Posts Tagged ‘love at first sight’

NTKOG #89: The kind of hopeless, anonymous romantic who meets a man at random and — after losing him in the crowd — throws a (metaphorical) message in a bottle to catch him again.

I am: in the habit of falling in love with half a dozen men a day.

I am not: so short of great lost loves that I need to dig them back up on the internet, it stands to reason.

The Scene:  The Brookline Booksmith (aka: Brookline’s literary Disneyland), shortly after moving here. I had a moment with the clerk after purchasing a book from the bargain table and — thuTHUD, is the sound of TKOG falling in love. For months, I would get all dolled up before browsing the bsmith, in hopes of meeting him, but alas, I never saw him again.

Enter Craigslist Missed Connections. Because surely a dude who reads George Saunders can read a measly little personals ad, right? Attached, verbatim, is the ad I posted last Thursday:

Bookline Booksmith former employee with taste for postmodern lit – w4m – 23 (Brookline)

You: hulked-out Korean (I think) former Brookline Booksmith employee with badass tattoos and a taste for postmodern literature.

I: came in sometime in September. Fast-talking brunette with black plastic-rimmed Weezer glasses.

We: bonded over a mutual love for George Saunders when I bought a copy of “In Persuasion Nation” off the bargain table.

You: asked if I had read any Barthelme.

I: am reading “60 Stories” as we speak.

You: were my imaginary boyfriend until you stopped working there at some point within the past few months.

I: miss having a reason to put on make-up on Saturday mornings.

You: got any more great book recommendations?

Your Former Imaginary Girlfriend (unbeknownst to you)

No word back yet; not even a book recommendation from a stranger. Oh well. That’s the thing about messages in bottles, I guess: sometimes they’re washed away forever, sometimes they’re found by someone else entirely. Almost never are they discovered by the person you intended.

The Verdict: I still totally support this one. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I was nervous about posting a Missed Connection in the first place — aside from the fact that when I see a guy I like, I tend to do something about it. But next time I miss my chance with someone, I would completely try this again, because what’s the worst that could happen?

Actually, the worst that could happen is that Booksmith Guy could email me back:  “You, TKOG, like so many other George Saunders-loving brunettes, have been driven to the brink of madness by my pomo literary tastes and badass tattoos. Based on your prose style, might I recommend The Da Vinci Code?”

Man. That would be horrible. Please don’t do that, Bookstore Guy! Otherwise, I’m down with Missed Connections.


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NTKOG #85:The kind of girl who, when she spots you in a room, acts on the mandate of destiny and, dude, honestly, kind of stalks you until you give her your number.

I am,: say it with me now, not dating.

I am not: like totally immune to the murmurs of fate.

The Scene: Brookline Booksmith, showing Kiss-Ducker around on the last night before she ends her visit and jets back to Barcelona. We head to the used books section downstairs and thumb through all the fiction novels; they’re light in Wodehouse, but Kiss-Ducker pauses to ask my opinion on an Evelyn Waugh novel. I’m telling her that Handful of Dust is a must-read (and now I’m telling you guys that too), when a man pushes between us, to hover in the W’s.

He is tall and broad-shouldered, wearing a motorcycle jacket with an asymmetrical collar and holding a Trader Joe’s wine bag; his hair and skin I can only describe as sun-kissed; he has just strode purposefully through the W’s. Wodehouse, Waugh, Wilde — who the fuck strides purposefully through the W’s? My goddamn soulmate, is who.

He seals the deal by saying a few words in praise of Handful of Dust, then lamenting that he has been prowling the city for a copy of “Scoop.” I may or may not stutter that I just got one, and we banter — we banter — back and forth about Evelyn friggin’ Waugh. Whose name the dude pronounces correctly, to boot!

To my credit, I refrain from proposing to him on the spot.

Sadly, he bounds upstairs before I can attempt to expand the conversation, and I give it up as a lost cause (dude with wine obviously is running somewhere), with Kiss-Ducker whispering for me to go for it. I tell her to grab her books and we race upstairs to stand behind him in line.

“This is a great bookstore,” I tell Kiss-Ducker, loudly enough for him to hear. “They bring all kinds of fantastic authors here. There was a two-block line for Lorrie Moore a few months ago.” HA! He turns around and looks curiously. Kiss-Ducker asks didn’t I tweet about that?, and I say, yeah, I was bummed not to get in, but I’d already heard her read that chapter back at PWCU.

Direct hit. On the second mention, Motorcycle Jacket of Destiny fully spins around, obviously eavesdropping on our conversation. Right about then he ends his transaction, and I bound to the door to intercept him:

TKOG: Look, I’m sorry, this is sort of out of the blue, but save me the trouble of posting a Craigslist missed connection later. You have completely awesome taste in books. Do you come here often?
Motorcycle Jacket of Destiny: Only when I’m walking by.
TKOG: I mean, yeah, that’s how people get places — you have to walk by. But I — look, I’m not coming on to you or anything, but I just moved here and I don’t know too many people. Do you want to grab a coffee sometime and talk Waugh?
MJOD: Uhhh, I have nothing to write my number with.
TKOG: No problem, she said, pulling out her iPhone a little too promptly.
MJOD: My hands are kind of full.
TKOG: I take dictation. [takes his number] Yeah, I’m not — don’t worry, I’m not actually doing to call you.
MJOD: Good luck. Happy New Year anyway.

