Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dating Espionage

Timing is everything – whether it's delivering the perfect joke or having two people's priorities line up to join together.

The timing wasn't right for Emily and me then, and we temporarily went our separate ways. But over the course of the next five months, I couldn't shake her from my mind.

I found myself paying extra close attention when my Metro train stopped at her station. I'd drive a couple miles per hour slower if I happened to be driving through the neighborhood where she lived. My heart would skip a beat when I saw her name pop up on my Facebook timeline or my Gchat buddy list.

I never reached out though.

After a while, I realized how silly that was. Several months had passed, and we always had a good time together. I knew if I didn't try it again, I'd always wonder what could have been. After close consultation with Jon and Mike, two of my closest friends, we collectively decided to go for it. If nothing else, I wanted to leave a Brian-sized hole in the wall, and I'd know where things stood.

Emily had recently returned from a long trip to India, and I figured I could use that as an icebreaker. I then sent the following text:

"Typhoid Mary! You've been popping up on my FB news feed lately. What would you think about meeting for a drink to catch up? I'd love to hear about the trip! :-)"

I'd done my part. I put it out into the universe, and it was time to wait. Every time my phone buzzed, my heart stopped. Work emails, man. Hated 'em.

Luckily, a few hours later, my phone buzzed, and this time, it was her. She responded. And what's more, she said it would be nice to catch up. We were back in business!

Our second first date took place at a bar called Buffalo Billiards, just across the street from Front Page, the site of our first first date.

We had a few drinks, we played skeeball and shuffleboard and we danced. As I walked her home, I knew I had to do whatever it took to make it work at whatever pace it needed to work.

So when Emily turned to me and said, "I had a really great time, but I have to be honest with you. I don't want a boyfriend, and I'm not ready to date anyone," I did what anyone would do.

I lied. Happily.

"Oh absolutely. I don't want to date anyone either. Did you have fun? Because I had fun."
"I did have fun," she replied. "I had a lot of fun."
"OK then. What more do you need to know? If you had fun, and I had fun, then we'll just hang out and have fun."

And so we did.

When her friends had to break the news to her two months later that she and I were dating, she didn't want to believe them.

"That's ridiculous," Emily said. "We're not dating. I told him I didn't want to date anyone, and he agreed."

"OK," her friends replied. "But you're doing fun things together often? And you plan them together? Yeah, you're dating."

And a few weeks after that, Emily asked me if I wanted to be exclusive. It was the most masterful piece of dating espionage strategy I could have imagined.

Three years later, it's paid off well.

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