"You scare me."
My eyebrow shot up and I adjusted the phone against my ear. "I scare you?" I repeated, wanting to be sure I heard him correctly.
"Yeah, you scare me."
Laughter erupted from my gut, loud and uncontrollable. In my 27 years I have elicited quite a few reactions from quite a few men. However this was the first time I'd scared one of them, at least within the first conversation.
I had met him two days earlier at the car dealership where I got my key fab replaced.
"You know your tail light is busted," he had said as he handed me my keys.
"A basketball pole hit my car," I informed him. A smirk played at the corners of my mouth. "I'll get around to getting it fixed."
He disappeared around a corner, and I headed to my car. As I pulled out of the service garage I saw him wiping down an SUV in the parking lot. He held up his hand to get me to stop for a second.
"What's up?" I asked, rolling down my window. I was hoping he hadn't noticed anything else wrong with my car.
"I just wanted to tell you that you are a very attractive woman."
I took a second to look at him. His skin was a smooth mahagony and he had a shy smile accented by a slighly crooked bottom tooth. He was tall and slim, yet not skinny.
"Thank you. You're cute too," I replied.
We exchanged phone numbers and agreed that we'd speak whenever either one of us called. When my phone rang 48 hours later this wasn't how I expected our first conversation to go. Small talk, yes. Abject terror not so much
"How exactly do I scare you?" I asked.
"I've never met anyone like you before. You're intimidating."
"You're on a whole nother level than me." He explained that it was shocking to meet a woman who was educated, had her own place, could put together three sentences without cursing, and displayed absolutely no signs of ghettoness.
I got the feeling that he thought of me as some mythical beast he'd only heard about during story time at sleep away camp, never imagining that this rare creature existed.
"Trust me, I'm really very nice. Not scary at all. You'll see tomorrow when we have lunch," I said in an effort to allay his fears.
"Actually, I don't think I'm ready to hang out with you yet."
Once again my eyebrow shot up. "What do you mean not ready? How ready to do you have to be to eat lunch?"
"I can just tell that I'm not on your level and if I hang out with you, you would run right over me."
I twirled my index finger through my twisted hair, mulling his words over in my head. He was definitely right. I could steamroll him easily. It hadn't taken long for me to assess that it wouldn't be difficult for me to confuse and manipulate him. His conversation skills were basic, going no further than simple question and answer. He lacked a sharp wit and wasn't too quick on the uptake. Still, he was sweet and mildly amusing. Plus he was respectful, so I had no intentions of taking advantage, not even designs on a free meal.
"But you were the one who asked me to chill tomorrow, remember?" I reminded him.
"I know, but now I don't think I can do it. I mean don't get me wrong, I want to hang out with you. I just have to prepare myself first." He offered to reschedule for later in the month.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The man was breaking a "date" (and I use that term VERY loosely) within an hour of making it, not because he had a prior engagement that initially slipped his mind, but because he was scared of a woman who could function as an adult. Something was very wrong with that picture.
"Oh come on, it's not that big a deal. It's just lunch. It'll be fun." I spent the next half hour trying to convince him to change his mind. It wasn't that I was dying to go out with him. Far from it. Although he was a cutie, he wasn't my type at all. He lacked the charisma, charm, and borderline arrogance that I find attractive in a man. Still, it would've been cool to go to a restaurant with someone other than myself for once. Besides I should've been the one skipping out on him, not the other way around.
He held firm and eventually, I gave up. I could take the L because I wasn't really losing anything. Any guy who admits up front that you're too good for him isn't worth the wasted breath. Since he made such a big deal about a simple lunch, I'm not too keen on the idea of being friends. There's too much expectation attached. It's too bad we won't be homies. He could've detailed my car.