Recently, at the apartment complex where I work, I helped a resident who had acquired a roommate transfer from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom apartment. I showed him the two-bedroom and worked with him and his new roommate at the lease signing. "That is one good-looking boy," my boss mentioned at the office one day after he came by with some forms.
"Oh yes," I agreed. "That's true. But," and here I gave a small sigh of disappointment, "he's just a little too short." My boss, being shorter than I (and married), disagreed. "His roommate, on the other hand, is super tall," I continued. "It's like, together they're the perfect guy."
This got me thinking, though. Hypothetically, which is the more important quality in a guy? I mean, smart, kind, sense of humor, blah blah blah, but on a purely superficial level, does tall or cute matter more? I've always been of the opinion that tall covers a multitude of sins. But then again, cute covers a multitude of sins, too. And really, it was a ridiculous debate in the first place. I mean, how many times do you find yourself having to decide between two guys, let alone one tall guy and one cute guy. I mean, maybe you have, but it's happened to me--wait, let me count--never. And maybe that's why I allowed myself to dwell on the idea; because it was so preposterous.
Then last night towards the end of my shift at work, the office door opened. "Hello," someone called out from the entryway. "Honey, I'm home," another voice joked, and then there they were, standing in my office--tall and cute.
"Oh, hey guys," I said, smiling. "What can I do for you?"
"We're here for the mail key," one said.
"Sure, I'll go get it for you," I said.
From the key closet, I heard a whispered consultation on the other side of the wall.
Then, "So, Rachel," one of them said, "are you going to Winter Fest tomorrow?"
Casual. Nonchalant. Nothing to freak out about here. "What's Winter Fest?" I said, exiting the closet.
"There's a chili fest tomorrow on the Commons. They'll have food and stuff."
"Oh, Chili Fest," I said. "That's tomorrow, huh? I actually have a crazy day tomorrow. I have to get up at 5:30 and drive to Smyracuse to take a test."
"What's the test for?"
"Oh, to get certified to teach. French."
"You want to teach?" "You speak French?" They interrupted each other with their questions, both speaking at the same time. I tried and failed to stop the warmth from flushing into my face at this unexpected attention.
"Umm, yeah, I'm doing my student teaching right now."
"Oh, where?" "What grade?" they both spoke again, their questions overlapping, competing with each other.
"Middle school," I said, smiling.
"How long is the test?" one asked.
"Hopefully not that long," I said. "So...maybe I'll come downtown after." An awkward pause ensued, and to end it I handed over the key I was still holding. It seemed that an abrupt and awkward exit would soon be in order if I didn't do something.
"Here, why don't you guys have a seat," I said, "and I'll make you a mailbox label." We sat and the tension eased immediately.
"All I know about chili fests is from that Simpsons episode," I said, typing out the label. "Where Homer eats the really hot chili pepper?"
"Oh right," the tall one said. "And he goes on like an acid trip and goes into the desert and talks to the fox."
"Yeah!" I said, laughing.
The cute one had never seen it. "There's a Simpsons episode about the Mythaca Chili Fest?" he asked, confused.
"Um, no," the tall one explained. "Just...a chili fest."
"Oh," the cute one said. "Right."
"Here you go," I said, handing over the label. "So, maybe I'll see you tomorrow then. And you guys will just be...down there?"
"Yeah, we'll be down there," one said. "Well, here," the tall one said. "I'll just write down my phone number for you, and that way you can find us..."
"Ok," I said, handing him a yellow sticky.
"Well, maybe I'll just write down my phone number too," the cute one said, smiling cutely. "Just in case..."
"Ok, great," I said, looking down at the yellow sticky in my hand. "Thanks."
After they left and the door closed, I laughed out loud, and reached for my phone to send a text to my boss. Though she's married with kids, she is actually my age, and would appreciate something like this, I knew. "The thing is," I concluded, thumbs tapping, "I'm not actually sure who asked me out!"
I hit send and looked again at the yellow sticky on my desk. Kevin. Luke.
To be continued...