I get asked out all the time – at least once a week. Ladies, I’m told the secret to my unintentional success is that I am both pretty and approachable.
I say “unintentional success” because I generally try to look as unapproachable as possible. Like Ron Swanson, I call my coworkers my “work proximity associates”. I occasionally intentionally call people the wrong name if they start to get too chummy with me. As I type this, I am wearing a shirt that says, “I didn’t choose the grumpy life. The grumpy life chose me.”
I’m not sure how my perpetual scowl and look of disdain are mistaken for being welcoming. Maybe that’s why none of my dates work out. I only attract utterly imperceptive men who think that my grimace secretly means “take me, I’m yours!”
In any case, historically, I’ve been asked on dates by complete strangers at the most random of places, among them the yogurt aisle in the grocery store, the gas station and the sci-fi section of a Barnes and Noble. Now I can add to the list: an elevator.
The first week of the year, fresh from my commitment not to date for a while, I was invited to a party at a friend’s apartment. I’d never been to this particular apartment before, so only when I showed up did I realize that it is a veritable fortress.
There were multiple towers – Tower A and Tower B (“The Two Towers,” I thought to myself… See why I got asked out in an aisle of sci-fi books?!) – and a huge lobby with multiple elevator banks protected by armed security guards. I’ve learned over the years that no one questions you if you look confident, so I strutted past the security guards like I lived in the place, and I made it to the first set of elevators.
A cluster of residents was exiting an elevator just as I arrived, so I snuck in before the door closed. Sighing in relief at how easy that had been, I pushed the button for floor 7. But nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing. So I tried pushing floors 6 and 8. Still nothing.
Eventually the doors opened back up to the lobby, and, puzzled, I got out. Just then, I spotted one of my girl friends across the lobby on the other side of the security guard’s post. I waved her over, but she’s not as bold as I am. She shyly shook her head, so I went to her where she stood in the safety of the public area of the fortress.
As I started to explain to her my difficulty getting to the 7th floor (the hostess also wasn’t answering her phone), I spotted an attractive young man returning to the lobby from walking his dog outside. Assuming he was probably a resident, I said loudly enough for him to hear, “Well he looks like a nice guy. I bet he’ll help us.”
My friend looked horrified at my widely-heard proclamation, but it did the trick. The young man turned to look over his shoulder at me, and I smiled winningly as I strode forward.
“Hi!” I lowered my voice so the nearby security guard wouldn’t be able to hear. In my experience, security types like this tend to either have big egos or inferiority complexes. In either case, they are more trouble than help. “My friend and I are trying to get to the 7th floor for a party, but we’re having trouble with the security system in the elevator.” I batted my eyelashes for good measure. “Do you live here?”
I saw the dog owner looking down at my left hand. I followed his gaze down to the six-pack of beer I’d forgotten I was holding. “Do you want one? I’ll owe you a beer if you can help us out.”
“What? Oh.. uh, yeah. I’m… uh, I’m on the 8th floor.” Clearing his throat, the young man straightened his shoulders and explained importantly, “You have to have a key card to operate the elevators. Come with me!”
Thanking him profusely, I winked at my friend to follow. We waltzed past the security guards and got onto the elevator. Sure enough, our guide slid a badge in front of a card reader, and he was able to push both 7 and 8 for us. “I’m Trevor, by the way,” he told me, reaching out to shake my hand.
Like the frog from Harry Potter? I thought. Then I inwardly rebuked myself for that being my first reaction to his introduction. “Nice to meet you, Trevor. I’m Aurora. Which beer would you like?” I extended the sampler pack to him so he could choose one. Shiner. Good choice.
We were almost to the 7th floor when Trevor handed his phone to me. “Let me get your number,” he said as I took the phone from his hand. “After all, I owe you for this beer.”
Ugh. I wasn’t supposed to be dating, but I didn’t want to reject him in front of the other people in the elevator. I typed in my number and figured I could explain myself later.
Within an hour, I already had a text message from Trevor: “So at 100% interest a day, we need to get drinks real soon. I might not have went to Harvard, but I know all about compound interest.”
I thought his compound interest comment was charming (yes, I’m a nerd), but I was confused about his random reference to Harvard until I glanced down and realized I was wearing my ex-fiance’s sweatshirt. Classic.
I figured we could go for one round of drinks, I’d explain that I’m not dating, we would end up going dutch, and that would be that. So I asked when he was free. His response? “I’m always free. This is America.” And with that comment… my brothers would love him.
We went to a wine dive a few days later. Typically, my first date mindset is: Ask all the hard questions – premarital sex, politics, family dynamics, religion. If he has potential, he’ll stand up under it and give all the answers I hope for. If he’s weak sauce, I use the Socratic method to challenge his thinking and make a positive difference in his character before exiting his life forever. Of course, now that I’m not dating, there is no former option; just the latter, which – while satisfying – is significantly less exciting.
Trevor ended up identifying as a Christian who never reads his bible and has yet to find a home church in this city where he’s lived for the past three years. (Disclaimer: Going to church and reading your bible are not necessary to go to heaven. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, not by being a “good person”. But reading the bible and being involved in a church are evidences of someone who takes their faith seriously and is actually living it out. Disclaimer over.)
As predicted, I gave my “I’m not dating” speech, Trevor agreed to split the check, and I haven’t heard from him since. I guess that’s one less frog I have to kiss before I find my prince. This whole “fasting from dating” thing is a breeze.