As soon as the words came out of her mouth I wanted to scream “What?!” then run. But I didn’t, I played it cool. That’s probably how I got into the situation.
I’m in London living, learning about myself, and exploring. I was in my third month and things were going rather well. I had written a freelance story for a popular women’s magazine about what brought me to London and the experience up until that point. Many women that I did not know read my story and emailed me congratulations in addition to well wishes. I was thrilled that people were digging the story and into my adventure. One woman was even nice enough to let me know that she was actually located in London and offered to meet up for drinks. My automatic thought was wow how sweet of her. I had gone on the trip to meet new people and experience new things, so I didn’t give responding to the email with interest a second thought. The young lady responded and our plans were set.
Let’s call my new email buddy Tina. So Tina suggested that we meet at a café near the Angel tube station, which wasn’t too far from my place. When I first walked out of the tube station I saw an older looking black man lurking around as if he were waiting on someone. I thought to myself what if this is a trick! What if you’re not meeting with a friendly woman at all, but instead some creepy man?!
It took a few minutes to calm myself so that I wouldn’t freak out. I realized that I really didn’t know who the heck I was meeting. I probably should have given someone who cares about me a heads up that I was meeting up with a complete and total stranger. I silenced the noise in my head and rationalized that at least I was going to be in a well-lit, public place. If things felt strange I could exit stage left at a moments notice.
I walked into the quite café and that’s when I spotted a trendy looking black girl sitting on a stool by the window. I figured this had to be her. We made eye contact and I said her name aloud with an invisible question mark behind it. She greeted me with a bubbly yes so I hopped on the stool next to her. We chatted for a moment then decided to head to grab food before meeting her friends at a Jazz bar to see one of them play.
It was a short walk to the burger place down the street. But somewhere in the five minutes that it took to walk, Tina announced that she hadn’t got much work done after 3 o’clock that day. I inquired why just to be polite. That’s when she let me know that it had been because she’d spent the rest of her day reading the stories on my blog. I thought to myself that it wasn’t something I would have admitted, but I appreciated her interest in my work.
The burger spot was bustling. It was overflowing with an after work crowd. Seemed like the type that just wanted a low maintenance dinner with a beer. Over burgers and onion rings I asked questions to try to learn a bit more about who I’d met up with. Being the writer who is curious about relationships, I wanted to know all about the dating scene in London as well. What had Tina’s experiences been like? But she had one simple answer, “I don’t date.” I paused. Ok so maybe she had just come out of a relationship and decided to take a break. I probed for a reason. She was short and dry with a similar response. She even implied a disinterest in dating. I thought to myself that her reaction was a bit weird, but hey what did I know.
Tina suggested that we make our way to the Jazz bar to catch the performance. I was excited to experience Jazz in London. When we entered the dive bar looking scene, the band was in full swing. The lead singer was belting out tunes with one of the most soothing, melodic voices you ever wanted to hear. I was impressed. Not until the end of his set, when he addressed the crowd, did I hear his British accent. There were musicians all over waiting to be called up to jam. I was open to the vibe of the night and having a good time with new people. Tina leaned in and yelled to ask what I wanted to drink. I quickly responded with the same question. I told her that it was on me since she had insisted on paying for our burgers. Her face scrunched up as if she was not pleased with my offer. She continued to comment, “I’ll take care of the drinks and I don’t expect anything in return, unlike the date from your blog.”
That was my immediate thought. I wasn’t sure why she had even brought that up. Luckily her guy friend came over and rescued the uneasy moment by demanding to know what we were drinking. He was a regular at the bar and patiently waiting his turn to play in the band. She formally introduced me to her friend and he invited us to go sit at his table.
The music was live and the crowd was too. I sat in between Tina and her friend as I sipped my whisky sour. Somehow we began chatting about New Orleans. Having visited many times, I mentioned to her musician friend that he would probably love the city. I told them of Bourbon Street and all of the good times to be had in a city as lively with music history as New Orleans. Tina leaned over my lap and shouted above the music to her friend, “Yeah, we should go…so you and I can compete to see who can get the most girls.”
I was instantly uncomfortable. I knew that I was supposed to hear that comment and that’s what made it even worse. I wanted to exit stage left immediately. Avoid any other craziness that was to potentially come in this disaster of a situation. My mind couldn’t stop replaying what she said. I wanted to be polite and stick around to listen to her friend’s set, but I was having a hard time. A moment later the emcee called up her friend to take part in the next jam session. I sat fixated intently on the performance trying to avoid any small talk.
Once her friend’s set was over he offered to give her and I a ride home. I reluctantly accepted. When we came close enough to my flat I blurted out, “Oh, you can stop here. This is fine.”
I wanted the next few moments to speed past. I fumbled out of the backseat barely being able to sputter, “Thanks for inviting me out.”
Then it happened.
She exclaimed, “wait,” and grabbed her door to get out of the car too.
I cursed under my breath and thought WTF! What is she up to now! I walked around the back of the car toward the side of the street that my flat was on. Wouldn’t you know it; she met me at the back of the car with her arms stretched open. I went ahead and participated in the strangest goodbye hug ever. Part of me felt silly like maybe she wasn’t trying to be fresh with me. Maybe I was over-reacting, but my gut told me yes, yes she was. Either way I wasn’t feeling it. I walked into my flat feeling drained. I sat on the edge of the bed. It was like the Twilight zone when I started replaying all of the moments and realizing things that now made sense, which I couldn’t see before. I knew then that I wasn’t being paranoid. Besides, it wasn’t like I had never encountered lesbians before. My roommate sophomore year in college was a lesbian and we got along just fine. She was the best roomie. Never once did I feel like she was trying to be fresh with me.
The next day Tina text me to ask if I was busy. She wanted to grab drinks. I politely responded thanks, but no thanks. I never confronted her because I wasn’t invested in the friendship and I didn’t feel the need. However, I will say that trying to hang out with someone under the wrong pretense will never garner the results that you want. Not a good idea.