Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner?
by Missy Beattie
hi, K gave me your email. hope that’s ok. she thinks you’re terrific and that we might click: same adjectives. about me (quick sales pitch): i’m fit, fun, smart, romantic and adventuresome. i”m a trial lawyer; don’t hold that against me. love to hear from you. no worries: i’ve never been on America’s Most Wanted list. i’m currently unattached and trust K’s instincts. i’m not a serial dater (or a serial killer for that matter….lol) so i thought i’d reach out and see if there is any interest on your part. if so, please let me know.
Let’s pretend that this sentence you’re reading right now is a mantle. Above it, the paragraph opening with “hi,” is a mirror, reflecting a glimpse of my never-dull life, an email I received some weeks ago from the dear friend of K, a person I trust. K was playing matchmaker, certain the man who authored the words and I were perfect for one another.
Beneath the sentence you are reading now is a door to the rest of the story. I’m entering our exchanges (without correcting typos) after I answered his intro and told him I’m a writer, instructing Memoirs through Hopkins Osher Program and that I’ve never been on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. We were clicking away.
He wrote: Writing….another thing we have in common besides those adjectives. You’re a writer who teaches writing at Hopkins. Cool. A female John Barth. Maybe we should meet at the Hopkins club. I’m a member and you’re faculty, or go on a quick gettaway to Paris. Lol. Please stay in touch.
I emailed: Paris.
He wrote: start packing.
I wrote: I travel lightly.
From him: Perfect, I’ll pick you up in 15 minutes.
I wrote: Then you should ask for my address.
He said, Thought u were at the end of the yellow brick road. How bout a phone num? We should chat….
I wrote: At grocery. I’m going to travel the limb and suggest you come to my place for dinner. If this is agreeable tell me when.
He: What a nice invitation. Thanks. I’m flexible…..next tues, wed or thurs works best. I have tentative plans to be out of town (not Paris) next weekend. I’m happy to take u out to dinner if u prefer. In the meantime, I’ll work on my table manners. Lol.
I: Was just writing to you. My brother, recently divorced, has offered advice–lunch–in case one wants to make a speedy escape. I reject this. We’re adults. If those adjectives and nouns (some verbs should be included), don’t click (ah, a verb), one of us can say, “Let’s end this early. There’s still time to salvage the evening.”
And I sent R a link to my article about wandering into “Meet Up” and my search for equanimity.
He wrote: feeling a great degree of equanimity about our dinner date; in fact, i may bring a suitcase. can i bring anything besides wine?
I wrote: I already have a suitcase so just bring wine. I choose Tuesday. You decide on the time.
He: you have a good sense of humor. K said you are funny and quick now you have to promise me that this date of ours won’t appear in print. i promise to be a gentleman and use the right fork. i’m going to the barber today to spruce up my purple mohawk. you’ll like it.
Another from him: Really excited to meet. Don’t elope with anyone until we have that dinner. Have a great weekend!
September 9, early in the day from him: Just a quick note. Re- read ur article. When is the next meetup at donna’s? I may have to turn margaret mead loose on that place; perfect case study of tribal social dynamics. Lol. Love ur take on the place. T-minus 2 days until our dinner. Hope u had a nice weekend.
I wrote: Saw Chris who coordinates the events. Breaking News: Meet and Greet is now on Wednesday instead of Thursday. Should we postpone our dinner, go to Donna’s on Wednesday, mingle, and see if we find our way to each other? That would be a “click.” I don’t think so.
September 10 from him: Really excited to meet u and excited to have a home cooked meal. If you’re getting carry out then I’m equally excited to have carry out. Have u decided on the entree. Very cool of u to invite a blind date over for dinner. Now that’s a leap of faith. I’m sure we’ll enjoy each other’s company (if not, it’s back to donna’s for u and back to prepared food at graul’s for me….). C ya @ 7.
September 11, date day, he wrote: just leave bread crumbs and i follow them. do i wind up the road toward harper house or stay straight. i have a black mercedes; does not match my skin color. it’s been a while since i went anywhere in cross keys other than the village center. i’ll find it. i have a meeting at 5:30 so i will be coming directly from work.
I said: My building is on the left. And I would have no problem if your skin color matched the black car. Human beings, all. Remember, I’m a peace and justice activist. If that’s a problem, let me know.
He wrote: what does that mean….peace and justice…i get peace ) I’m all for drawing down the troops) but justice covers a lot of ground. The comment about skin color was just a throwaway line. didn’t intend it to be negative, but I guess it might have seemed that way.
I answered: I’m all for pulling out the troops. I’m for ending US imperial wars. Yes, justice covers a lot of ground. And this ground is equality for all. I know that’s impossible because of the circumstances of birth. But I’m talking about opportunity. Access. Are you with me? Still want to try and click?
He said: i’m a ron paul guy….real money, no foreign wars or aid, self-reliance, limited gov’t and a decent safety net for those who really need it; limited entitlements (no one is entitled!); controlled immigration; no dream act, no voting for felons, etc. i’m for space travel, state’s rights, civil rights and equality for all, but no affirmative action. am i scaring you off???????
I replied: Oh, no. I like this. You don’t KNOW how much. You’re a libertarian. Ron Paul opposes abortion. Well, nobody should be FOR it but I do believe in a woman’s right to choose. Also, Paul opposed the war in Afghanistan but CAVED and voted for it. True. I’m for the Dream Act. I do not say “illegals”. No human being is illegal. I say “undocumented”. Am I scaring you off???????
Eventually, he wrote: how liberal are you….obama or Romney?
I told him I will vote for neither. Around noon, I sent a photo taken at Occupy Wall St. and another, my mug shot, when I was arrested in 2006 with Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, and Rev. Patricia Ackerman at the US Mission to the UN.
Then, this from him: M, you are very pretty and obviously very smart and passionate, but this Occupy thing is over the top for me. i’m looking to find a wife and that means that i need someone in sync with me in philosophically. you do, too. i respect your radicalism and agree with some of your thoughts. i’ve never dated an anarchist before. lol. i want everyone of every color, creed, sexual prefence, etc to be happy and have all the opportunities that this country offers, but my political thinking is way more mainstream. i don’t think we would be a good match (i’m betting that you agree), but i would love to stay in touch and trade emails and ideas. you are a very unique and cool person. i sincerely wish you all the best.
I wrote: I told my neighbor our date is cancelled. She said she’d like to meet you. She really is pretty, 53, and not politically radical. I can send her email if you’re interested. This would not bother me at all. She’s smart and vivacious.
From him: what a bizarre turn of events. we did have some magic going. too bad I’m not che guevara . let’s stay in touch.
That evening, R and my across-the-landing neighbor went to Donna’s here in the Kingdom of Mixed Signals and Matchmaking.
Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore. Email: missybeat(at)gmail.com. This article originally appeared on CounterPunch.