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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

LunchRockFriendStar

E. giggles. "Oh, Luce, he was awful. "

E. is single again for a few years now, which means to say divorced. I'm so glad not to be back in that whole dating mess like she is that the least I can do is help her find humor in her awful dating experiences and keep an eye out for catches for her. And now that we've dispensed with her most recent date horror story, we've come to that very thing.

E. looks hopeful and dubious all at the same time, "Meet any nice single men for me recently?"

I'm quiet. This is not my natural state, so E. looks at me quizzically.

"Lucy?"

"It's so weird, E. Yes but no."

"I'm not interested in weird, Lucy."

"No, he wasn't weird. Well, maybe a little. No, that's just being catty. The situation was weird."

"Like weird in what way?"

"OK, so he and I have pretty much one mutual interest which is how we run into each other. So we somehow decide to have lunch, right? Like you and I have lunch."

"You talked about shopping and the hell that is my dating life?"

"Um, NO, but I mean it was a friendly lunch, and casual."

"So what's weird about that?"

"OK, so we get our food and sit down. Basic chit-chat. And after a few minutes, I bring up the thing we have in common. And he gets this look on his face like I've committed this HUGE faux pas, and clearly he doesn't want to talk about it."

"Uh-huh."

"So I begin to feel awkward, but we keep talking. Only from time to time, he asks questions that make me feel like he's straining for conversation, like he's resorting to a bag of tired, old questions you might ask out of habit at a bogus work function or when meeting people at your husband's high school reunion or something like that. Filler questions."

"Huh."

"And so I ask him, because he apparently has been a lot of kooky places, where's the weirdest place he's been. And then he asks me the same, so I say Mahabaleshwar."

"Holy crap, Lucy, where is that?"

"India. When I was with my brother and he was getting engaged. But so this guy looks at me sort of miffed and says I set him up to ask me that, like, again, another HUGE faux pas."

"Lucy, why on earth did you for one second consider setting me up with this man?"

"I'm making him sound worse than he is; it was just that one second that I was like What the hell! Wait."

E. sighs, then cracks up at her own dramatics. "Go on."

"So now I'm feeling really awkward. But we start talking about travel and about my Dad and we get onto geography. And he tells me a country is where it isn't."

"Lucy, tell me you did not correct him. Sometimes you put people off when you know so much. You know it's true."

"I do know that. We've talked about that, thank you, I do remember. But, E., he is not some rube. So I gently, I mean gently, corrected him once. Not like 'You're wrong, fool!' but like, 'Um, that country's over there."

"You offended him!"

"I did not! So he repeats that the country is where it isn't."

"Tell me you let it go."

"I did! I did! I just sort of nodded and said, 'Uh-huh.'"

"So what's weird about that?"

"I am giving you an example of how polite and wonderful I was, so you'd understand how weird it is what I'm about to tell you."

"Today?" she pokes fun at me.

"So, long story short, the rest of lunch seemed fine, and I sent him a thank you email and he replied back let's do it again some time and then nothing."

"Nothing?"

"NOTHING. I've emailed him a few more times but only got one reply and it was of the curt variety. And it's so weird because holy crap, I'm not good enough to have as a lunch friend?"

"Are you kidding, Luce? You are a damn rock star of a lunch friend!"

"I know! I know! You are too! Which is why I was going to try to introduce you."

E. holds her hand up, like a crossing guard. "Wait. Let me make sure I understand this. He wasn't coming on to you."

"No! It wasn't that at all!"

"And it wasn't a job interview."

"Nope."

"Just a friendly lunch."

I nod.

E. giggles. "It's kind of funny actually."

"What is?"

"You aren't actually in the dating scene, yet you got the blowoff as if you were. "

"Hilarious, E." I start to giggle, too. "So the short answer is no, I have no nice, new single men to whom to introduce you.

E, tilts her head, considers for a minute, then nods quickly, her mind made up.

"Dodged a bullet."

I stick my tongue out at her. "Plenty more to hit you, E."

She snorts with laughter as she takes a sip of her hot chocolate.
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