Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cardboard and heavy gold chains

I like to talk about myself.  A lot.  I talk about myself all the time.  I talk to myself, about myself.  But even I get tired of hearing about me sometimes, especially when I am on a first date.  But when the conversation runs dry, where else am I to turn?  Oh sure, I know the rules.  I should ask the man about himself and then act very interested as he talks about himself.  But what happens when the man tells you about his life in five seconds flat and then has nothing else to day?  Where do you go from there?  How many times can I act excited when listening to a man tell me he works selling potato chips?

And that brings me to my most recent date. I should have known up front but beggars can't be choosers.  Right?  We emailed first and then spoke on the phone.  And I knew then I should have said 'No thanks'.  But hell, a lot of people aren't good on the phone. But this phone call had a lot of dead air time.  A lot.  So when he said we should meet, I thought, 'Really, why?'   But I am willing to give everyone a shot in person.  We couldn't find a time to meet during the evening so we settle on coffee after one of my classes.

Now perhaps I am sabotaging myself by wearing jeans, a ratty t-shirt and  sweatshirt but my cynicism seems to be taking over.  I always hold out a little hope that this guy will surprise me, but my record proves otherwise.  So we met for coffee bookended by the end of my class and my need to get home and meet the school bus.  Romantic, right?  The ambiance at the local college Starbucks also enhanced my outfit and demeanor.  And there he was waiting.  Chains and all.

Now, I am all for man who wants to wear a little jewelry but when the 1980's ended, it was time to let go of the heavy gold chains and matching bracelets.  Clearly my date did not get that message.  I looked beyond the shiny silk shirt but I couldn't take my eyes off the heavy chain around his neck and the matching heavy chains on BOTH of his wrists.  All I could think was, doesn't his back hurt, how does he write, type, eat with all that weight.  I smiled and tried to stop looking at the shiny things and concentrate on what my date was saying.  It was then I realized he wasn't saying anything.  I mean nothing.  Nada.

Once he regaled me with his exciting story of selling potato chips, he was tapped out.  There was nothing else.  He was done.  So I started talking.  And talking and talking.  Even I was getting bored of listening to me.  I asked him questions but only got one word answers in return.  There was no option of conversation unless I was into talking to myself.  There was nothing to him.  He was a cardboard cut out of a man, wearing heavy chains to make some sort of 'I am trapped in the 80's' statement.  There was no promising future here.

I sucked down my coffee, dramatically looked at my watch and declared 'Oh my, I need to run and catch the school bus'.  I watched him shuffle off the stool, trying not to fall over from the weight of the chains holding him down.  I smiled, shook his hand and said it was lovely to speak about myself for an hour.  And then I sprinted off to my car only looking back long enough to see him hobble toward his, having a hard time lifting his head to cross the street.  While I do love myself and find myself so interesting, I think I might need a partner to talk to sometimes.  And this guy was not that one.  But, I will keep looking and keep an open mind.  And I may even dress a little nicer next time because after all I am 42 and single.