I really don’t want to be here – thirty-six years old and waiting for my blind date to arrive. Three guys have already hit on me. I suppose it’s to be expected at The Nest, the newest hot spot in midtown. The tall blond guy just can’t seem to understand, “No.” He’s got rugged good looks, one of those types that thinks he’s God’s gift to women.
“Listen,” I finally tell him, “I’m meeting someone. A guy.”
The bartender catches his eye and gives him the “You’re out!” sign. The guy finally goes away.
“Some people don’t get subtle,” the bartender says. “Can I get you another Jack?”
I swirl the bourbon around my ice and shake my head, no. The last thing I want is to get drunk. God I wish my friends would stop trying to help me.
Someone approaches me from the side, tentative steps. That’s usually the sign. I look up and see Mister Right, at least according to Karen’s description. Five-nine if he’s lucky (that would be ‘kind of tall’ in Karen speak), beginnings of a middle-aged pouch (‘not too heavy’), streaks of gray already lightening his darker brown hair (‘distinguished looking’ – I have them all down). He’s in bluejeans, collared tight-checked shirt, and a burgundy sweater vest.
The poor guy looks downright scared, so I give him the best smile as I can muster.
“You must be Mike?”
As he takes the seat next to me God’s Gift walks past, pointedly bumping into my stool. I look up to see him smirking. He mimes a gag with his finger as he heads for the door. My loss. Yeah, good riddance.
We move from the bar to a booth and spend the next half hour trying to think up interesting things to say. He likes classical music. I’m lucky I’ve even heard of Beethoven. I like rock climbing. He’s afraid of heights. We both like Karen. Well, at least we have something in common.
Finally he leans close, looks around to make sure nobody is within earshot. He fumbles with his napkin.
“You know, Sally, you seem very nice.” There is a long pause. Since I’m not sure where this is going I’m not helping out here. At last he looks up, starts to reach out for my hand, withdraws just as quickly. “Listen. I really like Karen, and I do appreciate her trying to help me out, but… please don’t ever tell her this… I’m gay.”
I sit back, stunned. The whole world suddenly seems hilarious. I start to laugh and he starts getting defensive. Then I reach out and take his hand.
“Really? So am I.”
His face moves from shock to puzzlement to wonder in a matter of seconds. We both start laughing and cutting up about Karen, reminiscing about all the failed blind dates she’s hooked us up with. The next four hours were the most fun blind date I’ve ever had. I’m sure Mike feels the same. In fact we’re going out again next weekend on a double. I’m bringing Tina and he’ll bring his friend Jerry. We’ll have a blast. Karen will be so pleased.
© 2011 by J. M. Strother, all rights reserved.
Photo by Ian Murphy via Flickr Creative Commons, attribution license.