I had to learn the hard way that every date is not a date. How so, you may ask. If it looks like a date, talks like a date, and the man pays like it’s a date…then one would likely look to call it a date. Right?
I met him at an industry event and immediately thought that he was great eye candy. This girl is not good at being the aggressor so when I found myself standing next to my instant crush and he began to engage me in small talk, I was pleasantly surprised. Offering a little flirtatious vibe, I felt that my job was done. I had sealed the deal. However, he didn’t ask for my number, nor my email address, and forget the most generic of them all, my business card. Nothing.
I wasn’t disappointed though. I simply took the exchange for what it was: two people chatting at a great event. No harm in that. By the time I got to my apartment and kicked my heels off of my throbbing feet, he was a distant memory. To my knowledge we didn’t have any mutual friends so I thought that I would never see him again.
I bumped into him a few weeks later. This time when our paths crossed we smiled the smile that you conjure up when you see a familiar face. He extended his arms toward me and I secretly screamed inside. We were instantly more familiar than I had expected. I stepped back after the quick embrace and looked into his dark dreamy eyes. He could have asked me anything and I would have answered with a smile. Our conversation felt easy. Within moments we realized that we knew some of the same people. I had done some work with a friend of his. That’s when my line of work came up. I shared with him that I was a publicist at the National Basketball Association (NBA). His eyes lit up. This was the standard reaction that I received from most men though, young and old. He went on to comment as to how cool my job must have been. I brushed off his enthusiasm and we continued to make small talk for a few more minutes before my friends gave me the let’s go signal from across the room. After I announced that I was taking off, he asked for my information. My inner cheerleader did a toe-touch and I thought to myself, score!
To my disappointment, I didn’t hear from him right away. A few agonizing days passed before he reached out and I was geeked to hear from him. His conversation was mediocre but I looked past that. We began to exchange text messages pretty regularly. I started to wonder where our developing friendship was leading. Finally, he invited me out for dinner after work one evening. This was the break that I had been looking for. I was a bit confused about his interest at first, but once the date was set I figured that he had to be somewhat feeling me.
He picked the meeting spot. It was an upscale sports bar, which should have been clue number one. Over-fried finger foods—with at least seven different televisions blasting sports of all sorts—we covered the normal first date bases. We talked about music, movies, families, and his favorite topic, my job at the NBA. He wanted to know everything. I started to feel like I was being interviewed for the Ahyiana Angel behind the scenes NBA tell all book. He asked what I did on a daily basis, if I had met the commissioner, and even wanted to know the exact players I had met.
This line of questioning was the reason that I never wore my job at the NBA as a badge of honor. People thought that it was the coolest job, and some aspects of it were amazing, but I did not want it to define me. It was not who I was, it was where I worked for a living. Some people that I had known for years in passing didn’t even know what company I did PR for. People can be strange, and establishing a relationship with me romantic or otherwise because of my 9 to 5 was not cool. But in the moment, I did not see what was happening. I was smitten by the cutie sitting across from me. I interpreted his questions as being interested in my career and me. The date ended on a positive note. Although, I couldn’t say that I walked away having made a love connection. But even though the fireworks didn’t soar into the sky with promise, I was optimistic. Ok, I was naive.
I thought that I really had a chance with him. Then came the reality check. I was tired of the ambiguous relationship that was developing. I’d encountered shy men before. The type that you knew were interested but they were not quick to make a pass. But this guy was a mystery. I couldn’t figure out his angle. So after a few weeks when I became weary from guessing and debating with my girlfriends, I took the candid approach. I asked him if he was interested in me romantically. To my shock, he said no! His exact words, “Uh, I just really like basketball. I’m a huge fan.” He didn’t need to say anymore. No further explanation required. I knew what the deal was. He had only gone out with me because he was a freaking fan! I had no time for fans and I wanted to smack myself for not picking up on his true intentions. I’d never been duped by a male sports groupie before. This was a first and certainly the last.
About the Author: Ahyiana Angel is a Cali girl who has turned the Manhattan streets into her playground. This sassy storyteller—a former sports entertainment publicist at the National Basketball Association (NBA)—is anticipating the release of her first novel in October 2014, Preseason Love, about dating in New York, coveted careers, complicated relationships, and ultimate deception. Angel is the creator of the salacious and popular blog Life According to Her. It’s contrived like reality TV, fictionalized for fun (also to protect the innocent), and sensationalized for your entertainment.