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Rule of Thirds: A Failed Double-Date at Tarahumara’s

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"If you’re so funny, then why are you on your own tonight?” – The Smiths, “I Know It’s Over”

The past couple of months, I’ve tried my best to get back in the dating scene and be someone worth loving. These rituals always seemed to start the same: nervousness, small talk and, then, hours of raucous laughter. The short time together, which I thought went remarkably well, typically ends with an affable handshake or, even better, a hug, only to be sent a text a few days later, letting me know what a great guy I am but how they’re just not interested.

I don’t get riotously angry because I’m not their warm cup of bland tea and, honestly, I’m not going to fault anyone for that. You can’t get upset when someone doesn’t like you romantically, although, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to sitting on the edge of my bed and hugging my dog tightly, a tear or two softly streaming down my cheek as the Smiths play on the record player.

I recently went on a double-date with a close friend and her committed lover a couple of weeks ago, where I was meeting a true Norman rocker as part of a momentary set-up. It’s been a lustful dream of mine to date a musician and, like always, I silently got my hopes up way too high—even though I tried desperately to keep them on the ground—but, to me, it was so pure to be thinking that I might be seen as someone special to someone so gifted and talented.

At the very least, maybe I could get a “Special thanks…” on the next album, I thought.

My friend picked up that infernal Saturday afternoon, driving to the pre-selected dinner spot, Tarahumara’s Mexican Café and Cantina, located at 702 N. Porter in Norman. Along the way, we joked, like we normally (and thankfully still) do, but a slight nervous excitement had already infected me, as it usually does in these situations where possible romance might begin and my period of loneliness might end.

By the time we got to the popular Mexican restaurant, it was comically full, something I had not seen since the days before Covid. As I chatted with the smiling couple, I looked up and there she was, coming my way in stereotypical slow-motion. I’d like to describe her more than I probably should, but in situations like this you always have to protect the other person’s privacy…but I will say I felt lucky to have met her.

Food ordered—in case you’re wondering, I selected the Pechugas Tarahumara-Style ($15.39), the chicken giving me a good feeling of a far better diet than I typically write about—we slowly well began to learn about each other, coming further out and discovering a few common interests, telling stories of U2 concerts and, even more impressive—to me at least—her own concerts.

If I may interject here about the food for a moment, I duly respected Tarahumara’s for their seemingly all-Latinx staff, all genuinely accommodating, for the most part. That being said—and I know I’m in the minority on this—I found their eats far too salty for my tastes, every bite of my dish quickly followed by a large swig of water to make sure I didn’t dehydrate.

It didn’t do it for me and, honestly, probably never will.

As we got up from the table and everyone said their thank yous, nice to meet yous and goodbyes, once again, I thought this date had gone rather well, if it could truly be considered that. However, a few days later when I contacted her, letting her know I had a good time and, if she was up for it, maybe another, she told me how she wasn’t really wanting to date anyone right now.

While there’s a part of me that quickly believes “at least not me,” I still take her at her complete word and fully understand, the ashes of those possible liner notes wisping away into the turbulent air.

If I’m being transparent, however, there is a part of me that, at the end of these times when the reality of the situation is faced and, for the most part, accepted, an intense feeling of loneliness covers me for the next few days, when I debate if it’s even worth it to try, try again. Maybe I’m meant to be alone?

I put the Smiths on repeat, finding Morrissey describing the unique hollowness I feel inside rather aptly.



Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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