We sit down at a small outdoor table in the courtyard of the cafe. Me in a spot directly beneath a large palm frond, he in the chair opposite. He had arrived late, citing traffic, and then immediately suggested we move tables. My original choice had not been to his liking. Drops of water from the tree above start to land intermittently on my head.
We settle into a rhythm. He speaks earnestly about his life, and i listen. I hear about numerous Masters degrees, his kids, the women he’s recently dated, his views on polyamory and his brush with teetotalling Buddhism. This is normally the point at which I might mention being a Quaker, but somehow, I get the feeling that this date is not actually about me.
My companion enthusiastically assists me in choosing a glass of wine. He’s a bit of a connoisseur, you see. For him, just a pot of tea, thank you. I comment favourably on his shirt. It’s green, which is always a winner for me, plus he wears it well.
His appearance reminds me of my uncle colin, whose rugged, outdoorsy good-looks made him everyone's favourite. Although I remember col as modest and interested in other people. Even when he was dying, he went out of his way to dress up for my 21st and assist me in planning my first overseas trip.
When my date reveals that he’s actually 46, having lied on his profile, I note that he’s only a few years younger than colin was when he died.
The tea and wine arrive. Having done a fair amount of swishing and swirling of both beverages, he settles back in his chair, smiles widely and calmly crosses his legs. It is at that point that I notice the clogs. They are a smart casual black leather clog, definitely not a croc, and the one that has caught my eye now dangles about an inch from my knee. I try to recall what my "how to tell a man by his shoes" book from high school said about clogs. I don't think it was terribly favourable.
Moving on to other topics, I ask if he’d like any tapas. “I should be up front” he says by way of reply. “I actually have another party to go to tonight. I’ll have to leave quite soon”. And, sure enough, he does. Somehow I end up paying. He promises to get the next one, which I am already suspecting will never happen.