My first three meetings with Sam took place beside lakes.
The first was Lake Travis outside of Austin at a camping weekend called Breast Fest (don't ask). Sam was wearing flip flops. But as I've said before, you can't really judge a guy's footwear by his flip flops. And besides, I was there with someone else. It was a brief introduction.
The second meeting was many months later in late spring, beside a pitiful excuse for a lake. My friend, Mindy, set us up on a blind meeting, I guess you'd call it. I searched for a lakeside parking spot, while, unbeknownst to me, Mindy searched for the white pick up truck Sam was driving.
I had been led to believe it would be an afternoon of girl talk. Instead she was playing matchmaker. I had long believed her boyfriend Rowdy was trouble. His brother, Sam, she informed me, had recently moved back to town, divorced. Made perfect sense to me. Bad seed.
Sam showed up wearing shorts and a pair of these
No socks. Me no like.
Besides being underwhelmed by his shoes, I thought he was old. He was seven years older and graying (though his hair was long and I did dig me some long hair). I wasn't into older guys. Almost all of my former boyfriends were the same age as me. And more recently, being a graduate student studying at a snail's pace at a school full of undergrads, I was dating younger guys. Call me a 20-something cougar.
So here we sat at the lake. Sam and Mindy caught up on their shared history of long lost friends. Me giving Mindy disapproving looks. Thinking Sam was arrogant. Begrudging the fact that we didn't pick up any beer. Him thinking I was a grouchy bitch (his words, I learned later). And likely a flake.
You see, he wasn't terribly interested in meeting me, either. He questioned Mindy's judgement for dating Rowdy, the ne're do well.
So, it turns out, I wasn't the only person by the lake pre-judging. We were a regular ole Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy, minus the English gardens and regency costumes.
So no sparks on this meeting. Nada.
Or the next. Mindy didn't give up. She surprised me one afternoon, Let's go for a ride in my new car! Off we drove. She headed for the lake again. She mentioned having talked to Sam earlier. I smelled a gray haired rat. I asked her to stop at the convenience store. This time I would be fortified.
And as I suspected, there was Sam. I was no more interested this time than the last. I drank my beer, fuming and glaring.
It might have come to nothing altogether if it hadn't been for Mindy turning her attentions to Sam's friend, Austin, whose name, it now turns out, was a foreshadowing. The four of us got together for tennis on a regular basis.
Sam showed up on the courts wearing these:
Hmm. Stan Smith Adidas. Possibilities. Especially since I was wearing the same shoes. Another omen. This time of a match made in shoe heaven.
But we still weren't generating any sparks.
I do remember, one spark of intellectual interest, or maybe spiritual interest is a better word for it. The four of us were eating pizza in Sam's living room after a cold night of tennis. Austin and Mindy were having an enthusiastic discussion about life-after-death. Mindy shared her near death experience. Austin wanted to know all the details. Sam? I think when you die, they put you in the ground and you turn to dirt. Like a dog. And that's it. I snapped my head in his direction and looked hard at him. Who is this guy who dares to speak such an unpopular belief? Not as romantic as Mr. Darcy's declaration of secret love, maybe, but it took my notice.
Several tennis meet ups later Sam asked me out on a date. I didn't have the heart to turn him down. And then, as if to remind me why, he showed up on my doorstep wearing these
Desert Boots. Ugg, as my daughter likes to say. All I could think, and it's still daylight.
To add insult to fashion injury, he was also wearing these
Not such a terrible choice, in and of themselves. Wranglers were THE blue jean of choice for long, tall Texans scootin' the boot at the dance halls. And I can remember
drooling on admiring many a cowboy in this get up. But it was the cowboy boot at the end of the leg that justified the Wrangler label. Otherwise give me Levis or give me dudsville.
So we leave my living room, my date in Desert Boots and Wranglers. He escorted me to what I thought would be the white pick up truck I saw by the lake. What awaited us at the end of my driveway was this
A white El Camino.
Great. An old man car to match the old gray-haired divorced man and his old man fruit boots. He may as well have been leading me down the nursing home hallway to the social room.
I braced for a long night.
His company, on this first date, was pleasant enough. But spooked as I was by the old man trifecta, I was hugging the passenger door all the way home. Afraid he would go for the good night kiss, I practically flew out the door the moment he put it in park. I ran up the steps to my front door, taking them two at a time, never looking back.
He asked me out one more time, a couple weeks later, to a college football game. I already had tickets and plans to go with a younger guy friend. I figured that refusal would be the last time he asked me out.
And it was.
So how did Sam finally generate some much needed shoe spark?
Click here for the conclusion.
And Happy Halloween, everyone! May your evening be filled with fun and frivolous shoes.