I stared at my phone in disbelief. Two days following our text message marathon and still no word from Kevin, and now Luke pops up at 9:30 on a Tuesday morning just to say hi?
Hi Luke, I tapped out in response.
How are you? he replied.
I sighed, not particularly in the mood for chit-chat this early in the morning. Fine, I replied. In Philly for a few days.
Oh, that's a great town! he wrote back. Whatcha doing there?
I sighed again and tried to cut the conversation short. Visiting friends. About to go to a museum now...
Well I won't keep bothering you, then, he said. But we should get together for dinner or drinks later this week.
Cool, talk to you later, I replied, hoping my reply conveyed a breezy friendliness and an openness to the possibility, rather than the hurried brush-off that I was afraid actually came across.
Later that day, I talked things over with my friend Pete, hoping to gain a male perspective on the situation. "Well, you know what you can't do," he said, "is hook up with the one, and if that doesn't work out, go for the other."
"Well no," I said. "Clearly."
"'Cause no one wants to be your second choice."
"So you have to choose carefully. You have to choose the one you think is most attainable."
"Well, they did both give me their phone number," I said. "I mean, aside from any wingman-type scenario, I think it's fair to assume they're both at least somewhat interested."
"No, I don't mean attainable just right now, I mean long-term."
"Are you saying you don't think I can get the cute guy?"
"No, it's not necessarily about looks. I'm just saying. Choose carefully."
"Well the cute guy and I did have that whole text message conversation. Although, he is pretty short..."
"I don't know, exactly. As soon as I get back to the office I'll have to pull his file and see if I can find a copy of his driver's license."
"Psshh, that means nothing. That's all self-reported, anyway."
"Yes, but...it would still be good to know. I mean, I've dated down to 5'10" before, but I don't think I could do anything less than that."
"Yeah, that could be weird."
"So, wait. What if Luke asks me out first? If I go out to dinner or whatever with him, I can still go out with Kevin after, right?"
"No, I already told you, you can't do that."
"Wait, even if we don't do anything?"
"So what do I do? I mean, what if Kevin doesn't ask me out first?"
"You could ask him out."
"Because he should ask me out. He's the one who started this. It's the whole hunter and prey thing. The deer doesn't just turn around and start chasing the hunter. That wouldn't make any sense."
"Well, send him a text or something. Say hi."
"I don't know..."
"Look," Pete sighed heavily, as if divulging a long-guarded secret. "This is what girls just don't understand. If a guy likes you, calling him, or sending him a text, or whatever, isn't going to make him like you any less. I promise."
"Hmm," I said.
"Just do it. First thing tomorrow morning."
"No! I hate the morning text. No one needs to be texting first thing in the morning."
"Ok, first thing tomorrow evening, then."
"Ok then," I said. "Maybe I will. Ok."
Later the next day, back from Philly and in my own home once again, I took out my phone. Pete's words echoed in my head. I hoped he was right.
I had spent the four hour drive back to Mythaca racking my brain, mentally composing the perfectly casual yet friendly and encouraging text message. And finally, I had it, the perfect text message, and it was almost brilliant in its simplicity. Hey, how was your weekend? I typed.
I hit send, and then, I waited.
To be (sorry, but you had to know this was coming) continued...