365 Days In Paris: Two Players In A Three-Person Game
I barely felt anything about breaking up with Mr. Cupid until a few days ago. Being back to my old life was great. No more obligations in the evening. Nights slept in my own (much prettier) bed. No more stressing about whatever next “surprise” Cupid would do, that would scare me into thinking his next one would be proposing marriage.
Yet, while I am totally glad we’re over, I did feel a momentary pang of sadness a few days ago, not so much about him, but about the disappointment in not having something be what you want it to be. Why couldn’t he just be a bit more driven and mature? All the things I want in a Frenchman I think I now see in all the couples who get in my way by making out in the middle of the sidewalk while accordions play and kids in berets skip around with ice cream cones.
I’ve completely abandoned online dating. If anyone asked me two months ago about what the difference between online dating in NYC and in France is, I would have said, “Well, in New York, a lot of people do it. And the stigma has really loosened up. France is where NYC was five years ago, so I’m positive that things will turn around with the handful of dating sites here.” Now if you asked me this question, I’d say, “If a guy in Paris is doing online dating, something is wrong with him.” Sorry. But the selection is weak. Remember that date I went on from OKCupid with they guy who turned out to be married? Well Married Man has since been stalking me (I ignore always), somehow finding me on Facebook. The last message he sent me was a link to some video he made, which was possibly the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. It was an “artsy” short of him in a scary mask with antlers and a soundtrack of heavy breathing. Ahh!
Well, the good news is that I’m about to get back into the game. I actually really can’t complain for the lack of options because I’ve had quite a few suitors (go me!). Unfortunately, most of them aren’t the ones I want to be contacting me. Yet, surprisingly, the business card tactic has about a 100 percent return rate here. I have two new prospects, although, admittedly, they didn’t come back to me via business card. #1 is a friend of K’s boyfriend. I met him briefly the first time we all hung out; I took one look at his dark, movie-star good looks and didn’t look at him again that whole evening. Too pretty. Let’s just call him TDH: Tall, Dark and Handsome. Boys like that … most of the time I don’t even let myself fantasize about them. There’s something that bothers me about really good-looking guys—like, when their looks are that obvious, it seems like the natural thing to admire them or try to get close to them. It makes me feel uncomfortable. From the start, I felt he had “player” written all over him.
But the second time we hung out together, I was surprised when he actually initiated conversation with me. It was a Saturday, and K invited me out with her boyfriend’s posse. They were going over to Oberkampf, a street packed with dirty-trendy bars and music venues (probably the closest thing to Hipsterville in Paris). We all met up first at her apartment. The boys were speaking super-rapid French filled with slang, and after a long day, I didn’t feel like catching up with them, so K and I engaged in girl talk on the couch. Out of nowhere, TDH turned to me and asked me about myself, actually looking me in the eye, listening, and helping me find French words when they didn’t come. I stayed clear of him for most of the rest of the evening, but smiled every so often when we’d catch eyes. Around midnight, K, her boyfriend, and the two other girls there went home, and I was left with TDH and a handful of guys. “Hey! We’re going to Le Bataclan (a club). Come with us! Come!” I hemmed and hawed, and, undecided, I told them I’d walk with them and see how I felt.
Honestly, I’m not a late-night person, and most of the time, late nights plus attractive boy can equal one-night trouble for me. So when we passed the metro, I stopped. “Hey guys. I think I’m going to get on the metro and call it a night.”
“Behhhh, non, non! Come weeeeth us!” the boys shouted.
“Sorry. I’m just tired …”
TDH stepped in closer. “Look, you’re not going to make it anyhow,” he said, looking at the time on his cell. “The metro is already closed.”
Technically, this was true but also bulls**t, because I knew exactly what time the last train was. “Give me your phone,” he instructed. I handed it over and he began typing in his phone number, pressing the call button after so he had mine, too. His bros teasingly Ooooh-ed as he did. “Hey, Romeo, smooth move!” they shouted.
“Just call if you can’t get on, and come meet us.”
I thanked him and just made the last train. As I was on it and while I walked home, we exchanged sweet text messages to make sure everything had gone well. Then I didn’t hear from him for a week. I decided to take matters into my own hands and texted him a few days ago to see if he wants to get a drink. “Avec plaisir,” he wrote. So we’re on for some time this week—plans to be decided soon.
As for suitor #2 … he’s more of a footnote only because he really only came into the picture yesterday. An American and a friend of a friend, he’s also the type with a player vibe. He called yesterday to invite me to a group dinner, which I couldn’t make. I vaguely responded by saying, “Sorry I can’t go … but I’m around. I’m sure we’ll see each other soon.” To my surprise he took the reins. “OK. How about Wednesday? Dinner? 8 p.m.?” Hmmm, I thought. Interesting. Up until then American Boy seemed like the type who just had flirty friendships with girls, but the way he put this was definitely as a date.
“I’m game,” I told him.