Two guys sitting at the large center table are both in danger of pulling a neck muscle. Every time a woman walks in or out of the Starbucks, they eye her up and down, with all the subtlety of a farmer inspecting bovines at an auction.
They’re both personal trainers. The white guy’s biceps budge against his tight T-shirt. He has a receding hair line. It’s hard to guess his age. The deep ridges in his forehead and around his eyes peg him at his late 30s at least. The black guy, who has a tiny soul patch, seems younger. But he is the more confident of the pair and has a quick patter.
The white guy talks slowly, as if he’s always struggling to process what he just heard. He’s also sweet and often talks about his love of dogs and books about magical thinking that he lives his life by. Reminds me of Lennie from Of Mice and Men, but with a new-age twist.
“One on the far end,” the black guy says, indicating a woman at the other side of the coffee shop. “Cougar. She has a ring.”
“You know talent when you see it,” the white guy says.
This remark irks the black guy. “You need to diversify your portfolio,” he lectures his friend. “Find the one. You want a woman who is a friend, companion and confidant, as well as hot.”
The white guy nods in agreement. He is agreeable and eager for advice.
‘Women Know They’re Crazy’
The white guy admits he has trouble talking to women because he’s never sure what they’re thinking.
The black guy chuckles knowingly. “Women know they’re crazy,” he says. “And they don’t have the best habits.” He scans the coffee shop and takes note of a woman who has her purse on the floor beside her, rather than on the table. “That’s bad luck,” he says. “You don’t want to keep your finances down low.”
If the white guy thinks this reasoning is kind of crazy, he gives no indication. But he is surprised when the black guy expresses admiration for a pudgy woman as she leaves the coffee shop.
“You like that?” the white guy asks.
“She’s hot,” the black guy replies firmly. “Too many girls look fake. In this country, people worship beauty, but it’s fake. It’s Disney. Screw that shit. Most people don’t look like that fake Disney stuff.”
Not a remark I would have expected from a personal trainer.
‘Let Her Be the Expert’
The black guy is advising his friend on how to meet women at the gym. “Even though you’re the personal trainer, allow her to be the expert,” he says. “Tell her, ‘I could use more of your input and I’d like to pick your brain. Do you have a card?’ ”
The white guy ponders this a long time. “Shouldn’t I just ask if she’d like to go out with me?”
“It’s weird to ask somebody out where they can say no,” the black guy says. “When you’re in sales, you never ask a yes or no question. You never ask someone if they want to buy a car. Because, if they’re on the fence, they’ll take the easy way out and say no.”
[pullquote]”If you have to ask a woman out, you don’t ask a yes or no question — you give her a multiple choice question.”[/pullquote]
“So you don’t ask a woman out ever?”
“If you have to ask a woman out, don’t ask a yes or no question — give her a multiple choice question,” the black guy says. “You don’t ask, ‘Do you want to go to lunch?’ You ask, ‘Do you want to go to lunch on Tuesday or Thursday?’ That’s how you close.”
“So that’s how you close?” The white guy says this as if he’s on the verge of learning the meaning of life.
“Well, that’s not how I close,” the black guy admits. “I try not to close.”
“I cheat destiny. I strike up a conversation and then I sabotage fate. I don’t ask her out. I don’t ask for her number. I just see if I happen to see her again. I figure if I see her again, then I know we’re going to take a journey together. That’s the way the universe communicates.”
The white guy nods in agreement, but it’s clear he doesn’t know what the hell the black guy is talking about. However, an slender blonde in a pink dress goes out of the coffee shop, and his eye goes with her, turning the conversation into a fading memory.