Friday, August 16, 2013
The Least Interesting Man In The World
Who you have not heard of is The Least Interesting Man In The World. Why? Because he's got nothing to say. He hasn't done anything. He hasn't gone anywhere. He doesn't know anyone. And yes, since you're wondering, I dated him.
I originally gave him the title of The Most Boring Man In The World but it really didn't suit him, because that would imply that he was the "most" anything. Trust me, he's not. He's not the smartest or the dumbest. He's not the meanest or the sweetest. He's not the ugliest or the cutest. He's not the richest or the poorest. He's not the tallest or the shortest. He's not the best anything or the worst anything. He's not the fastest anything or the slowest anything. He's not the coolest or the nerdiest (and I judge that contest on a daily frickin basis!) He just kind of is.
I don't know how to date that.
Al was waiting for me at Starbucks when I arrived at 9 pm. He had gotten there "a bit early" which actually meant 8:30. While I appreciate punctuality (ironic, because I am *always* late) a half hour still seems excessive for a coffee date. Also, he was waiting for me outside of the building. (Who waits outside???) It was drizzling and he ran over to my car with an umbrella so that I wouldn't get wet in the twenty feet between my door and the store. I know that I should think that's the sweetest gesture anyone could possibly make, but this was a first date. He waited outside in the rain for thirty minutes so that I wouldn't get slightly damp for ten seconds. I sensed mommy issues and the need to please.
Also, how did he know which car was mine? Creepy.
Al paid for my Venti non fat chai tea latte with a shot of hazelnut. He got a small green tea with no sugar. Either he was incredibly pessimistic about how this date would go from the start, or he didn't actually like Starbucks and was just thrilled to be out, so he agreed to meet wherever I wanted. (Turned out to be the latter.)
Starting a conversation with Al was strange. He didn't have a whole lot of life experience to speak from, nor many hobbies or interests, nor a torrid past relationship I could dissect. We began chatting online because he is a runner and I just started running. His profile picture is of him running --- not even in a race --- just around his neighborhood. I don't have any photos of me running because I don't have people following me around to take "candid" shots of me doing ordinary stuff. Don't think I haven't considered hiring an entourage though. The idea is very appealing.
We talked for some time about races and what running does for our bodies and minds. It was nice to connect with someone over my newfound joy, although there wasn't much joy to speak of on his part. Al spoke with a monotone voice almost the entire evening. His face lacked any particular expression of happy or sad. He had no hand gestures (I'm Italian - I use a lot of hand gestures!) Overall, Al seemed like the worker bee who is simply content to exist day in and day out, moving about his life with no purpose, no drive, just a deep seeded understanding that this is his routine. To quote my least favorite phrase ever, it is what it is.
I asked about his job. It is what it is. I asked about his apartment. It is what it is. I asked about his family, his education, his car. It is what it is. I asked about his friends. He has one. One singular friend in the world who happens to be getting married in a few weeks. Cue the need for a new girlfriend. See also: Red Flag!!!
While I do want to be best friends with the man I eventually end up with, I don't want to be his whole world! I cannot marry a man whose entire universe revolves around me. He needs hobbies, interests, a career path, friends! He's got to be able to go out and do his own thing so that I can go out and do mine. I need independence, not co-dependence. At the end of the day, I want to come home to someone where we both have things to talk about. I hate asking somebody "How was your day at work?" and all I get in return is "fine," or "good," or "same as always." That's not an answer! You don't have to be the most dramatic guy in New York to give me some insight into your life. Something! Anything! Please!
He's also not the most dramatic. Add that to the list.
Al had a gentleness about him that I felt I was being too harsh on. I knew that this was my first foray back into the dating world in quite some time after a string of disappointments and I didn't want to rush in, but I also didn't want to rush out. I agreed to a second date because I felt I wasn't giving him a fair chance. The running commentary in my head had taken over any sliver of hope this poor kid had of impressing me, even if he'd had something interesting to say. He deserved a real shot.
I know I'm snarky. I know I'm critical and judgmental and quick. I also know what I'm looking for and especially when I haven't found it. But after 101 dates, I have learned that I'm not always right, these things take time to develop, and nerves can get the best of even a normally great guy. Al walked me back to my car with his umbrella and hugged me good night. He might not have been the most handsome, or the most fun, or even the most interesting, but he was a gentleman and that's as good of a start as any.