When The World Changes Over Diner Coffee

Photo by Sahar Mann on Unsplash

I always shudder a little inside whenever I hear the phrase, “Well, that’s like most men.”

I’ve always felt my mission on this planet was to distinguish myself from “most men.” Sometimes, the universe gives us exactly what we want — whether we want it or not.

Let me explain: I received a friend request from a woman who I sort of knew in my periphery when I was quite a bit younger. I was just finished with school and was obsessively engaged in the task of starting the best band in the world. I was young and very idealistic. Now this being the pre-internet 90’s, all social interaction took place on Main Street and in everyone’s shoddy apartments — however, she and I never got to know each other. This was kind of strange because I felt as though I dated everyone within a five-year radius of age at that point in my illustrious career, but this was obviously not so.

Nonetheless, here we are 25 years later, meeting for the first time. She was impossibly beautiful. Most men have told her this for her entire life. I may have had the social intelligence to not let on how much I noticed, but I didn’t have to. By the time someone cursed with her looks reaches their forties, they’ve heard it all, seen it all and sensed it all. The difference between us, was that it became apparent rather quickly that we had some business scheduled with each other.

I told her on her birthday — which was the day after we reunited for the first time — that I would be her writing coach for free. My only ulterior motive at that point was to hone my coaching chops so I could go on to do it as a profession after my book was published. I am trying to be as honest and vulnerable as possible: those were my original motives, but as we spoke more, those motives grew.

I’m not going to bore you with a bunch of superstitious hype, but there are times when so many things line up on a spiritual realm, it becomes counter-productive to ignore the signs. This is what happened with us. As we chatted more and more on Messenger, it was becoming obvious that we were supposed to meet for some reason. “Like most men,” I was hoping it would be to fall in love and live happily ever after. So, on a Saturday night, when we both had this outlandish idea to meet halfway at a diner for coffee (we live an hour away from each other,) I was a little bit over the moon.

The waiter hadn’t even made it back to the kitchen before she relayed a story to me about another writer at one point in her life who had offered to help her but, withdrew his offer once he was made aware that there would be no romantic overlap. So, there I was. In a matter of seconds, I was faced with the reality that we weren’t going to be living happily ever after.

I have tried over the years to train myself to steer clear of unhelpful emotions and so, in that moment instead of pouting and being like most other men, I decided to get curious about why there seemed to be so many signs pointing to our being together at that place, at that time. Clearly, the universe set it in motion.

As I listened to her speak about her life and her experiences, I began to understand how difficult it can be for someone who looked as she did to navigate through this world. She was driven entirely by her intellect and these pursuits always seemed to be overshadowed by the men who wanted to possess her and the women who felt threatened by her. If that wasn’t difficult enough, add the egregious practice of how we socialize women in this country and how we hold them to a hidden double standard. Of course, not every woman experiences these things as keenly, but I could tell that certain women deal with it quite a bit more than others.

I am being as sincere as I can: I could feel how intellectually repressed she had been for her entire life. I mean, it’s not as if she was boxed into the life of administrative servitude — she was a prominent figure in education — but her potential was being capped off and discouraged by the men who would only listen to her long enough to discern whether they had a chance or the women who saw her only through the filter of someone whose genetic luck was completely unfair.

And that’s when it became revealed to me why I was at that diner with her. We definitely have some business together on this planet and it is neither typical nor conventional. I feel as though I am charged with the task of helping her become the person she was always meant to become — and she has been charged with the same task for me.

I have been socialized to believe I could feel like hot shit when a beautiful woman wanted to sleep with me and just plain shit when they didn’t. It’s practically myopic not to see the parallel. It’s a mirror image parallel but a parallel nonetheless. We are both so much more than our reproductive organs — and although we both know this inherently — we are victims of constant advertising and socializing that wants us to believe otherwise.

And now that we have gotten that strangeness out of the way, we can move on to weightier issues. The fruit of this new union is going to be strange and almost otherworldly and I can’t wait to see what it is.

And if that’s not happily ever after, I don’t know what is.

When The World Changes Over Diner Coffee was originally published in P.S. I Love You on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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