Last night my wife asked me to meet her out for a date night. The plan was for me to meet her at the restaurant as I was taking the train directly to New Canaan from New York. Somehow our signals got crossed; I mentioned that my train would get me in around 6:40 and she thought my train was leaving NY around 6:40. As such, I sat at the bar taking jabs from Ryan the bartender for an hour about where my wife was, what she was doing, and who she was doing it with.
While I was waiting, I struck up a conversation with Jim, the man to my right. He was in his mid 60s and opining about controversy about the Washington Redskins. As an aside, I agree with those who feel as if the name is offensive. Washington should definitely be removed from the team name. Turns out my new friend is a recent widower – his wife of many years had been very sick and apparently it was because she never ate vegetables and never touched alcohol (his opinion, not mine). He was at the bar waiting for his clothes to be done at the laundromat in New Canaan (if you are scratching your head at this, I had no idea New Canaan was allowed to have a laundromat either). He was a nice guy and I offered a toast to the memory of his wife right before he left to pick up his laundry.
With no one to talk to I turned my attention to the Stephen King book I am reading, The Stand. M-O-O-N that spells The Stand. I then observe a man approach a woman and ask, “Are you Jane?” “Yes,” she replies. And the couple takes the two open seats to my left. I was thinking to myself that this must be the first date resulting from an online dating service. My wife and I have observed many of these at this particular bar and I thought nothing more of it until I started to overhear a bit more about their conversation.
They talked about what they did for a living (normal). They talked about working in New York and commuting on the train (also normal). Then, however, the conversation took a curious turn; they started talking about their spouses.
“What does your husband do?”
“He’s in sales. What does your wife do?”
“She’s in insurance. How long have you been doing this for?”
“A few years now. You?”
“About the same.”
I will be the first one to admit that I have a tendency to misread situations and project my own fantasized story lines into the lives of other people while people watching, but holy hell I honestly believed I was witnessing an Ashley Madison hookup. For those of you who don’t know what Ashley Madison is think of it this way – its Match.com for married people and last night the two people to my left were subscribers.
If that sounds classy, wait until you hear what happens next. The man tells the woman that he has to use the restroom; nothing strange there – he was drinking alcohol or, as my friend Dave is fond of saying, “borrowing alcohol.” A minute goes by, then two, then five, then ten. No sign of the man. The woman then asks me if I would save her seat, she was going to look for “her friend.”
I turn to Ryan the bartender and ask him if he new what was going on. Ryan’s reply, “The guy paid me for their drinks and left.” The woman comes back looking horrified. She asks Ryan whether or not the man she was with paid for his drinks and Ryan responds affirmatively. The blood drains from her face and with whatever dignity she had left, the woman grabs her jacket and leaves the bar.
I certainly don’t approve of what these two were doing and yes, it does take two to tango. However, I did feel embarrassed for this woman. What kind of man just leaves a woman at the bar while taking his leave through the back door? The kind who uses a service like Ashley Madison I suppose.