(Here is where I imagine you saying "YAY!")
The question is: If you could have dated one person that you knew in your lifetime (but didn't) who would you select?*
*The original question said "If you could have seduced one person..." but I changed it because that's not how I roll. You can answer it however you want to!
I'm going to write about B., who was probably my closest Near Miss--we almost went out together but then didn't. I don’t remember how we met, exactly—we went to private schools over an hour apart, so we didn’t see each other often. Our schools sometimes played basketball against each other, and both of us attended the state and national competitions for the organization our schools belonged to. I think we met because his sister E. and my friend Kim became friends. B., E., and their three siblings were all good-looking, athletic, nice, and popular. You would envy them if you didn’t know that their parents had died violently (their father was murdered and their mother committed suicide) and that they were being raised by friends of the family. Still, the five of them seemed to be doing well.
A tall, lanky boy blessed with natural grace on the basketball court, B. was also a good student and a musician who played guitar and piano. He was the guy who could play the piano in the dorm while people clustered around to listen to him. I always did want to lean on the piano and know a guy was playing for me, but I didn't flatter myself in this case. Once when we were talking about our plans for the future, I asked him if he wanted to become a professional musician. “I don’t know what I’ll do for a living,” he said, “but I’ll always do music because it’s who I am.” At the time I felt the same way about writing, so it was nice to feel that someone understood. I still write (just not necessarily the way I thought I would) and now I wonder what path B. took with his music.
We were comfortable together. There wasn’t much sexual tension there, but looking back, I think there might have been a little bit just because we were a teenage guy and girl. We had never talked on the phone, but one day he called me and asked me if I wanted to come to a lock-in his youth group was having. I would know some of the people there, including his sisters, and Kim could come with me. I was excited, suddenly seeing B. as a real possibility. I was a big believer in the “Some Enchanted Evening” idea of romance, when all at once your eyes would meet the guy’s and you would know. So maybe if the stars aligned, this would be the night and he might be The One. I knew it wasn’t a date, exactly, but we would be up all night and who knew what would happen before the sun rose.
My mom took me shopping for a new outfit and I sprayed my Big Hair as high as I could get it. I felt super cute in my hot pink tee shirt with the sleeves rolled up, rayon walking shorts with tiny black stripes, and hot pink socks scrunched down with my black Keds. I probably had a hot pink scrunchie in my hair, too. B. paid me a compliment when he welcomed me: “You look really good,” he said. Since he’d never mentioned my appearance before, I was sure that he was interested in seeing if we could make a connection that night.
Except…it didn’t happen. He disappeared and I knew better than to go looking for him. Later, while Kim and I were going through the pizza buffet, B’s sisters came over and said they were so disgusted that B’s ex-girlfriend had showed up and was monopolizing him. They apologized to me (I told you they were nice) and I got the impression that the whole evening had been their idea. I could imagine them saying, “You need to go out with someone now that you’re broken up with your ex-girlfriend. What about Alison? Y’all seem to get along.” And that he’d agreed to call me, but apparently was still invested enough in this girl that he couldn’t—or wouldn’t—tell her to leave him alone. I never spoke to him for the rest of the evening. And once he graduated that spring, I never saw him again.
Amazingly, it didn’t crush my spirits. I say “amazingly” because usually when I liked a guy, I worked it up in my mind to be a Great Romance that Shakespeare would have written about, if he’d only been alive in my lifetime. Every time it didn’t work out (often because the object of my affection didn’t know I existed) I was sure my heart was permanently broken and there was no more joy to be had in life ever again. But with B., I didn’t have time to fantasize about being together, so maybe that was why I took the disappointment in stride with only a little regret.
I now believe that if two people are meant to be together, they will end up together. Love will find a way. (And sometimes lust finds a way too, meaning that people who aren’t meant to be together hook up anyway.) Obviously, B. and I weren’t meant to be, but when you have a near miss, you do sometimes wonder, “What would have been different if we had gotten together?”