By K. Hecht, A. Hosack, & P. Berman
I wonder if my plan worked? I’ll find out today.
Since the first day he saw Claire on the bus, Craig had begun planning out each step of his campaign to win her as a romantic partner. His first step had been to watch her on the bus before approaching her. His second step had been to find out where she worked and intentionally “not meet” her on the bus. Today would be the day when he’d find out if his plan for increasing her interest in him had worked; would she show signs of having missed him yesterday? In this next part of his plan, he’d walked to one bus stop passed hers. He would get on the bus, knowing she was already on it, and see what happened when they met again.
Claire was lost in chaotic, and unpleasant thoughts. She had had a particularly difficult day and she would have missed getting on the bus, if one of the other women who were “regulars” at the stop hadn’t nudged her when the bus stopped. “Thank you,” Claire said, as the woman nodded to her and climbed the steps into the bus. This act of kindness re-awoke Claire’s optimism. She would not give up hope of meeting Craig again. She found an empty seat, put her purse out, and then began staring out the window.
This was a bold move for Claire. Larry had found her. In a very different way, Craig had found her to. Claire didn’t know “how to flirt” to show a man that she found them attractive. But she did recognize the ones she wished were interested in her. She saw many men throughout her day. They were of all sizes and weights – some skinny, some plump. They had white hair, black hair, brown and blonde. She had compared each one to Craig and found them wanting.
She knew that Mr. Carson wasn’t the most handsome man she’d ever seen. This made her know, on some level, that she shouldn’t be judging men based on their physical appearance. But somehow, Craig’s face always came back to her – the handsomest man she had seen in a long time. Claire wasn’t sure what the right thing would be to say to Craig, if she saw him again. But, she did know she was very attracted to him.
Craig intentionally made a lot of noise as he got on the bus. He made a joke to the bus driver and looked around and saw Claire look up. She smiled at him. Had his plan had worked? He walked towards her but then hesitated as if he would take a seat in an earlier row than hers. As he hesitated, he looked towards her again and she looked anxious. Good. His plan had worked. He came over and sat next to her and she smiled.
“I wondered if we would run into each other again,” Craig said. Claire had been practicing an opening so she wouldn’t get tongue tied. “I remembered you told me you were a banker. Which one do you work at?” Claire asked. Craig took a moment to think, he forgot he told her he worked at a bank. If he told her the branch he was at, she might be able to find out where his real bus stop was. Claire noticed the hesitation and it made her uneasy. Mrs. Carson had told her to look for any signs that he might be lying, and this hesitation might be one of those.
“I don’t get it why your first question to me would be about my job? Are you only interested in men who make a lot of money?” Craig asked looking stern. Claire had thought asking about Craig’s job would be a good question, but it was a mistake. He had misunderstood her reason for asking about his work. That’s why he hesitated. Claire sighed and sank into the chair. She looked sad. This was a good sign. His ploy of ignoring her yesterday had worked. But now she was looking out the window- he had overdone it. “I’m sorry Claire, I don’t know why I got so mad about a simple question. (1-minute silence) It’s just that a lot of women I’ve dated seemed to care more about how much I earned than the type of person I was.”
He’s concerned about how I’m judging him. He thinks character is more important than money.
She turned back to him and smiled. “I’m sorry too Craig. I’m not good at starting conversations and I thought this was an easy way to get to know you better.” Craig smiled inside but he kept his face neutral, “I get that. You want to know more about me. (1-minute silence where he smiled at her) Well, I guess I can help you with that. I am a guy who really loves dog. (Claire smiled) I have this large dog I named Bull because he is so stubborn.”
Craig opened up his phone and showed Claire a picture of Bull. “He isn’t what I expected,” Claire said, “He looks so friendly!” “Oh, he is friendly,” Craig said with a sigh. But I live in an apartment and he is very stubborn about going out to take a walk and …you know. There are times I have almost begged him in the rain to hurry up so we can both come into the building and dry off.
Claire laughed and continued to look at Bull. Craig seemed very open in sharing about his life. He had a dog. A dog that looked well cared for. This must be a sign he is a good person. “Oh, this is your bus stop isn’t it,” Craig said and then sighed. Claire looked up and realized he was right. He was helping her too. Another good sign.
Claire got off the bus and as she stepped off, he called out, “see you tomorrow!”
Claire smiled and waved as she watched the bus move on. She felt so relieved because Craig loved dogs – they had something important in common.
Does she really know anything about Craig’s character from his pet choice?
The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated that 38.4% of all pet owners picked a pet dog, while only .7% chose horses. Does this difference have anything to do with differences in character of the pet owner or do you think it might be more a difference in the cost of owning a dog or horse? What about the difference between the amount of ground you need to provide a dog or horse for its daily needs?
Wouldn’t how well Craig cared for his dog be a better indicator of his character?