‘Are You Seeing Anyone?’ — The Dreaded Holiday Season Question

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The holidays are approaching fast. If you’re like me, meaning 23 and single, then you know there’s one question you’re going to have to answer multiple times over the next two months: “Are you seeing anyone?” My answer has generally been no for the past few years, with the exception of last year when I got to shake things up and explain to everyone that I’d just broken off my then-recent relationship.

This year I’m back to a simple no, but I know that my parents are going to input their own two cents whenever I try to move on to the next topic. It’ll go something like this.

Random Aunt: “So, Kev, are you seeing anyone these days?”

Me: “No, not really. Hey, let’s go fly a kite/watch tv/play with the dog/drink/ANYTHING THAT IS NOT THIS CONVERSATION, I’LL EVEN SUBMIT TO BOWLING DAMN IT”

Dad: “You really should have asked for that Leslie girl’s phone number!” 

Random Aunt: “Who’s Leslie?”

And then this story is going to be told. My parents have referenced it so many times that now I just laugh it off. In hindsight, it is kind of funny in a “Wow, I’m a moron” kind of way.

We met at a bar in downtown Nashville.

It was a Friday night. Late May or early June, I can’t remember which. My parents were visiting for the weekend, celebrating my 23rd birthday a few weeks early.

I’d decided over dinner that I wasn’t going to worry about picking up pretty girls. My only intention that night was making sure my parents had a fun time.

I only started talking to her because my dad was riding the mechanical bull, and I grabbed the closest person to point and laugh about it. Tipsy logic at its finest.

She was from Chicago, visiting a friend. 24 and blonde. Tall, if I remember correctly, but that could have been heels. I didn’t look at her shoes.

I went to get another beer, and realized that I didn’t know her name. I could have forgotten it, or maybe I’d never asked in the first place.

My mom, lovely woman that she is, volunteered to go figure it out. I was so blown away that my reserved, churchgoing mother was offering to play wing-woman for me, that I ignored the obvious solution of just asking the girl myself. I accepted the offer, mom walked over and starting talking to her.

My name got called for karaoke. Build Me Up Buttercup. I’m convinced people who don’t love that song are broken.

After the song, I walked over to mention something to my roommate and dad. The next thing I know, 15 minutes had gone by.

At this point, it’s been nearly 20 minutes since my mom has started talking to this girl. HOLY CRAP. Panic kicks in, and I run over to intervene.

As I walk up, my mom is talking to her about how I visit friends up in Chicago semi-regularly. Somehow this girl isn’t freaked out that she just spent 20 minutes talking to the mom of the guy she’d just started to flirt with. My mom casually pulls the “So Leslie here was just telling me…” and gracefully retreats a few moments later.

I don’t know how much longer we talked. An hour, perhaps? I do remember that the conversation was effortless.

She was going to school in Chicago for either her masters or PhD in physical therapy, but was originally from Indiana, if memory serves. We discovered a mutual love for Elvis Presley. A Motown song came on and we started to dance. I spun her, and she laughed when we dipped.

She asked me to come out with her and her friends the next night. Even after all the time spent flirting with this girl, I was completely oblivious to the opening. I had to work early Sunday morning, so I turned down her Saturday night plans. Didn’t offer any alternative plans, no “maybe for a little bit”. Just a simple “I can’t, I’ve got to be in bed early tomorrow.”

In case you can’t tell, I’m quite the lady killer.

I never asked for her number. She eventually got frustrated with my obliviousness and left with her friends.

To be honest, I probably would have forgotten about that story by now if it my parents didn’t tell it every time my love life comes up in conversation. Just a beautiful girl, a total sweetheart that I had a connection with one night. I’ve talked to plenty of girls since then, just as I’m sure she’s talked to plenty of guys. But my mom loves to tell the story of the girl she talked to for 20 minutes and approved of.

So she sticks in my memory.

I was actually visiting Chicago a few weeks ago. Started laughing over the story with a friend, and he drunkenly tried to convince me to find her while I was in town. Mentioned something about serendipity.

“Sure, Johnny. I’ll just find this one specific girl, who may or may not even remember me, in one of the biggest cities in America, knowing nothing but her first name and a few other random details. That’ll work beautifully.”

Oh well. It’s still fun to look back on. To all my aunts who will be asking about my current lack of love life over the next couple months – I’m ready for ya. TC mark

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