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Dating Ell-A: The “Man’s” Chair

Bruce was an investment banker and had potential. However, when he called for a date, he was not pleased when I told him that I was about to go on a 5-week yoga retreat.  Bruce seemed to be a highly aggressive type “A” personality, so I was not entirely surprised when, two weeks into the retreat, he called and asked me if he could come up and take me out on a date.

He stayed in a very high-end hotel that had a gothic gate and guard, and he made reservations at its restaurant. It was an oh-so-very-pleasant surprise to discover that not only was the restaurant located right on the beach, but that our reservation time guaranteed that we’d be eating at sunset with one of the most beautiful vistas as our backdrop.

The host took us to our table where my date pulled back the chair facing the oceanfront for me to sit down. I unfolded my napkin and began to place it on my lap. Glancing to the other side of the table, I expected to see Bruce enacting the same ritual, but the seat was empty. He was standing over me with a peculiar, slightly worried look on his face.  “Is everything okay?” I asked in a low voice.

Bruce glanced around the room, making sure no one was looking at us, and then steadied his gaze into my eyes. My mind reeled in confusion.  What did he want?  He wasn’t going to get down on one knee, was he?  That would be a bit premature.

But instead of revealing a ring, Bruce gave an awkward smile and said, “Sorry. But I think that’s actually the man’s chair. You’re in my seat. You need to move to the other chair.”

I chuckled. Even from the little I knew about him, Bruce didn’t seem the sort for this type of dry humor, but it was a nice try. “Funny.” I said, squeezing his hand in a show of comedic consolation.  After a beat, I let go and went back to the business of folding my napkin over my lap. Upon finishing, I looked back up. Bruce was still standing over me.

“You’re serious?” I asked, not bothering to hide my incredulity.

“A man needs to be able to sit and survey the room for threats.”

At this point I really wanted to give Bruce a quick kick in the balls, but instead I twisted my face into a taut smile, said “No problem” and took my “place” at the other side of the table.

During dessert, after talking about how he was writing a memoir (yes, you read that right. A 35 year-old investment banker who had gone to private school in Massachusetts and lived in Beverly Hills was writing a memoir), Bruce asked me what he was doing right and wrong on the date.

At first I replied that he was doing everything perfectly, however, Bruce kept pushing for specifics. I decided to mention the chair incident since I was still confused as to why he thought he needed to sit in that exact spot.  I was wondering if this would spark an argument and I would turn quickly into one of the said “threats” he had to survey and terminate.  That could be interesting…perhaps more interesting than his memoir.  So, I casually mentioned in a faux half-joking way that I thought the whole musical chairs thing was a little weird. Bruce just chuckled bypassing the subject entirely and asked, “When can I see you again? Would you spend Thanksgiving with me?”

Not wanting to beat around the bush, I told him that I didn’t think it was a good idea. Before I could go further in explaining my reasoning, Bruce jumped in.

“Is it because I followed you out of town on a date??”

“Actually, no. You see–“

“Did I tell you I’m good at massage?”

“No, it’s just that–”

“I think you need therapy. You should go on-line and find a therapist. I’m a really good catch. However, in the meantime, I’m still really good at massage.”

Ladies, be careful out there.  Dating can be a tricky … especially when it comes to men who think they sit in the proverbial seat of judgment!  The only chair I’m in need of is the one closest to the door!

featured image credit: 96dpi