“The odds may be stacked against you, fair enough. But what the odds don’t know, is this, isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where passion, has a funny way of trumping logic.”- John Doman
What happens when a man has his back against the wall? He either crumbles or uses the fact that he’s down as motivation. I couldn’t decide who I wanted to be on Friday morning when I woke up for work.
When the girl I met on my group date texted to see if I wanted to get a bite on Friday night at 8, she was still very much under the impression that I was managing a hedge fund, doing blow with McConaughey, and drinking orange juice out of champagne flutes. That’s what wealthy people do, right?
Like my all-time favorite television character, when I was at the bar last Tuesday night, in that very moment, I was a marine biologist, and everyone, including myself, truly believed it (and by marine biologist I of course mean lord of capitalism).
It’s hard to sit someone down and tell them you’re a jackass. A philanderer. A deceitful person. I don’t do apologies very well. But the wheels were set in motion while I was laying in bed Thursday night. I agreed to meet her because I thought there might be a shot that she wouldn’t give two shits about what I did for work. One look at my apartment and you’d know that if I worked anywhere near a hedge fund, it was certainly not as a managing partner. I stole toilet paper from my office last month, if that tells you anything.
I tossed and turned all night. I was not at all looking forward to this date, but my eight hour day was the only thing standing between me and this girl. I had to come up with a strategy, and fast.
“I feel like it’s the last day of football tryouts. I wish it tomorrow already so I know if I made the squad.”-Officer Jake Hoyt, Training Day.
Is it even that big of a deal? I mentioned it no more than three times while we were at that bar. From my perspective, forgetting someone’s occupation would be a very, very easy thing to do. As an example, when someone introduces themselves to me and tells me their name, nine times out of ten I am forgetting your name immediately. Unless you have some super exotic name, there’s just no way I’m remembering it. No one group is excluded from this, either. If you’re a really hot girl named Lauren or Meghann (by the way, if your name is Megan and you spell it like that I hate you) I’m still not going to remember it.
I’ve tried all the tricks. Repeating their name while I’m speaking to them, associating said name with something they have on…none of it works. I am an asshole. But girls are like elephants. They seemingly remember everything. Do girls just not drink while their talking to guys at the bar? They seem to have a preternatural talent for memorization. Maybe I’m just aloof, but then again, I really don’t give a shit.
My Friday morning started out like any other. I pressed snooze on my iPhone twice, skipped the gym, and got to work fifteen minutes late. Deadlines, new assignments, phone calls, even eating-all of it unimportant. My stomach was churning all goddamn day. Every time I tried to get my mind off of this dinner I’d come back to the sentence that I had been rehearsing since I sat down at my desk. “Listen, I lied to you.”
I was nervous. John Mayer’s live concert “Where the Light Is” didn’t even do the trick. A voice as smooth as his usually gets me out of any funk. Not this one. Admittedly, “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” probably didn’t help with the anxiety I was feeling. Whatever, though, that song is a certified banger. I wasn’t about to skip it.
The clock continued to creep towards 5 o’clock, when rubber would meet the road, and I’d have to atone for my transgressions at a sushi spot downtown. I thought about texting to tell her I wasn’t feeling well, and sorry, could we meet when I get back after Christmas?
But my brain kept telling me to stop being such a wet blanket. So what if you lied? People lie everyday, John. Just come out with it before the appetizer arrives and play if off like it’s no big deal.
Lucky for me, my boss was feeling unusually generous this particular Friday, and asked me at 4:30 if I’d like to get a drink with him at a bar in our building. I said yes without hesitation, shutdown my computer, and ordered a Manhattan as we settled in at the bar.
“What do you have going on this weekend?” my boss asked earnestly.
“I actually have a date tonight. Should be interesting, haha (nervously).”
“Oh yeah? Where are you taking her?”
“Some sushi place downtown, I’m honestly a little nervous.” I said, half hoping for some advice, half hoping he would drop the subject all together.
“Well, I’m sure you’ll be fine. *turning towards the bartender* two shots of Jameson, please?”
At 5:00 p.m., I had successfully tied one on with my boss, of all people. I thanked him for the drinks, and I got on the subway to go home and change/have a snack to soak up the booze before 8:00 o’clock.
I arrived at the dimly lit, very sensual sushi restaurant ten minutes early and ordered some edamame to chew on while I waited for her to get there. Up until then, I really hadn’t rehearsed what I was going to say. I had decided the best thing to do would be to wing it. It felt a lot like college when I knew I had a really tough exam in the morning, and should stay up all night studying, but then would just go to bed and resign myself to getting a C. Let the chips fall where they may.
She walked in as the edamame was being brought over to the table. I took her coat, pulled her chair out for her, and before I even sat back down I said, “Listen, I’m not a hedge fund manager. I don’t why I said that, it was a stupid thing to do. I’m sorry.”
She was taking a drink of the water that was set in front of her, and I didn’t even finish the sentence before she had to spit it back into her cup. She was laughing hysterically.
“Are you serious? Me and my friends knew you were lying. We looked your whole group up on Facebook before you showed up to the bar on Tuesday. We thought that was just a stupid joke.”
She continued, “Are you even hungry? Let’s just go get a drink somewhere this place is too stuffy.” I obliged, and with the monkey off of my back, we had a great time together. I didn’t get laid, but I did get a goodnight kiss, what I think was an intentional hand against my crotch, and a promise to meet up again after New Years. It was a goddamn Christmas miracle.
I took a pass on yelling “uncle.” Every bone in my body was telling me to keep going with this façade, but for once, I told the truth. And guess what? It paid off. Happy Holidays, everyone..
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