Him: So here he is.
Me: So here HE is. Look at you, small drink of water.
Him: STOP IT.
Me: I mean it. You’re gorgeous. Better than your pics online.
Him: Isn’t Grindr weird?
Me: I kind of think it’s amazing. It’s like Chat Roulette, but in person. You never know what you’re going to get.
Him: Believe me. I know.
Me: That sounded ominous.
Him: I’ve met some real creeps.
Me: I’ve met jerks and nice people. No real creeps.
Him: Maybe that’s because you’re the creep?
Me: Nice. I tell you you’re pretty, twice, and you imply that I’m a creep. You should write a book on dating.
Him: Uh oh. Am I one of your online Jerks?
Me: Are you?
Me: Well there it is.
Him: Anyway, who keeps score?
Me: Of what?
Him: Of that sort of stupid stuff? Compliments and whatnot.
Me: Obviously I do. I just demonstrated that I do.
Me: Relax. I might be joking, you know… I might just still think you’re an attractive little wonder, at 5’6”.
Him: Stop saying little. I don’t like to feel little.
(i’m feeling brave, and so i take a step toward him. i put my face next to his. i can feel the breath come out of my nose against his cheek. he smells spicy. like cinnamon or ginger, but not quite those things. )
Me: What about now? Do you feel little now?
(i put my hands on his ribcage and squeeze gently. the hair stands up on my arms. i have goosebumps)
Me: But don’t you kind of feel really powerful?
Me: You’re pretty.
(he moves away)
Me: Haha… okay. So, no saying you’re little, and I’m guessing – no ‘pretty’ either?
Him: Why not handsome? Why can’t I be handsome?
Me: You can. You are. You’re very handsome. You’re also pretty.
Me: Well the good news is: I like pretty. So dry your eyes on that.
Him: You’re cute.
Me: Compliment number one.
Me: That’s the first compliment you ever gave me, in person.
Him: Oh great. How far behind am I?
Me: Only a few, but I’d rather stay ahead in the compliment game, if you don’t mind?
Me: I’d rather you owed me.
Me: It’s a thing that my grandfather says. I used to borrow money from him, sometimes, at the store to get comic books. I would ask to borrow five dollars. He would give it to me. When I got my allowance I’d try to pay it back, and he would say ‘No, I’d rather you owed me.’ Then he would smirk, as if he’d just told the funniest joke in the world.
Him: That’s cute.
Me: It’s infuriating. He’d smirk at me, here and there, for the next few weeks, and I knew he was thinking ‘You owe me five bucks and it really bothers you, and I love that.’ He was right, too. It was exactly what I was thinking.
Him: That’s cute. He sounds pretty awesome.
Me: He’s a good man. For sure.
Him: Can I ask you a question?
Me: Sorry. That was supposed to be funny. I said no, when the only appropriate answer was yes. I thought it would be funny.
Him: Was it?
Me: Yes, but you’ll just have to trust me. You didn’t see your face when I said it. It was funny.
Him: I guess I’ll have to believe you.
Me: Good. Because I’m lying.
Me: Sorry. That was another joke. That one wasn’t funny. I get nervous and act like an idiot.
Him: You make it charming, somehow.
Me: You didn’t know me in college.
Him: Were you different?
Me: I was nearly insufferable.
Him: You’re pretty too.
Me: Shucks. Okay. That’s two for you. Fuck.
Him: You’re not some sort of creepy Rice Queen, are you?
Me: Uh… I mean.. I thought that was obvious? You’ve been to my website, right?
Him: Yeah. There’s lots of Asians.
Me: But not ALL Asians, right? I like a lot of things. A lot of people. I like kind people. Asians are kind, frequently, if you’re kind to them.
Him: I guess that’s not so creepy. I guess that’s okay for Asians.
Me: Yeah. Well I forgot to say: I feed on their tears. Keeps me young. I’m like a succubus, or a psychic vampire of some sort. I’m 183 years old. I make them cry and then drink their salty tears. But it only works with Asians.
Me: Yes. And did you also know that Black people can levitate? They’re hiding it from you.
(long pause. he starts laughing a lot)
Him: You’re joking!
Me: Yes. And you’re laughing. That means…..
Him: What does that mean?
Me: It means, you get a kiss, if you want one, later.
Him: I’ll decide later if I do.
Me: Oh. I. Like. That.
Me: No. It’s infuriating. I’d rather you owed me one.
(we kept talking and walking. later, he gave me a quick kiss. it was a good kiss.)
He’s not a jerk…
But you are. Come on. You know you are.