Thursday, October 30, 2008

The trouble with having done a lot of dating in one place

Until not that long ago, whenever I saw a man who looked familiar, I would automatically flinch and think, "Coffee? Drinks? Dinner? Did I kiss him?"

I ran though this mental list with one guy who clearly knew me, and said hello in a very friendly manner. I said hello while wildly flipping through my mental images all, "Crap crap crap! I can't remember going out with him!"

And then he mentioned a good friend of mine, and I realized with relief! that I knew him because he dated her years ago.

Because while I was in mega-dating mode, I had so many first dates crammed in that at first glance a few months later, I wouldn't necessarily remember who the person was.

It was a lot lot lot of guys.

On the one hand, this approach is practical, in that it is, to some extent, a numbers game. (It being the meeting of the Love of Your Life, The One, the One of 26, your Soul Mate, or however you think about it.) Eventually you will meet the person. You just will.

On the other, it's exhausting. And it means that you could run into someone you've gone on at least one date with anywhere.

Including your own office building.

I've run into this fellow twice now. The first time we passed each other, I could read the "How do I know her?" look on his face. And I know I had the same one on mine. It wasn't until I'd opened the door to the building that it dawned on me.

We went out a few times a couple years ago. He is cute, and always, as far as my data points show, impeccably dressed. Which is not about anything, but is something I find impressive. And something we do not have in common.

We had two nice enough dates and then an awkward third, in which the fact that we had no real chemistry became apparent. It ended with a super awkward kiss. Somehow, he clenched all the muscles around his mouth, so his lips were in a very tight O.



And that was that.

The next time he suggested we do something, I sent a nice note saying thanks, but I just don't see this going anywhere. And that was that.

And so the other day I figured out who he was, and went on with my day. I ran into him again early this week.

Me, I had my unwashed hair all pulled back. And no makeup. And commuter sneaks on. I was carrying an enormous sheet cake into the building. Tej had picked it up for our monthly office birthdays, but she is hugely preg, and needed help carrying it in.

So we passed the guy. Neither he nor I said hello, or, beyond the eye dart, even acted like we recognized each other.

Tej and I got into the elevator, and I was leaning across the cake, mouth open, just about to tell her about the fellow we had just passed. When a third person got on the elevator. And pushed the 12 button.

I cannot say for sure, because to be honest I was very drunk at the time and it was last year, but I got all hair stand on end chilly with this near-certainty that it was Mr. Butternose.

And so I stood there with a frozen flinchy grin on my face, maintaining eye contact with Tejal across the elevator. While subtly darting my eyes toward our fellow passenger. Furtively, of course, so he wouldn't notice. But I really wanted her to get a good look at him.

Finally, finally we got to our floor, and as soon as the doors slid shut, I asked her. She doesn't remember what the guy looked like. So, it might be him, but it might not.

I really think it was. The fellow, he fit my vague recollection of the guy from that night. And he was going to the right floor.

But he didn't fidget, or give any outward appearance of having any bad memories associated with either of us. And with the pulled-back hair and ridiculous outfit, maybe he didn't even recognize me.

However, the truth is, if it was him, and he remembered me, and saw me with an enormous sheet cake worth of frosting...he took an approach that I'd have taken in his position.

This is the one that apparently works if you're trapped near hippos (which, as I like to remind people, are fast and mean and can turn on a dime).

Remain calm, remain still. No sudden movements. Best case scenario, they won't notice you.


  1. "...when you wake up the next morning you will realize, with that terribly hair on the back of your neck prickly feeling, that one of these days you will run into this fellow with the big important job in the lobby, or worse, in the elevator with the other bigwigs that he works with upstairs."

    Oh sweet Christ! You are both genius and psychic! Do you read palms, too? I want to know how many cats I'm going to have when I die alone...

  2. Actually, the far better approach would have been to swipe some frosting off the cake and put it on your nose.

    So I'm guessing it wasn't him.

    I have a hippo at home. A velveteen hippo, of sorts. But I don't think he's the kind you mean.

  3. FreckledK - YES, I can see into the future. And the answer is zero. Which is also the percent chance of you dying alone. Because that is absolutely, completely and totally not going to happen. You just haven't met him yet.

    Jessica - You are probably right, not him. Either that, or he's afraid of me. Which would be awesome, as nobody is ever afraid of me. And no, not the velveteen type. The mean angry roll around in the mud type. Nice try, though.

  4. Oh, I love this. I have this incredible ability to suppress is almost sociopathic (and a bit frightening). I will run in to previous dates, know who they are, and act like we had the BEST DATE EVER and it really was me, not them.

  5. i HATE that! you're just hanging out somewhere enjoying a burrito when suddenly just because you saw someone approaching the door you suddenly get this panic of Get Me The F Outta Here!

  6. Clearly I should have dated more people so as to have encounters like this.

  7. Under the category of "I ain't proud of it, but I'll share anyway," two weeks ago I had a five minute conversation with a woman which began with me saying something to the effect of "I'm sorry, I know that we have met, but could you refresh my memory of where." It wasn't until ten minutes later that I realized that not only had we met at the bar she mentioned, but that I had walked her home, we made-out a little on her doorstep and had plans for dinner two nights later. For the record, I called but she never returned said call.

  8. I know this isn't necessarily supposed to be funny, but I'm sorry; it is! If it's any consoloation thought, I have a similar experience, regularly, at the gym, of all places...eessh. I keep seeing a guy who I dated, very briefly, (date, is probably a better description) while working out.

    Talk about Halloween ghosts!

  9. lemmonex - Haha! They probably really appreciate that, actually. Makes the situation a lot better for them.

    notsojenny - Thankfully, I have very little of that anymore. It's a terrible feeling.

    Nicole - I had very serious boyfriends in my 20s and didn't start any of this ridiculous behavior until I was a decade older than you. So you have plenty of time.

    RestaurantRefugee - Cringe cringe cringe. But you called - so actually, your behavior was fine. But it is kind of funny to have asked, considering the making out and all.

    Ryane - Oh, I fully see the humor in this. I'm not proud of my behavior with that guy, but I can laugh at myself over the butter incident, and it sort of serves me right to have to possibly run into him. Also, with the other guy in the building, I am so glad I emailed him instead of just doing nothing - clear conscience on that one.


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