A friend, also a denizen of SF, likes to say, “To get what you want, you have to tell the universe.”
I didn’t realize that telling E my ambitions in New York (aside from becoming a National Book Award winning and best-selling author) to “date up a storm,” was doing just that, with a few minor tweaks made by the Universe itself.
Apparently what I wanted was a bald white guy who worked in analytics and whose idea of an endearing pet name is “Ho-bag.”
The Universe hears – I know it does – but I’m not sure it listens.
The Universe also reminds me of POI; when they want to, they are capable of doing good, swift work. Otherwise they take their slow ass time providing things they know full well you deserve and you want to strangle them.
Less than a month later, the day before I left for New York, I was at the bachelorette’s wedding in San Clemente, Calfornia, sitting ramrod straight in a very snug chartreuse bridesmaid dress, wondering if I could eat the palm-sized portion of steak in front of me and leave the table with the dress intact.
My phone lit up. It was E.
“Betty!” she texted, “I want to set you up with someone!”
I raised my eyebrows and looked at the empty seat across from me where, just a few minutes earlier, there had sat a hilarious groomsman who, before and during the wedding, had showed plenty of interest in “getting to know me.” Once the bar opened however, he had boozed up and was last seen slipping off behind some palm trees with another bridesmaid, equally boozed up.
A good reminder, I thought, that douchebaggery existed in every city.
I ate a bite of steak and tried to breathe. So far so good. I put the fork down and texted back.
“Hey E! I’m game. But in SF?”
“In New York! Except he’s working in London right now, but it’s temporary. He’ll be back after winter.”
Hm. Via text, we worked out the logistics. He was back in the States for a few weeks – both for work and vacation. He was in SF now but would be in New York for about two weeks after I moved there – we were arriving a day apart – then he’d head back to London.
“He’s really funny,” E wrote, “but he can be kind of offensive.”
“Oh, okay,” I said. This was a strange introduction.
“But I thought ‘It’s perfect’ because you can be kind of offensive too!’”
I snorted, which stretched my dress to max capacity. I texted back, “Wha…” but rolled with it, “Yeah,” I said and added without thinking, “You can tell him I’m racist too.”
E, playing telephone/middleman/matchmaker, wasted no time dispatching a flurry of texts to her friend who was with POI.
I just met her this year but she’s really cool.
In the heavens, God nodded.
She’s a little racist. But who isn’t?
Oh and her last name is ‘Ho.’
Her friend relayed this vital information to POI, who said, “I have to meet this girl.”
Some people have really high standards.
Photos were exchanged. He had no hair, but did have a nice smile and bright, kind eyes of indeterminate color. E sent him an Instagram I’d taken earlier that day, in full professionally done bridesmaid hair and makeup – basically what I look like…never. But it was established that neither of us were fat trolls; the handoff was made. My number was transferred from E’s phone to her friend’s phone to POI’s phone where a new text box was opened.
My phone blinked again. I had just finished the steak and was wondering when my now-married friends would cut the cake.
“This is POI,” texted POI.
“Hi!” I wrote, though my face bore the expression one wears when one’s dress is too tight and there is still dessert to be had.
“Quick, what are your two least favorite races,” he texted.
I responded in two seconds flat with ____and ___ (though I’ll leave this to your imagination. Wouldn’t want to lose them as a demographic).
He waited a few beats then wrote, “Great. Are you free next week for dinner?”
My eyebrows rose again. This could be interesting.
The emcee announced the cutting of the cake followed by dancing. I picked up my phone.
I am, I wrote, but didn’t have my agenda with me so I’d get back to him tomorrow. At that moment however, it was my duty as bridesmaid to eat some cake and tear up the dance floor.