Lizard Man

Leonard is late late late for our third date.

I’ve wandered around the parking lot in the driving rain, gone inside the restaurant, and returned to my car where I check my phone three times in eight minutes.

When he finally arrives, he’s apologetic, tells me he spent a frustrating half hour at home looking for his glasses.

I climb into his truck, glad for the warmth, fasten the belt, and stare. There is a three-foot plastic lizard spread across the dashboard. “What’s with the lizard?” His explanation is perfunctory as if the question is out of place as if everyone has a lizard on the dash.

I shiver, pull my raincoat around me, and put up the hood even though it seems ridiculous for a June evening inside a truck. That is when I decide there is more to this man than he is letting on.  And less.

The less concerns me. I feel little connection after three dates. Another controlled guy. The control seems to be who these men are and it translates to discomfort with self. Whatever name you call it, I can’t see myself becoming close to the tightly guarded.

We head downtown for subs at my favorite little place, then on to a play at the Yale Rep. It is windy, the kind of damp nastiness that makes you want to cling tightly to someone, so we hold hands, the most intimate we’ve gotten in three weeks. The play is Ionesco. We are in the front row, close enough to see the sweat, the hairs on the actors’ arms, the crotch bulges on costumes that bare all.

One actor’s body is more girl than man, pear-shaped, saggy-assed, and I give him credit for hanging it all out there in public.

what should I wear for a date?

I need a little of that, a without-fear factor, but I need it for a different reason. Because it takes guts to try men on. I try on men the way you’d try on a dress at Marshall’s or shoes at DSW. I demand the best fit possible, meaning the tiniest bit clingy without binding … suitable for every day and that special occasion.

Leonard gives me a hug in the parking lot at the end of our evening.  Alas, there is space between our bodies, enough space to drive a bike through. He is not the dress I’ve been looking for.

The next day I receive an e-mail from Leonard telling me how comfortable he feels with me and do I feel the same?

Amazing that we are so far apart in our assessment of how things are going. Perhaps Leonard’s dashboard lizard says it all. I wait two days before e-mailing him. I let him down gently.

He replies with an email telling me he’s sorry, he likes me.

Is it possible I’ve cut him off too soon?

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