“A Quick Cup of Coffee”
It was during the Great Dating Dry Spell of 1998. I had lost some weight, and other than the trainer at the gym who was twice my age and half my height, I was unable to meet anyone who wasn’t already married.
I decided to try the Phone Dating Line. No, it was not an 800 number; it was for so-called professional career folk like me, looking to meet someone nice.
After leaving a description of myself and what I was looking for in a date, I received a few messages. I stumbled upon one that sounded interesting. I called his number and we chatted a few times on the phone. We seemed to have a few things in common, we were both computer programmers, liked coffee, and (supposedly) had trouble meeting someone date-worthy.
We decided to meet at a Coffee Shop for a quick hello and a cup of java. He told me he was 6’ 1”, had brown hair and a leather jacket. Sounds like a plan. (Now keep in mind, I am really not that shallow, but I wanted to be able to recognize the guy in a crowd.)
We met at the arranged time and place. I looked around to find someone matching his description. What I found was a balding man, with the proverbial bad comb-over. He was about 5’ 9” on tippy toes. His brown jacket was of questionable material. (pleather?) I asked if he was “Ed” and he said yes, and as he did I discovered a huge hickey on his neck. I looked down and saw the corresponding bar stamp on his hand. I inhaled quickly, and exhaled with force.
“Well, shall we have some coffee?” he asked.
I nodded my head, unable to form any words. I followed him inside.
“I’ll just have a medium coffee, cream, no sugar,” I heard myself say.
I honestly don’t remember what he ordered.
We found a table and he took off his pleather jacket and put it around the back of his chair. I tossed my purse on the chair next to me. This was going to be a quick cup of coffee.
We both tried to be polite and adult but it was obvious this was not a love connection. Finally he said, “I have to leave.”
I said, “Yes, I do too.”
“No, I really have to go.”
“Well, so do I,” I countered.
We headed out the door and each toward our own cars. There was no “I’ll call you,” just a painless, “goodbye.”
I jumped in my car, free at last.
I headed towards home, but I suddenly realized I had forgotten my pocketbook. Oh no, I left it back at the Coffee Shop. I turned the car around and headed back.
I walked into the Coffee Shop and was relieved so see my pocketbook sitting on the chair were I had left it. I grabbed it and headed towards the door. The people at the next table yelled, “Hey, wait a minute, your friend left his jacket.”
I thought about that for a second. If I took his jacket, and had to call him to tell him I had it, and then he would think it was an excuse to see him again. No, that’s not going to happen.
“I’m never going to see him again,” I blurted out.
Their eyes bulged out of their heads. “What?”
“I’m never going to see him again. I’m not taking the jacket.”
I made a mad dash for the door. I wanted to be long gone before he realized he had left his jacket and would have to return for it.
I got in my car and headed back home.
And I didn’t look back.
I don’t know if he ever met a corresponding hickey-covered gal with a bar stamp, but I never spent another dime on the Phone Dating Line.