It all started when I parked my car and noticed a skinny man pulling into the space across from mine in an old Buick. I picked up my pace thinking, I hope that’s not him.
We agreed to meet at “Mother’s Kitchen” and I entered through the sliding doors and pretended to look at the chocolates and candy and all the flowers as it happened to be Valentine’s Day.
I’d just finished a job meeting with the Director of International Student programs at a local university, and felt like I’d accomplished something, so I called Jon to say, “Let’s meet for coffee.”
I could tell it was Jon, my date, heading towards the sliding glass doors of the health food store. He looked to his left, as though not sure if he should enter. I waved from inside, and thought, he looks skinny and tall like his photo. What I hadn’t anticipated, as it did not show on the profile photo of Match.com, were the long protruding, gray, nostril hairs, and the bushy uni-brow. His white shirt, and gray, dress slacks were the same as his profile photo, as though he wore the “dating” uniform, just in case I could not recognize him.
I’m not picky about men, except for height, and being in fairly good shape. I did, however, notice his old-fashioned, white shirt, frayed along the collar, which looked as outdated as his car.
Jon, a “marketing” engineer, something I’d never heard of before, sat down at a table, and proceeded to talk about nothing but himself. When I asked him what does a marketing engineer do?, he said he was no good at it, and that he was semi-retired, and writing a book about dating. No kidding, you’re a nerd, I thought, no way are you a sales and marketing person. I thought I would give him ten minutes to talk about himself, and then perhaps he would get me involved in the conversation. But no.
“Have you even read my profile?” I asked, interrupting him while he told me about his book on dating.
“Yes,” he said, and continued talking about how he wrote five, “you’s” in his first paragraph, and managed to eliminate two of them, as there were just too many “you’s,” but he had to keep the other three, as the paragraph wouldn’t make sense without them. He then switched to how he can obsess over the wrong word choice for three days, until his sister, who lives with him, helps him decide. “And she’s in the writing industry, “ he continues.
“You know I’ve been coaching authors on how to publish and promote their books for many years. Do you have a publisher?” I ask.
“Oh, my sister is an expert,” he continues, “she’s an author,” lettuce falling out of his mouth while munching on his rabbit salad without dressing, and his tofu side-dish. No wonder he weighs about 150 pounds at 6’5”
“How many books has she sold?”
“She sold 4 or 5, and you just wait, I’m going to be the next millionaire when I sell my book. You’ll be happy you met me.”
That was the moment when I got off my chair, and said, “You are arrogant and self-centered, and no wonder you’ve never been married. I’m leaving.”
I’m so proud of my gutsy self. I stood up, told him what I thought, and said, “Here’s money for my tea.” He was so into himself, he continued bragging about his dating book and then it clicked that I was leaving. He didn’t know whether to stand and bow, or stay seated and choke on his tofu. So he raised himself off the chair, and said, “I’ll pay for your tea.”