Scottie gets into a text exchange Coffee Guy, the one he randomly gave his number to, which is not all he hoped it would be.
“Coffee guy, I presume?”
My out-of-character action – giving a guy my number in a café – seemed to pay off, as he texted only minutes after leaving the café where I met him. Despite a bit of eye contact, I couldn’t have been completely certain that he was gay, but I took the risk nonetheless. Now, I was completely giddy, like a kid who was just given the world’s biggest lollipop. This made my best friend roll his eyes, trying not to admit that even he found the events entertaining.
“You do know,” he warned, “that’s he could easily be an axe-murderer. You could have just given your name and number to a killer.”
“Please,” I dismissed. “There haven’t been axe-murderers here since the Vikings tried to invade. He was hot, and intelligent. And American, which makes him even hotter.”
“I reckon more guys notice him than just you. The police, for example.”
Giving my best friend the fake laugh he was hoping for, we said goodbye as he went back to his hotel room for a power-nap, ahead of our plans for the night. That left me with some time to chill out in another café and write. Yes, I don’t do anything else in Dublin but go to cafés. This is my life. Deal with it.
Still, Coffee Guy’s one single text message followed by silence began to worry me. I started asking why he’s only sent me a message with my name if he wasn’t interested; was he checking that I had tried to prank him? Or that I’d give someone else’s number to him? I eventually had to backtrack, sending a second text to apologise if I had made any wrong assumptions about him.
Eventually, after half-giving up on him, he replied:
“1 – what you did was very sweet, you made my day.”
Brownie points. Brilliant.
“2,” he continued. “You totally confused the boring straight guys that were sitting beside me.”
Sense of humour. Gold star.
“3 – I have a boyfriend.”
Despite wanting to throw my phone through the café window, I gracefully replied to say that his boyfriend was lucky and thanked him for replying to me. I pressed ‘Send’ with half a sigh, disappointed at the outcome of my actions, but still glad I mustered up the confidence to do it. C’est la vie, I thought, and put away my phone.
Some minutes later, my phone buzzes again with a new text message. This one, however, wasn’t expected.
“Yeah, I’m sitting with him right now. What you up to?”
I frowned at my phone with annoyance and confusion, almost as if it told me my legs were too fat for my jeans. I was able to accept that my attempts to get a date with Coffee Guy were ruled out, but why rub it in my face? And why continue the conversation?
“Waiting on my friend to get back into town,” I wrote back, questioning both him and myself in my mind. “Yourself? Tell the boyfriend I say hi… lol”
LOL is right, I thought. Imagine.
“You seem really nice and friendly,” he came back with. “Would you be interested in coffee as friends?”
His proposition completely threw me. Had we gone on a date and if he didn’t feel a spark, the ‘maybe friends’ card is played. This was different; I barely spoke a few words to him in the café, and I still didn’t know his name. All I did know for certain was that he was taken. I had two options: try and get to know someone who seemed nice, or say no because he was taken and therefore…. what, useless? If I thought someone was useless to me, even I wouldn’t like me. I decided to take him up on his offer – where was the harm?
“Sure,” I texted, “but would your boyfriend not have a problem with that? You going for coffee with a guy who gave you his number?”
“Well, I’d have to tell him of course…”
This was now getting too weird. If it wasn’t a problem for him, I thought, he would’ve already mentioned our encounter to his boyfriend. If Coffee Guy wanted a new friend, why be unsure about mentioning it to his other half? A seemingly innocent proposition was becoming tainted with every message sent. Time to pull the plug, I decided.
“Look, I don’t wanna make things weird for you and your man. I wasn’t expected you to suggest coffee after saying you were taken, so don’t worry.”
“Ah. Okay then,” he replied. I stared at the screen. What? What was that ‘ah’ for, like I just disappointed him? Did I do something wrong, or was he expecting me to tempt him into meeting me? Something wasn’t right, I thought, but it wasn’t my place to figure out what it was. I was, for those few minutes, his little secret – and those were already a few minutes too much.
And with that, I deleted the conversation on my phone, and ordered another coffee.
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick