Girls just want to have fun. And sometimes, they’re willing to do some of the most random things to have that fun. During university, I had a bad break-up and one of my friends decided to set me up on a date with one of her close friends. We’ll call her J. I didn’t know J at all, but she added me to Facebook and that’s really all we knew of each other.
We messaged each other a few times over the course of a week before we finally settled on a date for Saturday afternoon in the middle of autumn. She had family plans later in the evening so we compromised.
J was very attractive and very fashionable. Judging by the number of Facebook likes she got each time she updated her profile picture, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
J let me plan the date and I decided we should go ice skating. It was cliche, but it was an easy way to get close to someone, especially since I was comfortable with my own skating ability. J agreed as it was a short event and we could figure out if we wanted to do anything else after that.
I waited for J outside the arena on the cool autumn afternoon, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was that it wasn’t raining outside. It was part of a massive community center that had a swimming pool, running track, library, and of course, the skating arena. As I waited outside, I couldn’t help but wonder how empty the area around the arena was, especially since it was a Saturday afternoon. At the very least, parents would be taking their kids out.
When J arrived, she was wearing a pair of camouflaged pants tucked into her beige tie-up ankle boots, a leather jacket and a tank top. She looked like something you would see on one of those outfit of the day videos or sites.
“Are you ready to do this?” J asked me and greeted me with a friendly hug.
“I have to warn you though,” J said, “I get competitive.”
“I’m not worried,” I smirked, thinking about my own strong skating background.
I walked J to the front of the arena door and tried to be a gentleman to open the door for her.
In fact, all the doors were locked! What was going on? I should have known it was far too quiet on a Saturday afternoon!
I took a few steps back and saw a small sign posted on one of the windows that said: “Closed for maintenance. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Of course, of all the days they were closed, it happened to be on the day that J and I were supposed to have our first date.
“So,” J began, “what’s next?”
“I’m not sure,” I shrugged.
“Should I go?”
This was going downhill fast.
“No,” I replied, trying to look around for anything that could captivate her.
Then my eyes came across the running track.
“Want to go for a walk?”
“Around the track?” J noticed my eyes.
“Yeah,” I confirmed, “we can think of other things to do while we walk. And you know, we can get to know each other better.”
“Sure,” J said and started to walk toward the running track.
It wasn’t too busy as the autumn weather had scared away most of the part-time runners, but there were a handful of people walking or running around at a leisurely pace.
J and I walked side by side around the outside of the track and started talking about our likes and dislikes, you know, the usual getting to know each other stuff. As we made our way around the first lap, J decided to bring out her competitive side.
“I bet I can outrun you,” J said in a challenging tone.
“How can you be so sure?”
“I’m a fast runner,” J said.
I looked at her footwear and laughed.
“Want to race?” J said.
“Yeah,” J affirmed.
“I’m going to win,” I said confidently.
“Whatever,” J said, “do you want to race or not?”
“Look at your shoes,” I said as I pointed to her ankle boots, “there’s no way. You’ll sprain your ankle.”
“Fine, I’ll take them off,” she said.
With that, J stepped to the side and began to untie the laces to her boots. She slipped one off, revealing her foot encased in a sporty white sock. Her choice in socks didn’t seem to match her advanced fashion sense. I was half expecting some sort of futuristic sock or even barefoot, but a white sport sock was not something I was expecting from her.
J noticed me staring at her socked foot.
“Don’t mind my socks,” J tried to explain, “I thought we were going skating.”
And with that, J was in her white socked feet standing on the racing oval.
“We’ll do one lap,” J said.
“Okay,” I replied.
“What do you want if you win?” J asked.
“Well, I will win, so it’s not going to be fair,” I replied.
“Well,” J said, “if I win, you’re going to buy me dinner next time I see you.”
“Sure,” I said and we shook on it.
I let her call out the start as it seemed unfair that she had to run in her socks. But I was running in fairly snug jeans and so it wasn’t much better.
“We’ll use my boots to mark the end of the race,” J said as she set her boots upright by the side of the track.
“Ok,” I said and J interrupted me immediately.
“Go!” J yelled without giving a warning and off she went.
I had to hand it to her, she was pretty fast. I could hear the plodding of her unshod feet on the soft track. It was distinctively different from my own. J was trying her best, but I knew I had her beat. I wasn’t even going full speed yet and I was keeping pace with her.
As we entered the final half, I decided to pull away and I could hear J’s heart drop the moment she saw me run by her.
I must have beaten her by a good 5 seconds, so I waited by her empty boots.
As J approached me, she slowed her run down to a walk.
At that moment, I made a choice and grabbed her boots and started to run again. I heard J’s shocked cry “No!” behind me as I ran.
I did a casual jog, but J was exhausted. She was jogging behind me, and then briskly walking in her socks.
“Give me my boots,” I would hear her cry out from behind.
I would turn around and wave them at her, and also to gauge how far behind she was.
We must have gone around the track and extra two or three times before I finally ran off the track and toward my car.
J followed slowly behind.
“I can’t believe you stole my boots!” J yelled.
“Well, you wanted to race,” I replied with a smug grin.
J grabbed her boots from my hands and slipped her dirty socked feet back into them.
I thought J was upset at me as she had to go to her next outing with her family as is, dirty socks and all. I couldn’t help wonder if it bothered her at all or if she had forgotten about running around in just her socks.
It wasn’t until later at night that I received a text from J.
“Had a great time. Sorry I had to leave early. Let’s do it again sometime.”
“Sure. Sorry about your socks,” I replied.
“LOL. It’s cool.”
I logged into Facebook after that and noticed that J had updated her status:
“Note to self: socks get dirty without shoes.”