The Best Time I Passed a Note to an Attractive Stranger
by Carrie Battan
Senior year of college I was in a special special state of boredom and romantic starvation that made me do some delusional stuff, like burn incense and lay on my bedroom floor listening to “The Girl From Ipanema” on repeat, thinking about how it wouldn’t be so bad if I turned out like Jennifer Aniston’s character from that movie Friends With Money. Anyway, on the walk from my Tuesday/Thursday afternoon class to my work-study job, I started regularly crossing paths on the library steps with a really attractive guy I had never seen or met before, which was a rarity — almost an impossibility — on a small, self-contained campus.
I later pointed him out to friends, who agreed he was a babe and suggested I just GO FOR IT and find a way to talk to him. I’m mostly bad at that kind of stuff, so I didn’t for a while — until one day, when I got a GChat from my friend telling me that she had spotted him in the library, alone, working at a table near her and that this was my chance. “It’s now or never,” she said. I got out of class, walked to the library and found my friend so we could conspire and locate this guy (I nicknamed him “purple backpack” because he … carried a purple backpack and that’s how I could spot him from a distance). I found him, and in the wimpiest but most library-silence-appropriate way, I wrote on a piece of scratch paper: “Hi. Do you have a girlfriend? — Carrie” and put down my phone number, then dropped the note on his desk and left the library without saying anything.
Within a half hour he texted me, telling me his name, thanking me for the note, and explaining that he didn’t have a girlfriend. He also suggested we “go out for tea sometime” because he “didn’t like coffee” or something (in retrospect: hmm). I was like, “Of course! Give me a call this weekend.” I sensed that it was the beginning of a fairy tale. We were definitely going to go on a date, and then another one, and then fall madly in love and I’d be one of those girls who’d say, “Seriously, you have to make the first move, it’s so easy and empowering! Boys LOVE it when you hit on them! Just try it. Trryyyyyy it.”
But a few weeks passed and he never texted or called me, and I never texted or called him. I started switching up my routes so I wouldn’t ever pass him at the usual spot, and I stopped listening to the songs I’d found on his high school band’s PureVolume after Googling him. (Oh by the way, anyone reading this feel like going out on a date with me RIGHT NOW?) I sort of forgot about him.
And then one evening I was heading home from class when I saw him walking toward me, deep in romantic-seeming conversation with a girl I sort of knew. Before I could do an emergency about-face, the girl saw me, waved, and called out my name, soliciting me to come say hi. So I walked over and straight-up shoved my foot into the back of my throat. It was like this:
Her: Heyyyyy! What’s up? Do you guys know each other? This is —
Me: I’m note girl!
Him: [Confused stare] Note girl? [Confused stare, total lack of recognition]
Her: [Confused stare]
Me: Yeah, I’m the girl who left you that note at the library a few weeks ago.
[Several moments of confusion and more staring]
Him: Oh, shit! Oh, right! Haha! Ummm … what’s up?
[About a minute of small talk and awkward shuffling, including me dropping something I was carrying on the pavement.]
Him: It was nice to meet you!
Me: OK, bye!
On the plus side, I was wearing a good outfit. I never saw him again.
Carrie Battan is a writer living in New York City.
Photo via Flickr