February 14 this year doesn’t just mark Valentine’s Day. It is also the Chinese New Year. This is a rare crossover, but there was one evening in my life where romance and the Chinese calendar mixed.
It started at an art opening. My friends and I were all about attending as many of these events as we could. Free drinks and many women to talk to. At this particular one I was bummed out because a girl who had broken up with me a couple months earlier was also there. I said hello but because she had a new dude with her, she was trying to act like we’d never seen each other naked.
All the Tecate in the world couldn’t help me get out of the dumps. But then my friend pointed at a beautiful woman in the corner. He claimed she was looking in my direction. I did not entirely believe him, but I walked over to her anyway. I circled the room pretending to look at the paintings, while really surveying whether she came alone or not before I had the gumption to talk to her. I proceeded to tell a bad joke or two and somehow or another she agreed to meet at a bar two nights later.
I came right on time. She was waiting outside and I was glad to see it was not just the free beer, she was quite stunning even under sobriety. We sipped our beers and told our life stories. At one point though she stopped me and said, “I have to ask. How old are you?”
I told her my age at the time. “27.”
“Oh, wow. I’m a lot older than you.”
“How old are you?”
This is always a dangerous game. I know you’re always supposed to guess younger than you think, so I figured I’d predict the number I supposed before she freaked out about my relative youth. “30?”
“32?” She pointed upward with her thumb. “33?”
I did my best to keep my poker face. But in my head I was kind of weirded out. She really didn’t look her age and I know as the night wore on she saw me trying to find holes in her youthful facade. Small talk continued though and we started talking about astrology. I told her I was a Cancer and she told me her sign. I then told her in the Chinese calendar I was born the year of the horse.
“Me too.” she said. And then came the awkward silence as we both did the math in our head and realized it was because we were born twelve years apart.