I met Lenny for lunch on Tuesday and filled him in on the meeting with Diane. I also gave him a recap of my conversation with Casey.
“That’s bullshit, Stuck. You go into this thing with that attitude and you’ll certainly be TFZed.” Lenny scowled at me. “Now I’ll admit it’s an unconventional first date, but you can’t assume she just wants a friend because she has a busy schedule.”
“Well, there’s also the fact that she is still married.”
“A temporary situation,” Lenny said. “If she’s moving out, she’s pretty serious about ending that marriage.”
“What if there are kids?”
“Then you’ll probably have someone to play with,” Lenny grinned. “Listen, Stuck. You’re setting yourself up for failure here. You wanted to make her the Control Group in this little science fair project, and you’re succeeding.”
“What do you mean?” I asked the question, but part of me already knew the answer. Worse yet, that part of me agreed with him.
“You’ve taken the girl you find most desirable out of the bunch and you’re approaching her as a friend. You’re holding on to that belief that you need to be friends before you start dating, and, I swear to you, that isn’t going to work. You’re dooming yourself to failure here.”
“So what do you suggest, oh wise and powerful Oz?”
“Help her move, and at the end of the day, ask her to some bad-ass date restaurant. Let her know that you want to jump her bones without coming right out and saying it.”
“But I don’t want to jump her bones, Lenny. I want to date her.”
“What’s the difference between friendship and dating?” Lenny was getting fairly animated now. “A friend doesn’t want to get in the other’s pants. You have an amazingly cute girl who practically threw herself at you, and all you’re thinking about is how nice she is.”
“I don’t see what the problem is with that,” I protested.
“The problem, Stuck, is that one of you has to be the man in the relationship.”
“Shut up and listen,” Lenny cut me off. “You’ve accumulated a throng of girls who think of you as one of their girlfriends. They might call you their brother, or cousin, or great-uncle Harry, but it all boils down to one thing: They think of you as a chick.”
“I’m not done yet.” Lenny held up his hand to silence me. “You’ve got two options. The first is that you can find a woman who is willing to be the man, but she’d be like the total opposite of all those submissive girls you’ve dated. The other is that you can stop all this ‘Let’s be friends’ crap and show the girls that you want them.”
I had no response to that. For every fifty Lenny-moments that made me want to shoot him, he would spout off some bit of wisdom or hard truth that made me glad to have him as a friend. He was right, of course. The reason I was so successful as Nice Ass was that Nice Ass didn’t care about being friends. He could be friendly, but there was no question about what he wanted.
“You’re quiet. Did I piss you off?”
“No. You just gave me some food for thought that I’ve avoided eating for awhile.”
The check came and Lenny picked it up. We’ve long since stopped fighting over who pays because we decided that we each pick it up often enough that it evens out somewhere in the end. If Lenny were a girl, though, I would’ve leapt across the table to grab that piece of paper. It’s weird, but few things in my life are really normal.
Back in the office, I took a few minutes to throw an update on my online journal. I started keeping it on MySpace just as a method of sorting out my thoughts on women and dating and life in general. I didn’t care that it was public because I didn’t think anyone would bother reading it outside of Casey and Lenny. This didn’t bother me, since they already knew what I was thinking.
I was wrong, though. Total strangers were reading it. Some of them would post comments. Some would send me messages. Others would just read and say nothing. It didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. In fact, I enjoyed seeing what random people had to say. It offered a different, if not fresh, perspective on things. Besides, if I didn’t agree with them, it didn’t matter. They were people I didn’t know.
After I’d posted my thoughts for the day, I checked my messages and found three new messages. One of them was from someone who’d been reading since the beginning, and it was just a “Hey. How you doing?” type of thing. Another was from a friend from my previous job, seeing if we could make some plans for grabbing beers one night. The third, though, was from a new person.
It was a typical feedback message from a stranger. I don’t want to call it ‘fan mail,’ because that sounds arrogant. This reader was a girl in some town I’d never heard of in Illinois. She liked the way I wrote, and had a few comments about my Nice Ass strategy. Not to discourage feedback, I replied to her and thanked her for it. I also gave her profile a quick browse and read one of her questionnaires.
MySpace is full of these little question-and-answer bulletins that everybody posts. They remind me of those old notebooks we used to keep in elementary school where you’d have your friends write in their favorite foods, colors, and playground accessory. These questionnaires, though, usually had a few deep questions thrown in amongst the fluff ones.
Her answers intrigued me, and I found myself thinking it was a shame that she lived a bazillion miles away, because she seemed like she’d be cool to hang out with. I filled out the questionnaire myself and, as with everything I do, threw a lot of humor into it. I posted it up and then got back to work.
Later that afternoon I caught myself looking up that town in Illinois, just to see where it was.