My mother begged me to write this because it's a funny story. Plus, she wanted to have something new to read when she comes to my blog. My sister, on the other hand, begged me not to because "you shouldn't put your business out on the street," a sentiment I deeply respect.
However, little sister, I'm a writer....and part of being a writer is putting your business out on the street.
So this one's for you, Ma. Hope it's as much fun to read as it's been to write. I know you will forgive the embellishments.
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"So anyway, I met a guy."
This is what I tell my mother on the phone in the middle of our conversation, as if everything that had come before it was prelude to this.
There is four, maybe five seconds of silence and then one of us chuckles, and the other one snorts, and somebody giggles and then one of us says, "Hah!" and soon the laughter is loud and raunchy and we're pretty much slapping our knees and guffawing because we know: any story that starts this way nearly always ends in tragedy.
And we know that the last time I "met a guy" he was 10 years my junior and that as a result of THAT little fiasco I had my heart and my ego handed to me on a silver platter, both of them bloody and squirming and sliced in two, and that with hardly a word between us he spit on the tray, handed it to me without ceremony or even looking me in the eye, and walked away. It seems I had finally, after nearly 44 years on the planet, met my match in the seduction department, and it took a while before I could laugh about THAT little escapade, but laugh I do now, and hard.
"So anyway, I met a guy," I tell her.
"Oh?" she says through her laughter.
"Yeah," I say, once we've calmed down. "Dude had 'Suzie' written all over him. Leather jacket, motorcycle boots, skinny in jeans that perfect color blue. Had a diamond stud in his ear, wavy silver hair I had to stop myself from touching. And he had this whole 'former-bad-boy-gone-good' kind of thing going on, and Ma, just the way he stood there."
We both kind of sigh.
So I tell her how I met him, and she's listening closely because you never know, this could be the one. But the more I tell, the more she knows: this is not the one.
I will not bore you with the conversations leading up to his inviting me to dinner next time he's in town. But when it comes down to it, I tell him, I'd be more comfortable doing coffee first, k? Because I don't know this guy, and I don't want to be stuck in his truck for an hour on the way to Gloucester because, I mean, what if he's a Sean Hannity fan, or thinks like Rush Limbaugh? And just so we're clear, I tell her, "I'm not worried about getting killed, Ma, I'm worried about getting mad." So we meet for coffee, all spontaneous-like, sort of but not quite last minute, it was a 'can you?' and then it was like, yeah where are you, what kinda time you have, what's going on, yeah yeah ok meet you there. I am booked nearly solid, wall to wall and back to back including weekends for the forseeable future and he's only in town for a couple days (and did I mention he's cute?). And this is as good a time as any because it has a hard stop at the end of it -- Lily is waiting for her grandma, i.e. me, to pick her up in like 45 minutes and I will not be late. And besides, I have no intention of getting involved with anyone, in any shape or form. Plus, it's just coffee.
So we meet for coffee and the diamond stud is glinting on his ear lobe and his hair is that lovely shade of silver -- I must be getting old to adore it so and not just on him. He tells me he changed out of his construction boots and into his motorcycle boots on the drive over from Marlborough in his big red truck because, I think, I asked if he was wearing them when he called. And his blue flannel shirt just hung a certain way over his tucked in gray t-shirt, with just enough room for a hand to slip in over his waist, and the loops of his jeans sat on his hips just so, one of them with a little dark crease in it, and I nearly had to sit on my hands not to reach out and uncrease it, and the boots, well, those squared off toes just send me....and I had to look away, hard.
And so there we are goofing around and laughing and playful in the middle of the coffee shop, up against the window counter in the tall seats, sitting side by side facing the cars going by and the people walking. His whole body is now facing me but I am turned away toward the street so I can stay focused on the task at hand, which is figuring out if I want to spend any of my precious time with him again, which I can't do if I'm looking at how he fits in his jeans.
And then he tells me that dinner was just dinner, that he was a little disappointed about not doing dinner, that he had to shift gears around not doing dinner and maybe I took it the wrong way because it was just dinner and I say, "Listen. I wanted to do coffee first because I had no idea if we'd get along. Clearly we do. But really, I didn't want to be stuck in your truck for an hour" -- and I lift my hand next to my ear and make a quacking motion with it and look him deep in the eyes while I smile really big and say in that flirty way us girls have -- "while you talk. It coulda been boring. And frankly, I don't have time for that." I might have batted my eyelashes, but if I did it was not on purpose.
"Wait," he says, with a look of incredulity on his face and putting the palms of his hands on his chest, "I have to drive, too?"
This is what I like about this guy.
But when we went to lunch the next time he's in town he...but wait, I'm gettting ahead of myself.
My sister, when I tell her about this invitation to dinner, christens him "Cali-Boy," a nickname I heartily embrace, as if I already know the outcome. He lives in California but grew up here so he visits every few weeks, says he's thinking about coming out for the summer. I think we have given him a cute nickname, but it is never a good sign when you begin to call a man a cute little nickname from the outset, especially one like Cali-Boy, and not to his face. It implies frivolity and immaturity, both of which, as it turns out, apply. But it's so cute I'm beginning to think even he might like it and think it's cute, that maybe I should tell him about it next time he calls, which I know I won't but mostly only because he'll know I've talked about him. But the fact that we've named him this early is not a good sign.
I mean, women aren't like men when it comes to nicknames -- when men name each other it is a term of endearment, right? If your buddies call you Fridge or PizzaFace or Skateboard, it's because you've earned it in some way, it's a sign that they love you or respect you or that you've deeply impressed them in some way and they will always remind you of that fact. When women name each other, on the other hand, it's catty and bitchy and mean and intended to hurt and we don't love you or respect you. In fact, we hate you.
When women name men, however, it's like naming someone else's pet -- we feel some level of fondness for you, maybe, but we do not respect you or take you seriously. And usually we name you after it's all over, when we want to put you in a tidy little box with a bow and name the mistake we made getting involved with you. Giving you a nickname takes the onus off us and we get to tell ourselves, well, I'll never do THAT again, or man, he was a total creep. I won't tell you what we named the mistake who handed me the silver platter, in case he reads this and feels bad [cue laff track here because, as if - as if I care about his feelings, I mean. He may actually read it.]. But we name this guy from California from the outset, and it's almost like....well, it's almost like Cali-Boy is already history.
Stay tuned for Part 2: "Lunch with Cali-Boy"