My parents were visiting for about a month but that didn’t mean I could take a complete hiatus from dating (now it really sounds like work!). I just made sure I met the guys in between their other travels or in the second case, the evening of their departure.
The first chap was very nice in a wholesome American apple pie kind of way. An only child from Midwestern Americana, he combined his father’s scientific genius with his mother’s artistic talents. But we were interested in one another on other levels, too and when he brought me chocolate from his recent business trip in Europe, I had to say, “Aww.” So we ate at a Spanish tapas place and he paid (and no, he still hasn’t asked for my portion of the bill). We walked around the charming neighborhood, browsed the Apple store and then had gelatos (“a girl after my own heart,” he remarked after I agreed to that one). On the way to the Metro, we sat on a bench and continued to talk for quite a while before a slight drizzle interrupted us. “It’s one of those things we’ll end up remembering for a while,” he said as we ran towards cover. He even waited for my train to come – even as he missed his own – so we could spend more time together. We promised to keep in touch and texted our thank you messages within the hour. Sounds pretty romantic, doesn’t it? Well, that’s all it was, folks. It was a really nice treat and after that not another peep or squeak from the guy. Do I have time to sit and hold my breath – ermm, I don’t think so. Who’s next?
I was running about 10 minutes late for this one. But he was easy to find in the near-empty Starbucks, skulking behind his Aviators. It turns out he used to be in the Indian Armed Forces, so wearing those sunglasses were absolutely mandatory inside a dark coffee shop. After preliminary introductions, he laid down The No. 1 Army Rule for me i.e. always be on time. Aye, aye, sir. Then he proceeded to inform me that he had flown a plane, jumped out of a plane, scuba dived, parasailed and god-knows-what-else. In other words, he really wanted to make it clear he was really, really cool. Honestly, I would have been impressed if this was an Army dude who had fought in the foothills of the Siachen glacier or had flown a MIG-29. Turns out he had done neither – he was an engineer who was posted in random places before he quit to go to B-school – and I know I’m supposed to say they all make sacrifices, no matter what kind of work they do. He was nice, gracious and seemed to have an edgy sense of humor. He certainly took my barbs well. But, but, but. I could recognize that cloud of desperation hanging over him (been there, done that)… as if he needed someone to fill that void, it could be anybody. There is also the little fact of the matter that as he walked me home, he decided to cop a feel by saying, “Hey! Let me show you a cool self-defense tactic in case someone grabs your arm,” while grabbing my arm. Then proceeds to do some Heimlich Maneuver for the arm. Needless to say, that did not impress me the least bit. Can I go to Court Martial for that?