A bicycle built for two
by Robin Green
bicycle built for two
Twenty years ago my girlfriend (now my wife) had dumped me so I did the Personal Ads circuit. This was in the days before Internet dating - you posted an ad in a local paper (usually only two lines of text, because more than that was too expensive) and you waited for letters to get mailed to a PO box.
One of the letters I got was from someone who said she was really interested in traveling. Since I had traveled to several continents and lived abroad for 6 years as a kid, I thought she might be interesting. I called her up and arranged a date where I would pick her up on a tandem bike I'd borrowed, and we would bike along the Toronto waterfront. I packed pears in my bike bag for a snack, and off I went to her house.
I should have trusted my better judgment during the phone call - as soon as I started talking with her I realized this wasn't going to work, but I didn't think it would be gentlemanly to just say no thanks. As I biked towards her I felt more and more convinced it would be a waste of time.
She lived in a walkup above a store on Roncesvalles Avenue, so she wouldn't know I was there until I knocked. I pulled the bike up to a parking sign post and reached into the side pocket of the bike bag to pull out the lock keys. That's when I felt the completely mushy pears. They got all over my hand. I managed to extricate the keys, lock the bike, and get to the door. I knocked. She came down, and, shallow as I was, I took one look at her and realized I wasn't the least bit
attracted to her on a physical level (I'd already figured I wasn't attracted to her emotionally based on our phone call). I told her about the pears being smeared all over my hand and asked if she could pop upstairs and grab a paper towel so I could wipe it clean. Away she went.
I seriously considered unlocking the tandem and bolting while she was up looking for a paper towel. But I held the course, wiped my hand with the paper towel she provided, and took her on a bike ride to the harbourfront. We stopped, sat on a bench, and chatted for half an hour. It was pretty clear to me, and probably to her, that there was no connection. It turned out her interest in travel was purely academic - she'd never been anywhere. We had nothing in common. I suggested we bike her home, and she agreed. Half an hour later I dropped her off at her door and said goodbye. We didn't even mention the possibility of getting back together. I'm sure she was as relieved as I was that it was over.
One thing I learned from this is that if you are doing this kind of dating - where you use a classified or Internet dating to find a date - it's important to be honest up front and say, at any point when your gut tells you this isn't going to work, to do that in a polite and friendly way. While there might be hurt feelings when you tell someone it's not going to work out so let's cut our losses, the sooner you cut off something that is doomed to fail, the fewer hurt feelings there will be.
Whenever I touch a rotten pear I think of that worst date ever!