Hook, Line, and Sinker

You'd be surprised by all the little things I have yet to experience in my 30-some years of living. Up until recently, for example, I had never given my number out to a stranger that I'd met at a bar or club. This changed on October 1, 2004.

For the record, when I'm out at a club, my primary purpose is to dance. It has never been my objective to troll for men at the clubs. My experience (albeit limited) tells me that when you cast your line at a club or bar, you are probably going to reel in a bottom-feeder, a catfish. I prefer sushi-grade salmon or tuna. I'm open-minded enough to even try the octopus or calamari. Call me a picky-eater if you'd like, but please, no catfish.

This particular evening, I found myself at one of the biggest fish markets in town. It's a Latin club, whose promoter hires only pretty women to collect cover charges and instructs them to flirt with male patrons. The club oozes with sexuality. Beautiful, college-age patrons drink, pose, and go to hook-up with likeminded catfish.

It had been a miserable night for a host of reasons. I was feeling down and alone. But towards the end of the evening, I struck up a conversation with a nice-looking man. He asked for my number and, as was always the case, I hesitated.

"Wait a minute," I thought to myself. "You want to experience life a little, don't you? What's the harm in giving him your number?"

I offered him my mobile number, which he promptly programmed into his cell phone. Four days passed and then the phone rang. I let it go to voice mail.

"This is Niko. I hope you remember me. You made such a nice impression on me. I am calling to see if you might like to get together for drinks or dinner one night. I hope to hear from you."

I listened to the message again. He sounded sweet. I was touched by the humble tone of his voice. Now came the moment of decision. Did I dare call him back and arrange a meeting?

"Oh, just do it," said my inner voice. "You're not really interested in meeting anyone right now anyway. Just go for the experience of it all. At worst, you have one bad hour. At best you make a nice connection or get a free drink."

Decision made. I waited about 15 minutes and called him back. We agreed to meet the following week for a drink at a local restaurant. I had low expectations, but I felt I needed to go through with this. I wanted to experience someone new. All the men I'd met the past year were bottom-feeders, caught in the murkiest, man-made lake. My opinion of men had sunk to the deepest, unexplored oceanic depths. This meeting was also important to me because I wanted to experience something normal. Boy meets girl. Boy asks girl out. Then, boy and girl decide if the want to go out again. Normal.

So, I met Niko for what was supposed to be drinks only. Conversation flowed and 'drinks only' turned into dinner. Ironically, Niko ordered sushi while I had steak. He was more than I had ever imagined he would be-- athletic, well-educated, refined, and European. Niko wasn't just sushi-grade tuna he was el pez especial de la casa.

I excused myself for a few minutes at one point during the evening. When I returned, Niko was chuckling.

"While you were gone, the waitresses asked me how our first date was going," he offered by way on an explanation.
"Well," I asked coyly and with a shy smile, "what was your answer?"
"I told her the date was going very well," Niko said smiling back.

"Wow", I thought to myself. "He thinks we are on a date." Niko had leapt to a higher status in my eyes because hadn’t been afraid to use the word 'date' in describing our evening. Up until that moment, even I wouldn't have described the meeting as a 'date.' Suddenly, I was on a date with a charming, sushi-eating European.

The evening came to a close. Niko mentioned that he would soon like to take me to a friend's house that had been recently restored. He then said that on our next date he would like to introduce me to his favorite, fine European wine. First, however, he needed to travel to New York for business, then Boston for a wedding. He would call me the Monday he returned.

I was flying high. All men weren't bottom-feeding catfish. With my first cast, I landed such a prize! As the week progressed, my mood stayed elevated. I couldn't wait to talk to my newfound friend the following Monday.

Monday came and went. I was a little disturbed that he didn't call when he said he would. But I wasn't worried. There was always Tuesday.

Tuesday came and went. Then Wednesday and Thursday passed without a call. I kept my cell phone turned on and by my side the entire week, and quite sadly, the week after that.

Two weeks later, I finally deleted Niko's number along with his special ring from my cell phone. I feared that one evening after one too many glasses of wine, I'd pick up the phone and call him. The need to know exactly what went wrong was just too great a temptation. Why didn't he call me again? Had I misread that first date? Why would he make plans and say he'd call, just to break them? The truth was, I'd never know.

Only one thing was certain, my first normal experience turned out to be a little too normal. It was the classic case of 'Boy doesn't call girl back.'In other words, I'd cast my line and landed a catfish. In this case, however, the catfish threw me back.

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1 comment:

Liza S. said...

I think I'm going to read through your entire archive of years of blogging. Your writing style is far too interesting to pass up.