Thursday, May 2, 2013


In hindsight, I’m glad he stood me up.

We’d exchanged a couple of short messages on the weekend and agreed to meet at a quirky café that I had discovered in East Vancouver a few months ago.

5:00. Wednesday.

It had been confirmed by his eloquent final reply:  “K” (No quotes, no punctuation, just the letter. Points for bothering to press the shift key.)

The coffeehouse is hard to spot. I’d missed it the first time I tried to find it. He’d GPSed it (yes, I suppose that’s a new verb), so I figured he’d have better luck with a persistent automated voice sending him in circles around the desired destination.

I arrived ten minutes early, just enough time to tame my wind-blown hair after walking the dog along the water before the scheduled date. I also brushed my teeth so that I would not accost Bryce with my samosa breath, the lingering keepsake from a tasty lunch.

4:55. I sat on a stool at the front counter and flipped through the free newspaper. Some criminal had been arrested, somebody was suing somebody, a politician smiled for the camera. Same old, same old.

5:10. I gazed at all the postcards announcing poetry readings, folk/reggae concerts and an eco-meal planned at a local park. All typical East Van experiences.

5:13. Time to pull out the laptop. Why not work on my screenplay project? I revised the scenes I wrote on Sunday—a few tweaks to make the dialog crisper.

5:27. Maybe he thought 5:30. Might as well wait around a little longer. I’d already missed the ferry and would have to wait another two hours to cruise on home.

5:40. Exit café. Figured I’d made a stupid choice of venue. Outfoxed the freakin’ GPS. Next time, just say Starbucks.

When I got to the ferry terminal and realized the ferry was running an hour late, I grabbed a coffee—yes, Starbucks—and checked for messages on Plenty of Fish. Sure enough, Bryce had left two. I felt badly, wondering how much gas he’d wasted driving around. Had he accidentally traveled across the U.S. border? From now on, ALWAYS let the other guy pick the place.

But then I read the messages. I had to Google to make sense of them.

3:48. ” I'm off Sunday at 7pm can we do it Sunday night at 8:30 instead...I using these new workout pills and I'm still not used to them...still jittery...pls don't be mad”

3:51. “Don't worry I'm not like the others freaking out about meeting lol...I started taking ripped freak a few days ago and I'm still not used to it yet...”

3:52. “I can also do coffee fri or sat am too”

I had to reread the messages a couple of times. So much can be lost when we try to text message emails. The opener of “I’m off Sunday” left me confused. Had I cancelled during an unknown sleepwalking episode last night? Was there a missing message? Nope. Plenty of Fish preserves the entire string of messages.

So he’d canceled sixty-eight minutes before the agreed meeting time. Feeling shaky from “ripped freak”. I had to Google it--a weight-loss supplement. He’d rat-a-tatted three messages and never used the word “sorry”. That still is a common courtesy, isn’t it, or have I entered the Great-Grandparent Zone, holding on to expectations of yester-yesteryear?

I was baffled. Not mad, just clear that I had no desire to attempt another meeting. I of all people can respect a person’s efforts to shed a few pounds. Still, I expect people to sincerely apologize when flaking out. (And, yes, I have been the apologetic flake.)

Perhaps I shouldn’t have even replied, but I felt he needed to understand how a casual, vaguely articulated cancellation impacts the other person. “Hi Bryce. I did not get your cancellation for today. (Last checked the internet at 3:30.) Waited until 5:40. Missed my regular ferry to meet you. I am now awaiting a later ferry and won't get home until 9:30. Sorry, but I am not interested in rescheduling. Take care.”

He quickly replied. “That's cool just wasn't ment to be...shit hapoens...u shouldnt be such a jaded person


We never even met each other, but clearly we would never be able to communicate with one another. I am relieved that I didn’t have to endure an hour of awkward chatter, a series of disconnected verbal volleys that go unreturned on the other side of the net. Date avoided. Whew.

In the bigger scheme of things, perhaps I am jaded. It would be best to consider this a one off. Still, the track record has been bleak, especially of late. I certainly did not coin the phrase, “The best ones have all been taken” but sometimes all evidence points in that direction.

I keep my fingers crossed, hoping there is one genuinely kind soul, attractive, reasonably fit (please don’t resort to Liquid Freak!) gay man who has faced his own string of hapless coffee dates while biding time until we finally meet.

Me jaded? In spite of all my experiences, I still live a Disney-fied existence, the tune “Someday My Prince Will Come” an earworm I can’t seem to shake. In the meantime, life seems all too Goofy.


Thom Burkett said...


It's in the waiting we learn to appreciate. My guy took 32 years to find me, and I was hurt, hurt others in the waiting.

Great post and all I have to say is thank God there's coffee!


Rural Gay said...

Hi Thom,
Thanks for reading & leaving a comment. Glad you and your guy finally made the love connection. I've been single for the past nine years and the concern is that I'm getting too settled in my single ways. Guys like Bryce make it easy for me to pass.

With the right guy, I would certainly hope that I can negotiate/navigate new ways of being!

Anonymous said...

As I said via Twitter this guy isny wasting time fretting over. Not that there's anything wrong with us middle aged gays; there are lots of younger and older that seek that simple companionship or friends with benefits in meantime. Its impolite morons that hide behind txt or obscure emails that get my goat. Have the balls to reply properly. A shirt coffee is better than a stabd up. He is a douche.

Rural Gay said...

So easy to move on!