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April Fools #2

April 2, 2010

A few days after my speed dating experience, I logged onto the website to make my matches and found that I’d matched with both Chris and Joe. That was encouraging, and almost immediately afterwards I received an email from Chris (the system provided mutual matches with contact info). We emailed back and forth for about a week, just getting to know each other. Eventually we set a date for a restaurant in New Brunswick, followed by a show at The Stress Factory comedy club.

Even though I could walk there from where I lived, I drove over because I didn’t want to walk back home in the dark or rely on Chris to drive me home at the end of the night. I parked in a nearby parking garage and walked over, ten minutes early. I like to be the first one to arrive so I can get a drink at the bar and not have to be the person poking through the crowd looking for my date.

To my surprise, Chris was already there and had already put our name in. It was a little crowded, so we waited outside. He didn’t have a jacket, which was strange, because it was the middle of February. I figured that maybe he’d left it in his car. He was dressed in a similar outfit as he had had at the speed dating event: rumpled plaid shirt, dirty jeans, and hair that looked like he didn’t own a comb.

Dinner was unremarkable. I learned that he commuted almost all the way down to Philly for work everyday, which sounded pretty grueling even though he lived a couple exits further down the Turnpike. He talked about his Mustang, which he’d mentioned in an email before, and I was sort of just “meh” about it because I’m not the kind of girl who cares what kind of car a guy drives.

Afterwards, we waited in line at the comedy club outside in the cold. Chris was obviously freezing, and I asked him if he wanted to get his jacket. He said he didn’t bring one. We made small talk as we waited, and it wasn’t hugely uncomfortable, but I was getting the idea that it wasn’t a love connection.

It was the second first date I’d had at The Stress Factory, and coincidentally, the same comedian–Greg Giraldo. The warm-up guy came on and Chris remarked on how the last time he’d been there, he was sitting in the front row and the warm-up guy was ribbing him by saying, “This guy lives in his parents’ basement and plays XBox in his underwear all night.” He shrugged and then said, “I had to tell him that it was actually the attic.”

Strike one. I haven’t lived at home since I was in college (and that was just for the summer), and at this point I want someone who is equally independent. Besides, wasn’t he a financial planner? I didn’t think that was the sort of profession that would reduce one’s income to the point that they had to live with their parents.

I let it slide and we watched the comedy show. It was still relatively early afterwards so we decided to go to the Harvest Moon and grab a beer or two (during my dating career in grad school, this place was the scene of many a date for me. The bartenders would have been surprised if they’d seen the same guy with me more than once).

After a couple of beers, I decided it was time to call it a night. The conversation wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t feeling anything more than friendly towards Chris. So I told him that I thought it was time for me to leave. He walked with me to the parking garage, and when we got to my car I turned to him, prepared for a handshake or goodbye hug and the requisite “This was fun, let’s do it again sometime.”

Instead, he says, “Could I get a ride home?”

Erm…What? He went on, sensing my confusion. “My dad dropped me off at the restaurant earlier.”

“Oh. Is your car in the shop or something?” I asked.

“Actually, I don’t drive.”

“Um…OK.” So what was all that talk about his Mustang and the hellish commute? I was thoroughly puzzled, but unlocked the passenger door for  him anyway.

As I drove him down Route 1 to his parents’ house, Chris explained that he did actually own a Mustang, but it’s been in the garage for 2 years because he got a DUI and had his license revoked for 3 years. His commute? A carpool. All this time he’d been talking as if he was the one driving and dealing with the traffic. It’s a whole different animal when you’re commuting as a passenger instead of the driver!

We pulled off the highway and I was annoyed at this point, because I hadn’t really planned on chauffeuring my date 10 miles home when I lived practically around the corner. The kicker to the evening came when he directed me to the house he lived in, a frilly little cottage with a yard full of garden ornaments and a country-style sign on the door with “The [his last name] Family” on it. It would have been far too easy to add insult to injury on this one, so I just chuckled inwardly.

We hugged goodbye, and I made sure he got in safely before pulling away.

That Monday he emailed me saying he had a great time and would like to do it again soon. It was a busy day so it took me a while to get back to him. I figured I should nip this one in the bud:

Hey Chris,

Sorry it’s taken me ALL FREAKIN’ DAY to get back to you. Mondays kind of suck for quick responses from me. I had to work on my lecture this morning, then go to social lunch, and then class, and then I got held up by students asking all kinds of questions about the exam afterwards. I’ve barely had time to think yet today, and it’s already almost time to go home. Phew!

I had a good time on Saturday night too. Thanks for dinner and the show. You’re good company.

I like you a lot and think you’re a great guy. However, I think that we’re at really different places in our lives. I would love to hang out with you again as a friend; romantically, I don’t think we’re as compatible. But if you want to grab a drink or something again, I’m game.

All day to get back to you and this is what I write. I’m an ass. Sorry.

~Mandy

I wasn’t lying, he was a nice guy and the date wasn’t bad. I just didn’t see us being romantic at all. He wrote back immediately:

Hey Mandy,

I hear ya about being insanely busy.  I’m going nuts here today.

I appreciate your honesty with me, and Saturday night was my pleasure.

P.S.

You’re not an ass.  You’re a cool chick!!!!

Feel free to give me a call or email anytime.  I could always use a friend like you.

Take care,

Chris

I bet he could’ve used a friend like me. He had to get around town somehow.

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