The Story of Us: The night before.

August 23, 2009

I was dreading that upcoming Friday night back in June of 2009. No part of me wanted to go to dinner with Army Boy who had flown in that morning, played a round of golf with strangers, proceeded to text me at least twelve times during the day, was going to meet me for dinner, and then fly out the next morning. I picked my favorite restaurant so I could get something out of it.

Why I said yes to going to dinner with Army Boy is beyond me. It’s not like I could tell him not to come to Phoenix. I don’t own this city and I certainly can’t stand on the runway and stop the plane from landing. Well, I can, but I shouldn’t. I played it off like he was actually coming just to golf and he just happened to know someone who lived here and I just happened to have an hour in my evening to meet up with him for dinner.

I knew exactly what I was doing; I wasn’t giving this guy a chance. I had made up my mind on the hour long flight when I had met him and during the three weeks of texting and just based on the fact that he flew out to Phoenix to take me to dinner without even knowing my last name. It was almost overly pursuant of him.

I staged two close girlfriends to be at Coach House, a local dive bar, by eight. They would text me when they got there and just like that I would have plans. My dinner with the near-stranger was at seven. I walked into my handpicked restaurant and met Army Boy in the lobby, who was much shorter than I remembered and the sparks were still nonexistent. I figured as much.

We sat down for dinner and each ordered a glass of wine. I ordered my usual chicken tacos off the menu and he ordered the exact same thing. He hadn’t taken a single look at the menu because he was too busy staring at me. A stare I was desperately trying to avert.

We talked about the basics: our jobs, our families, what we do besides work. He also threw into the conversation a few questions about when I wanted to get married, when I wanted to have kids, how many kids I wanted to have, and if I was planning on living in Arizona for much longer or if I’d be willing to relocate. I didn’t know I was on the fast track interview to be on the next Bachelorette.

At one point, the conversation became so stale that I looked out the window at the clear blue sky and said, “Man, the weather is nice today. You got lucky it didn’t rain while you were golfing.” It rains about three days a year in Arizona. The chances of the weather being nice are extremely high. I obviously had nothing.

Just like clockwork, my two girlfriends texted me at eight on the dot to let me know they were at Coach House. I shared the text with him and he proceeded to order another glass of wine because he wanted to hang out and talk more. About what, I didn’t know. Faking conversation can be exhausting, by the way. When Army Boy finally finished off his glass of wine thirty long minutes later, he followed my car to Coach House after I convinced him that we should indeed drive separately. On the three-minute drive I quickly called my girlfriends and gave them the heads up that this was not going as planned.

We showed up at Coach House and one of my girlfriends, who happened to grow up as an Army brat, quickly got his attention and talked to him about everything Army. Around ten, Army Boy decided he was tired and I suggested that he go get some sleep at his hotel. And no, I would not be joining him. And yes, he asked. He decided against leaving and going inside to get a Red Bull. He wanted me to come in with him so I obliged. We get up to the bar and he stands there as if he’s never ordered a drink in his life. After about two minutes of uncomfortable silence, I ask the bartender if he could get this guy a Red Bull and he hands one to me with the check. Army Boy hangs around for another uncomfortable minute and I decide I am going to go back outside.

Soon after his first experience at ordering a drink at a bar, he motioned for me to come inside to plug the jukebox. He put in five dollars which is equivalent to about twelve songs. That is one too many because it made time for the following conversation to happen.

Army Boy: I would love to come take you out for dinner again sometime.Me: Well, you don’t live here. You’d have to fly and that’s just ridiculous.Army Boy: I could fly here. It’s no big deal.Me: No, that’s weird. I don’t feel comfortable with you flying here to see me.Army Boy: It’s not a big deal. I’m in the Army. I travel a ton.Me: Yeah, well it’s a big deal to me. And weird.Army Boy: A three hundred dollar flight is nothing to me, really. I would do it to take you out. I really feel like we have a strong connection.Inside my head: You have to be kidding me.Me: I don’t feel comfortable with that. And besides, I’m not looking for anything right now. Especially long distance.Army Boy: Oh, yeah, me either. I just want to see you again.Me: You don’t get it. I don’t want a relationship right now. I am way too independent.Army Boy: Really? Well, that’s a really good thing because Army wives are independent.I was officially married off to him in his mind.

From that point on I had no idea what I said, if I said anything. I went into the bathroom, shared the entire story with my girlfriend who happened to be in there, and we decided it was time to find a new place to spend our evening. This was just getting to be too much.

I ended it with a goodbye hug and went on with the night. That didn’t stop Army Boy from texting three times in a row that he still wanted to see me, he thought we really had something going, and that he can’t wait to come back to Phoenix again.

When I left that night, I decided that I was so done with this dating thing. Not that I wanted to stop dating, but I was done looking and trying and saying yes to dates I didn’t want to go on just so I could say I had gone on a date.

I’ve always known that I would know the guy was it right away and that I wouldn’t have to put forth so much effort. If it took too much effort, I ended it, and this created the pile of short relationships I had accumulated over my decade of dating.

I shouldn’t have to try so hard at love. It was draining and a waste of my time. I went to bed that night with a made up mind that I was done trying.
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