I really did know
The simple answer is “yes.” But the truth is that you can only have such fun conversations if the other person is on the same page as you. (Read: A little looooopy.)
Picture it: Halifax, Nova Scotia, sometime in the *mumbles* 90s.
It was a simpler time. We knew nothing of Y2K’s impending horrors or Jennifer Lopez.
I was at some kind of soiree at the Business Society House dealie with a few buddies and a crapload of other dudes. It was boring, moderately depressing, sausage-irrific and still daylight. I took a seat and wondered if all of my ex girlfriends had really been that evil. (Mostly, yes.)
Suddenly I heard what I assumed was just an effeminate dude ask, “Is this seat taken?”
I turned to say “Fill your boots” (as I’m nothing if not a colourful Cape Bretoner) when I saw her.
How can I describe her?
She looked like the offspring of Blair Waldorf and Sydney from “Melrose Place.”
She smiled at me. My eyes, I’m sure, betrayed my attempts at suaveness.
“Do you mind?” she asked.
“Since you are the only woman in this room of fifty dudes, I think I can put up with it.” I replied. (Not bad, right?)
And we were off.
I really wish that I could remember the entire conversation. It just flowed so well. Sparks flying like a motherfucker.
Five minutes in I got my first, “You’re cute.”
To which I, of course, replied, “I know.”
Ten minutes in, my friend jumped in the chair on the other side of me. He tapped my shoulder. When I turned, he gave me the “Who is that?” eyes.
I gave him the shrug and “Be fucked if I know” face.
He gave me the “You dog!” wink.
I gave him the “Really? ‘You dog!” Seriously?” stare.
He gave me the “We’re not doing that anymore?” face scratch?
I gave him the “Did we ever?” squint.
He gave me the “I need another drink” nod.
At that point, I felt a banging on my leg. She was actually slapping me on the knee.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Pay attention to me!” she smiled.
“Princess-y AND demanding, I love it,” I thought. (Now is not the time to discuss how crazy I am.)
So I paid attention to her.
She told me about her favourite book. I replied that, “My eating chicken fingers, playing pick-up basketball and flirting with gorgeous redheads at questionable parties doesn’t leave much time for reading.” She told me, “Your parents must be proud.”
I should mention that she was wearing a plaid skirt and white button-down shirt. (The official uniform of insane sexiness.)
At one point she said, “You didn’t mention my outfit.”
“I did not.”
“Most guys would have commented on the skirt.”
“I’m not most guys.”
“Clearly” she smiled.
“Besides, what if I am wearing mine the next time we meet?” I asked.
We liked the same music. We liked the same movies.
I just knew this was not a love connection happening. I knew that either 1) she was completely out of her fucking mind (not a deal breaker) and/or 2) she had a boyfriend (a complete breaker – even then.)
The universe didn’t like me enough to send me a girl like this to date.
It still doesn’t.
At some point a little while later, it was decide that she and her two male friends and me and my friends would all head down to The Dome. (This is where your mention comes in, Ben!)
So we did.
The Dome, for the 99.9% of you that aren’t from Nova Scotia, is a collection of crappy bars that are all interconnected in downtown Halifax. (The appeal is clearly quantity, not quality.)
It was pretty packed that night. As soon as we got there, she grabbed my arm (a love connection would have involved grabbing my hand) and took me out to the dance floor. Not my favourite place to be, but she was hard to say “no” to. She found all of her female friends dancing in a group in the middle of the floor and introduced me to each of them. Between the loud music, and my general disinterest, I didn’t catch a single name. (What? I was 21.)
The night continued. We danced a lot. We had more fun conversations. And then her cadre of wet blanket friends started pulling her off to the edge of the dance floor. A male name kept coming up.
So, she finally took me aside. She told me about her boyfriend.
“But, if I didn’t have a boyfriend…”
“I’d already be calling you a cab?”
She hit me on the arm.
Her friends grabbed her, as they were all going to the washroom together. She yelled, “Stay right there” as they rounded the corner.
I, of course, found my friends and left.
Two minutes later, my buddies and I were standing on Pizza Corner, enjoying some King of Donair goodness. And then we had one of those soul-bearing conversations that you ladies have always wished that we’d have…
“Pete, what happened to the tete rouge?”
My least favourite part about this story is that, if it was fiction, I could put a fun ending on it. Because, even then, long before blogging, and at a time when the only writing I was doing was jotting things like “What up, fucker?” on white boards on dorm doors, I knew it was a fun tale.
I knew that it was a special meeting. I knew that it was a rare thing to find a conversation partner like that. I knew that I’d remember it, and her, for years.
But mostly I knew that King of Donair made the best pepperoni pizza in the city.