Date #1 – The Bus Driver
I have just got back from my date with Evan, which was interesting and awkward, but before I tell you what just happened, let me tell you how we met.
Tuesday last week I got on the number 23 bus, tapped my Oyster card, and looked up to see this beautiful guy staring at me. This bus driver had green eyes. As I scanned his face, it was this striking feature within his smooth light brown face that really stood out. I smiled, he nodded and I shuffled myself off to my seat in a daze.
I sat downstairs at the back in the middle seat, thinking about him… OMG he is finnnne. What would Carrie from Sex and the City do? Scrap Carrie, what should I do? Then the voice of doubt. There is nothing to do, just sit down and stop being silly. As the battle in my head continued, I looked up and caught his eye looking at me in the rear view mirror. As he saw me, he looked away. Not sure if it was by mistake, so I looked away, counted to 7 and then looked up and yes he was watching me. This time though I ‘smeyeised’ at him (smiling with my eyes; Tyra Banks would have been proud of me). This term is normally used in fashion to show your fierce presence in a picture, however it is also a good flirting tool that in this context says “Come to mama…” I’m not sure how I know this but it works. From my right shoulder I hear, “OMG Naddine, you have to do something. Carpe diem and all that.” Then the other voice jumps in, “Look! Just enjoy the flirting and keep it moving, you don’t have to act on everything just cos you are on this mission”. As I’m listening to the battle in my mind I notice that I am looking in my bag, but for what? Oh snap. Where is paper when you need it? Why don’t you have paper? I ask myself. The only thing I could find was old receipts. I looked up and my stop was next. I rang the bell and hurriedly wrote down my name, number and “Call me” with a smiley face. As my stop was approaching I walked past the exit doors to the front of the bus. I slipped the folded piece of paper in the change section under his window. He looked at the paper and opened it. My heart was beating and my forehead felt like it was sweating, but it wasn’t. The whole moment felt like an eternity. He read it, smiled and I walked off the bus before he could say anything!
The power I felt was ridiculous. I have never done anything like that before and it felt good. I saw what I liked and took control. Beyonce popped into my head – “Who runs the world? Girls!” – and I strutted down the road to the beat. Then Grumpy Voice returned and ruined my flow: “What if he doesn’t call you? It may be because he doesn’t fancy you? What if he loses the piece of paper? You didn’t ask his name or his number.” As Grumpy was about to continue, good old Voice of Reason popped in: “You did the best thing in the moment. So what if he doesn’t call? He could have a girlfriend, but regardless you did you and you know you’re not ugly. So whatever happens or doesn’t happens next, you are still okay.” I walked into work smiling, but was very aware that Grumpy had also planted the seed of doubt that was hard to shake off.
I tried to make myself forget that I was hopefully expecting a call, but it wasn’t working very well. The days rolled on, and then on Saturday a number I didn’t recognise popped up. “Hey is this Naddine?” I answered “Yes”, and he continued. “This is Evan, the guy you gave your number to on the back of a Boots receipt.” My eyes lit up, head raced, but the words that came out were cool and calm. “Hey, really good to hear from you. How are you?” We spoke for about 10 minutes, which ended in me smiling and a date the following Saturday.
We spoke again on Wednesday and he asked me where I wanted to go. Yep… I wasn’t impressed. Am I meant to do all the work? I expressed that we should both have a think and touch base on Friday with suggestions. He chose a nice Italian place in Islington, and I went with that.
All I knew about him before the date was that he is 30, has a degree in Economics, has worked as a bus driver for 3 years, though doesn’t really enjoy it. He has one older brother, no kids, lives on his own in North London and has been single for one year.
The booking was in his name. I walked into the restaurant on time and he wasn’t there yet, so I ordered a Rose wine and waited. I was nervous, but not too nervous which surprised me. 10 minutes later a guy walks in, I look up and then look back down again. “Hello Naddine.” I look up, it is him but… I stand up to greet him. I look into his eyes to check, and yes it is the same person, because those beautiful eyes are staring back at me, but…. HE IS SHORT! How cruel is this scenario?! Note to self: height is important, so ASK! I was shocked and I tried to hide it as best as I could.
We spoke about many things, which was cool. I noticed the three gold teeth in his mouth and I wondered why I hadn’t see this before. Then I realised I had only seen the left side of his face when I met him. Could this date get any worse? No offence to anyone who has a gold tooth or gold teeth, but I like what I like as I said earlier, and that is something I just don’t like.
Bringing up how we met again, he said “You walked onto the bus and I noticed how fine you are. I knew you clocked that I was watching you but I couldn’t help it. You actually made my day when you gave me your number in the way you did. How many times have you done that then?” Huh?? That was my internal reaction from my head to my toes. His words were like listening to your favourite track on a Jill Scott album. You’re feeling the song, dreaming away and then the CD jumps, because it’s scratched and it takes you out of your dream space and back into reality and you end up annoyed – THAT is how I felt. What kind of question is that? It may be a valid question to ask, but the way it came out told me more about how he thinks of himself, and also what he thinks of me. I just decided to be confident in the moment but he’d conjured up an image that in my mind looked like a tiger out on the prowl with no fear, ready to slay and take down whatever it likes back to its den.
I calmly said that I hadn’t done that before, then all I remember is “So you should feel privileged” also followed. I didn’t mean to say that, it was wrong, but I unconsciously think I did it to firmly express to him that I just don’t go around doing that. He got it, but the feeling that a confident woman unnerves him was a really strong sense that I had. He continued, “…though did you notice that the Boots receipt was for Tampax?” OMG I wanted to die. Out of all the receipts stuffed into my purse, I picked that one. WHY? I swear I wanted the ground to swallow me up. In the back of my mind I questioned why he felt the need to tell me that, but I responded by laughing my head off and admitting it was embarrassing, but said that I had really wanted to make use of the moment, therefore checking the receipt wasn’t important. Note to self: always carry paper.
I will not lie when I tell you an animated red cross flashed in front my eyes, Britain’s Got Talent stylie. This happens when my soul is telling me to take notice. I didn’t need three strikes, this dude was starting to get on my damn nerves. We spoke about different things, and it was okay, but there wasn’t much depth. He actually just agreed with most things I said. I’d already decided way before dessert that I wasn’t going to be seeing him again.
We split the bill, walked out together and I felt like a giant and a heifer all at the same time. Oh gosh, it’s all just so laughable. We said good bye and went our separate ways. I have no regrets, but will remember if I ever chat up a bus driver again that they sit down and may not be as tall as I think. One down… on to the next one.
©Naddine Bentley 2013