While mingling in a room packed full of good looking strangers, I spotted an attractive blonde wearing a plaid red shirt who was clearly enjoying himself. At the time I was eyeballing him, he was busy flirting with a woman who had some funky horned rimmed glasses, and he decided it was a good idea to try them on. He was right: that combination of geek with suave worked wonders as I tried to peel myself away from their bubble of fun without being noticed. Then I heard him speak, and my mouth dropped. I knew that voice. I knew that man.
Back in the day when I was thinner AND just starting to be adventurous AND dating like there was no tomorrow, Special K and I went out—once. As I recall, it was a pretty good date. We met on a rooftop bar, drank wine, laughed, chatted, and decided to head on over to a second venue. Fuck, I even remember what I wore that night: A silk flapper dress in ivory with grape tights and my fabulous Joan and David camel pumps.
Now, here I was coming into contact with Special K again—and I was feeling frumpy. Wearing all black, I had sequins on my top and tights covering my legs—I didn’t feel particularly hot. I’ve put on nearly twenty pounds over the last two years, and even though some of that weight has gone to my boobs—the other 18 pounds or so have thickened me in less desirable ways.
Despite not being the knock-out I wanted to be, I managed to catch Special K’s eye and he smiled.
“Hello,” I called him by his first name and he looked surprised. “We went out once. Exactly one time. Remember? I plugged your meter.” As the recognition came to his face, I turned around and high tailed it to the bathroom.
I washed my hands and peered into my face. I really need to start using Botox. What can I do to feel more fabulous? Taking down my hair, the bright blonde strands shimmered, and I felt a little better. I may not be able to knock ‘em dead with my ass or my face anymore—but I still got my hair.
As I re-entered the room of Beautiful People I purposely avoided Special K. Instinctively, I knew that he would come to me. How could he possibly avoid it? I was the girl who plugged his meter.
SPECIAL K: So, clue me in. About how long ago was this date?
ME: Two years ago. We met on a rooftop bar.
SPECIAL K: You’re the writer. Are you still writing that book? The crazy one about dating?
ME: So, you do remember? I was disappointed I never heard from you again. I don’t want to hear an explanation for why you never called.
SPECIAL K: I wasn’t going to offer you one. How’s the book coming along?
ME: I’m still plugging away at it, but the one I’m writing now is much different.
SPECIAL K: So, you’re still writing?
I gave Special K my card with my PG-13 blog information on it. “Here, I have over 45,000 hits. I’m legitimate now. It’s exciting.”
Taking my card, he just smiled. Single men in their 40’s are not my typical readership demographic, but it’s still nice to have a fan. Besides, my phone number was on the card, too. If he wanted to reach out to me at some point, now he had the tools he needed.
When I met Special K the first time, I was reading all sorts of self-help dating books. My idea was that I would follow their advice and write about my experiences with testing out their words of wisdom. For the most part, I scoffed at what these experts were telling me. Who doesn’t sleep with a man until they’re engaged? What do you mean I cannot call a man? And when he calls me I need to get off the phone in ten minutes? The one piece of advice that I did like—and still use up to this day—is to be really, really nice. I’m talking sticky sweet. The idea behind this is that women, like me, who are strong and independent need to show their softer side. I can totally embrace this concept.
And so, I plugged Special K’s meter.
He left the second bar we were at to attend a hockey game, and I stayed on for a while with my friend. When she and I left an hour later, I refreshed Special K’s meter so he didn’t have choose between leaving the game early or getting a ticket.
Today I’m nice in other ways. I am always sure to thank a man who pays for my drinks or dinner. I compliment men on what they are wearing. I offer to treat to dessert at another venue if we’re having a great time early in the evening. I even plug a few meters or two. Why not? I’m not following that stupid advice from dating gurus anymore. And nice girls like to have fun, too.