February 8, 2011 | 7:29 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
I went on a great date recently. I was someone’s guest for a fundraising gala and had a really fun time. I get a lot of emails from people who say that I only concentrate on what men do wrong. Much to my dismay, I realized perhaps this true but it is not a good representation of my opinion of men at all - the bad ones are just funnier and easier to write about. But in any case, I thought I’d tell you about someone who did everything right instead.
Of course, it should go without saying that he was a gentleman at all times. He didn’t pressure me to get a third drink when I declined at the after-hours celebration nor did he balk when I started the evening with Scotch. He never checked his phone in front of me – not once during the whole evening and it was a long night (Dinner started at 6 and we went out after the fundraiser was over!)! He never put his hands on me in a too familiar way but he politely offered his arm when my platform heels graced the steps outside the hotel. He even filled a card out to donate (generously – yes I peeked when he wasn’t there) and was discreet enough to close the card and not flaunt his donation in front of me. When the evening came to an end, he asked very firmly for my phone number. He didn’t hang around, muttering, awkwardly trying to work up the courage to say something. He knew he wanted it and asked – or at least he acted like that. He was even respectful during the long presentation that is de rigeur for such events. He was attentive and never got drunk. All in all a great time.
However, I’m pretty sure I’ll never see him again. Maybe I’m crazy or setting myself up for failure, but I can’t help but believe that when I meet him, I’ll just know, and this wasn’t it. I know I’m not being rational or fair, but something in me still wants to believe that the universe and fate is involved with whom I fall in love with. In this day and age is that as crazy as saying I believe in magic?
When I was seventeen, I was an intern in a Congressman’s office and I worked for a great guy, Jay, who was in his thirties and sweet and attractive. Everyone was always talking about how he was the ideal all around good-guy and gossiping about the string of toothsome girls he had dated over the years. And no, this is not an affair-with-an-intern story. Anyway, so Jay had been dating the latest girl for over a year and she seemed to be the favorite for attaining long term status. She was very pretty and and I could tell he liked her a lot; eventually I felt close enough to ask him if he was going to marry her. He told me he was waiting for a sign...something from God or a higher being that revealed to him that she was the one. I felt so bad for the girl. How long was she supposed to wait in a relationship for some voodoo sign to reveal itself? And if it never came, what then? Miss out on the possibly best thing that ever happened to him?
Eventually, I went off to college, and lost track of Jay and I still don’t know what happened to him. But I think about him often. How did it work out for him? Did a giant flock of seagulls fly over his house one morning and lead him to a billboard with a picture of a ring on it? Or did she get sick of waiting and break up with him and leave him to become bachelor now in his forties wondering if he’ll ever have kids.
I don’t think I’m waiting for a sign. But I know I’m waiting for something big – something that rocks my world – some sort of dare I say otherworldly love. But the scary thing about that is I’ve been in love before. And both times I thought the earth was shaking under me. And they both would have resulted in disasters if I had stayed in the relationship. So how can I ever trust myself? How will I know when I’m in love with the right person?
I like to think Jay did see the sign after all and got married to that girl. And maybe it wasn’t a sign from God. Maybe it was just something that anyone else would have overlooked but he told himself was a sign because he knew deep inside she was the one - like a heart made out of cheerios appearing in his cereal when he’s eating breakfast. I’m perfectly content to think that what I’m waiting for is something I’ll have to trick myself into believing. It’s easier than accepting that there was nothing meant to be at all. I just hope I’m able to recognize it when I see it. I guess I’ll just have to stay alert during breakfast from now on…
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