Fine, I admit it. I have a hard time making decisions between two exceptional choices. So with only one day in Seattle and two really nice potential dates from How About We, I couldn’t play “eenie-meenie-miney-moe” like I did when I was a child — I went out with both!
This is the story of date two: Everette. (For the tale of date one, see here). In a very deep voice, Everette suggested we meet at a local ice cream parlor known for exotic flavors. Um. Yes. I liked him already, despite only exchanging two emails and one short phone call. Note to boys: most girls are putty if you suggest the magic ice cream words.
Everette and I sat down on a bench outside the shop once the awkwardness of selecting our flavors in the loud shop was over. (Why is it that the simple act of ordering ice cream can feel like walking the gauntlet on a first date?). The glass window behind us gently was wobbling as the big band music from the dance club above us kept time. And then, he reached to open the paper bag he’d been carrying when we met.
Me: “Oh, what’s in the bag?”
Everette: “Well…that’s the question, isn’t it?”
Me: “Is it fun?”
Everette: “Maybe. I guess. Probably?”
Me: “It is dead puppies?”
Everette: “How did you know?”
Me: “Dead puppies aren’t much fun.”
Everette: “Actually, it’s flowers.”
Yep. Flowers. First date, and the guy brought me two types of flowers. One very fresh, very alive, very floral aroma tickling my nose. And a bundle of dried flowers. As he put it, one for now — though it wouldn’t survive. But the rest for later, for as long as I didn’t squash them in the car, I’d be able to enjoy their purple, blue and white beauty.
Our banter continued in the same teasing manner as above, though on much more serious topics. Everette asked me right off the bat if I was married. It was so surprising, I laughed. He smiled, but I could tell he was seriously asking, so I said, no, I wasn’t and had never been — but did want to know why he queried. You have to ask, he said. You just never know.
I paused, ready to rebuke that statement. It’s not my nature to be critical or tell people they are wrong, but it is my nature to try and think critically about statements and attempt to help people not feel skeptical about new people. And as my mind zipped through my past relationships and the stories of my own that would make me want to know about the current relationship status of whomever I was out with, I realized Everette was right.
There was the time years ago I went out with someone on a date when I knew I shouldn’t — probably because I had a boyfriend and despite feeling like that relationship was dissolving, it wasn’t fair to anyone in that situation to take the date before closing what was already opened. But I’m not the only fallible person. Like the boy who, after eight months and my having already asked if he’d been engaged before (to which he’d said no), copped to having been engaged. Or the one who took me abroad before telling me he’d been married and was actually still technically married, over Sunday roast.
I told Everette about the latter story, and as I told the tale his eyes widened and shifted, saying, “It’s a trap!” as I finished. We laughed at the Admiral Ackbar reference, and Everette proceeded to ask if I had been upset. At the time, I both was and was not. What was I supposed to do? Be mad at the one person I knew in the country? I was taken aback, sure. But it did not seem rational to get angry at the person paying for the apartment we were staying in.
When I told Everette, he looked surprised. “But it’s just really unfair of him to have done that.” And that’s when I realized — yes, a year and a half later — that it had been unfair. That I probably should have been incredibly angry at someone who was trying to manipulate me into liking him, who didn’t want to tell the truth of his past because he was afraid of my reaction. Just as I’ve often been afraid of the reactions of others. Still, though…
Everette and I moved onto other topics, discussing Seattle’s dating scene (nil, apparently — research on that forthcoming), and what Everette plans to do to find himself a great gal to settle down with. We explored the dance hall above us and the refurbished 30s-era bar, and then it was time to say goodbye.
But ever since then, I’ve been thinking about our conversation. From “It’s a trap!” to “really unfair” to “you just never know”.
You just never know.