Relationship red flags can be as heavy as feather against the skin, or as subtle as a sledgehammer to the head. The ones I ignored on the way to the altar were so glaring that when I drove past the bank in Dupont Circle, instead of the time and temperature the sign would flash “Refugee, Don’t Do It!”
Given that history, I normally have a more sensitive flagometer than most. Being an hour late for a first date should have sent it into the “back the fuck away zone.” Displaying the fallacy of “as comfortable at a black tie affair as a dive bar” should have been another. But I sat through it anyway.
The School Administrator and I had plans to meet at the hip new wine bar that proved to be too hip to make me a drink for 15 minutes. I decided that going next door to a very solid dive bar and updating SA via text message was the better way to salvage an evening. Forty-five minutes later my date’s disagreement with my assessment was palpable.
“We don’t have to stay here; I just didn’t want to stew in my own juices next door” I said after the perfunctory “hellos” and “you look greats.”
A short cab ride later we faced each other from the opposite deep backed chairs at the Ritz Carlton. It was yet another moment of failed logic.
We were two manhattans and two spectacularly overrated glasses of champagne into the evening when my cerebral clouds parted. SA was neither Vicky Vale to whom to show any bat caves, a unicorn to chase, nor a windmill at which to tilt.
“SA, I think I should call it a night.”
“It’s so early; are you sure? I don’t see a second date after a first that’s so… er, short.”
“I think we’ll both be ok with that. Let’s just call it the gift of obviousness.”