>How you know you’re sitting next to a couple on a first date:
She tells him, “I really only drink maybe 2, 3 glasses when I’m out with friends and even that’s not very often. I’m a believer in moderation. After this, I’m going to work out, from about 9-10.”
“After your mother’s? Wow, that’s commitment.”
“I’m not afraid of commitment.”
She’s saying, I’ve been hurt before. She’s going to take it out on the next guy, whoever he happens to be.
Later, he is telling her, “Life insurance is an investment, really.”
They ask for the check and the woman asks me if I enjoyed my soup.
“Oh yes,” I say, “It was watercress and andouille sausage. Awesome.”
“You looked like you were enjoying it.”
I dab at my mouth with the side of my hand, just to be safe.
I tell her I think I recognize her.
“Do you go to U___?” I ask, referring to my late place of employment, a very trendy restaurant. Her long, middle-aged face is so familiar, despite the heavy black eyeliner she is wearing tonight. I know her horsey nose, her lantern jaw.
“I live in the neighborhood,” she says, without answering my question. “Did you ride your bike?”
I nod, wondering if she watched me pull up, what she was thinking of me that made her need to come talk to me with her date present. In the world of women, this is a disarmament of sorts. You looked like you were enjoying it.
She introduces herself and her date.
“I own a company,” she offers, “I go to people’s houses and organize.”
There’s a weird beat.
“Well, God bless you!” I say, more to him than to her. They both laugh, but not so much she.
I do not see a second date. Maybe, but not a third.
Then the coworkers come. I surmise that the girl at the far end is British because the alpha-male, on the end closest to me, keeps shouting “Oi! Oi!” to her when she isn’t paying attention. And he’s definitely not British.
One of the girls asks, “Kevin, how’s your love life?”
They’ve had too much to drink. This will either bond them or make things weird at work on Monday.
“I’m an Aquarian,” he says. “Impossible to date.”
The girl next to the Brit squeals. “I’m a Leo! We’re supposed to be perfect together!”
Kevin begins to talk about being attracted to girls who are projects and the girls holler in harmony. “I know about projects!”
All women think they know about projects. This implies all men are projects. The truth is, all of us are projects. Some projects build our muscles and some tear them down. You have to know who you are to know which project to pick. I almost tell them this, but there’s too much estrogen in the group as it is. We’ll give Kevin a break.
The Brit, from the far end, asserts that she has found the man she is going to marry and Kevin waves his hands about, “Hello…!?! What?? That’s awesome… I had no idea.” He is too eager to hear about it. He is disappointed the Brit is in love, you can tell. “Tell me about this guy!”
He wants to hear the guy is just like him. Or worse than him. That way, he has a shot. Not just at her, but someone like her. He needs to know that someone like him would have a shot at someone like her.
She circumvents the rest of the girls at the bar to talk to him beside his chair, standing up. A girl will do this to talk to another person about the man she loves. Kevin does not vacate his own comfortable seat to go ask the Brit more closely about her man, this man she has found. He simply remains, waiting for nothing, not expecting her to come over and tell him, not even thinking about it, his strident demand of her is beyond answer, his look faraway even as she speaks right into his face about love.