I can’t believe I have somehow gotten a guy to cook me dinner in my own home, I thought, smiling at Mr. C as he dodged about awkwardly in my petite cuisine looking for knives, having insisted on coming to chez moi to let me relax while he made a meal.
When we sat down to eat, I started to giggle. This had to be not only the most clichéd moment I’ve experienced in Paris, but also the most clichéd moment you’d find in most movies. There I was, sitting down to my table with a view of the Seine, having a handsome French man politely correct my français as he served me a meal, accompanied by an expensive bottle of St. Emillion, and Frank Sinatra crooning in the background.
“What’s so funny?” Mr. C asked, topping off my glass.
“Nothing. Nothing.” I said, stifling my smile. He took my hand, holding up the other with his glass. “Cheers.”
Up until then, I had been having trouble dealing with my fast progression with my new French manfriend. I’d already heard him call me the C-word to his friends on the phone: ma copine, which is ambiguous enough in meaning “friend who is a girl,” but generally spells girlfriend. In addition, we’d hit a bumpy spot the day before that had really thrown things off.
“Do you want to come with me to go bowling with my friend and his girlfriend tomorrow night?” he had proposed.
My alarm bells went off. Double date. Two weeks, and you’re going on a double date. (Side note: bowling in France? Apparently, that exists.)
I tried to dodge the invite. “Uhh … well I dunno what my plans are … and yeah .. maybe.”
That day, many emails were exchanged between us regarding the plans: He was reassuring me that it would be fun, me: I was procrastinating with my answers in horrible grammar.
Later that day, my sister logged online, and I messaged her at once:
“Mr. C wants me to go on a double date already and I’m freaking out.”
“What? But don’t you like him?”
“Yes. But … doesn’t it kinda feel too soon for a double date?”
“I mean … it’s a double date. It’s not like double marriage.”
Point taken. Yet, I still couldn’t bring myself to do it, my anxieties about the event having become entirely too full blown. Instead, I met up with a friend that night for some cheap wine. Naturally, several glasses later, and close to metro closing time, I drunk texted.
“How’s your evening? I’d kind of like to see you,” I wrote.
A half hour later, I found myself waiting outside the metro stop near his apartment. I sat down on a bench, clutching my cell phone in case he would call. Ten minutes passed. And then 20 minutes. Now, I felt stupid and worried, and some drunk teenage boys were starting to taunt me.
Finally, his face appeared as he climbed the steps out of the metro, the breeze making his blazer puff up. “Sorry, it took a bit longer than I thought,” he said breathlessly, as he rushed up to me and smoothed my bangs out of my eyes.
“It’s OK.” Pause. “I hope you don’t think that I am a salope…you know, like a slut, meeting you so late.”
“No, no, I would never think that,” he said, again stroking my hair and ears.
We woke up early the next morning, Mr. C playing with my hands in the air while he asked me what I would like to do today.
“Merde! It’s Sunday?” I realized with a start.
“Well, I usually meet my girlfriends at the marché biologique at 11 a.m. But … I guess no one has emailed to confirm. I’ll send a text to K to find out what’s up.”
Turning away from him, I hastily typed to her: “Hey! You going to the market this morning? Think it would be weird if I brought Mr. C?”
A minute later:
K: “S*it! I have to work today. Damn, I won’t meet him!”
Me: “Ha, yeah, he has definitely called me copine.”
K: “You’re screwed. Give it one week for him to say he loves you.” She said, referring to her Parisian boyfriend’s quick confession of love.
Me: “Hey! I do like him, though!”
K: “That’s cool. Maybe you’ll marry him and we’ll laugh about this in a few years.”
Me: “Double wedding? You and me?”