Have you ever stuck your foot in your mouth without realizing you’ve stuck your foot in your mouth? And then when you do realize it, the reason for the sticking is gone and you’re left feeling like a heel?
That happened to me tonight. I met a friend for a fancy schmancy dinner. I walked into the restaurant and there she was, sitting with a gentleman I hadn’t seen in two? three? years. My face instantly lit up. You know how it is when you haven’t seen someone in ages and it’s someone you have a lot of affection for and then they’re just randomly there. That’s how it was. I hugged her; I hugged him. He and I did the awkward kiss-on-the-lips thing because neither of us knew where to put our faces. We gasped about how long it had been. She told me how she ran into him on her way to meet me and she asked him if he knew me and he (of course, she said) did, so that’s how he came to be there with her. Then he pulls out this white plastic claw of a hair piece and says “I think you left this in my car.”
“Oh my god!” I said. “I did!”
“I’ve had this in my glove box,” he said.
I took it from him and put it in my purse. “Well, now I’ve got no reason to get in touch with you,” I said. Entirely in jest, mind you.
He looks at her and says “don’t spit out your drink” and I look at her and she’s covering her mouth trying not to spit out her drink.
At this point it’s time for her and me to go up to dinner, so he and I do the awkward don’t-know-where-to-put-our-faces thing again. He leaves, we go upstairs. About three courses in I mention that I used to have a bit of a crush on him and she says “I know.”
I look at her like “what???” I never told him. He and I went to lunch once (I think – it’s been awhile). After lunch he drove me home down Lake Shore with his sunroof open and I stuck my head out the top like a Girls Gone Wild wannabe except the only thing I let loose was my hair; hence, the hair claw left in his glove box.
Well…it seems that tonight, right before I got to this fancy schmancy restaurant, he told her that he thought I left the claw as an excuse to get in touch with him again. She told him that was a teenager move. And it probably would have been left at that, except I walk in and he gives it to me and I say
“Well now I’ve got no reason to get in touch with you.”
Insert foot in mouth and do not extricate until your spine’s gotten a pedicure.
See, the thing is, I was being entirely facetious when I said that. Sure, if he’d ever asked me out out I would have said yes, but he didn’t and I was OK with that. In fact, in the ensuing months I actually felt like I’d blown him off a few times. Not intentionally, but when we met I was still working at a restaurant and my time was less my own than it is now. So I’m hearing he thought that leaving the claw was a ploy and I’m wondering just how desperate I seemed. Or cute. I’m going with cute. Because it would be cute to think that a 30-something woman would leave a hair piece-claw-whatever so she’d have an excuse to see someone who may or may not have been interested.
So, the end result is I have my plastic hair thingy back and he no longer has to cart it around in his glove box. Neither of us has any excuse to call the other ever again. Not that we did anyway, but now that there’s no gravity behind it, no pull, per se, I have a feeling we might actually say hello.
We might even be friends.
And that would be a total kick in the pants.