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Estate Sale Scavenging and the Anti-Rom-Com

Jan 24, 2014

A couple of weekends ago I went on my first estate sale scavenge hunt with my friend C. I've been wanting to go for a while, but my car is a 2-door coupe and shopping is always more fun with someone else -- two problems that, until C, kept me from venturing into the nether regions of Virginia in hopes of finding a deal on a chair that I don't really need.

C and I have been following each other on Twitter for several years, but we'd never actually met in person until our estate sale day. For those of you who think that's super weird, I'll have you know that three great friends of mine in DC, two of whom I've known now for over three years, became my friends over Twitter first.

What is super weird is having not met someone but seeing them out and recognizing them from their avatar but not being exactly sure it's them so you don't say anything and then you talk about it to each other on Twitter later. Which is basically the relationship I had with C up until now.

We finally took the plunge and made a girl date when she saw me tweeting about furniture I wanted to refurbish and told me she was buying an SUV soon and we should put it to good use. I researched estate sales, and we officially met for the first time.

To reiterate how this is not weird at all, because I know some of you are still thinking it is, I made this helpful comparison chart:


After stopping at a little bistro for lunch and sharing a hamburger, we hit our first sale. C was looking for a chair to fix up for her bedroom; I had nothing in particular in mind. C quickly found a really cool chair for $5. FIVE. DOLLARS. 


I paid $2 for some sheet music I found in a piano bench, including Clair de Lune, which is on my New Year's Resolutions list. While I was pretty happy with my find, it felt grossly overpriced compared to C's chair.

The next one we went to was mostly cleaned out, so we decided to hit up a few thrift stores in the area. I found a shelf and a green dish that was exactly like one I recently broke, but I wasn't finding furniture, which was the whole point of trip. I could tell C was hoping, for my sake, I'd find a hidden gem and pointed out a couple of things that might work, but we both knew deep down that she was the overall winner of the day.

It was getting late, so we decided to stop at one more place. We walked across the parking lot toward the store, gabbing away, and just before we reached the storefront a man came up behind us and interrupted us.

"I'm so sorry to interrupt your conversation," he said. He was smiling nervously when we turned around. Without addressing C, he locked eyes with me and said, "What you're wearing, your hair, your whole look...it's amazing. You look so beautiful. I love what you've got going on."

My first thought was, Oh gosh, I hope C doesn't get her feelings hurt, but then I remembered her honky diamond ring and the trip to the Caribbean she was about to go on with her dreamy husband, so I swatted that concern away and smiled back at the guy.

"Thank you!" I said, because what else do you say?

We all stood there for a moment (awkward silence...remember my chart?) then he shrugged and then I shrugged and then C and I turned away and walked on into the store.

"That was incredible and never happens," C said.

"I know! That was so cool!" I said, feeling very Mary El Got Her Groove Back.

We split up to look around, and while I was trying to determine if a side table with a slightly busted door was worth salvaging, I heard a familiar voice behind me.

"I couldn't pass up this opportunity."

I looked over too see the guy from the parking lot. I didn't say anything, just smiled at him. It was so...I don't know...encouraging to see a guy go after something he wanted like that. It's the stuff you see in rom coms and always hope will happen to you, but, as David Wygant so rightly pointed out, only 10% of guys are like that.

I took a moment to really look at him. Could I see myself with this person? He wasn't my type, but he wasn't bad looking either. He had short, sandy hair and was a little scruffy. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and worn-in jeans. Was this just his weekend casual thing going on, or was he generally sloppy? I'm not really into generally sloppy...

"I'm Lee," he said. "What's your name?"

"Mary El," I said, extending my hand to shake his. His hand felt rough. I glanced down and saw they were quite beat up -- dry, cracked and calloused. He must work with his hands, I thought. Construction worker? Plumber? Butcher? Baker? Candlestick Maker? 

"Mary El," he repeated, relaxing a bit. "I'd really love to take you out sometime, Mary El."

I wanted to accept, but I needed to see his shoes first. I wasn't certain we'd be compatible if he was a sloppy guy living in the burbs and working with his hands all day. The answer would be in his shoes. I caught a glimpse and saw that he had on some very hipster sneakers, and then the outfit made sense. He wasn't sloppy...he meant to dress that way! For fashion! Suddenly his rugged hands seemed like a perk. He was handy! A girl's dream come true!

"I'd like that," I said. He tensed up again and asked me if he could have my number. He pulled out his phone, and as I gave him my precious 404, my heart melted when I saw his hands shaking a little bit. The poor guy was so nervous! But oh, how gallant of him to lay it all on the line. Of course I'd go out with him. Because even if we weren't a match, I wanted him to know that this kind of chivalrous behavior is worthwhile. And I really wanted to see how my own personal rom-com was going to play out.


He was typing in my name when I noticed something shiny on that rugged left hand of his.


I wanted to punch him in the face. I wanted to kick him in the nads. But most of all, I wanted to snatch his phone out of his disgusting hands and smash it. Uuuuuugggh. He had my number

He finished typing in my name, even got it right the first time. Double UGH. Hands still shaking, he looked up from his phone with a ridiculous grin all over his face. 

"So tell me, Lee," I said, not sure what I was was going to say next but knowing I had to say something before the rageanger rendered me speechless and/or violent. I tapped his ring. "What's going on here?"

His hands stopped shaking. "Oh, that?"

I nodded once in agreement. Yes THAT. Idiot.

"That is coming off very soon. It's a really long story. I'll tell you all about it over dinner."

So not only did this asshat not consider himself caught, but he actually thought that I would enjoy hearing about his drama with his WIFE on our first date which he assumed was still totally on!

He told me he'd call me and left before I could punch him in his face, kick him in the nads and smash his phone. C showed up a few seconds later.

"Was he asking you out?!" she asked in disbelief.

"Yes," I flatly answered.

"This day is totally turning around for you! This is amazing!!!"

I put up my hand to stop her. "Just wait for it..."

She looked confused. I pushed my lips together, took a deep breath and opened my mouth with a loud *pop!*

"He's married."

As I've mentioned before, I don't date married guys. So when Lee texted a week later -- and again last night -- I took the classy road and chose not to respond. I can only hope that he thinks I gave him a fake number.

Here's hoping no married dudes hit on you this weekend!

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