Date #3 was the result of my enthusiasm. You see, I’m trying to be proactive, so every couple of days I write to a bunch of guys. 37, with a reticent profile and a photo that only showed his back, there wasn’t much to go on but I wrote anyway, because my (vast and apparently wise) gut said to. I opened with my standard email:
care to chat?
He replied with:
Sure. What number are you at? :)
Such refreshing directness I though to myself. None of the usual cagey ashamed to be ok OKC stuff, straight to numbers. I must admit that I saw the email at 615 m when I was trying to maintain the fiction that I wasn’t actually awake before my alarm AGAIN. So I gave it to him and warned him I’m not very good on the phone. His reply, when it came, was slightly embarrassing, because it turned out he’d been asking for the number of dates, not my number.
Anyway, our conversation proceeded apace on OKC, his ‘felicity with the English language’ (yes, that’s a direct quote) making me weak at the knees, which, of course, I told him. Soon after the first email he called me and, to my surprise, we managed to chat on the phone for a good forty minutes. He’s Muslim and has a beautiful name. He was very enthusiastic about meeting and since he was busy that evening asked to meet at 4. ‘You’ll never run out of conversation with me,’ he says.
I was going to take him to Chilli’s, cheap and besht as my mother would say, only the man is a heavy smoker, so we went instead to Underdoggs, which, as I learnt from #2, has a smoking room. It is also rather affordable during Happy Hours, which makes me happy. When I pick him up (he’s on my way to the mall), he doesn’t look from the front like I’d expect him to. His face is squarer than I expected. He is, of course, smoking a cigarette, which he put out before he hops in. We say hi, and I mutter about traffic being so bad this early in the day. The usual round of questions and answers begin, and soon enough, despite the traffic, we’re parking in my corner of the parking lot and riding the lift up.
‘I only drink beer,’ he tells me when my Blue Lagoon arrives and I’m sighing about how well it has been made. When I ask why, he says that he loves it and always has. ‘Well that makes sense,’ I say, ‘lots of people don’t like hard liquor.’ But it turns out that beer is the only booze he’s ever drunk; he’s never tried anything else–not even that luscious blue drink up there. When I ask why, he just says he really likes beer. Being me, of course, I refused to accept that explanation and told him there was definitely a deeper reason, one he might not be willing to accept or admit. And then he says, ‘Well, actually, I don’t think of beer as alcohol, so you know…’ To which I, of course, responded with a ‘Hah, I knew it!’
Our conversation wandered all over the place, occasionally inspired by the newspaper articles plastered all over the smoking room, and also the CWG wrestling that was showing on the TV above his head. I made him giggle by voicing my theory about how they looked like they were indulging in some strange form of courtship if not coitus. He made me grin by nodding along as I spouted my Theories, and then we earnestly discussed how society trains men and women to be at cross purposes when dating.
At one point he told me that the Indian government is gypping people by inflating the price of petrol, and in reality if you do the math you’ll see how it should be cheaper. I laughed, but he was very serious, and so I told him that if he could send me the actual numbers I might believe him, but until such time, I was going to go with my own intuition about it, which was the opposite. It was at this point that he said, ‘The truth lies in the minority,’ in caricature of earnest activists, which made me laugh some more and I insisted on writing it down so I would remember it.
As 6 drew close, he asked me, ‘In a world where men and women are less constrained–‘ and I interrupted to ask him less than what, because I knew where this was going and I like to mess with people. ‘Just less,’ he said. ‘In a world where men and women are less constrained by this bad training, on whom would the onus fall to propose a second meeting?’ ‘Whoever wants it,’ I retorted with a smirk. He laughed, and five minutes later I told him that if he were to propose one, I would agree. And then we left.