Second Date with the Editor
The Sunday of a three day weekend is always a huge party day.
I decided that I wanted to go to my new favorite hipster bar/music venue with the Editor. It felt like the right move and it’s a place I’ve started going weekly, that was, conveniently just a few blocks from his house.
After spending the night together on Thursday, I wanted to spend the night with the Editor again. Seared into my brain already was the memory of that kiss, the feeling of my head on his chest, and an image of him climbing out of bed with is body in silhouette. In short, I really wanted to spend the night making out with this man and awake again in his arms. I am typically terrible sleeping with someone new, but, despite the distraction of the attraction, I slept, happily, with him.
When we had spoken briefly on the phone on Saturday afternoon, I’d pitched it and he was in, but we’d firm up details later. I believed him. He has stuck by every plan we have made, while I’ve often bailed at the last minute.
Sunday, I had some early plans. C was hosting a party at a bar she represents and it’s the last weekend of summer. I was keenly aware of the specter of the Bon Vivant as I was in places he often goes and I no longer do.
I never saw him, but I would have been okay if I had.
Instead, I hung out with JerkFace, his girl, another friend of theirs as we party and bar hopped through the afternoon.
We ended up in a place where I didn’t have signal, which made me glitchy and aggravated as we lingered there. I wandered to the new entertainment district blocks away, passing through bars where the Bon Vivant could be, then hung there for a long time. Around 930, I finally heard from the Editor, a sort of strange, noncommittal message and no response to my text. I was as close to his neighborhood and that club I’d recommended as I was likely to get.
I headed back east, directly to the Chic Hotel Bar to say hello to some friends before heading back to meet the Software Developer, his new girlfriend, who I adore, then we wandered back to a chic craft cocktail bar with a group of now 10 people where I had a drink or two. Finally, finally, the Editor and I figured out a time and a plan to meet. I told him: “I want to see music with a handsome man. Make that happen?”
He picked me up a block from where I was to avoid construction road closings. I hugged him. He was a little subdued. He was subdued for the Editor, which is sort of like going from reserved to somnolent.
I had been drinking. He had not. I tried to keep it all in check, but I was ebullient — as usual — and he was reserved — as usual.
We get to this secretish jazz club and art gallery to which he’s been trying to bring me for weeks. It’s very him. It is so lowkey it is barely there. Perhaps 20 people are in the audience, scattered around on sofas and high top tables. There is a trio performing.
The editor orders a drink (I have declined) and he continues to explain what the hell happened and why he was essentially two hours late.
He has often described himself as the third wheel in a marriage of his two best friends. They travel together frequently, they have been friends forever, and many of the early information-based emails he sent were also cc’d to them, or at least to the wife: wine shops, astronomy, whatever.
So, on Friday, the Editor’s best female friend decides in couples counseling that she and her husband are separating and she will be moving things into the Editor’s tiny bachelor pad, at his invitation. On Sunday, as she is doing so, she confesses her feelings for the Editor.
He is thrown by this information. I could be exceptionally judgmental about this, but I too am often blind to other’s interest, no matter how obvious it is to everyone else.
But, OF COURSE, she has a crush on him. He’s gorgeous, amazing, and clueless.
He’s sort of like the star of every romantic comedy, the type of man a woman sees and realizes, oh my God, he’s the best guy. In life, unlike in romantic comedy, the woman should stop and wonder “why is someone that amazing single?” or “what is it within him that allows him to be clueless.”
Because the Editor and I have been talking for months, I am hip to his quirkiness and I know exactly why he is single.
Many women, if my friends and standard romantic comedies are any example, believe that they are the sole ingredient taking our romcom protagonist from single to attached.
Why this woman chose to ignore the fact that telling him would freak him out, rather than draw him near. They’ve been friends for years. How could she not have known how he would react?! How could she forget that he’s single for a reason, and that reason is NOT her.
So, to set the scene again, I am sitting in an art gallery, listening to a jazz trio, with this gorgeous man, who is deeply troubled by the fact that his best female friend has feelings for him and has left her husband and is likely living in his house: “but just for September.”
I hold on to his forearm. I am providing physical comfort to him, whether he likes it or not. And I tell him, I am so very sorry.
And I think, as I sit with my legs tucked under me on a modern armed chair, we are so done. It’s not that we want to be. But, I am flashing forward to what the next three months will be. She’ll be emotionally needy. She will be using proximity as seduction. She will likely succeed, at least in part.
This is a game in which I have no interest.
I have a deep and unabiding sadness about this whole thing. It is just our second date, after all, but the process has been long. We’ve been speaking on and off for months and we have an interesting and intimate confort already.
I really like him and, long before our first date, it sort of felt that I was already seeing him.
So, yeah, it’s early, but this sadness that is shifting his life will affect him and affect us.
And, as we sit there, and I smile at him, I think, damn, this sucks.
It all feels like an ending, and I am listening as the story tumbles from his lips, but I am watching him because his words do not mean much. He is unaware of just how much is now different and seemingly unaware that we are done.
He told her, during this conversation, which happened . . . at his house . . . and is why he was so very late . . . that he was seeing me tonight. Which he said she encouraged him to do. And, of course, she left his place in tears.
So, as he sits next to me, he is texting her to make sure she’s okay. She never responds.
This is more of a game I refuse to play.
I am not getting into the middle of this bullshit.
There is no way I can win.
He has said, I am sorry, but I am worried, and I assure him it’s fine.
Because it is.
Because I am already done.
I am already in friend mode. I am already done.
After the show, we relocate to a sofa, and then head out as it’s 2 am.
He said to me at one point early, do you want me to drive you home or take a cab. He’d had two drinks and he rarely drinks. I got a little attitude, but said fine, then he reconsidered, and I still decided I was taking a cab and we both dug our heels in being stupid. I kept telling him I’d cab, and he kept saying he’d drive. It made me a bit unsettled, on an evening when I was already annoyed and unsettled.
As we’re walking back to his car, he sees a friend who’d been at the famous club downstairs. They sit and talk and smoke weed and it’s a weird thing. Like I am a part of a different part of his life. It is clearly a date and the friend treats me as such. I am an attractive date, which he also treats me as. It’s sort of funny to gauge people’s reactions. Like, right, you two should be together. You make sense. And we do. I guess.
We are comfortable, though it’s clear we don’t know each other well.
He drives me home, a little worse for the wear, and I kiss him in the car. He’s a little reserved and says something like, next time, he hopes he won’t be so shy.
He also adds that next time, he wants to come upstairs.