Bikes line the front of the restaurant as if they are soldiers about to march into battle. I should know what's ahead of me but I don't even give the massive line of muscle powered machines a second glance.
The guy I am meeting in this restaurant has a simple profile. When you've been soul searching as long as I have, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell one unique person from the other unique person who's also very quiet and very simple.
I'm beginning to think that I am a diamond in the ruff, but then scold myself for having superior thoughts. Just because people can't express themselves on paper to save their life, that doesn't mean they are soulless. I believe that I should say hello anyway, just to get the ball rolling.
Jamaal, the man I'm messaging, has the common buzz words sprinkled out his profile as well but there's something that makes me want to keep reading. Sure, he's just as calm, fun-seeking, simple and boring, as the other billion guys on the site who share the same traits, but he's very much into biking.
He illustrates this with really in depth descriptions about how he really enjoys biking for pleasure and competition. He works on bikes, including motorcycles, and he even trains people on riding cross country. At the bottom of his profile, however, are the words,
"Compatibility is VERY important to me. You MUST BE A BIKER TOO!"
I'm so eager that I've found a needle in this haystack that I message him right away, asking him if we can meet for tea or something. I tell him a bit about myself, making sure I note I did in fact read his page, by asking him questions about his bike passion. I follow up by telling him that, sadly, I don't share the same feelings as he does about the two wheeled wonders, but I'd be more than happy to meet and greet and become friends, if nothing else. I briefly tell him my interests, and he asks me questions back. We're educating the other and that's epic to me from the start.
I ask him about his declaration at the end of his profile. The one that's in all caps.
"Oh? That? That's just to keep all the trolls and idiots away. It's really just something to scare people away who are not serious about a relationship."
I ask him, yet again, if he really meant what he wrote on his page because I am not a biker, nor will I become one just so I can marry a good looking fellow. I will continue to be an avid bookworm, through and through. I want to know if he really does get that. He says he does but he'd still love to hang out with me despite the fact I'm not into biking.
That message keeps nudging the back of my mind as I enter the hub of clinking silverware and delicious smelling seafood, making my nose twitch with fragment scents of sauce, meat and fresh fruit. As I make my way to my usual table, I bring all of my first dates here when I can, I wonder if something isn't right about what he told me the other day, about the fact he didn't care if I don't bike. I sit down and wait on him to show up. Seconds later, his brown head pops into my vision, flashing blinding pearly whites at me as we shake hands. He sits down, and I am taken aback by how good looking he is.
He resembles a beanpole. He's tall and he's skinny but clearly fit. His arms don't ripple with muscles but they are toned and developed. He has a bald head, witch accentuates his alluring smile. His eyes are so open and expressive even I can see them. His face isn't gaunt or flat. His face is like a neon sign and it's refreshing.
"You know what? You're really cute." he blurts, causing me to gasp and choke on my pop. I recover before I die of soda suffocation and grin up at him.
"How's THAT for a pickup line, eh?" He grins and folds his arms on the table, which makes me absolutely crazy. Those arms shouldn't be holding thin air. Those strong arms should be holding me as I sit in his lap, or some other fun position.
"I'm so sorry I nearly killed you on our first meeting, but I really do think you're cute. I like your smile, you have a very inviting smile." I smile, and can feel my face grow hot
"Thanks! The feeling's mutual. Honestly, it is." He beams, and I nearly attack his face with my lips right then and there.
Instead of making out in a public place, we settle down to a discussion about ourselves. The topics swivel to our interests again, and we detail more about our hobbies. I am a gamer, he enjoys puzzles. I enjoy Crossword puzzles, horror movies and dancing. He enjoys court shows. I love writing even though it's my career and job, and he enjoys a bit of graphic design. He always ads, however, that biking is his true baby.
"I've got a question," he asks, sounding as if he's about to ask me why there's a cat on my head, "so, I know you said you've never tried biking, or you've never wanted to go biking, but why not just try it, at least once. Biking is really fun to me. You're really missing out."
I doubt I am missing out on anything that I will enjoy. I can definitely talk about biking, and I can support him since that's his passion, I just don't want to do it.
"I mean," he continues, "I thought you had an open mind. Just try it. It wont kill you." I add that, in some cases, it will kill me, and other people, but I stress, again, that I just don't want to.
"You have no idea what you're missing, at all." he lectures. I don't feel like I am on a date anymore, I feel like I am sitting across from my grandmother telling me I should try to eat a salad. I smile, and try to brush off his patronizing comments.
It doesn't work for long, however, and soon, he's back to how shocked he is that someone doesn't like biking. I've lost all appetite and want to leave. I do want to see his bike though, and I tell him this. He takes me out to the front where all the bikes rest. He introduces me to his bike, the husband I can never compete with.
I'm feeling a bit like I've stepped into an intimate make-out session. Jamaal rubs the bike's seat as if he's petting a spouse before turning to me with a gleam in his voice.
"So, do you want to ride him?"
"Honestly, I don't think I like biking all that much. Remember? I told you that and you said it was fine on the website." his face morphs into an expression reserved for pinching one off in a hurry.
"What? You mean you wont even TRY it?"
"To be honest with you, I didn't come all the way here to have medal between my legs. I came here to enjoy YOUR company." His constipated look becomes more profound, and I feel like I am watching someone on the throne. I feel like I've walked in with his pants down as he looks at porn on his laptop. I've verbally slapped him. I don't know how to make it right, but I can't let it go. He pats the seat.
"Here, you can ride, and I will run beside you. Just try it. Please?"
"I don't feel confident on a bike," I say. His eyes light up and he blurts out, "so, you're scared, then?" I nod, sadly. He's done with me, and I know this as he turns to shake my hand.
"It was really, really nice to meet you, Robert!" Sadly, I can't say the same for him.
An hour later I am back in my apartment, perched at my window listening to the various traffic noises below. Cars swoosh by, bikers peddle their way past drunk people on the streets, skid to blast around corners and people just now entering bars are chatting with gusto about final exams and their recent graduations. Suddenly, there's a sound of a biker swearing as he skids to avoid a woman who is trying to walk towards the street corner. As he pulls away, she yells, "you stupid prick!" I nod to her outburst as I turn away from the window.
I couldn't agree with her more.