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The Bait and Switch

May 2, 2010

I always believe people have pure intentions. Some would call this nice. Many would call it naive. I like to think of it as positive.

This year I made a career change. I will not say what industry I am in for fear of outing myself but what I can tell you, is when I got my new job I updated my Facebook work information and some people took notice. One person in particular was a very old friend, or should I say an acquaintance, whom I met on a family vacation when I was a sophomore in college. At the time he was older and in law school. My mother thought he was cute. I did not. She told me I was just not ready for a nice guy. She still tells me this.

So, my old friend/ acquaintance, Marc, contacts me and informs me that he is a lawyer in the very same field and he thinks he can refer me some clients. I am very happy to receive this email. It turns out Marc’s office is only 10 blocks from my own and suggests we have lunch and talk about it.
“Lunch it is I say, ” and with that, Marc is my first lunch meeting at my new job. What a nice guy that Marc, I think and start to fantasize a lifelong partnership. Me and Marc referring business to each other. Two nice people who just want to help each other out. In business. I always thought Marc was a little dorky, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t nice right?

As the days pass I can be overheard saying to people “Oh, I can’t do Wednesday at 1, I have a lunch. For work.”
I send an email, “Sure, lets see if I can fit you in, I have a lunch Wednesday but maybe after?”
Wednesday arrives. I get dressed for my lunch. Professional, yet fashionable. Oh, and I wore my belt (see “Supermarket Aisles and Charity Work“).

The day of my lunch, I can be overheard in the office, “Oh what Susan? Sure I can do that for you, I just have a business lunch and then I will be back.” “Shoot, I can’t make the meeting Tom, I have another meeting. 21 Club. Yes, work.”

I told everyone I passed on the way out of my office building. The mailroom guys, the doormen, someone from another company entirely on the 5th floor. At some point I am pretty sure my colleagues fell into a figure 8 behind me, doing some type of choreographed dance routine as I walked out of the building to the song “who’s that lady.” By the way I was describing this lunch, it might as well have been with the President. In fact, I may have taken a car with bullet proof windows to get there, but that part is blurry now.

Marc suggests I first meet him in his office and we will walk to the restaurant together. His office is one block from the restaurant. I arrive and tell the receptionist I am there to see Marc. I am expecting to meet some of his partners. Maybe some other people in the office. Why else would he have me come there if we were about to have lunch.
“Hi Marc, Darcy is here to see you. OK.” She looks at me, “Marc will be right out.”
I wait.
“Hey Darcy! Marc says as he grabs his coat from a closet behind her desk.
That’s it? I think. We are leaving? No introductions? No referrals around the office?
Till this day, I will never understand why Marc had me come up to the office.
We head to the elevator. I am distracted by my persistent wondering why I came upstairs to get him. I can’t really think of anything else at that point.
“You look great Darcy. You haven’t changed at all since I saw you last!” That was maybe 14 years ago. I would say he was being kind, but he hasn’t changed that much either.

We head down in the elevator and we make nervous small chat trying to fill the awkward silences. We didn’t have that much to talk about, since we were never good friends.

We walk towards the restaurant. Marc regales me with tales of his wife and two children. He didn’t get married until he was 32, he and his wife and had dated once earlier, lost touch and reconnected. He is in love with his two girls. It sounded like the Cleaver family, I thought to myself. I am glad Marc is so happy.

I can’t wait to get to the restaurant. I want to get down to business and be out of there ASAP.

We get to the 21 Club and Marc gives his name. “Right this way Sir!”. The host basically takes us over a bridge and through a tunnel to the most desolate table in the restaurant. Did he plan this? I think to myself, but quickly suppress the thought.

When we arrive at the table, the host asks Marc if he wants to sit on my side of the table,
“I would if I were with such a beautiful woman.” The host says. I am grossed out. Marc doesn’t immediately say no. He lets the idea hang in the air a little longer than he should have and stands next to me. I vomit a little in my mouth.
“NO! we are good. I will sit on this side and he will sit on that side.” I say quickly. I give my most phony smile. I am confused why I had to answer the question at all.

I look over the menu. I love the 21 Club. I am planning my meal. A lettuce wedge to start? Maybe tuna tartare? I am interrupted by Marc suddenly telling me most of the men he knows cheat on their wives. Huh? I am scared to look up from my menu. “But not me.” He says.
I am glad we cleared that up?
He continues, “But I haven’t been married seven years yet. Talk to me after this summer when its seven years.” I not sure what prompted this as we were not talking about anything near this topic. Note to self, don’t contact Marc at all after the summer for any reason.
I am suddenly incredibly uncomfortable and want to go home, or at least back to my office. I suddenly would rather stuff envelopes. PLEASE Susan, may I collate your papers? I silently pray the gross host returns to kidnap me.

Let’s get down to business and get off this creepy train, I think.
“So, you are a lawyer in my industry?” I ask casually.
“No, not really anymore.”
I heard the sound of a record screeching to a halt.
I want to scream ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? WHAT THE FUCK??? WHY DO YOU THINK I AM HERE CREEPY MARC? But I keep it inside. I want to say “But you said you were a lawyer in my industry and we could refer each other business and you had all these clients to refer me.” But I was so floored I couldn’t even formulate the sentence.
“Oh.” was all I could say.

I lost my appetite. I didn’t know where to go from there. Do I run from the table screaming? Do I call him out on it? What is the etiquette here?
The waiter arrives. “I’m just going to have a salad” I say, knowing it doesn’t have to be cooked and I will be out of there in ten minutes. Marc orders a 17 course meal including a well done steak. I pray for an power outage in the kitchen.

I can’t tell you what happened next, because I went numb. Marc talked and talked about his life and the law career in a field that was not my own. Of course he ordered dessert.

At the end of the meal I basically long jumped out of the restaurant and told him I had to get to my next meeting. I walked back to my office nauseated by Marc, but thankful I had the sense to not date him back in the day when my mother told me he was a nice guy and I just wasn’t ready for a nice guy.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Claire permalink
    July 5, 2012 3:42 pm

    Love it – I actually felt my skin crawl reading that!


  1. Re-Runs « Darcy Dates

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