W. Bruce Cameron Coulmn March 15, 2009

Brad and Natalie

I am one of those people who consistently makes the mistake of believing that friends of mine would enjoy being friends with each other.

Recently, I set two people up on a blind date. Her name is Natalie, and his is Brad.

Naturally, I called the next day, and reached Natalie first.

Me: So what did you think of Brad?

Natalie: Oh, God, I don’t know. I mean, he seemed nice enough, you know? But as we were sitting there talking, I couldn’t help but think of how much he looks like my ex-boyfriend Paul — not the most recent Paul, God forbid, but this guy in college, you don’t know him. And I remembered how I was back then, I mean, you talk about naive!
There was this girl Miranda, and I knew Paul was attracted to her, I mean, he told me he was attracted to her even, how stupid can I be?
So when Paul and a few of his buddies go “camping” — and one of them, this guy David, was he a piece of work, total pot-head, and he’s the one who organizes the camping trip?
He couldn’t organize putting on the same color socks, but now all of a sudden he’s in charge of the whole expedition. So guess what I said.

Me: Um ...

Natalie: Exactly. I mean, who suspects anything of a cheating nature is going to happen on a camping trip, they don’t even shower.
So supposedly he’s off camping, but then my girlfriend Sylvia ... God, I wonder what happened to her, she was so talented!
Anyway, Sylvia was a waitress, and guess who she sees? Paul and Miranda. In a hotel! He never took me to a hotel, I mean, it was college, we were completely broke.
So the whole thing was a total, complete lie. So, like, I’m the dorm girlfriend, and Miranda with the eating disorder is the room service girlfriend? I don’t think so. Anyway, where was I?

Me: I think I asked you about Brad.

Natalie: Oh, right, so I’m sitting there looking at Brad, and I know it’s not fair, but I couldn’t help but think about Paul, not the Paul from college but the he-who-shall-remain-nameless Paul, you know, the “ex,” and I remember how bad I felt, and I thought, am I even ready to start dating again?
I mean, it’s been three months. Well, two if you count the thing with the flight attendant.
Why do I always pick the wrong guy, is it me?

Me: Well —

Natalie: I know, I know, I probably have some kind of “father issue” I should be in therapy for. When I first met you-know-who, I thought he was totally charming.
I behaved like an idiot — remember how I was always texting him? I will not make that mistake with Brad, I promise you.

And Brad told this long, long joke that I laughed at, but I’m thinking, wow, that totally made no sense at all. I mean, should I text him? Only if he texts me, right?

What am I thinking, I don’t know if I even like him. Oh, but he opened my car door for me, how cute is that?

Paul would always just jump in the car and then give me this look, like, are you going to get in the car or should I sit here all day.

Why did I put up with him for so long? You should have said something to me. It’s like that thing with Miranda, the first Paul, not the current, we-shall-never-speak-his-name-again Paul.

So yeah, that’s how I felt about the whole thing. Have you talked to him?

Me: No, I was going to call him next.

Natalie: Well, just say you haven’t talked to me yet. I don’t want him to think I’m all desperate or something. He certainly hasn’t called me. Wait, let me check. No, no text message yet.

I called Brad.

Me: So, what did you think of Natalie?

Brad: She’s cool.

Me: (Pause) OK, anything else?

Brad: Um ... no.

I phoned Natalie.

Me: Brad liked you.

Natalie: He did? Really? That’s great. Do you think I should text him?

To write Bruce Cameron, visit his Webs ite at http://www.wbrucecameron.com.


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