He was tall. He had a fantastic smile. And when he lifted his beer bottle to his mouth, his t-shirt sleeve rose up and we could see a glimpse of the tatoo that circled his upper arm.
This guy was HOT.
“You ladies haven’t even filled out your ‘Ice Breakers,’” he said, as he sidled up to us. “Let’s see if I can’t help you out with that.” And he grabbed the cards and started filling in the answers.
I looked at Marlie and she raised her eyebrows at me.
“Here you go,” he said, as he gave them back. “Now you’re caught up.”
“Thanks,” I said. “So what’s your name?”
“It’s Sam,” he said. He had a smirk on his face.
I squinted at him. “Is it really? Because it seems like you’re lying.”
“You’re right,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye. “It’s actually Mike.”
“What the -?” asked Marlie.
“Why would you lie about your name?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” He shrugged and took a sip of his beer. “It’s fun?”
Despite this ridiculous introduction, we stayed and talked with him for quite some time. He actually was very charming and funny. Into my third beer, I found myself becoming coy and flirty. He seemed responsive.
Later, for some reason, the conversation moved to age. He told us he was 28 and then proceeded to try to guess our ages. This is a game I usually like to play because people always guess too low.
“Hmm, you I think are about 35?” he said, pointing at me.
I smiled demurely and my ego started to sing.
“But you,” he said, as he leaned in towards Marlie. “You must be about 26. Am I right?”
My ego’s song strangled in her throat.
“I think I’m going to go walk around a bit,” I muttered.
As I pushed my way through the crowd, I shook my head and thought to myself: Really? He thought I was nine years older than Marlie? I mean, don’t get me wrong. Marlie is gorgeous and spends her time taking care of herself and working out and eating well and I spend my time, well…doing other things. But nine years older? Geesh.
I suddenly felt very, very tired. It was late now and it was a Wednesday. I wanted to go home.
My feelings about this were intensified when I went to the restroom and a very drunk girl in an ill-fitted spandex dress tottered in and announced, “I want my money back! All the guys here are ugly and then when you ask them how big their dick is, they won’t even answer!”
Her equally wasted group of friends crowed with laughter and one shouted out, “You know that means it’s small!”
Things were clearly starting to degenerate.
Thankfully when I returned to Sam/Mike and Marlie, she was ready to go too. We said our goodbyes and exited the bar.
When we were about halfway down the block, he came running after us and pulled her aside. I watched as they programmed their numbers into each other’s phones.
And my heart sank.
I wasn’t so sure why I was so upset about this. I mean, why did I care? He was too young. He’d introduced himself with a fake name because he thought it was ‘funny.’ He thought I was nine years older than Marlie.
But as I arrived home and found myself feeling even more dejected, I realized it upset me because it’s never me. I am never the one who guys approach or ask for my number when I am out. I am never the chosen one. It just doesn’t happen.
I went to bed that night pretty depressed.
“How was the Fireman event?” asked my friend McKenzie the next morning at work.
“Oh, I was the ‘Ugly Friend’ again,” I said with a stilted laugh.
“What do you mean?” she asked. I told her the story.
“Oh, that sucks. I’m sorry.”
“Yeah,” I breathed. “It does. But you know what I’m most worried about? Is how to write about it. I don’t want to make Marlie feel bad. And if I say I was hurt that he chose her over me, it will make her feel bad. I don’t know what to do.”
“That’s a tough call,” McKenzie said, nodding.
As the days went by, I found myself becoming increasingly agitated. What if I published what happened and Marlie thought I was blaming her or something? Would it embarrass her? Or make her feel guilty? These thoughts went round and round in my head. I considered asking Thalia her opinion as she is always a wise counsel, but then I decided the grown-up thing to do would be to just call Marlie and talk to her about it.
I actually felt a little sick as I pulled up her number. This was not a conversation I wanted to have. I knew my feelings were childish and I knew they were irrational. It was embarrassing to have to admit I felt this way.
Marlie listened as I explained that I’d felt envious and that the whole thing had made me feel bad about myself. And that it had made me feel that I would never be the chosen one and that I would always be the Ugly Friend. And that I didn’t want to write about all that if it was going to make her feel upset or that I was pointing the finger at her in any way.
Like I’ve mentioned, one of the many unexpected benefits I’ve gained from working on this project, is that because it’s forced me to be honest, it’s strengthened the relationships I have in my life.
This was one of those times.
This is what she said: “Tracey, you can write whatever you want about me. We are good friends outside of the blog, in real life, and nothing you write is ever going to change that. It’s sweet of you to ask, but you really don’t have to. I understand what you have to do and I support it 100%.”
“Okay, thank you,” I said, relieved.
She continued. “And as far as the overall situation goes, I mean yeah, it’s flattering and maybe if it was reversed, I would feel the same way as you but the honest truth is that nothing’s going to happen with this guy. It’s not like he’s the kind of guy I could have a relationship with. Even if I see him again, it’s not going to change my life. It’s just a way to pass the time.”
“Hmm,” I said.
After we hung up, I thought this over. Marlie was right – this guy was not a real contender. For a variety of reasons. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was actually a blessing that he didn’t choose me. As we’ve seen, I do not do casual very well. I get hung up on people way too easily and then find myself wasting time and fretting over something that never should had started in the first place.
So perhaps the reason I’m never the one who gets chosen, is that the right person hasn’t arrived yet who is worthy of choosing me.
Yeah, that’s probably it.
At least, that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.
Thank you again, Marlie. Can’t wait for our next event 🙂