written on February 22, posted on February 23; slightly materially relevant
The great and terrible thing about BlackBerries is that they don't just remind you of everything you have to do, they remind you of everything you've done -- which is how I know it was a month ago to the day that I might've met the Man o' Mah Dreams ... and dammit, I blew it.
He's a religious reader of everything I write in print, but kind of old-school, and a barely casual reader of what I write online -- still, there's still only so many schoolgirlcrushing details I'd subject anybody to anyway. I met him through work (which is more or less, how I meet everybody), and that's somewhat relevant, because if I had not been working at that moment (in addition to being committed and exclusive elsewhere at the time: me, not him), I'm not sure I'd have left that meeting with my clothes on. Or at least my skirt. There were admittedly a lot of people in the room, but there were big desks involved... with privacy panels, so, well, you get the picture. I say that purely to illustrate the magnitude of his charisma, as opposed to any propensity (which I certainly do not possess) for removing my clothes in public places (semi-public is another story for another day).
While being deliberately vague, I can just say that he was about the definition of my Type. Tall. Southern. And funny in a very charmingly self-deprecating way. A Bonfire of the Vanities bizpig type ("bizpig" is the word we used in my last carpetland job; I used it to his face, and to his credit, he laughed) -- but a bizpig with lots of balancing talk about life on the farm. I got the feeling he could castrate livestock if there was a need for it (and it felt good to have that in common with somebody...finally, a man after my own heart!)
I looooove offices because you get to place people in their natural context, without asking a lot of intrusive questions normal people might consider rude ("what do you do for fun?" "where did you graduate?" "how many children?" "when was your divorce finalized?" and "are you the sort of person who uses 'summer' as a verb?") Handily, there were pictures of his very attractive adult kids sprinkled around various shelves in varying stages of graduations and marriages (with their knockout young-Julie-Christie-looking-Mom, who might've given me pause if she hadn't been positioned prominently in every photo with her new husband: it is true, they all look a little like they've been "cahhhved outta cream cheese," but that's not always a bad thing). There were a few horses in the pictures -- not so many as to be pretentious, just enough to say "folksy" and "down-to-earth." And there was a big, big dog -- which of course I asked about -- siiiiiigh, a "stray" he "rescued." (There might or might not be a cute story that goes with that, but it might be filled with so many details that everyone could identify him from it, so just insert a lot of Xs and Os here, while I practice writing his name in lipstick.) There were some pretty adorable "drinking-for-charity" dress up shots as well. We had been to some of the same occasions over the last year, and I sure do not know how I missed him.
He speaks with an actual drawl, with actual expressions like, "I don't know but what you're not riiiiight" ("so many negatives, why Mr. Butler, you do go on, ah can scarcely catch mah breath...." It translates to "I concede you have a point," but his way just sounds so.... dirrrrrrrty. OK, maybe I'm projecting on that one.) He even has an adorably Southern name that looks ridiculous when you see it in print, but wears pretty cute on a rugged man in person -- something like Bobby (relax, I promise, it is not Bobby).
But if I had to be excruciatingly honest about one thing, I would have to admit that the singular most attractive thing about him was how very taken he seemed to be with me. (It's an adorable word, and not one I typically use, but it's what somebody said about him, to me, several days later...that he was "very taken" with me.) At the risk of immodesty, I already knew that he was, because A. I am not coy, and B. he had called me, the next day, on the telephone (like an Animal, yes, but also like a boy who knows what he wants and exactly how these things are done), and asked if I'd like to get together for something "a little more Sociable" than work. Just like that.
And just like that, I said No, casually citing the aforementioned commitment elsewhere (he didn't ask for a lifestory and I didn't give him one; I just made things clear as politely as I could). We chatted a little, amiably, but it was pretty awkward (I doubt he gets rejected often, for anything) -- and then I subsequently came down with a terminal case of what my gal Rachel calls "mentionitis," where I worked him into any and every conversation I had for the next week, in completely ridiculous and implausible ways. Like, I would be on the phone with my Mom and she'd be making ribs for dinner, and I would giggle and blush and blurt out something like, "oh did I mention I met this man Bobby and he loves ribs....He was telling me about this grill...." and it would just deteriorate from there, until I completely regressed to 12-years-old and practically started fishing around the closet for my old Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper lipsmackers.
I wish this story had a happy ending -- like I got up my nerve and called him yesterday and that we went for Starbucks and enjoyed a hearty mutual laugh about my stupidity -- but it doesn't. Instead, I ran into him this weekend at another Snooty Falooty drinking-for-charity function with the Swanky McSwankertons and he was with another girl.
(Yes, I already know you're saying "that doesn't mean anything, maybe it was just a date..." Please.Who do you take me for? I completed such exhaustive Intel within two minutes of them walking in the door, I would now feel comfortable clearing her for the CIA. They've been dating for about a month, and all the "it's a small world" details of how they ended up together the weekend I turned him down -- at an event I attended -- were enough to nearly make me throw up my $200/already-wasted-non-broth menu, if I had eaten any of it. I would also like to report that she was some sort of Hot Sorority Visigoth who obviously won't last til March Madness, but no. Yes, she was Hot, but she's a power player in her own right. I would also like to report that it looked like a casual date, but no: they looked the way people normally do after a month of dating -- like the cocktail clothes probably didn't last the car ride home.)
I am not one to overly lament the path not taken, but I have to admit this was a pretty cruel moment. I am trying to be philosophical and remind myself that I typically share the same replaceability assessment of boys that Linda has of horses, everytime Sunshine gets repeatedly, expensively sick, which is: there are a lot of good horses out there, Sunshine. They're not unicorns. They're not exactly rare.
But dammit, I wanted to ride this one. (And that's another buck in the Lenten swear jar for the Humane Society; worth it too).