First Impressions

Shoulda studied here.
Shoulda studied here.

POI, reticent about his family, did tell me this:

“Don’t say anything racist when you meet my mom.” 

I gave him a half smile, one that said, “You think I’m an idiot?” But the look he returned was serious.

“I’m being serious,” he said, “She will hate you.”

I rolled my eyes. Became defensive. 

My momma didn’t raise no fool. She taught me how to keep racism to myself. Or at least say it in Chinese. 

POI and I had, prior to meeting in person, “met” via text August of last year while he was in San Francisco visiting friends. Over drinks with said friends, he asked to be set up. His friend texted another friend, who texted another friend, E, who happened to be newly friends with me.

E and I had both been bridesmaids last March at a friend’s wedding in Taiwan. We knew of each other through our friend, and when we finally met, bonded over each other’s good natures – the stuff friendships should be based on. Four months later in July, while in San Francisco for a bachelorette, I called E. We had lunch, then dessert and walked along the water, the whole time discussing my and other young womens’ singledom. 

“If New York doesn’t work out,” E suggested, “move to San Francisco after you graduate. I’ll set you up with someone so fast. Someone really great too.” 

She nodded proudly around the hip waterfront farm-to-table restaurant we sat in as though she’d asked all the handsome young professional males to assemble there that day. 

“So many great single guys in SF.”  

I looked around. The single men weren’t labeled, but they were there. I could sense them. 

At the time, my plan was to move to New York and date up a storm. Packing boxes and boxes of Forever 21 clothes and heels which I never had a chance to wear in California, I thought, “Catch ya later, OC fools and LA tools,” and facing east and my imagined sassy, future self, “Here comes Hurricane Betty.” 

I told E as much as we walked through the Ferry Building hunting for something sweet. Families with small children, tourists and couples took small steps to and fro, poking noses into various food stands – everyone inching towards some sensory delight.

“Dating a lot for fun would be ideal,” E said, “Especially when you just move to the city. But I do hope you meet someone awesome.”

We agreed on a mille-fuille from Miette and the bubbly girl behind the counter, probably spoken for by some young tech billionaire, boxed it up and handed it to me with a big smile.

“Sweets for the single,” her smile said.

E grabbed two biodegradable forks, “I just know from a lot of my friends that it’s super hard out there.” 

She told me of five specific instances in which girlfriends, on the cusp of becoming self-assigned old maids and fed up with New York’s infamously douchebag-deluged dating scene, moved to SF and found almost immediately, if not the one, then, a really good one. 

E lowered her voice and looked around. 

This is going to sound kind of mean, but the odds here are such that sometimes, I don’t even think some of my friends are good enough catches for the guys… but I mean, lucky for them, right?” 

Interesting, I thought. Very interesting. 

We finished the cake. It was time to separate. E had to meet her boyfriend (whom, incidentally, she’d met through friends while abroad) and I with the bachelorette party.

“Good luck in New York!” she said as we hugged goodbye, “Remember, if you’re still single after graduation, move to SF!”

I laughed, wondering if thinking of an entire city – and one I was not nearly as enthusiastic about as other cities (no offense, SF) – as a relationship safety net was self-defeating or premature or both. But certainly it was too early to tell. And besides, one woman’s douchbag deluge might be another’s refreshing and much-needed spring rain. I looked ahead. I had a bachelorette party to prepare for and beyond that, the move to New York.

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