Dating 101: How To Meet Someone On A Bus

Oh, the irony, my darling readers, of those chance meetings when you are least prepared. Let me tell you a story...

Due to the lovely and very early arrival of winter in Chicago - snow! wind! below freezing temperatures! parkas! - I decided to stay the night at my mother's house who I had been visiting because biking home in such weather seemed rather imprudent. In the morning my mother mercifully offered me a ride to the Western bus stop, making my commute home much shorter and fulfilling her duty as a good mother quite nicely. It was early, but there were a few people waiting at the corner of Western and Roscoe, all dressed appropriately for the weather, except for your humble author.

Let me describe what I was wearing: A navy University of Illinois hooded sweatshirt (it has the word "Illinois" emblazoned across it in bold orange lettering), dark blue leggings, brown mid-calf boots, teal green gloves, bags under my eyes the size of former Soviet Satellite States. By no means adequate for the weather and certainly not an attractive ensemble. I also was lugging my bright pink backpack, stuffed to capacity, and carrying two plastic Jewel bags filled with groceries. An odd sight for a Tuesday morning at Roscoe and Western.

Picture that vividly in your minds.

Fully aware of my appearance, I was more than pleased when the bus arrived quickly and I was able to find shelter and anonymity amongst the other patrons. But as luck would have it, my Ventra card would not work. I saw the big red "STOP" on the screen and bus driver asked me to step aside. I made room for a rather attractive young man. He smiled, scanned his card, which of course worked, made some comment to that effect probably with the purpose of alleviating my embarrassment, and went to the back of the bus. Meanwhile, the other patrons were boarding the bus and I was patiently waiting for another chance to scan my card. Eventually it was my turn, the green "GO" lit up the screen and I, too, retreated to the back. I scanned the bus for open seats. I decided to sit next to the young man whom I had to make room for not one minute prior despite my less than stellar appearance. Granted, we were in the row of three seats facing the rear door of the bus so there was technically a seat separating us, but I still felt it was a bold choice on my part.

I settled into my seat and to my surprise, the young man begins chatting with me. He makes a comment about the faulty Ventra system. A great way to start. He witnessed the system failure and we clearly are both morning commuters. Good, relevant and completely friendly. I was in. It then led to the question of my grocery shopping habits. Had I just gone shopping? I explained my situation. We then talked about the weather, where we lived, where we were headed, what we did for a living. It was a perfectly pleasant chat.

I realized, however, the chat would have to come to an end. He would get off the bus at the Blue Line station. Was I bold enough to ask for his number? We hit it off, he was adorable, we had things in common, the conversation was nice. I was thinking about it but before I had the chance to decide, he asked me for my number! Nicely done. He said he normally didn't do "this" (picking up scuzzy girls on the bus in the morning?) but he'd like to "maybe do something sometime." Coffee was mentioned, we exchanged numbers and my day was made.

I would have preferred being more nicely dressed and made up, but it is perhaps even more flattering (and a good judge of character on his part) for a man to ask for your number when you look pretty damn rough. I think this is proof that chemistry is important. So many men/women would have either ignored each other or chatted and then parted ways. Clearly there was some reason that we kept talking and why he asked for my number. And also why I was hoping he would ask for my number and was pleased when he did.

And because I never play games, I texted him within an hour wishing him a pleasant day and letting him know my availability for coffee. He responded promptly, but then he asked me on a real date on Friday night! It sounded like he wasn't sure if he should, but I said yes. So now I have the Ventra card fail to thank for a hopefully fun and very cute date.

That is how you make the best out of riding the bus! But just in case, don't leave the house looking like you're standing on death's door. You never know what will happen or who you might have the pleasure to meet.

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