I've had some pretty depressing set-ups in my dating past, but none of them top Book Guy (BG). He is a colleague of a girlfriend of mine (the female half of The Coracle - introduced here) who had been talking him up to me for months. He had all the qualifications: Jewish, smart, funny, just self-published his own book, nice, etc.
This was in early 2007, when I had decided that, if I was going to find a worthwhile man to possibly marry, dating was going to have to be my second job. This meant I had to work long hours on the computer exchanging emails with potential suitors and proactively participating in networking events like speed dating, singles parties and set-ups through friends. Too bad this second job doesn't really pay the bills (if you don't count the times when the guy picks up the tab).
Over the weeks since she brought it up to me, I followed up with Mrs. Coracle several times to see if/when this set-up would happen (I am equally persistent at my paying job, thank you). But by the time she approached BG, he informed her that he had started dating someone. Typical. You snooze, you lose.
I kept on my search and quickly grew frustrated with dating -- yet again. Which is exactly why I started this blog - to vent. I quickly began having much more fun bitching about my dates on-line than actually going on them. So to make my second job more tolerable, I decided to take on a third job by trying to get my blog out there as much as possible through links, other writers, etc. At the very least, it gave me some sort of motivation to go on these damn dates in the first place.
Sometime in March, Mrs. Coracle invited me to a party. Not just any party, but a book launch party for, guess who, Book Guy. When I asked Mrs. Coracle about his dating status, she said she thought he might still be seeing that girl but she wasn't sure if it was all that serious. In hindsight, she very likely said that just to get me to go with her.
At this point, three thoughts went through my head:
1) I never did get to see what this guy looked like, so this seems like a good time to check him out without too much awkwardness.
2) If he does still have a girlfriend that isn't all that serious, perhaps my first impression (which, I've been told, can be pretty good) can help him change his mind.
3) Romance or not, he could be a good contact for me in my budding writing career.
So I printed up some Dating Trooper business cards, made sure I looked pretty darn hot, and joined The Coracle (now both the Mr. and Mrs.) at the party.
All in all, BG was pretty cute, especially compared to most of the other Jewish guys I've met in San Diego (all eight of them). He had a proactively shaved head (perhaps BG could stand for Bald Guy then), which is fine with me, and he had a great smile. Plus, I loved seeing how ambitious he was to write and publish his own book (about relationships and sports no less!!!).
Nervous as I was, I approached him at the table, introduced myself as a friend of Mrs. Coracle (I'm pretty sure I saw a glimmer of recognition that I was that friend) and congratulated him on his impressive accomplishment. At that point his girlfriend came and sat down next to him. She was stunning - tall, tan, from some sexy South American country, long brown hair, and (goddamn her) a sincere smile that made you immediately not hate her.
They looked like a handsome, happy couple. There was no way I was going to be able to penetrate that with my pathetic first impression. Nor did I want to. So I decided that this awkward exchange was now nothing but a pure networking opportunity. I introduced myself to her as well, told them both about my blog (she said she had many single friends who would love it), gave them my card, and bought a copy of his book, in which he signed something painfully generic. Then I returned to my table a little depressed but proud that I had completed my work assignment for the evening.
Then it was time for Book Guy to make his speech. About 75 people were scattered around the room seated at tables and munching on fattening bar food. It seemed most of the crowd was made up of his friends and family. BG began to speak and thanked everyone for coming to support his first publishing effort.
And then, all of a sudden, he wasn't talking about his book anymore. When he asked his girlfriend to join him at the microphone, the energy in the room completely changed. He began to talk about love, dreams and the future. Then he proceeded to get down on one knee, take out a ring box, and blurt out a marriage proposal. After she enthusiastically said yes, the crowd burst into somewhat stunned applause, the couple energetically embraced, and I started to cry (I wasn't alone of course, but I was probably the only one there that didn't really know either of them). I wasn't crying from sadness or jealousy (OK, maybe a little), but mostly because it was just an absolutely beautiful, romantic moment - and I’m a chick after all. Of course, I also felt like a bit of an ass for actually thinking earlier in the evening that I might be able to turn this guy's head away from this gushing, beautiful brunette.
I went home soon after, refusing The Coracles offer to continue the festivities at another location. I needed to go home and feel just a tad sorry for myself.
I did follow up with BG by email a week later (he gave me his card in return) to congratulate him and try to make a connection with him on the writerly front. He responded back politely but generically, not picking up on my hint. So I left it at that (and gave his book away). As far as my job was concerned, this was a dead lead.
Flash forward one year later. I'm ten months into my relationship with Wine Guy and things are going just fine. Earlier this week, I met up with Mrs. Coracle and she informs me -- with a great deal of enthusiasm -- that Book Guy called off his engagement. Apparently, they moved in together soon after the engagement, only to find out that they were completely wrong for each other. It sounded like he was relieved to have gotten out of it before they pulled the trigger.
And, guess what? He immediately started asking her all about me. Am I still single? When she replies I have a boyfriend he responds, "How serious is it?" Perhaps he also thinks he could turn my head if only he had the chance. Granted, Wine Guy is no tall, stunning South American, but he's pretty darn lovable nonetheless. Perhaps I can invite BG to our engagement party?