A few days ago, I became convinced that Mr. C had gone on a date with another woman and lied to cover it up. The evidence:
- The morning of the incident, he had logged in to OK Cupid. It had previously been almost two weeks since he had.
- He kept changing our plans, sort of suspiciously. At first, we were to get a drink post-work, around 7:30. Then, he emailed to say that he was suddenly going to have dinner at his friend’s house, which is pretty much in the suburbs. He’d call me between 7 and 8 to set up something for later, around 9:30. Hmm … seemed unlikely to me that he’d make a 9:30 p.m. date back in the center of Paris.
- He didn’t call until 11 p.m. And he always, always calls when he says he will. And, he left his message in English. He always leaves voicemails in French. This one felt off and his excuses seemed rushed and disconnected.
- The next morning, he sent me an email apologizing, explaining what happened. He got very caught up in a game of Scrabble and had lost track of the time. His description of the Scrabble game just seemed a bit too detailed and contrived.
It was driving me crazy! He was lying, right? I became convinced of it after polling several girlfriends, who all concurred that something was definitely fishy. Mr. C rescheduled our date for the next day, and even though I knew I was being pretty ridiculous (I should have just dropped it), I felt tense when we met up.
“Is something wrong?” Mr. C asked over our nine Euro beers in the touristy, Australian sports bar he had chosen.
“Uh, well, why do you say that?”
“Well, when you greeted me you did la bise instead of kissing me on the lips.”
Oh s**t, I did? I guess I had. Just ask him. Be honest
“Well, I guess …” … the moment I began talking, I knew I was in the wrong. “Sorry, I just invented this whole scenario where you were on a date, and you had sort of lied about it. I uh … ”
He stared blankly at me. Oh God. It was all over.
“You think I’m crazy right? Ugh, this is where crazy American girl comes out.”
“No! I mean, I was not on a date at all, you can ask my friends … I am just not sure why you would think that when I like you so much.”
Oh no. Now you’ve done it and just been an ass.
“No! I like you too, I just got paranoid. I’m sorry. I’ve … um … been the victim of awful men before. Men who are liars.” You’ve been the victim of lying men? Way to sound original, Leo. +100 points for random, awkward sentences.
Le sigh. In the end, however, my annoying-girl freak-out led to some more interesting conversation, where, for the first time, we opened up about our past relationships and how many times we’d been in love.
The next day, I met up with a new expat girlfriend, D, for lunch. As we wandered the rue de l’Université (passing Julia Child’s old apartment!), we contemplated restaurant choices, deciding on a semi-fancy bistro next to the Assemblée Nationale (“Lunchtime is filled with government guys in suits there,” D told me. “Let’s go. Maybe one will make me his maitresse.”
“Hey, what about Mr. C?” she prodded.
“Ahhh! Mr. C,” I said smiling widely and covering my face with my hands. “It’s good! But … ” I shamefully began recounting my awkward evening with him, searching for some insight on the French Guy mentality, because D is married to one.
“Aw, well it just sounds like you like him! And he seems like a nice, sweet guy, considering he took your weirdness so well. Any American dude would have gone running in the other direction. No offense.”
“No, none taken. And you’re right. And here’s the other thing … ” I began with a bit of suspense. “He hasn’t Google me.”
“What? How do you know?” D asked.
D is also a blogger, so I had recently shared with her my agony over whether to tell Mr. C about this here blog, or to just let it go, seeing as he knew from date one that I write a lot about my life online.
“Well, I sort of saw a window to ask him about it …. He was talking about how he’d spent a few hours at work procrastinating, just Googling stuff, and I stopped him, and asked him what kind of things he would Google, and he rattled off a list of random stuff. So I flat-out asked him if he had searched for me and his immediate, dead-on response was ‘no.’”
“Woah, did you ask him why?”
“Yes, and he said, ‘I haven’t, and I won’t. I don’t want to know. I know that if you want to share your writing, then you’ll read me something.’ And then I thanked him for respecting my privacy.”
“So does that mean you have a get-out-of-jail-free card?”
“Not sure. But it certainly is a relief,” I said, reaching for the carafe of red wine to refill my glass. (Ahh … wine at lunch on a Thursday. How wonderful.)
Afterward, we wandered a bit, stopping into Deyrlle, a century-old boutique filled with thousand-dollar taxidermied jungle animals, preserved butterflies, and other curiosities. As we were saying goodbye, D reminded me not to overthink things with Mr C. “Just go with the flow. You’re in Paris! Nothing has to be so black and white.”
She was right, I thought, as I walked home. It had been the perfect afternoon and things were going so well for me. All I needed to ruin it was for my thoughts to get in my way. As if on cue, my mobile sounded in my pocket. A text from Mr. C: “Hey you. Can I see you tonight? Dinner?”
“Why yes,” I wrote back. “Yes, you may.”