Every girl wants kind, respectful, and intelligent. Most girls wouldn’t shy away from tall, dark, and handsome. Me? I’d opt for caustic, bordering on downright abrasive, and incredibly snarky. Paul fit the bill.
Our dates usually involved inhibition-unlocking elixirs (hoppy ones, more often than not) and cerebral conversation. Politics and purple prose. Dick Cheney and Charles Dickens. Paul was one of the brightest guys I have gone out with. He was Ivy-educated and in DC for graduate school. He also had an expansive lexicon. (Admittedly, nothing turns me on more than words I don’t know.) Though he was intellectually pretentious, he didn’t come off as a snob. How haughty can you really be in a Phillies T-shirt and Sambas?
There was also the beard. It was dark and coarse, not unlike the spindly curls atop his head. We hadn’t even made it past the first date before he proudly shared that older women on the bus would politely avoid him; they thought he was homeless. I consider myself to be open-minded, but I don’t remember “vagabond” being an elective profession on Match.com.
“But homeless people don’t have Blackberries,” he defended his own accusation. Typical law student. Nonetheless, Paul was championing for his own no-shave semester before selling his soul to a big law firm in a neighboring city.
We went out a handful of times. When overnights began, I quickly voted for my apartment. The surroundings were familiar, I could sleep in a T-shirt, and I could avoid morning commuters. It made perfect sense. That is, however, until the morning when I was left with a follicle fusillade. His hair was everywhere! Dark, curly hairs peppered my crisp, white sheets. It quickly dawned on me that the root (i.e., place of origin, not hair root) of these hairs was completely indiscernible. He could be shedding from his head, his arms, his legs, his nether region. I had no idea. And all of these options were distinct possibilities. I was disgusted – no more sleeping at my place.
Our next outing was a Friday, and I chose a dress with boots. After we each bought a few rounds of cheap beers at his neighborhood watering hole, Paul seemed amenable to spending the night with me at his place. I am not sure what sort of expectations I had for the morning after, but I could not have predicted what was coming my way. It was pretty early in the morning when we woke, and he told me he had schoolwork. I was already itching to leave. I kept thinking he was going to put on shoes to walk me to the Metro (he was a poor law student whose primary mode of transportation was an old bicycle), but that did not happen. He walked barefoot to his stoop and literally pointed in the direction of the Metro.
I probably would have been chilly on my walk had I not been so incensed. How could he not walk me to the Metro? I’ve driven him home before, and he can’t bring himself to walk me three blocks?! This is the green line, for Christ’s sake. I may not even be safe!
By that point, I wanted to be home as quickly as possible. I felt used and repulsed. My makeup was smudged; my hair was greasy. I wanted nothing more but to shower and forget about him. I didn’t want to see anyone. Luckily, the Metro is usually deserted this early on a Saturday morning. Imagine my surprise when I step on to the singular Metro car that was teeming with boy scouts. Perfect.
They were uniformed and overly enthused, likely preparing for their first trip to the nation’s capital. I took a seat in the far corner of the car and avoided eye contact. How lucky I was to be the first stop on their sightseeing excursion. I wanted to crawl into a hole. It occurred to me that this would be the ideal group to teach me how to correctly tie a knot for the noose I needed to hang myself at that very moment. They all knew what I had been up to the night before. Scornful looks of troop leaders burned holes right through my stockings. (Note: The previous statement was hyperbolic and used for effect; I was already wearing fishnets.)
This incident should have taught me a lesson. That lesson may be that it’s worth springing for cabs in the future. And I’m going to do it. Scout’s honor.