Say it a few more times. Above all else, you must remember this. Rebecca. This is her name. It is by which you will call her and no other name will do. Rebecca.
Wait, was she the one who liked lawn bowling? Such an odd thing to include in a profile aimed at potential suitors. Maybe this whole thing’s a mistake. But we won’t know for sure unless we give tonight a fair shot, and it all starts with greeting her by her correct, birth-given name.
Sit facing the door. That way you can give her a cute smile when she walks in. Just be sure that it’s “cute” and not “I’ve been studying your profile pictures for six days in the hopes of correctly identifying you in public and, oh, I really hope you’re at least 65% as attractive as they’ve led me to believe”. That’s a weird vibe to give out. Try avoiding that.
God, I’m sweaty.
She’s going to think I sprinted here. Ha! Little does she know I haven’t sprinted in seven years. A bit of jogging, sure, but only in forced situations. She said she played squash and I’m not sure what to make of that. Either way, I presume her BMI would crush mine. Healthy active living is likely a topic best avoided tonight.
I whip out my phone and quickly skim our conversation history in the hopes of uncovering some late-breaking insight. Online dating gives you a wealth of study material, the kind you’d never have access to in the analog world. Unless you were a stalker, that is, which I suppose we’ve all become. This is a bad thing. But for the sake of tonight, I plan on using every last resource at my disposal.
Under ‘Interests’ she said she “loves to travel”. That was original. I should say something about my recent trip to Delaware. Sure, it wasn’t anything remarkable, but maybe I could spin it into something introspective and curious. After all, it’s easy to love Manhattan but it takes a real kindred soul to love the downtown streets of Dover.
Wait a minute. Was it Rebecca who loved to travel? Or was it Cindy?
Look at you, you slick cyber schmoozer, you. Can’t even keep your female suitors in a straight line. And who am I kidding? They all love to travel. It’s the online dating equivalent of saying you like pizza. Best to focus on the differentiating points. Should I bring up the lawn bowling thing? Will it seem creepy if I reference an obscure personal detail that we’ve yet to actually discuss?
She should be here any minute now. Or never. It’s always a crapshoot with these things. Typically, if you make it to t-minus 2 hours without a half-assed text message cancellation, you’re in the clear. Then they arrive and the real battle begins.
Hey! Take that straw out of your drink RIGHT now! And the lime! You pussy! If she walks in here and sees you with a dainty little cocktail, your entire shtick will be ruined. The facade will crumble. She’ll look at that aperitif in your spongy clam hands and read right between the lines. No man ever won a lady with a lime. And with that straw, well, you might as well climb atop the table and shout out “I can’t provide for our future family!” while handing out Xeroxed copies of your latest bank statement.
This really is a mistake, isn’t it? It’s not too late to leave. I could send her one of those half-assed texts: a friend in a car accident who needs to be picked up, or a project at work that simply can’t wait until the morning. I could even jot down a note on my effeminate cocktail napkin, using my lime and straw as a shameful quill. “Sorry, but it’s just as well”, it might read, “But if you plan on staying, try the edamame!” I’d leave it with the maître d’ and begin my sweaty jog home, long before she has the chance to ask me about lawn bowling or squash. Long before she ever exposes me for what I might be.
Uh oh. Here she comes.
Play it cool.