You know that spherical plastic toy for preschool children with the holes of different shapes and the pieces that fit through them? I think I’ve always identified with it. Only my version of the toy has slots for circles and squares and I’m a triangle. There is no clear match. No matter which way I turn or how hard I push, I don’t seem to fit in any of the damn holes!
The image flashed back again as I walked away from my coffee date with Luc. Yes, I managed to find the right café this time so I’m grateful we had a chance to meet. (You don’t want to think the one that got away was the one you never met.)
With the date still fresh in my mind, the question that lingers is “What just happened?!” I’ll say that Luc was definitely cute. Although twenty-seven, he looked younger. I still don’t know why he messaged a forty-four year old. I may be a young forty-four but it’s a stretch to twist into a twentysomething. I would need some sort of Transformer power, a time machine or a magical therapist like on “Being Erica”.
The meeting lasted forty-five minutes, probably the shortest coffee date I’ve ever had. Even the bad ones last an hour. The encounter felt like an exchange of biographical information without any anecdote leading to the telling of a similar experience from the other. Common things surfaced like a dabbling in triathlons, but a connection never surfaced.
We talked about an art exhibit he went to last week and agreed that art should evoke emotion, good or bad. An artist has failed if the work generates no feeling whatsoever. While we sat together, I could not get a read for how Luc felt—if, that is, he felt at all. True, he used a napkin to pat his face early on, a possible sign of nervousness that he attributed to a hot room temperature in the café (that I never felt) and lingering body heat from a run. I’m inclined to accept one of his explanations since his demeanor seemed aloof or indifferent.
We walked a couple of blocks from the café before going in different directions. While I continued to try to find something in the conversation, I suspect he would have been content to put on a pair of headphones—no need to hook them up to anything; just a visual to show that I’d been officially tuned out. When we arrived at the parting corner, neither of us said, “I really enjoyed meeting you” or “We should get together again.” Instead, he said, “Have a nice drive home.” Isn’t that the equivalent to “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out”?
It’s only been a half hour since the cool goodbye, but obviously I’m still trying to figure out what happened (and what didn’t happen). I knew going in that the chances of a strong connection with a much younger guy were remote. Yet I know I was open to it, even hopeful. Not like in Please let me score with a young guy, but more like I’d love to find someone who fits, age be damned. I replay things, searching for a spark that I never felt and I’m sure he never felt. As I bargain to retain some hope, I wonder if his coolness was tied to his French culture and not a reflection of a lack of interest. Unfortunately, I know the answer.
It’s easier when I can dismiss someone for a lack of physical attraction. When that’s not the case, the rejection comes down to who you are a person. Ouch. I’ll go home and continue to hope for a message from Luc in the next day or two. I may send him one. Just in case I missed something.
I’m still doing it, trying to cram that triangle into the circle slot. One day I may finally meet another triangle. Then I can toss that stupid toy in the trash. No passing it on to someone else to play with. Let the next nascent triangle proceed with fewer molds to try to fit into.