The other day I was watching Cinderella with my 3 year old niece and while she got up to go and play I sat, completely mesmerized, until the movie was finished. I was a kid again, completely sucked in to Disney's version of the happy ending. I felt the roller coaster of emotions - the sadness when the wicked step-sisters ripped up her dress, the triumph when her Fairy Godmother created a new dress; dreaminess when she was dancing with Prince Charming; fear when her evil step-mother locked her in the room when it was time to try on her glass slipper and complete and utter relief when she broke free and had the other glass slipper and in the end, she got her man. Her Prince Charming took her away from dreary life and she was able to start anew. Fairy tales do this to us - they get in our heads, skew our notions of reality and make us believe that everything will wrap up nicely if we hum "someday my Prince will come" and have an army of sewing mice to help us...
As I was watching, I realized that the notion of Prince Charming was something that I have still held on to, all these years later. As an adult, I use different terms - my soul mate, a good man, the One. In my quest to find my Prince Charming (or, Peter Baca, either one), I realize I have to kiss a lot of frogs. I've written about some frogs in past blogs, but my most recent frog was a doozy.
My friend R. informed me that her cousin wanted to set me up with his brother, Roy*. I was pretty apprehensive about it, but I figured what the hell, why not? I gave the go ahead and she passed on my phone number. The first time he called, my immediate impression was "oh, yeah, we don't seem to have a lot to talk about." It seemed like he didn't really listen much to what I was saying, my humor seemed to be lost on him and he didn't give me the reallymetoos. For those of you who aren't in the know, the reallymetoos are a condition that one gets when one starts talking to a potential mate. Here's how to tell if you have the reallymetoos:
Potential Mate: I love traveling to the east coast.
Me: Really? Me too!
Potential Mate: I like the Pittsburgh Steelers
Me: Really? Me too!
Potential Mate: I love howling at the moon
Me: Really? Me too!
We develop the reallymetoos when we're trying to connect with people, trying to find that common ground and the reason to continue getting to know each other. The reallymetoos are a symptom of liking someone and make me feel like a 7th grade girl all over again. When I was talking to Roy, I didn't have that feeling but he seemed nice enough, so when he called the next day, I loosened up a little, stopped expecting him to carry on a conversation about the nuclear tension with North Korea and he actually made me laugh, which is a big plus in my book. Another plus is that he was pretty consistent with communication. As some of you remember, consistent communication is very important to me.
After a few phone conversations, we agreed to meet for a date. When the day arrived, I went through my standard ritual, and while I wasn't in an evening gown, I took some extra care in getting ready. I like to look nice when I go out, be it with friends or on a date. I wore jeans, a nice top, make-up, jewelry and high heeled boots. Here's the thing, I don't wear super high heels - maybe three inches, tops (these particular boots are 2 inches). Roy and I agreed on a restaurant to meet at, and when I arrived, Roy was waiting at the door.
Now, I'm not going to lie - I have a type. I tend to like tall (think: 6'0"), beefy men. I'm 5'4" and I like the feeling of standing next to a tall man. Being that I'm Chicana, I totally accept that when I date Chicanos, I am not always going to find that tall, beefy guy. I've dated plenty of men who are 5'8" or 5'9" and it's been fine. When I saw Roy, however, I was shocked. Before I could say a word, he said to me "a la! You're all tall!" Not "hello" or "hi" or "nice to meet you" but "a la, you're all tall." Remember, I'm 5'4", and I was wearing TWO INCH HEELS, placing me at 5'6". Roy measured at about 5'2" (and that's me being generous because it's the holidays). Remember I said I took some time picking out my outfit? He was wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt. IT'S DECEMBER.
Upon his "a la! You're all tall" comment, I simply smiled and we walked to our table. I realized very quickly this was going to be our one and only date. We didn't have anything to talk about; we had nothing in common and any conversation he did try and make was all the same conversation we had had on the phone. After re-answering five of the same questions, I grew a little testy and answered "yes, I write poetry, I told you that, remember?" He then asked me about work (again) and that gave me an opening to ask him a question.
"So, you're a mechanic. Do you have your own shop or do you work for one?"
"Well, I was at a shop for about fifteen years, but I quit." REDFLAG
"Oh? How come?" I asked
"My boss was a dick," he explained. Really, Roy? You work for someone for fifteen years and suddenly realize he's a dick? I figured he had been out of work for a short while - he is raising two small children on his own, so no way he'd be out of work that long, right?
Turns out, Roy has been out of work for over a year and lives with his brother, who takes care of all the bills and helps him with raising his kids. As of that night, he hadn't even attempted to find another job. I began to panic - what if he expected me to pay for the date? Just then, his phone rang and he answered (one of my pet peeves) and gave the caller directions to where we were at. I didn't ask who it was, but I was wondering who was joining us. Our food came and about fifteen minutes later, his phone rang again. He answered and said
"Hey... you're here? Okay, I'll be right out." and he walked out of the restaurant. I thought for sure I was being stiffed with the bill, but he came right back. This time, I had to ask.
"Where did you go?" I asked.
"Oh, I had to meet my ex's sister. I'm her connect."
"I'm sorry, her what?"
"Her connect, between her and my cousin. I get her stuff, you know... from my cousin, and I get the money for him." I was dumbfounded. Did he really just do what I think he did?
- He's short and greeted me with "a la, you're all tall!"
- We had nothing to talk about
- He's been unemployed for a year and thinks there is nothing wrong with sponging off his brother and the welfare system (oh, I didn't mention he's on welfare? Yes, he's on welfare)
- He not only answered the phone during our date but went out in the middle of our date and did a deal for his cousin (at least I figured out how he was paying for the date).
I could not make this shit up if I tried.
Needless to say, I didn't finish my dinner and got out as quickly as possible. He asked if I would like to hang out again and, because I don't know how to just be completely honest and say "hell no," I said "um, I'll let you know." I haven't called him and he hasn't called me either. I can't help but laugh about it because if I didn't laugh, I would probably cry. My friend R. apologized profusely - she wasn't aware of his unemployed connection status, but I had to ask - why would she set me up with someone so short? She didn't realize that a) he was SO short and b) she didn't think I would wear heels.
Okay, so he wasn't Prince Charming, and I knew that going in... but I learned that while yes, I'm pretty picky and judgmental (I like someone who can speak to the nuclear crisis in Korea and someone who retains information that I share), I don't have to settle for someone just because he likes me, nor do I have to overlook (hehe) things I don't like just because I'm lonely. I'd rather be alone than with someone who made me feel uncomfortable or even just down right disrespected.
Just to be clear, I didn't kiss this frog - something about having to stoop down just to kiss someone makes me shudder a little bit. I'm pretty sure Prince Charming is out there... or at least someone who is steadily employed - and isn't involved in illegal activity.
Next time: The Empire Strikes Back
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the loser-y