In the battle of deep versus shallow, I do believe we have a winner, folks. This may come as a surprise given the tone of my last post, but at some point over the last week or so he managed to win me over. Internet, he totally won. Which kind of makes us both winners, I think. But let me back up a little.
After my first meeting with him when I realized that the physical reality didn't match up with my mile-high expectations, I told him that if he wanted to see me again, I thought it would be best if we kept it on a friends-only basis. And actually, even that was sort of a throwaway line. I didn't necessarily want or expect to see him again. He was surprised. No, don't be surprised! I thought, cringing. I hated being thrust into the bad guy role. Why couldn't he just be cool? Hazard of the game, I told him through e-mail, the shrug almost audible. C'est la vie. But then I started second-guessing myself. Remembering how much we had in common, how much he made me laugh. Looking at his (admittedly non-representative) pictures. That smile. Those eyes. Were they still there, somewhere? What if I could find them? All it would take was a glimpse, I knew, and I would be done for. I e-mailed him again, told him that I didn't necessarily feel a physical connection with him when we met, but that I couldn't really see him under the glasses, behind the beard. I took a leap, knowing it was a total bitch move to ask someone I had met once to change himself for me, but I told him if he ever felt like ditching the glasses and the beard for a night, I'd really like to see that. It went over like a lead balloon. He pretty much told me to go fuck myself. No, actually, that's exactly what he told me.
"I think I like this guy," my sister said on the phone.
"What? You just finished saying you didn't like him, then I tell you he told me to go fuck myself and suddenly you like him?"
"I think he's growing on me," she mused.
Longer and longer e-mails ensued, full of explanations, frustrations, and accusations of shallow douche baggery, and counter accusations of false pretenses and circular logic. I'll tell you this--the boy is lucky that he writes pretty. We decided to meet again, one more time, to see. "But I'm not going to fucking do a damn thing to my face," he warned me. For a girl he met once? So that she could re-inspect him and probably reject him all over again? I couldn't say I wasn't sympathetic to his reasoning. We met again last night, outside a coffee shop. And there he was, still only 5'10", with the same beard, same baseball cap, too-long hair, and baggy clothes. But he wasn't wearing his glasses. And suddenly, everything changed. I saw his eyes, those twinkling, mischievous eyes from the pictures, I saw him. And what was that, lurking behind the corners of his shaggy mustache? That slow, secret half-smile. I saw it, I saw it all.
Within half an hour, I had somehow convinced him that he should adopt kittens. It made sense, after all; he's home all day, and he needs a pet. Plus, it would probably be a lot easier to convince me to come over to his house if there were kittens there, I told him. Ok, he said. But why two? Well, sometimes they're two for one, I said. And two kittens is twice the fun. Ok, he said. Done. And who knew it would be easier to convince the guy to adopt kittens than to shave off his beard? Although that didn't prove to be much more difficult. Apparently, all I had to do was kiss him. That and a brief mention of too much mustache getting in the way was all it took. He sent a picture to my phone today. At first I thought it was a kitten, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be a large, fluffy pile of disembodied beard. The subject read, Hey there, Delilah.
"I think he likes me," I texted my sister.
"Well, who wouldn't?" she replied. Hmmm...
"Sometimes I can't tell if you're making fun of me," I told her.
"Am not. Am happy. Hopeful."
Yeah. Me too.