment at eight thirty on the dot. Running late, I ran out on my patio to tell him I would be done in a second (also known as eight minutes.) My hands grasped to the metal railing, I looked down at my potential Romeo and felt like how Juliet would, if she hadn’t met her star-crossed lover right off the hop.
With brown hair and the eyes to match, he was four years my senior but looked the exact opposite. Gifted with eternal youth, he looked like he had just graduated high school while I appeared like an excellent candidate for Rogaine. Walking down the street together, in only half a block I had imagined our future far enough ahead to come up with an answer to the inevitable question, “Gee Fox, I thought you only dated older guys.”
Forty-five minutes later we stopped in for coffee at a chic wine bar and lounge on Main Street, and filled in the blanks about each others lives. He was working on his second degree while I was working on waking up in the morning without a hangover. Two restrained glasses of wine later, we were on our way back to my place and making plans for a second date. He expressed an interest in renting a movie “to watch” on my couch Monday night and I acquiesced immediately. I told him I would call him once I was finished my scheduled doctor’s appointment and we would go from there.
Phone call to Matthew: “Hey! It’s just me calling. I am finished my doctor’s appointment and am ready to get together whenever you are. So … yeah, just give me a call whenever you get this.
Returning to my apartment with a cheap bottle of red wine (for myself) and an expensive bottle of white (for him) I kept my cell phone on vibrate in my jean pocket and started cleaning up. After twenty minutes, I decided there was no harm in pouring a glass of red for myself before he called. Reflecting on the absolute togetherness of my bachelor life, I pulled out the phone to see if I had somehow missed his message but there was nothing.
Well into my fifteenth ounce of Malbec an hour later with still no word from him, I could not help but think I did something wrong. “Did I text too much?” I doubted myself, reflecting on the fact that in two nights our message ratio had gone from 1:1 to 15:1 for me. Regaining my confidence, I concluded something must have come up. I figured there could only be two logical reasons as to why he would miss our date, either he fell asleep (it happens) or died.
Phone call to Matthew: “hey it’s me again. yeah, umm I’m sorry for texting and calling so much – it’s just that, well it’s getting late and I don’t know whether I should make other plans to go out or not, so uh, yeah, just call me once you get this.”
Having lost all self-esteem, I debated finishing the third of red wine left in the bottle, but decided instead that some old habits must die. Rinsing my glass off in the sink, I removed myself from the emptiness of my sparkling apartment and walked over to a bench in front of the hospital down the street. Infuriated with myself for letting a tear fall down my eye, I stared off into the black night sky and questioned myself “am I strong enough for this?”
Then, less than a minute later in a twisted turn of plot, the barista from my Starbucks walked passed me. Half-smiling I said hello, and returning the gesture she took a seat down beside me. Her story just as disenchanting as mine, she told me her boyfriend had broken up with her the night before and had arranged to meet her at the exact same spot I had just happened to take a seat
Five hours later I decided to pack it in with the bottle of wine I had purchased for him.I told her that for the first time in my life I felt like I was looking for love. I had turned my search for a relationship into an online shopping binge.“I will take that one, no not that one – the one underneath it.” Except unlike clothes shopping where I could rely on the quality of my most trusted brands, I knew nothing about these men. They looked all great and shiny in their photos, but as soon you threw them in the wash on the first date, or they stood you up on the second, you realized their edges were frayed and their buttons had popped off.
She then asked me which sign I was to which I replied “Cancer.” Excitedly she exclaimed “me too!” as if a giant weight had just been lifted off her shoulders. Feeling as if we had just connected over our deepest and darkest secret, I shared with her the details about how I am an astrological classic. “I wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotions go in and out like the tides. One minute I am on top of the world, and the next I am searching for park bench.” She then told me that she used to think being a Cancer was a curse and I laughed.
Like two crabs, it appeared we were each trying the best we could to break out of our shells. Except as soon as we managed to put ourselves out there, and get a taste of the big harsh world, we would inevitably scurry back. Moments later her boyfriend (ex?) showed up and as the two disappeared beyond the glow of fluorescence, I decided it was safe to return home.
Rugged Fox turns off his phone.
Reclaiming my night, I unscrewed the $21 bottle of Pinot Gris left behind in the fridge and popped a movie in the DVD player. Taking a delicious sip, I decided that by no means was I ready to return to my shell just yet. Let it be known that this fox will not being throwing in any towels until they are sufficiently soiled. Tomorrow will bring a new hunt to make up for this days’ loss and I will make it to first base, even if I have to pay for it.