It is undisputed that at this point in my life I despise dating and anything that leads to it... which makes last night's adventure truly a study in sadomasochism.
I stopped in one of my after work joints for a glass of wine or two and a bit of a read. I joked with my bartending friends. Checked my email. It was supposed to be a low-key evening.
And I was going to catch an early train home.
By myself, thank you very much.
Then he showed up.
Mr. X is smooth, a professional (professional what I still am not sure), a snappy dresser who schmoozes the serving staff and chats up a bunch of lawyers and politicos who hang at the bar. They joke, banter, opine, pontificate, argue -- typical guy posturing.
When Mr. X speaks to ladies, however, he ratchets up the "urbane" and pours on the charm. Think Samuel L. Jackson or Billy Dee Williams.
What he doesn't do with the ladies, though, is to ask them out. Somehow that whole process bumfuzzles the hell out of him and, if I dislike the process, he is totally, gutlessly unhinged by it (normally, anyway).
How do I know this (and why did I add that qualifier)?
Well, I've had my ear bent by him a time or two or three or four about a lady in whom he was interested, but he couldn't seem to bring himself to pull the trigger on asking her out. Suave old Mr. X has tossed out every excuse in the book why it was impossible to do so, most of which had to do with the fact that he was being a big old weenie. (A big old weenie in a bespoke suit, a jazzy necktie, a pinkie ring and Cole Haan shoes, mind you -- but a big old weenie, indeed.)
The guy who effortlessly swims with the sharks turns into a puddle of mush when it comes to the fairer sex.
Even sadder, the woman had made it obvious to servers and other patrons that she very much wanted Mr. X to ask her.
More then once I've bluntly told him to quit dicking around (yes, those words) and ask the poor woman out -- but to have a plan and a date in mind before he even opened his mouth.
"Oh, no! I couldn't do that," he whined.
"Well, she might say no."
"Well, she might say yes, too."
Honestly, I don't know which answer would have scared him more.
Anyway, lather, rinse and repeat that conversation on at least four occasions. Ugh.
He's a nice guy, but lacks a backbone. I have a hard time respecting that.
Which brings me to last night.
There I am, drinking my wine and buried nose-deep in my book. Mr. X waits until all his usual coterie of companions have headed out the door, and he comes to visit me.
"I really need to talk to you."
"Fine, let's talk."
"Not here. Too many people getting all in my business, you know. Do you want to go to the Redhead?"
"No. I want to go home. I'm tired."
"But I really, really, really need to talk to you. Are you sure you won't go to the Redhead with me?"
Sirens were going off in my head and I was feeling pretty cranky, but he was also pressing all my guilt buttons. I know -- I was absolutely out of my mind.
So I'm already tired and out-of-sorts, and then he drops the next little bomb:
"By the way, could I borrow a little cash from you? I can pay you back on Friday"
This guy makes more money in a week than I make all month and he wants to borrow money from me??? Not cool, sports fans. Not cool.
"Um, how much do you have in mind?"
"I'm thinking maybe $100?"
I'm thinking you're pretty presumptuous, pal.
"How about $40?"
"$50 and no more."
Okay. I don't really want to go out. I want to go home. Now I'm not only going out, but I'm also funding the trip. Argh!
*Part II to follow*