Cowboy Boots – A True Story
The date was July 15, 1994….
My girlfriend Carla and I attended singles’ events in San Francisco quite regularly. Singles’ events were all the rage before “on-line dating”. These events were often held at interesting venues, like the Asian Art Museum.
Once we attended an event there on Halloween night. The museum docents, dressed up as witches and warlocks, took us on tours to see things like bronze Buddhas and Chinese Jade. Mostly, we were eyeing each other to see if there might be a match.
There was a way you worked singles’ events. It was all in the glance. If you looked at a man and he averted his eyes, that was a “not interested” signal. On the other hand, if he looked back for more than a few seconds, and especially if he gave you a smile, then you knew there was a chance. You would seek your opportunity to connect, perhaps with some small talk about the artist or about how big the crowd was.
It was challenging in the love department for a 40-something professional woman in this town. I was very busy running my business and had no time to meet men. When my business began to go well, I relaxed a little and started looking for love. Singles’ events were loads of fun if you could keep your nerves under control. Your self esteem could plummet when you got a lot of those “not interested” signals. I met a couple of guys at the museum event that I could go out with for fun, but I didn’t meet Mr. Right.
That happened at an event in Berkeley. It was put on by a group called the Professional’s Guild. The name sounded good to me, and I hoped that it would attract a certain level of participants. That was one of the quandaries I faced in dating – how to find men that met my criteria in income and professional status, but still shared my more liberal values. So many successful men, it seemed, were very conservative and simply no fun. On the other hand, there were some fun-loving ones who were content to enjoy the fruits of my labor but couldn’t pay for dinner.
That day I worried about how to dress for Professional’s Guild. Should I wear a business suit or would a nice dress and killer heels be better? A friend steered me in a different direction. “Wear what you feel really good in,” she told me, “because the man you meet needs to see the ‘real you’, expressed in how you dress.” Out came the backless cocktail dress from Victoria’s Secret.
Carla and I made the rounds pretty fast that night since we were veterans of singles’ events. We met some nice men and it was a pleasant evening. But by around 10 o’clock nothing had clicked for us with any of them, so we relaxed and chatted with a small group while enjoying our cocktails. Carla pointed to one man’s name tag and commented on how some of them had a colored dot on them while others didn’t. At that moment a guy we hadn’t seen before walked past our group, drink in hand. Most of the men who were there were wearing sports coats and ties, but this one was different. He had on black jeans, a white shirt with a band collar and cowboy boots. He got our attention.
Carla didn’t miss the moment.
“Oh, he has one, too,” she said, pointing to his name tag. That stopped him, as she had intended. Carla was very cute and clever and seemed to always gather herself a few admirers at each event. She’s done it again, I thought.
“I have one what?”, the cowboy boots guy asked.
Carla went on to explain about the dots on some of the name tags, and that’s all it took. She had engaged him and he had stopped to talk, so she had a chance. I listened for a while, and although I admired her abilities, I had seen her in action before and figured it was a “done deal” for her. I turned my gaze back out to the crowd, wondering what I wanted to do next. Was it over for me for the night? Just then a hand reached through the group and took my arm. It was Cowboy Boots.
“Would you like to dance?”, he asked.
As he pulled me toward the dance floor, I looked over at Carla and couldn’t stop my eyes from batting at her, as if to say, look at me!
He and I danced well together and we both seemed to be enjoying ourselves. His hand was on my bare back and he commented that I must work out. I was glad that I had kept in shape for this moment and that I had worn the little Victoria’s Secret dress. I remembered that men like for women to look at them when they are dancing so I smiled into his eyes the whole time. It was going really well, I thought.
Then the dreaded thing happened.
“I know we both came here to meet people, so I won’t tie up all of your time”, he said as he led me off the dance floor. So there it was – the let down. Oh, well, I thought, there will be other singles’ events. I went downstairs to the ladies’ room to freshen up and console myself. When I came out, I saw a man that I had talked to earlier in the evening and we struck up a friendly conversation.
Just then Cowboy Boots came down the stairs. He looked at me and then looked over at the guy I was talking to. He reached up and grasped his name tag, ripped it off his chest, and slapped it right on top of mine.
“She’s mine”, he said to the guy. He took my hand and led me back upstairs to the dance floor.
It’s twenty years later and Cowboy Boots and I are still dancing….Tweet