No, there hasn’t been anything new to report. He never did get in touch with me, either to acknowledge that we are looking for different things; to try to win me back; or to shout at me in anger and accuse me of whatever first entered his mind.
It’s been almost a week since I’d sent that e-mail. He’s not going to call.
I’d like to say it’s not a big deal, but it is. Getting over what happened is much harder when the object of your affection disappears.
But today, while at lunch, I had an insight into his type’s possible way of thinking, and the way we were so obviously poorly matched from the get-go.
I decided to treat myself and went to lunch at a Dominican restaurant. While I was enjoying my delicious stewed pork with eggplant, a couple came in.
The man had salt-and-pepper hair, a trimmed short goatee, and was talking unceasingly on his cell phone. His wife/date had straight black hair that reached down to her perky round butt. She immediately chatted with the waitress, arranging for a table, getting them seated, asking for menus, making small talk and smiling, her head tilted to one side in a classic “I’m interested in you” gesture. All the while, she darted glances at her man, checking periodically to see where he was in his conversation, and taking pains to avoid interrupting or disturbing him in any way.
They sat down, her man wrapping up his conversation. She looked at her menu, occasionally glancing up to smile in encouragement at her partner.
I was at the next table, the proverbial fly on the wall. I pretended to be engrossed in my dulce de leche and cafe con leche, while I surreptitiously watched them both out of the corner of my eye.
He says goodbye, hangs up; she juts her chin out at him, her hair flowing forward to form thin cascading sheets in front of her shoulders. She raises her eyebrows in inquiry.
“Oh that was Ted. He wants me to get him some tires,” he says.
“Some tires!” She laughs.
“Yeah, I guess he thinks I can get them for him from my friend Nick.”
(Small tinkling laughs). “That’s funny! We should introduce him to Julia. Wouldn’t that be funny?”
He smiles at her, appreciating her joke, her laugh, her relaxed demeanour, good naturedness. She’s so adoring and so amenable. So understanding.
They order their dishes, she making light conversation while he juggles multiple thoughts in his head. She asks questions about whether he’s eaten some of the more unusual choices on the menu, in her broad Queens accent. She shares light-hearted tidbits with him, entertaining him with nothing too tiring, nothing too engaging.
Their food arrives, and she flips her hair around to one shoulder, tilting her head now to the right. Black strands slide and tumble in succession; one wave after another of silken hair fall, pointing like so many luxurious arrows into her lap.
She holds the fork in her right hand. Her wrist is bent at a right angle; index, thumb and forefinger form a bird-like shape around the shaft of the fork. She pierces her lettuce with her fork held absolutely perpendicular to her plate. It meets its target at 90 degrees each time.
She leans forward each time to eat; her mobile jaw is apparent when she opens wide to place another forkful in her open mouth. As she leans forward, her elbow rests on the table, so she is forced to crane her neck forward, flip her hair back yet again, and to lift her chin. She peers down at her food through hooded eyes.
And when her partner speaks to her, she looks at him too down the bridge of her nose, assuming an air of haughty arrogance. Her fork is poised to stab, dangled once again in a bird-like gesture while she stops chewing so she can hear her man talk.
The juxtaposition of her cold, arrogant stare, with her ever present quick smile and light-heartedness makes her all the more endearing, and seemingly strong.
Both know this is an act, but both are comfortable in their respective gender roles. I would not imagine a situation occurring where this woman would choose to pay for her partner’s meal; nor would he ever allow for her to insist on it. Both would be equally mortified and insulted by the possibility. This is just not done between a man and a woman who are intimate.
Somewhere along the way while I was watching the two of them, I became aware of how strange me and The Charmer would have been as a couple. Here is this curly-haired, sleep-deprived, intelligent, unyielding woman who has often been accused of being intense, driven and inflexible, and here is the same kind of man: always on his cell phone, always hustling, making deals, who just wants something intelligible and not particularly difficult.
Amazing that we were even attracted to each other enough to think something might work in the first place. And this is why people are best suited in complementary pairs, not in a bond where both parties are just as competitive and ambitious as the other.