Ely pointed out to me that men might find me intimidating.
He was hasty to add that he doesn’t.
Of course not, dear.
We’re at a concert, I’m pushing my way to the front, wiggling into the space at the bar, all the while talking to him about a man we’ve both met briefly and that we mutually despise. Maybe despise is a strong word.
I’m sure it sounded something like, “blah blah blah blah blah…and then he gave her this and that and then wrote this.”
That’s when he stops me. “You wonder why men find you intimidating? It’s because of that.” A romantic gesture? And I roll my eyes?
I was puzzled. He’s probably right.
But then again, I’ve never been subjected to romantic overtures.
After that weird first date back in high school, there were roses, and there was a CD of songs that reminded him of me on it. One of them was this song.
So that was awkward.
The string of bad attempts at love could go on, but to spare us all, I won’t.
So perhaps I’m jaded. Or inexperienced. Or just cynical.
I turn back to him. “I liked it when you made me waffles,” I say, as though that would be some sort of explanation. (I actually don’t like waffles. Don’t tell him. They’re good, just not something I go out of my way for.)
Later that night, we’re walking home. I say something rude. (In my defense, it wasn’t that rude; he has delicate ears.) “Again,” he says.
I’m incredulous. How is that intimidating?
(I begin to understand what he means, but that annoys me, so I argue more.)
We concede (or maybe I do and forget to tell him) that men are mostly moronic and “chivalrous” at all the wrong times, and there’s no reason I should have to conform to some lady-like ideal when we’re breaking gender barriers daily.
We’ll flash forward to last night.
I went up to Boulder to return his watch and retrieve my water bottle. (I’m glad that both of us seem to lose stuff. Or maybe his was an isolated incident.)
Last week, I was trying to be cute and I asked him to make me dinner someday. So he told me that if I went up to Boulder, he would.
I was thrown off my game. We cooked.
I am inept. We were going to bread tofu and I (I’m cringing even now as I replay this in my mind) pour the egg into the flour.
Uncle Mike White will appreciate how much I got made fun of over the next hour.
I was not born to cook.
He has a surprisingly snarky side.
I like it.
It’s rare that someone is completely un-readable, and yet he is, and I’m intrigued.
We’ve cobbled together a slow friendship based on the things we have in common (zero).
And I’m curious.
And that’s good.