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The Renaissance Man (Part 1)

August 5, 2016

I wavered over his picture, looked at the others he had posted, read his brief profile with its list of weird attributes and experiences. What the hell? I thought and pressed the heart button. We matched. He messaged.

On my profile I have a link to a question-and-answer article that I had filled out for a local writer. She called the profiles, “Be. You.” I thought it was a good survey of who I am. Some sarcasm, humor, self deprecation and brutal honesty. “If you want to know all about me, read this.” I wrote above the url. Tinder doesn’t allow clickable links so to read it, you have to cut and paste the address into a browser. So, I’m a little impressed when someone takes the time.

Renaissance Man read it. It made an impression. He messaged me a long paragraph, saying how much he liked it. He was especially impressed with my open admission to being an atheist, given my cultural surroundings. We chatted easily and switched to texting. He was in Lake Charles for a series of family reunions with his parents. He invited me to a phone conversation.

You know that character in a movie that chimes in at every situation with,

“When I was personal aide to Richard Nixon…….” or

“When I spent a year breeding dolphins in the Arctic…..” or

“When I was in the rodeo circuit as a Russian spy…..”

He’s that guy. Hence the nickname. He was in the military and disappeared for 10 years. He worked in South America. He taught at a private, all girls school. He creates intervention-like programs for rich people’s kids who are in trouble. He was an orderly in a hospital. And the list goes on every time I talked to him.

He has two kids. He’s over 50 and looks like he’s 35. His smile is nice.

And he thinks I’m awesome.

We talked for hours every night for a few days. He drove to Baton Rouge with his parents for a second round of reunions, only a 40-minute pop over the Basin from Lafayette. He suggested that we meet but didn’t give specifics.

He started sending me videos. The first one was a kind of introduction. He had a blue, button down shirt on, slightly open at the chest, the sleeves rolled up around his perfect biceps. He was outside at the Airbnb he was renting, a big oak tree behind him. He chose his words carefully, spoke with his hands and revealed a man of deliberation. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He was funny and adorable.

When he sent a second video, showing off the red shirt he had bought at Kmart to fit the requirements of the reunion he was attending, he attributed the impulse to send me videos and talk to me everyday to some kind of spell I had placed on him, or subliminal message I was implanting.

The next day he asked if he could call me at the usual time, when I was walking. He didn’t call. He texted and asked if he could call around 8:30. I said sure. By 10:30, I hadn’t heard from him. I told him I was going to bed. The phone rang. It was him. I didn’t answer. I was a little annoyed. I went to bed.

The next day I was off from work. It was the anniversary of my mother’s death and I always take that day off. I didn’t hear from him all day. No apology, no reaching out of any kind. I wondered if he was playing with me. Finally, I just said, Fuck it and texted him.

“How’s the hotel?” I asked. He had moved his parents out of the Airbnb after something scared his mom.

“I dropped them off at the hotel,” he said. “I’m in a four-bedroom house all by myself, Risky Business style.”

“I want to see that video.” I teased him.

“Be careful what you wish for, Alice,” he replied. (A reference to Alice in Wonderland and falling down rabbit holes that had come up after a long discussion about who shot JFK and what happened to building 7.)

He told me he was glad I had contacted him, that he would not have. He had decided that he had fucked up and why would I want to talk to someone who lived so far away anyway. He was giving me space. All typical man bullshit, in my opinion.

“I don’t usually give up on people that quickly,” I said.

The next morning I woke up to find an e-mail with a video attachment. Out of the frame he started the song, “Old Time Rock and Roll” just like the scene in the movie. Then he slid across the wooden floor in black socks, dark boxers and no shirt. He then looked into the camera and said, “You didn’t think I was going to do the whole thing did you?” And walked up to the camera, bent down and turned it off, all the while showing off his perfectly sculpted, deep brown body. He later confessed that he had attempted the move several times before getting it right. I couldn’t help but observe that in the original Risky Business scene, Tom Cruise wears a long, oxford shirt. But Ren Man was shirtless. Hmmmm, I wonder why?

The effort caused the desired effect.

I was smitten.

 

 

 

 

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