If I knew ahead of time that I was going to run into a guy I used to date in college, I probably would have put a little more effort into my appearance. But, hey, I was just taking a day trip with my husband and kids. Truthfully, we were all looking a little disheveled. I was quite relieved that with all the people around us, my old flame didn't recognize me.
It made me wonder what I would have done if he had recognized me. Obviously, I want to look attractive and confident. I don't want to do anything that will make him think, "Phew, glad I didn't end up with her." It'd be better if he thought, "Hey, I must have been pretty cool back then to get a date with her."
Jane Austen's Persuasion begins with just such a situation, only in Anne's case, she still has feelings for her old flame. Though she has a few days to prepare for their meeting, she doesn't pull it off too well. Austen writes that "a thousand feelings rushed on Anne, of which this was the most consoling, that it would soon be over." Anne's petrified reaction didn't make a great impression on Captain Wentworth, who later reported that she was so different he wouldn't have recognized her.
Stumbling words along with a shocked expression won't help my case. Here's my plan for the next time this happens to me:
- Act surprised to see him. Say something like, "Wow, I'm surprised to see you. How have you been?" Don't say it's good to see him, unless I actually feel that way.
- Be grateful for the life I have now, so I can confidently explain how great my life is.
- Put an attractive picture of myself on facebook.