Jon Vaughn wonders if things would have turned out differently if he had done these few things.
Olive and I were eating at Johnny Rockets in Bakersfield on New Year’s Day. She likes to sit at the bar, spin in her seat, and people watch. I do too. An absolutely gorgeous woman walks in with two small children, a boy and a girl. They sit a few seats down from us, meaning they like the bar scene also. My first order of business is to look for a ring. It’s the polite thing to do, right? No ring. Woohoo!
The local news shows up with a cameraman interviewing people on the patio. Since the camera was pointed directly toward us, I was trying to convince Olive to photobomb and wave in the background. “On the count of three, we’ll both spin around and wave,” I said. I got to two, and Olive chickened out. I noticed the woman looking in our direction and when I spun, we locked eyes for just the right amount of time. She liked me. I liked her. We both knew that. It was obvious. (Unless she’s married and left her ring at home.)
I started choking on my own thoughts. How do I approach her? Is it wrong to ask her for her number with the kids around? Do I submit a Missed Connections ad on Craigslist when I get home? Well I didn’t do anything, and now I kick myself for it. We paid our bill and left, and I really wish I would have done something. It wasn’t because I was shy or unwilling. It was simply respecting our time with our kids. The funny thing about it is technically, if we would have met, we would have met at a bar; with our kids.
But we didn’t, and I’ll be damned if this didn’t make me wallow in how I could have done things differently. I posted on the FTD Facebook Page, asking about protocol in this situation. The general consensus was to stop overthinking things and be normal, thanks Mel and everyone else. My most favorite comment was from Mike saying, “Congratulations on losing the love of your life… possibly.” Technically, he is correct… possibly. So like any other problem I have, I search for solutions. This is what I came up with:
Use the kids’ coloring page. This is where I failed to think creatively. While leaving, I could have easily had Olive walk ahead of me, and while I passed the woman, I could have bent down pretending she must have dropped something, giving me a chance to pass along my masterpiece. Along with my name and number, she would see how great I am at staying within the lines. She’d also know that I’m smart enough to unscramble letters and find the secret word.
Hand her my business card. This one is tricky for me because my business card says GENESIS Child Custody Manager on it. This could send the wrong message by creating an assumption that she has baby momma drama but for most people, I think this would work. The company wants you handing out your business cards anyway and not only that, it says, “I have a job,” which is usually a prerequisite; maybe not.
Pay their bill. This should have been obvious to me. I’m not a rich man, not yet anyway but I have a feeling by choosing to do this now, I would receive a return on my investment in the future. Realistically, I would have footed the bill not just for her but for her kids as well. In my opinion, women are attracted to a sense of financial security. I’m not going to lie, I’m broke all the time. I just said a “sense” of financial security, not “actual.”
Throw a French fry at her. I’m not sure exactly why I thought of this later but I could picture her throwing one back. It may have been less than two seconds of connecting eyes but a lot was said in that moment. I sensed she had a youngness about her, and a free spirit that’d be willing to bend the rules with me. And if the flying piece of potato wasn’t welcome, I could have blamed it on Olive.
Ask the waitress. Waitresses and waiters love being a part of this stuff. Normally, they’re yelling back and forth with the kitchen all day, cleaning up tables, and doing their best to give you smiles and sunshine. If you put a special request in, asking them to pass along your card or info, I’d be surprised to find wait staff unwilling to do this. I have a gut feeling they’d enjoy this immensely, and probably share the moment with someone else. And next time you visit the restaurant, you’re going to have one person wanting to really know how things are going.
Just go up and introduce yourself. This is what I should have done. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me passing along a compliment to a woman in front of her children, or mine. But I overthought things, and I shouldn’t have. Somehow society has convinced me that when I have my daughters, women are off limits. It’s not that I’m trying to play Hey Missus during family time. I realize now that the best thing I could have done was (wait for her to finishing chewing, obviously), introduce myself, and simply said, “I think you are absolutely beautiful.”
And my daughters would see that there are still guys out there willing to say such a thing, and believe in their beauty as much as I do.
Now share the hell out of this and let’s go find her.
This article originally appeared on Full Time Daddy.
Photo credit courtesy of author.