17: Nice vs. Kind

Carpenter, 52

He is very good looking, all cheekbones, totally jacked, and very dark skin. He’s not quite Grace Jones black, but he’s dark. He’s on time, well mannered, personal without being nosey. He seems great.


He’s got an axe to grind about the homeless, for some reason. He asks me what I think, gives me a minute, then tells me what he thinks.

It’s not empathetic.

I consider ending the date early. Then I tell myself to give the guy a chance, why doncha? You don’t have to be 100% aligned on politics.

“You think about this a lot?” I ask.

“I did just spend a year alone. So, uh, yeah.”

I decide not to bail. We’re all weird right now.

We walk for half an hour and then we go to lunch. He’s nice to the waiter, he makes good conversation, he declines a second beer. “Thanks, but I’m driving,” he tells the waiter.

He’s an ex-Marine, he studied evironmental science, he likes low tide and music festivals and roses. While we were in the rose garden he said, “You know, I like roses a lot, but these aren’t fragrant enough. You should be able to smell them, just standing here.” He tells me he has roses he’s tended for 15 years in pots at home.

He has a lot of fine qualities, and did I mention, he’s good looking. Guys will tell a girl she looks better than her pictures, but he actually looks better than his pictures.

He tries to pay the bill and I refuse, insisting I pay my part. I’m not letting a guy pick up the tab until we have some kind of understanding.

“Please let me,” he says, “I’m old fashioned.”

“I’m not,” I say, and hand the waiter my card.

I feel bad that I let my last date buy me dinner. I haven’t seen him again. After that date, I resolved not to let a guy pick up the tab until I know if I want to see him again. I don’t want to walk around feeling indebted, like I owe a guy something. If the words, “Okay, but let me get it next time,” aren’t flying out of my mouth, he’s not buying my meal.

It was a good date.

Also, nope.

There were a bunch of things that pinged my radar. The homeless thing was only the first one. It’s one thing to walk away from a date thinking a guy is nice. It’s something else to think he’s kind.

It’s too bad. He was really good looking.