“I can’t understand how someone has beautiful as you doesn’t already have a boyfriend.”
It was an honest question, not intended to flatter. Those who know me, know that I refuse to flatter. Flattering feels too phony and seems to be indicative of an opportunistic mindset.
Fortunately she took the question at face value. “Oh I don’t know. I’m kind of private, I guess. I listen well to others but they don’t get to see who I am very often. ”
I was still processing that when she turned the question back to me. “What about you? Why don’t you have a girlfriend?”
I looked at her. She had such clear gorgeous blue eyes. (Yeah, Ok so I was distracted. Time to get back to the point)
“Well, ” I began, “I’m very picky.” Wait, that sounded resoundingly cliché. “I mean, you know, when you’re a young guy and you see a hot girl, all you want to do is get with her.” I thought about that, and how this encounter was so different. She was beautiful too, obviously. “If you’re lucky, and you grow up a bit, and you understand yourself better, you get to realize that beauty is only a small part of the puzzle. Some guys never grow up and they continue to date women solely because they’re pretty.”
And then, waxing even more cliché, I added “beauty will get you in the door but you’d better have something more if you want to stay.” I winced. Fortunately for me, English wasn’t her first language so maybe she didn’t realize the seemingly ostentatious use of that phrase. Anyway, she nodded.
I barreled through. “I tend to look for a sparkle in a woman’s eyes. I think that’s key.”
She glanced at me. “Always? You have to see that sparkle?”
I grinned. “Yeah. Like I did with you.” She smiled.
“Seriously though – that sparkle isn’t always there. Sometimes it can be buried. I suppose we all hold something of ourselves back, don’t we?”
She nodded. “I do. For sure.”
“Right”, I went on. “So sometimes I’ve gone on dates, not knowing if this woman would do it for me. ” I thought a moment. “In fact, maybe a month ago I went out with a woman who seemed perfectly fine. Our interests were in sync, and she had the same life outlook that I did. Oh, and she was great looking too. ”
I thought some more. “We set up a second date–”
“Wait – you had a second date with her?”
I smiled. “No. We first dated on Wednesday and we were set to go out for the second date on Saturday night but we never did.”
“Don’t you think you should have given her a second chance?” I could tell she was putting herself in this women’s shoes. Obviously, this blond beautiful creature beside me had a heart for others. There must be something wrong with her. But what? Maybe she had bodies buried in the basement.
“No, not really. You see – in that between time before the second date, I kept thinking about excuses I could make not to meet her. It was all subconscious though. When my conscious mind finally figured out what was going on, I realized I didn’t really want to see her.”
She looked at me, one delicate eyebrow raised.
“Right. I know this sounds hokey but you know what? That’s how it happened. I finally decided it was better to tell her straight out that I didn’t think we should go out. And I did.”
“Wow. That’s a bit cold.”
I shrugged. “Well, there’s a way of handling information like that. I told her I didn’t think we had chemistry.”
“Was this on the second date you told her that?”
“No, I phoned her the day before. She seemed ok with it at first but I think it hurt her a little bit.”
She nodded in agreement.
I continued. “She phoned me up a second time, asking if she did anything wrong. I said ‘no no NO! You did nothing wrong! Not at all.’ I told her about all the things that I found attractive about her but ended with ‘ but we just don’t have chemistry’ and left it at that. She told me she appreciated my honesty.”
She digested this. “Well that’s a ballsy move but yes – honesty is better.” Then: “do you prefer it when women are honest with you?”
What a question. “YES. I absolutely prefer honesty. In fact, in the last serious relationship I had – five years ago – one of the things I said right from the start was that I preferred that she be honest with me, and if she didn’t like how things were going or wanted out for any reason, that she let me know as soon as possible. I don’t like the games couples sometimes play with each other.”
We walked on in silence for a bit. Then, for no reason I can think of, she looked at me and smiled, playing with the corners of her long scarf. I smiled back, suddenly a little giddy. This girl was a bit of an enigma. Secrecy, wrapped in a smile.
“You know” I said, “when I first saw you a year ago, I was pretty sure I saw that ‘spark’ in your eyes.”
(That’s another thing: she seems completely oblivious to the effect she has on me)
“Yes, I did. And then when I saw you a month ago, I said to myself ‘there it is’.”
What I didn’t tell her was that the look we gave each other at that time left my heart pounding like crazy. Just as it was doing just now – now, after our hours-long talk which only served to put an exclamation mark on my first impressions of her.
We continued to walk in comfortable silence, each absorbed in our own thoughts.