Doubtfully Ever After
Image from Flickr
This weekend, I was out at a bar with some friends when I drunkenly stumbled into a guy who looked strangely familiar. As we began talking I knew I had never met him before, and yet…his face was not new. We began chatting and despite my hangover-in-the-making, we actually had a coherent conversation. We talked about his job in television, my struggle to find a job I actually like, and growing up in New York. It was casual but fun. However, despite the good vibes, he unabashedly peppered the conversation with a steadfast motto: “You’re not getting my number.”
I didn’t need him to explain — I knew that he had seen me openly flirting with at least four other guys in the bar before approaching him. And yet, I felt the need to question his persistent promise of rejection. He gave me the answer I’d anticipated, but I pressed on — “So what? Why not? Do you have a girlfriend?”
He answered without skipping a beat: “No, I don’t have a girlfriend.”
Even though I knew it was wrong for me to expect this guy to be content with being my sloppy seconds, I didn’t think it was fair. We’re both young and single — why not flirt? As the night came to an end I gave the number exchange one last shot, and was flat-out denied. I left the bar disappointed, with a resolve to be a little more cautious with my hair flips and suggestive innuendos.
The next day I woke up with a headache and a memory. This guy’s face was haunting me. Perhaps he had a brother I knew? Maybe we frequented the same bars? I just couldn’t place him.
Then suddenly, hours later, I had a flash. I logged into my Facebook and went to the profile of an old co-worker. There, in her profile picture, was the face I knew I’d seen before.
I hadn’t seen my co-worker in months, hadn’t even looked at her profile in months, and I’d never met her boyfriend before, but his face in her picture has somehow stuck in my mind. I scanned through her photos: the two of them at a bar. The two of them at a wedding. The two of them in Disney World. From my stalking…er… my research, it was clear they’d been together for a long time.
And yet, when I asked him if he had a girlfriend, he was so quick to tell me he was single. And his friends where quick to echo his response, even egging me on, “No he doesn’t have a girlfriend! Come on, bro!”
I know that he was probably just fooling around with his friends, and that he was ultimately doing the right thing by warning me upfront. So why the lie?
I can’t pretend to understand the dynamic of male friendships. Maybe he was just showing off for the guys, proving that he still had game, and a hot girlfriend waiting at home. Or maybe, despite the fact that they truly seemed like a content couple, he was nostalgic for his single life. Maybe, in spite of wedding dates and pictures with Mickey Mouse, he couldn’t help wondering if he should keep his options open. Whatever his intentions, I know he did the right thing, so I don’t plan on spreading the story. But I can’t help but wonder — even if your heart is solidly in the right place, is it impossible to stop your mind from tip-toeing elsewhere?