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Palms a little sweaty, knees sort of weak, arms somewhat heavy but not too bad really, he made his way through the main room of the bistro he’d been dropped off at. Reaching the door to the back patio, he tried to peer through the glass to see if he could spot his date’s table before he walked out. Unsuccessful at spotting her, he opened the door and ventured out.
Two steps into the outdoor patio/bar area, he noticed her in the back left corner; she’d clearly seen him the moment he walked out the door, as she was staring directly at him and holding her hand half-raised. Raising his hand into an awkward wave, he started to weave between tables inch by inch.
Of course she picked the furthest table from the door. Now I’m stuck squeezing in between chairs and trying to take an ideal path like a drunk guy in a corn maze. Oh fantastic, there’s my 7th grade Life Skills teacher sitting over there with her husband. Can’t wait for her to watch all the “life skills” she taught me go up in flames as I bomb this date.
He got two tables away, close enough to where they should share non-verbal communication, but too far to begin their conversation.
Her Bumble pictures do her justice; she’s pretty cute. She’s smiling at me, that’s huge. Wait, is she smiling because I’m doing something unintentionally funny? Shit, is my fly down? Great, it’s not down but now you’re the guy who impulsively grazed his crotch area as he was walking up to his table. No wonder you’re single. Get it together you goddamn disgrace.
“Hi, Lauren? So nice to meet you. Sorry I’m a bit late.” Technically he was two minutes early but he felt he should acknowledge not arriving first.
She smiled and shook his hand, replying “Oh no problem at all! They’ve got a Merlot I really like here, so it’s been keeping me company!”
Laughing nervously he sat down and instinctively looked around for a waiter, wishing he’d hastily downed more than one beer for liquid courage. Seeing one a few tables over, he looked from the menu on the table to her. “So, see anything that looks appealing on the menu?”
She appeared confused. “Oh, I thought we were just doing drinks, I ate before I came.”
You fucking idiot.
“Ah yeah I don’t know why I asked that. Can you tell it’s been awhile since I’ve been out?” he replied, laughing awkwardly at his corny joke.
Lauren smiled, taking the last sip of her Merlot just as the waiter arrived. He ordered a beer and indicated that her next Merlot was to be on his check.
Smooth as hell, paying without giving her the chance to offer to go Dutch. You’ve still got it you old ladykiller you.
As they waited for their drinks to arrive, generic pleasantries were exchanged. He asked how long her Uber had taken from the airport (“Only like ten minutes, there was almost no traffic so that was great”), and she remarked that she liked his watch (“Ah thanks, couldn’t decide which one I should wear, so I’m glad I made the right decision” he lied about the only watch he owned).
By the time their drinks arrived he thought he was doing pretty well. He might not be throwing a perfect game, but he at least felt like he was going to give it six good innings. At the very least she hadn’t faked an emergency phone call and left yet, so that was a win. She mentioned how cute Grant was, so he made a mental note to give him a big hug and fist bump for being such a good wingman.
Feeling that he needed to dive into deeper conversation in order to convince her that he wasn’t a boring dumbass, he decided to ask questions. “So, how do you like being a flight attendant? Must be an interesting job, right? Visit cool places, or meet so many different people every day, or…” He trailed off, watching her throw down the rest of her latest glass wine.
“Ugh, I fucking hate it. Literally can’t wait until I can finally quit. I’m only staying until I find out if my insurance is going to cover a dental procedure I need. After that I’m getting the fuck out of there. Should we get another round?”
A bit stunned, he lifted his mostly full beer and replied “Uh yeah, sure, whenever the waiter comes back I guess.” Taking a bit too hearty of a gulp trying to keep pace, he coughed out “So what do you want to do instead? Like if not a flight attendant, what’s your plan? Anything that’d take you closer to this area more often perhaps?” He tried to finish upbeat with some cute overtones, as he felt like he’d poked a dragon in the eye by discussing the job she hated.
As the flagged down the waiter and signaled for another Merlot by tapping her glass, she looked back at him. “Oh I don’t know really. I might go back to school or something. Not too sure. Honestly my dream has always been to be a stay at home mom.”
He laughed. “Trust me, that’s no easy job. Some days I think I’d like being a stay at home dad, but other days Grant is making me pull my hair out.” Indicating to the waiter that he’d like another beer, he continued “Plus between my flexible job, preschool & my mom being able to watch him, not really any need to be a stay at home parent. Although if I won the lottery I’d definitely quit my job tomorrow.”
She briefly smiled but motored right along “Yeah, but if you had a stay at home mom in his life you wouldn’t even need your mom to watch him.”
Is she getting at what I think she’s getting at?
The waiter arrived with his beer. He tried to telepathically communicate to the waiter that he was going to need the check ASAP, but wasn’t quite sure the guy got the message. “Well, I mean yeah I suppose so. But uh, yeah not sure I’m doing well enough financially to even be able to support a stay at home mom. Long term goals, ha…” His mind was replaying a gif of the Hindenburg going down in flames, but instead of a German airship it was this date, and any hope of a second one following it.
She seemed somewhat annoyed and snapped back, “Well if the mom was great enough I think that’d be totally worth it. Kids need a mom.” She took a gulp of wine then suddenly recovered a big smile out of nowhere, “Your little guy is just so adorable, I can’t wait to meet him soon. Do you think he’d still be awake tonight after drinks?”
I need to get the fuck out of here.
“Oh, probably not. I mean, the babysitter is actually taking him over to my parent’s house to stay there tonight because uh…because my cabinets are being painted with some oil based paint, so the house smells terrible and uh…yeah I’m actually staying over there too, headed there from here. So yeah…not tonight” he trailed off, pulling a lie from every corner of his brain to stuff into that sentence.
For a second she was dismayed, then perked back up “Oh well, can’t wait to meet him soon! There’s a cool children’s museum by the airport, I think we should make plans to head there soon. There’s a mall there too, we could get him some new school clothes. No offense, but I’ve seen what you have him wearing in some pictures and he could use some more styling. See if you can flag down the waiter, I’m almost done with this glass.”
I know I’d long-term need someone with a decent maternal instinct for mine and Grant’s sake, but this girl is trying to pull a Mary Poppins and fly into my house to make herself at home.
“Um actually I need to get home…to make sure the babysitter locked the door before dropping Grant off at my parents’, you know how forgetful teenagers are.” He pulled up his Uber app and thankfully saw he only had a two minute wait. “Wow, my Uber is already so close. Don’t want to have to cancel it, so I’m going to get going. Thanks so much for the invite, really had a lot of fun, definitely let me know next time you’re in town and we can do this again sometime. Just this, just us.” He dropped what he felt was an appropriate amount of cash on the table to cover the drinks they’d had together and at least another one for her.
She looked a tad shocked at his abrupt departure, but considering she’d housed a few glasses of wine by then, she really didn’t fully grasp his escape move. “Oh well bye, it was so nice to meet you! Make sure you tell Grant I said hi!!! He can keep just calling me “Lauren” for now” she finished with a big overdone wink. She motioned for an awkward hug but didn’t get up, so he obliged her with the awkward bent over while standing hug, then sped out of the patio, through the restaurant, and out into Blake’s Chevy Traverse.
For the first time since his drive over, he looked at his group text and saw three messages of varying wording, all with the same theme of “So how’d it go???”
He thought for a second, then responded, “You know guys, not that great. Not that great at all.” .
If you’re enjoying following “PostGrad Single Dad,” be sure to listen to the upcoming first episode of “The DadGum Podcast,” coming to Grandex Labs soon.
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