Friday, May 16, 2014

...Don't I Know You? look familiar...
Have you ever noticed that right after you buy a new car, you start seeing that same car everywhere? I bought a little Honda Civic a few years ago and was totally weirded out by the sheer number of sporty “pewter” two-doors I saw flying down the highways and byways of southern Texas soon after I signed the dotted line. I guess there's something about dropping thousands of dollars on a thing that makes you hyper-aware of its existence in the world.

Online dating has a similar phenomenon, especially if you are on one of the smaller, niche sites. I’ve been on Catholic Match three times—a month here, six months there—and I've noticed you tend to see the same people over and over again. Sometimes they’re sending you message after unwanted message, sometimes you’re the one staring longingly at their profile picture (which naturally includes them and a small child—“That’s my adorable niece in my profile pic, in case you’re wondering!” they clarify in earnest—clearly someone has been spreading around that viewing men with babies wears down a woman’s steely resolve until her heart is 75% effaced, and she might consider going out with a guy even though he has a hint of a rat tail), wishing they would message you back.

On a night when Mars was bright, just before I moved to the quasi-frozen North, I took a little turn about Ye Olde Catholic Match to see what kind of prospects T-Town offered me.

Sidebar: By the way, every time I re-open my account, I end up having to write a new “About Me,” a task that could be used as a punitive measure for certain crimes against humanity. Few things are more awkward and painful than trying to accurately describe oneself in 500 words or less. I am large, I contain multitudes, dammit!

That was the first time I saw Clay’s profile. He was cute doctor, and if memory serves (as it sometimes does), we exchanged a few messages before I got busy with the whole moving saga and deleted my account.

A few months after I’d loaded up all of my worldly possessions and bid friends and family a tearful goodbye, I was finally settled up in Tulsa. Pictures were hung on the walls, my classroom was somewhat organized to my liking (though I didn’t get my awesome life-sized cutout of Ten until the next year—my students constantly break my heart when they ask who the six-foot tall creeper judging them in the corner is), and I started trying to carve out for myself something that looked like a social life.

Which is how I found myself at the local edition of Theology on Tap with a few friends. I have absolutely no recollection of what was discussed that night, but at some point during the proceedings, a guy came and sat in the empty chair next to me. Eager to make new friends, I struck up a conversation and found out the following:

Name: Clay
Occupation: cute doctor
Niece: adorable
Face: …eerily familiar

We spoke for twenty minutes before I finally put two and two together. I immediately grabbed my friend Jennie and dragged her into the bathroom for an emergency powwow.

Me: That guy—
J: He’s cute!
Me: I know him.
J: What?
Me: I mean, I kind of know him.
J: How do you “kind of” know him?
Me: We talked online.
J: Online?
Me: Yeah. Do you think he remembers me?
J: No idea.
Me: Do I say something? It seems too late to say something. I’m not going to say something.
Swift dissolution in to giggles.

So I returned to the table and engaged in uncomfortable conversation with Clay, unsure if he knew that I knew or if he even had a clue. What’s a girl to do?

Sidebar: Rhyme. The answer is rhyme. Obviously.

In December, I threw a Christmas party with my roommate. Madeleine, who was much better at carving out a social life for herself than I, had met lots of young Catholics in town, so the party mostly consisted of her friends. I was in hostess mode, busily whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, when who walks into my house, a bottle of Jim Beam in tow?

A) Will Ferrell, dressed in his full Buddy the Elf costume
B) St. Nicolas, the big man himself
C) Clay, the cute doctor

Sidebar: C. The answer is C because that is the logic of my life. Also, St. Nicolas is buried in Venice, and Will Ferrell has much better things to do than crash my Ugly Christmas Sweater party, no matter how sweet our homemade photo booth was.

I stayed in the kitchen, making uncomfortable conversation as I attempted once again to ferret out the whole “Does he know that I know he knows—or does he even know?” situation, analyzing each eye twitch for a hidden double meaning, until another totally random person from my past texted me, and Clay returned to the living room while I stayed in the kitchen and hid, drinking mulled cider spiked with a healthy glug of bourbon.

A month or two after that, my friend Rachel got it in her mind to set me up. Her first choice? Clay, the cute doctor she knew from med school.

Was this real life?

Clay continues to crop up in random places around town, catching me off guard every time. To this day, I have no idea if he remembers me as the flaky girl from Catholic Match who never returned his message or just as the super awkward girl who is noticeably twitchy around him for no discernible reason.


  1. I've tried to comment on this three times and the internet continues to fail me. Unless it doesn't and you have three comments from me that all say the same thing, in which case, I humbly apologize. What I've been trying to say is stop being awkward and twitchy and date the cute doctor (not Ten, he's married)! I need you to do this for me because I no longer have awkward dating escapades of my own to write about.

    1. Yes, but if I dated the cute doctor, then there would (probably) be fewer opportunities for awkward dating escapes to write about ;)

  2. Well, you've got me there!