When People Show You Who They Are: A Sequel to a Ranger and a Snowbro

As a long time devotee of Maya Angelou and Oprah (despite Starbucks sponsorships and Favorite Things lists), I live by their words of wisdom, particularly in the dating world.

When people show you who they are, believe them.

~Maya Angelou

Thank you, let’s call you Jay Tinder, for helping me re-learn this lesson.

After first dates derailed by long works hours on his side and bronchitis on my side, I finally got to meet this boyishly handsome redhead from Tinder. What did I know so far, aside from his nice looking face? He’s a hardworking hospitality guy with a decent sense of humor. He recently texted me a picture of personals add in the Jackson Hole News:

Lawyer, writer, musician and mechanic has recently run away from home, the internet, cellphones and TV in search of peace. Seeks to share rent in your camper, apartment or home. Not gay but willing to learn. Ex-wife says she’s not attracted to good looking men but I’m at least moderately so with the body of a greek god. Sex not necessary but helpful…Will train your dog, tune your piano, fix your car, and pay rent.

The lengthiest conversation Jay Tinder and I have had (via text, of course…phone calls are wayyy too forward) was banter over this stellar local personal ad. I had even heard about this ad from the hostess at the local diner. It was the talk of the town. We laughed about it knowing, though, that anyone single or in a moderately secure dating relationship in Jackson is a breath away from writing the same ad. This place is where adventurous people come to immerse themselves in beauty, risky recreation, shoddy housing and nature while simultaneously becoming celibate.

So after some texty banter, Jay and met up at a local sports bar:

I walk in and we greet with the ol’ awkward-handshake-side-hug dilemma that twists us into  an almost-dancing pose with hands joined on one side and arm around the shoulder on the other side.

Jay turns out to be a shy, cat and scrabbling-loving introvert. With an early-on joke, he answers my, “What path brought you to Jackson?” with, “Route 22.” I punch him in the shoulder and we’re quickly at ease.

He’s been a dude ranch, horse packer cook for 7 years, having single-handedly fought off grizzly bears and annoying clients in the wild. (Only in Jackson and Alaska.) He recently moved on to front country cooking and is living on the less wild side.

After a couple hours of easy conversation (He even listens sometimes, too! What sweet heaven is this!?!), he steps outside and I duck into the bathroom. I fluff in the mirror, check for cliffies and wonder if we’ll kiss as I walk back out to the bar.

He slides into the seat next to me, smelling of smoke. Darn.

His eyes are afire. “There were three cops out there. I wonder what’s going on,” he gazes into the distance like he’s done occasionally tonight when he’s not sure what to say. “It’s weird to see three cop cars anywhere around here,” gazing, thinking, … “None of them were in the car either.”

“Weird. Hunh.”

“I should probably chill out for a bit before we go since I’ve had a few beers.”

“Always a good idea.” I mean all guys at some point have had a DUI, right? It’s probably no big deal.

His eyes fire up again. “God, I hope they’re not looking for me.”

Hunh. I wanna be the laid back, cool chick but this kinda seems like it’s taking a turn. Maybe it’s just a pot possession thing. DUI and pot possession?

“Shit. I should’ve picked somewhere else to meet. I didn’t really want to get into this tonight…I’ve had a little trouble with the law. I don’t think I could blow a zero tonight, which is what I would have to do since I’m on probation.

Maybe I should get a hotel…[bartender], can I have some water? What’s the overnight parking policy here? … Darn it. Gosh, I hope they haven’t been watching for me. Maybe I’m making to much of this. Something just feels off though, you know?”

Ditto that. Check please.

EPILOGUE

Jay Tinder called to apologize and invite me back to the “fucking awesome” suite he rented across the street and later texted to ask on a scale of 1 to 10 how angry I was. 

Meanwhile, my handsome platonic lawyer friend invites me to happy hour and shares that he and his wealthy new girlfriend are flying to a Broncos game in her friend’s personal plane. I’ll have what he’s having.

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