21 May 2011

My Date with Mr. Snuffleupagus

It started with giving my number to a cute guy on the subway. And ended in one of the most bizarre interpersonal exchanges I've ever had.

As some may remember, almost a month ago, I was riding the subway and saw a "super cute" guy that I ended up giving my number to. Later that night, we started texting and planned to meet some time in the near future. Through texts I discovered that we were both Geminis, we had mutual friends via his alma matter, he was from Barcelona, and he was funny. I also learned that he worked for a fashion designer. A job, that is in many ways comparable to mine. The most similar factor being that our schedules are both crazy and unpredictable. Which made meeting up beyond difficult.

The first week after our initial interaction, I had to attend several late night events and then some of my family was coming into town and required most of my attention. The remaining days, he was consumed with projects for works, and also had to attend various events. We finally had a plan in place for the upcoming week. We were going to grab drinks following work one night. However, the day of, the following text exchange occurred:

Him (8:56am): Let's meet around 9? Too late for you? I just have no idea what time I'm going to leave work today
Me (10:14am): Perfect! Any ideas where you want to go?
Him (10:15am): Where will you be at that point?
Me (10:16am): Mmm, prob home? Same thing, depends on work. But we're a little slowed down so I can't imagine it'd be too late.
Him (11:27am): Hum...ok...I'm sorry for the late replies you have no idea what i'm going through. What about around home?
Me (1:55pm): Oh that's okay, I don't care. Work drama? No pressure for tonight, we can rain check if you need to xo
Him (2:01pm): Ok, in that case if you would rather...
Him (2:01pm): Let me know when you are next avaiable [sic]
Me (2:04pm): Oh, no, I mean Id love to see you tonight but if you would rather do another night, thats fine with me too
Him (2:06pm): [Lean]. I'm actually going thru a rough little moment. Nothing that won't eventually pass. My momma is coming to NY on Friday so I will unavailable for a
Him (2:06pm): nother week [sic]
Him (2:07pm): I will definitely let you know when I can do it. I would love to get to know you and finally we will celebrate!
Him (2:07pm): ;)
Me (2:27pm): Oh sorry--I hope everything is ok. I know we don't know each other but if you ever need anyone to talk to--i'm a shockingly good listener. Take care of yourself. Let me know when we can get together xo
Him (3:03pm): Ah that's so sweet of you to offer. I really wish I could talk to you, but let's do it live! Thanks again for the note and we will touch base soon!

His strange choice of words and my overuse of 'xo 'aside, I was somewhat worried about my subway friend whom I had never met. I did a dramatic reading of the text-exchange for my boss. Together we decided that because it was undetermined whether his mother was coming BECAUSE of the travesty or that just happened to be a plan that coincided with his current crisis, it had to be super bad or just something hectic. Our conclusions--it was either health or he was quitting/getting promoted at work and it would eventually pass. Either way, she didn't understand how I hadn't talked to him on the phone yet. I shrugged her off saying that we'd already established a text flow and it would be strange if I just started talking to him. I'd just wait to let him tell me what it was that was so tragic.

I had to wait for another 2 weeks before I found out. It was this past Saturday night when we finally had our "date". He texted me asking if I was down to meet "late, late". I said of course, I actually wanted to go to my friend's housewarming party downtown, so I said I would swing by for an hour and we could meet up after. He said "Perfect."

Because my friends moved into a small apartment, they had their "Housewarming Party" in the private downstairs area of a bar. I arrived at 10:30pm and instantly had my first two vodka tonics. I texted him at 11:30pm telling him that I showed my face and was ready to meet him anywhere he wanted. My definition of "late, late" is 1:00am and after so I wanted to be sure I wasn't misinterpreting his thoughts on time and would be totally annoying. Or worse, have him assume I wanted to meet him prior to some booty. He said he was in the West Village and would be over in 45 minutes. Three vodka tonics later, he asked where I was. I gave him the address. He responded that he would meet me at the bar, he'd love to meet my friends.

At 12:30am, the friends I came to the party with decided to head for parts unknown and go to another bar. I stayed behind checking the time. I was standing in a group with my friend Jenny (who's party it was) talking when I saw a white blur spin around behind me. I turned to check out what it was and saw a large man whipping his entire body around sniffing like a drug dog at Kennedy International. My semi-circle of conversation simultaneously scrunched their noses and glanced in his general direction. As Jenny opened her mouth and mumbled, "...the fuck?" I realized: That's my date.

