Monday, September 14, 2009

The Year of Dating Dangerously - Part I

Sitting in the Tropicana Café, a Sydney institution, in Darlinghurst. She was reading a chick-lit novel, unusual for her. Its cover was ostentatiously pink with an illustration of a pair of fleshy bare legs set behind the title.

Sitting on her own, reading such a very pink book, she was probably inviting trouble, and she knew it. She was seated at a window table, and she sipped wine as she read.

Outside, in mirror image to the table at which she sat, was another, open-air table. The trio seated there were separated from her only by the floor to ceiling window she glanced through occasionally. The trio comprised two men and a woman, and the relationship between them was hard to discern. Gradually, though, she became aware that the man seated closest to her was stealing glances at her through the window.

She caught his eye once, and smiled. The frequency and duration of the gazes increased.

Finally the man caught her eye again, then tilted his head slightly to one side in order to read the title of her book:

Good in Bed”, it proclaimed, loudly, garishly.

His eyebrows raised as he gave her a look of mock horror, leaning back in his chair with his hand on his chest in a parody of moral outrage. She laughed.

He turned back to his table and scribbled something on a piece of paper, which he then held against the window so that she could read it:

Are you?” it said.

She laughed again, then gave him the thumbs up and a slightly naughty smile, a wink.

His turn to laugh.

His cheekiness appealed to her, and he was attractive – dark hair, dimples, tall – above all, funny, her weakness. He wrote something else on his piece of paper and held another note to the glass. It said, simply:


She grinned. Why not? She wrote her name and number on a piece of paper and added underneath:

“ – after that, how could I not?”

She held the paper up to the window and watched as the man chuckled and entered her number into his phone. He then wrote another note:

My name is Jake. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

She liked him already. Good name. Good with words. Witty. The whole exchange had been original, different. Even if he never called, this was a come-on she would not soon forget.

And it got better.

One of the friends sitting with him, the girl, was next to write a note, a slightly longer one this time.

Has he told you yet about the 4 ex-wives and the 10 children?” She wrote.

The response:

Who wants an inexperienced man?”

By now the table outside was in stitches, highly entertained.

When they got up to leave, soon after this last exchange, Jake looked at her, inclined his head in an action reminiscent of a Victorian gentleman tipping his hat at a lady, and smiled. She smiled back, waved. Jake returned her wave and then sauntered off with his friends.

Possibilities. The year of yes.

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