Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Curious Case of Flirting Failure

I had an interesting encounter with an unknown gentleman last night.

I went to see Chrisette Michele at the Howard Theatre. I didn't go with RG. I didn't go with my Live Soul Meetup group. I didn't reconnect with a friend I hadn't seen in a while at a show. Nope--I went all by myself. If EY read this blog, she'd be proud of me. I'll admit I was kind of nervous about it, though, especially because it was a seated show, and I wasn't looking forward to being awkwardly placed at a table with people who knew each other well (or were tryna get to know each other a little better)...

Luckily, I got there early enough to snag a seat at the bar. I was sitting by myself, not looking at the drink menu because I knew what I was going to order, and rather reading Asses to Asses, Bust to Bust on the Kindle app on my fancy new Android MP3 player (on which I'm currently writing this post). So there I am, reflecting on my experiences with casual sex as I read the first chapter, when a guy comes and sits to my right. I'd been angled a little to the left, so I turned to face the bar so as to size him up in my peripheral. He was cute enough and had some style--I decided I would definitely talk to him.

He initiated the conversation. He'd been poring over the drink menu for a few minutes when I ordered mine. He said he'd been thinking about getting that and asked if I'd had it before, which led to who we'd each seen at this theatre before, which led to how long we've been in DC, what we do, where we went to school... He was 25 and had just finished getting his Master's in Education. My alma mater wowed him, as it tends to do, and he applauded my decision to take some time between undergrad and grad school, because he didn't and it wore him out.

These normal getting-to-know-someone-new questions quickly grew into a legitimate and interesting conversation. He asked me how I was liking the diversity in the District, and was "fascinated" by the fact that I'd found my first Black community at Princeton. We talked about how DC seems slightly Southern to me (I am living in a land of Krispy Kreme stores and wherein strangers will say "Good morning" on their way to work) but radically Northern culturally to a North Carolina-born, Georgia-educated brother like him. We talked about how it hurts him that he could never invite his gay friend to his hometown.

Our conversation drifted back to music a lot, which is natural given the circumstances and the fact that musical tastes were where we had the most in common. He had seen Chrisette's show the night before with friends, and enjoyed it so much that he had to come back. (#impressed) His favorite concert of all time is an artist whom I *crave* the chance to see live. My best concert experience is near the top of his list, and we were blown away by her for the same reasons. We realized that we're both planning to come to the same concert in a few weeks.

He asked me if I was eating and I admitted to having had dinner at home before. He had too. We both paused for a few seconds before both saying we could go for some fries. I hipped him to the bar menu rather than the dinner menu, and he declared that he would buy an order of fries for us to share. He got up to use the restroom and told me to go ahead and put the order in for him. We shared our fries and had a conversation about opening acts (hers wasn't that great). 

He'd mentioned earlier that he was an Alpha, so I brought up how I don't know anything about Greek life because of eating clubs and he showed me a picture of his line brothers while telling me about how much his involvement with the Alphas meant to him. We talked about how moving he found the MLK Memorial and how "DC" I felt on the 4th of July when I watched the fireworks from the Lincoln Memorial. I told him about the great brunch place I've discovered in Dupont Circle and we discovered a shared love of breakfast foods at all times of the day/night. 

He complimented me on my hair and we talked a bit about the "natural revolution" that's going on. He loves it and has been trying to convince his mom to go natural for years. This led to him showing me an old family photo from when he was 8 on his iphone (which had a case that looked like an original GameBoy! +2). I told him about my mom's recent battle with cancer and subsequent head-shaving. We talked about our siblings, how he didn't get close until his older sister until he went to college, and how my little sister was moving in tomorrow (today) to start her freshman year. He later complimented my necklace and we discussed where he might be able to get more bracelets from. 

Our conversation wasn't constant--we were distracted by phones and the music itself, but still, the conversation was good. I realized while he was in the bathroom that I don't think I've ever just opened up to a complete stranger like this in places that aren't the internet. I was surprised by how well our conversation was going, and kind of reassured that maybe I could do first date small-talk less horrifically than I imagined. And then Chrisette started and we stopped talking, but let our knees lightly rest against one another when we turned to face the stage.

About halfway through her set, he called our bartender over to ask for his check. The bartender brought mine as well, and when I dug in my wallet for my debit card, I also got out one of my special business cards with my cell number written on the back. He'd told me earlier that he would probably have to leave early because he was running orientation for parents and students tomorrow at work. I transferred the card to the inside pocket of my purse for easy access when he asked for my number. He kept his phone and wallet out on the bar next to him for another song or two, sometimes picking his phone up trying to sneak some video before he left. I thought about covertly placing my card on top of his wallet, but sneak tactics didn't seem necessary. We'd been getting along great! So I watched Chrisette and waited for him to make the move...

...but he didn't. When she got into her gospel music, which meant she was almost done for the night, he slid his wallet into his pocket, hopped down from his stool, said it was nice to meet me, and was gone, leaving me to wonder if after two initiations on his part, it had been my turn to push things further, or if I'd said/done things to make him reconsider between our fries and our goodbyes, or 498734984 other things. I'm not like, super sad that I'll likely never see him again or anything--I wasn't *that* caught up in him. I'd just thought that things were going well, so was fairly disappointed when things stopped as suddenly as they'd started. #wompwomp

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