The Verdict: Ouch, guys, was I covered with snow? ’cause, dude, he completely brushed me off. I’m going to assume it’s because he was taking the wine over to his girlfriend’s house, but man, usually people find me at least a little engaging in a hurricane-of-raw-intensity sort of way. Dude was just like not even having it.

Still, after sighing and cringing for a few minutes on the walk to Sister’s, I let Kiss-Ducker convince me that it was a good thing to try, and by now I whole-heartedly agree. Dude was wearing a fur-lined hat and buying Evelyn Waugh novels in bulk at my favorite bookstore — if I hadn’t said anything, chances are I’d end up on my death-bed, grandchildren on every limb, my rheumatic old eyes watering: ‘What if, what if, what if I had only spoken to that boy in the Brookline Booksmith and my life had been completely different?!

At least now I know for sure.

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NTKOG #70: The kind of bar-hopper who locks eyes with her target and stalks across the room to meet him before even working out an entrance strategy.

I am: a total Hamlet. In the market for scheming, skulking and the occasional monologue? I’m your girl.

I am not: kidding about the skulking. Hear a rustle in the draperies? it’s probably me, crouching and muttering iambically.

The Scene: The Tap in Fanueil Hall, hanging out with Sister and her friends a few hours before my epic bungling of the debit card caper. A few weeks ago, The Ex told me about a dating/mating study that suggested men are most successful picking up women when they speak to them within five seconds of noticing them. The upshot: the longer you wait, the more time you have to gain her negative attention by skulking around like a creeper, so get moving, son. Pretty sound, right? I challenged myself to talk to three men within three seconds of noticing each.

Glancing around the bar, a few drinks in, the snag hit me: Right now, I don’t even know whether there are three men in all of Boston who interest me. What I did know for sure? No way was there one single guy in that bar who caught my attention in a positive way. Still, the whole point of this exercise was to give it the old college try.

Guy 1: 5’8″ Irish Guy in a Rugby Jersey

TKOG: Hey.
Rugby Fan: Hey.
TKOG: What sport is that for?
RF: Rugby. Ireland’s team is in the international finals today. We’ve been watching them play all day. Been drinking since 9am!
TKOG: Okay. Nice talking. Take care.

Guy 2: Tall Guy in a Corduroy Blazer

TKOG: Hey. I like your blazer.
Corduroy Blazer: Thanks! My friends all made fun of me!
TKOG: You’re totally pulling it off.
CB: Thank you! I was actually just on my way out now, though.
TKOG: Cool.

Lest you think he was just avoiding me, about three seconds later, his friends returned from settling up the tab and left the bar. Not before Corduroy gallantly offered me the table they’d been occupying, though.

Guy 3: Strong Silent Type, a Coast Guard in the group we were with

TKOG: So. Unbiased opinion. I’m trying to figure out the best way to start conversations with strangers. I’ve been opening with “hey,” but I’m thinking of just, like, snapping my fingers, pointing at them and saying: “Coooool.”
CG: Like that?
TKOG: Yeah. Cooool.
CG: “Hey” is a good opener. I think it’s your best bet.
TKOG: Thanks for the input. I hate talking to people.
CG: Me too! Bars like this are the worst for talking to people.
TKOG: Good to know. I’m new to the city. Where are the best bars?
CG: This is the best bar.

We then actually chatted for a few minutes about bars, the local music scene, diving out of helicopters — the usual. Our conversation was broken when, during a lull, he literally jumped on top of this girl who he had apparently been pining over for the past year. I was relieved to be able to stop thinking up smalltalk.

The Verdict: This was pretty doomed from the start. It felt nice and kind of natural to start talking to people right away, without taking time to come up with a conversation opener or go through forty hypothetical rejections before saying my first word. But on balance? Not great conversations, and with people who turned out to be pretty much as I expected.

I was prepared to totally write off this experiment as a failure, but as I considered it a few days later, it reminded me of other times I’ve talked to people and really have hit it off right away, within the first three seconds. A couple of examples sprung to mind, but one in particular — a guy I met at a party a few months before I broke up with The Ex, and with whom I had immediate and almost lethal chemistry. Ten seconds after this guy and I met, there was this weird, amazing energy, like a golden thread between us that you could almost see. A few seconds was all it took, and after the party, I remember standing outside, alone in the dark by my car, and just reeling. And whatever it was, it was clear from various of his actions that he had felt it too. Something improbable and inconvenient and urgent.

This experiment was a failure, true. But it did remind of something I had forgotten: I believe in love, or at least recognizing the possibility of love, at first sight, during your first words. And really, there is no better feeling than standing under a streetlight, quaking like an electrified jelly, feeling fearless and foolish and utterly infinite. Like the first time you stay up all night enthralled with a life-changing novel, finish it as the first rays of sun are piercing through the sky and everything is big and good. Even if they only come every several months or years, these moments have come and they will come again. And are certainly not worth chatting up every drunk Irish guy in Boston to find. So. I guess I’m going wait it out, and when the time comes, it’ll find me.

How about you guys? Ever found love at first sight? Am I a total idiot? Both of the above?

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