I spent a recent evening at dinner w/ an amazing guy friend whom shall be called Greg and another girl, Nicole, a friend of ,my bestie, Ariel. Ariel was supposed to be meeting us, but called after we’d all arrived at the restaurant to say she wouldn’t make it.
The food was great. But the chemistry between Greg and Nicole (both single) was far more interesting than the Pan Asian fusion on our plates. After a bit of unexplained akwardness which I assumed was because Nicole didn’t know either me or Greg, I realize they’ve been friends for a bit. As the evening wore on and Nicole opened up, their banter and cheesy smiles and a million shared interests hinted that maybe there had been more between them at some point. And if not, there should be more than friendship between them in the future.
Greg excuses himself from the table to take a call and leaves me to chat with Nicole, who I’ve only met in passing several times before. In short, she is single, attractive, and childless w/ a warm heart and a smile that lights up any room. She has common sense, is well read, intelligent, and articulate. Her hobbies include cooking (favorite) and decorating and she is a self-described neat freak. Oh, and she’s a journalist for the newspaper, has a side hustle too and believes in traditional relationship roles, ie let a man be a man, whatever the hell that means.
As far as I can tell, there is nothing wrong with this woman. She’s great, so great that if I were a man, I would date her.
I ask her, ”may I speak freely?” and she agees that I may. So I just say flat out: ”what’s the deal with you and Greg? You guys have great chemistry and you’d be totally cute together.”
”Greg?” I can’t read her reaction. She’s not surprised, excited, or happy, but she’s not shocked, appalled, or mad either. She’s just blank.. and says nothing for an awkward ten seconds, which could have gone longer had Greg not returned to the table.
Ever the gentleman, he apologizes for his absence and offers to buy a round of post-dinner coffee or tea, which I accept and Nicole declines. He and I babble about nothing and Nicole, apparently back in her shell, has gone mute beyond uttering ”yeah, uh huh” and ”hmm.”
As soon as the check comes, Nicole throws down way too much cash, and says she has to go. She gives weak goodbyes, double air kisses to us and practically sprints out the restaurant as we try to tell her to take back $20.
”What the fuck was that?” Greg asks after the door slams back in Nicole’s haste to escape.
”I think I fucked up,” I say.
He quirks one eyebrow really high. I am so jealous that he can do that. ”What’d you say, Cam?”
”I asked her why she never tried to date you casue I thought you two would be an amazing couple and there’s a lot of chemistry between you and you’d be so cute together and- and -and- and she just shut down as soon as I said it and I asked her if I could speak freely before I aksed. I did. I didn’t mean to offend her or anything. And she’s a good woman. I mean really good. She’d be so good for you.”
He sighs and gives me a stern look. ”You shouldn’t have asked that.”
”Well yeah. I know that now.”
Another big sigh. ”We used to hang out a lot. I thought about it but there was no… What do you call it all the time? va va va voom?”
I nod. ”Just cause she didn’t like you then doesn’t mean she wouldn’t like you now.”
”I didn’t like her.”
Huh? ”What?! She’s amazing.” This is fact, not opinion.
”So what’s the problem?”
”She didn’t do it for me.”
”A good woman didn’t do it for you?”
”I’m not attracted to her… I mean physically. I mean I wasn’t then, but I am now.”
I look at him like the stupid he is. ”Did you tell that good woman you weren’t attracted to her?”
He nods. ”Yes,” he sort of squeaks out.
”And you like her now, don’t you?”
”Yes.” Another pitiful squeak.
I shake my head and just stare at him. ”I love you dearly, but you are an idiot.”
”Oh, you have no idea.”
I try–and fail– to do the eyebrow thingy.
”Last month, I told her that I was feeling her now.”
”And if she’s the woman I think she is she told you to go fuck yourself.”
”In so many words. She asked ‘why now?’ first. And I told her.”
”You told her what exactly?”
”That I was attracted to her, that she’s an amazing woman. She said it was too late. She’s over me.”
”You fucked up.”
Long pause. ”I know. Trust me, I know.”
“Now oddly enough, the present finally made sense.”