Sometimes you can tell from the first three seconds that this is not just a "No" date but a bad date. And sometimes a bad date can become even worse than anticipated.
I headed to Breka Cafe for the second time in as many weeks. Not a place of my
choosing. The stakes in Vancouver's coffee wars are rising as upstart roasters
introduce better, bolder, stronger beans. Starbucks, Blenz, Tim Hortons and,
yes, this heretofore-unknown Breka are now Why Bother hubs. But Richard
suggested it as a halfway point. Fine. Better than my last date there where Mr.
Meet-Me-My-Way suggested it since it was across the street from his place.
(These are the "normal" dates, springing from the very polite Plenty
of Fish site, not hookup-minded men from my Manhunt "studies".)
As I arrived ten minutes early, I received a text from Richard, giving his
location and saying he was on his way. I knew it was twenty minutes away.
Simple math word problem. If Person A arrives 10 min early and Person B is 20
min away, that equals a late start. "Take your time," I texted.
My laptop was malfunctioning but I figured I could text-type some work on my
phone's Notes app. There is never an excuse not to write.
The first red flag arose before Richard's entrance. He texted again to let me
know he'd hopped on a bus. From two blocks away! I'd already given him a Late
Pass. This smacked of desperation. "Silly man," I texted and left it
When Richard arrived seconds later, he sat down and commented about how much he
loved reading my profile. "You don't know it, but I learned extra things
about you." O...Kay. Perhaps Richard possessed uncanny inferential skills.
I tried not to be creeped out. But there was an intensity in his stare. I had
to look away.
And in so doing, I spotted my previous date, Mr. Meet-Me-My-Way, entering the
cafe. Yes, awkward became awkwarder. (I'm aware that's not a word; it just
fits.) I tried to focus on a conversation I was ready to end. I needed Last
Date to get his coffee and go. You see, I'd thought that date had been a decent
one, with pleasant conversation, laughter and common interests. When we stood
on the the sidewalk and I said, "Message me if you'd like to meet again",
I saw that look of horror register for a nanosecond before a skilled
recalibration. Oops. Not interested. Totally misread the situation. But then a
full week later, Mr. Last Date messaged the equivalent to a grunt: "How
was your week?"
I replied. He replied. I scratched my head and then dared to ask, "Do you
want to meet again?"
And...silence. End of conversation. Never more.
But then this. And as I waited and waited to spot Last Date leaving, I saw him
take a seat. Two tables away. With another guy. And, yes, it sure looked like
another first date.
So I had no choice. I guzzled the latte I'd been gently sipping and announced
to Richard--still staring ever so intently--that I needed to head out and get
on with the errands of the day. As Richard and I exited, I made sure not
to catch Last Date's eye. And for the umpteenth time, I wondered why I even
bother with any of this. My dating history is an endless series of mismatches.
At least I got my errands done early.