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A man told me I looked beautiful on the elevator the other day. He was at least 80, but still… When the elevator doors opened, he smiled, then got off and walked out of my life. A decidedly better experience than some of my recent dates.

Only two nights before I agreed to meet a Match.com-er for a drink. He was handsome and tall according to his profile pictures, and intelligent and witty per his “about me” page. I hate to admit it, but my hopes were high for this one. He had a way with words and a glint in his eye that drew me to drive more than half-way.

I searched the room, but saw no trace of him… then my eyes stopped on a man in a argyle sweater and man sandals. He had a shock of white hair, and a full white beard. He looked at me with that twinkle I had seen in the photograph, and it became clear that his twinkle was more Saint Nick than Nick Lacey.

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Spotted, I had no choice but to approach. He smiled at me, then crossed his legs giving me a full view of his sock-less feet. I did a quick calculation of just how long I had to stay before I could bolt without being obviously rude. Then fate stepped in.

My phone rang. It was my daughter. Our house alarm had gone off and an automated voice kept saying “Danger! Danger! Carbon Monoxide!” I told her to go to a neighbor’s until I could get there, then turned to Santa, taking the phone away from my ear just enough so he could hear the alarm in the background: “I’m sorry. I have an emergency! I have to go!” I said.  He looked at me, then tucked his man sandals under the seat.

Of course I panicked about my daughter the whole way home, but she was fine (the dryer had overheated setting off the alarm, there had been no carbon monoxide). I have to admit I felt a little bad, sure that he thought the whole things was a pre-planed escape  in case I wanted an out. He had no way to know that I wasn’t that date smart.

Maybe it was because I had taken the cart all the way back to the front of the market instead of leaving it wedged in between two cars earlier that day. Or maybe it was because just driving in rush hour traffic to meet a man who hadn’t mentioned he had a full, white beard and wore argyle had been torture enough, but I was free.