I breathed deeply and stepped out of the group to get his attention. I said his name and he came forth. I was instantly in complete confusion. Is this him? How do I not remember him looking like this? He was bigger than I remember. Not fat necessarily, just stockier than I remembered. He was wearing a sagging white v-neck T-shirt, straight legged black jeans, a leather Members Only jacket and a cloud of Abercrombie & Fitch's Fierce cologne. I could care less about looks, and it wasn't that he was unattractive anyway, it was the way he was carrying himself that I found so strange. Even more strange is that he reminded me of someone I couldn't quite put my finger on.

After hugging him in greeting, I introduced him to Jenny. She said hello, said she liked his name and asked where he was from. He answered like a child who had been asked their age. With his chin tucked toward his right shoulder blade he said "Barcelona..." with such a whine and whisper that I had to look down to see if he was scuffing his feet on the floor.

After a look from Jenny that reeked of "Seriously?" I decided I could bear it no more. So I said, "Let's grab a drink and sit over there and talk" gesturing over to a private area with cushioned benches. With fresh vodka tonics in hand, we ventured to the private area and began talking.

The conversation that ensued was equal parts odd and equal parts story time at Robin's Egg Day-Care. I felt as if I was the host of "Kids Say The Darndest Things", asking very difficult questions to a child, with no idea of the whacky things he would say. The entire time, he looked pained by my questions as though I asked him how to defuse a nitrogen bomb. Questions such as, "So, how was your week?" he answered with a whine, and breath and a shrug before him turning his chin back into his shoulder and saying, "Fine..."
After about 10 minutes, I reached long and hard. It went something like this:

Me: So, it sounded like you had a tough past couple of weeks. Is everything okay?
Him: [Blank stare]
Me: You said you were having a rough week?
Him: [Chin to shoulder blade. Points to heart]
Me: Your heart?
Him: [Pained Nod]
Me: Do have heart palpitations or something?
Him: No! My heart is broken...
Me: Oh! Sorry, I thought it was something medical
Him: It IS medical. A broken heart is not healthy
Me: Oh right...totally. Sorry....Do you want to talk about it?
Him: I broke up with a 3 year relationship
Me: Oh, I'm sorry...[Downs drink, looks stage left]

After ten minutes that felt like fifty, I needed out and fast. I glanced at his untouched vodka tonic and asked if he was going to drink it. After saying he wasn't, I grabbed it out of his hand, downed it and told him I needed to go meet up with my friends and he was more than welcome to come.

As we left the bar, we started walking uptown. Finding out who he reminded me of becoming more important than ever. After 10 blocks or so, he stopped abruptly and asked if he would hate me if he got into a cab. I said of course not, and had to refrain from cartwheeling into traffic, crashing into the first oncoming car, stuffing him in and flipping the bird to the taillights. Instead, I waited with him with my arm extended. As we stood he started whining and apologizing. "I'm really sorry...I don't know what I'm doing. Do you want to come home with me?" I politely declined and told him I should really meet up with my friends but it was great to meet him. "You hate me, I know..." he said. After assuring him I did not hate him, I don't hate anyone he said, "You're not what I thought you were going to be like...". I asked him what he thought I was going to be like, however he couldn't answer me because a cab pulled up, he kissed me on the cheek and got in.

I then went to the bar to meet my friends, we drank our weight in house vodka and my friend Joan and I ended up getting our own room at a Karaoke place where we sang "Suddenly Seymour" on rotation.

The following morning, I went to a birthday BBQ for one of my friends. Jenny was there. After laughing over my joyous dating record, she deduced "Only you would think someone was more attractive in the bright lights of a subway versus the dark and drunkness of the bar of a basement. Did he at least dance Flamenco?"

On the way home, I sat next to a girl on the subway. She had a Sesame Street bookpack splayed across her knees. As I glanced down, I finally realized who my date reminded me of: Mr. Snuffleupagus. My date and I had never spoken prior to Saturday night, so the entire time I was talking to him, I couldn't figure out why his downturned eyes, shruggy demeanor and whiney voice were so familiar to me. And it was right there on the backpack of a child. Just like that I re-met my date on the subway.

Later that night I got the following text...
Him (10:16pm): I'm sorry, I apologize for last night
Him (10:17pm) See [Lean], I'm not really ready to start going out with guys
Him (10:56pm): I'm so sorry. You're a really cool dude

I don't know what it meant, and I didn't care. For the first time in a long time, I was able to just smile at laugh that love once again saw me and ran screaming in the other direction.

Point of Conversation: A nice text you can keep in your pocket is cute and all...but for the love of god, pick up the fucking phone.

- Lean

1 comment:

  1. LOL reminds me of MadTV's Michael McDonald and his character Stuart Larkin. "Stooooooooppppppp...."


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