I have written about Sheila in the past, and while we always were friends, there was a period of time that we stopped communicating. Why? Well, she stopped answering my texts, and I stopped trying. I didn’t know why she stopped talking to me on a regular basis, and while in my head, I was trying not to take it personally, my heart was not going to be a compliant follower. I felt rejected, and seeing pictures of her doing different things with other people, kind of bothered me. Nonetheless, I felt it best to let things go. We might instant message one another from time to time, but nothing more. I didn’t want to be disappointed when things didn’t work out.
Then, one day, poof! She’s back.
I go jogging with a group of people most Saturdays and one Saturday, Sheila showed up.
At first I was a little angry.
I had just gotten to the point where I was ready to forget her, and move on, then . . . There she is again.
A few weeks later, we went out. It wasn’t a date, but we were getting together to watch a soccer match on television. I was reticent, but I felt I had to try again. Then we went out again, and again. They weren’t dates. We were just going to a concert, then another one. Then we went out for drinks. I was hanging out with Sheila 2-3 times a week, and it was great!!
None of these were dates, but it felt nice to be around her again.
Then we went to a Halloween party, and this happened. . .
“I know there was a time that we weren’t talking, and I’m sorry about that,” said Sheila. The comment dropped as though we were talking about the weather or the next soccer match.
“But, I don’t want that to happen again,” she said, “I was trying to figure a lot of things out, and I didn’t handle things very well, but I completely adore having you as a friend. I know I want you in my life.”
I looked her in the eyes, and I knew she meant it. But I didn’t know it what it meant. . .
Was I getting the ‘let’s just be friends talk’?
If that was the case, I was prepared to handle it. Sure I might be disappointed, but I was determined to get over it and not jam up a friendship.
“Look, I can handle almost anything, but we have to communicate,” I said, “you’ve got to talk to me. I want you in my life, and if it’s not going to work out the way I may want it to, then I just need to get the hell over it.”
Sheila glanced up and to the left, then looked back at me. “Yes, but I think it’s vice-versa. I mean maybe you should let go and not worry about where it’s going. Whatever THIS is, we’ll figure it out. . .
“Whatever THIS is, we’ll figure it out.”
She smiled. I smiled.
I felt safer in this relationship – whatever it was going to be.
We were talking, really talking about how we were feeling.
I felt some resolution, kind of. I mean we’re friends, but . . .
Is this how a real relationship begins? Is this how a romance begins?
I don’t know how to say this kindly: You stress me out.
It doesn’t bother me that you have a blue collar job, or that you don’t make a lot of money. One doesn’t need much money to have fun and live responsibly. What bothers me is that you spend more than you make, and then complain that you’re broke.
It’s very attractive that you know how to fix things, and I like when you take charge and make decisions about what we are doing for the day. But when you whine about how your mother treats you, I’m completely turned off.
It’s great that we can share a common interest, but when the only thing you like to talk about is motorcycles, I’m beyond bored.
You are more intelligent than other guys I’ve dated, and because of this, I don’t mind that you’re in your 30s and haven’t graduated from college. In fact, I don’t really care if you have a college education at all. But don’t complain about the one class you are taking or how much school work you have to do. And especially don’t complain that you’re in school because of your ex-girlfriend.
It’s nice that you spend time with your friends, and it’s a relief to see that you have friends. But when you say you don’t have time to do your laundry, and then talk about the pot you smoked, it pisses me off that you expect me to travel an hour to you when I have three jobs and have to use weekends to get my work done.
Most of all, though you are doing what you think is everything you can do to better your life, the fact that you have mostly negative things to say makes me think it’s your attitude that needs to be better rather than your life.
In short, I’m writing this to let you know that I am no longer your girlfriend, because I refuse to subject myself to your pessimism. Desire for a better life I can live with, but failure to see why your life isn’t better, inexcusable.
Enjoy your uncharmed life.
I’ve gone completely crazy. Me, the dating adviser. It’s been 4 months since starting to work with a therapist for 9-11 trauma, and I’ve been blessed by the presence of amazing people who have been supportive. Trauma itself is difficult to overcome. Your brain gets foggy. Events get confused. Memories are like dreams. Feelings are intense. At times I’ve had to leave work early because I could no longer think straight.
Today, it’s not the trauma that’s messing with my head. It’s that combination of chemicals in the brain that Helen Fisher talks about: adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. It’s like being high on cocaine. And it’s all one guy’s fault.
How It Began
I love motorcycles. Riding and wrenching are my favorite pastimes. This year I hope to get on the race track and surpass my current street top speed of 95 mph. That’s pretty fast on a 30 year old motorcycle. So, the International Motorcycle Show comes around and I go. There, at one of exhibits, I meet a nice-looking, average-build man with a dark beard – a motorcycle mechanic who is working the exhibit. We had a conversation about owning 30-year-old bikes, and how he can help me with mine at his shop in upstate New York. I thought little of the meeting, took his card, said bye. I just wanted to see more exhibits.
A few weeks after the show, I get a Facebook message. It’s him. I remembered him, not because he was a good looking guy… scratch that. I remembered him partly because he had these eyes that seemed to look straight through me, and because of those eyes I remembered that he was easy on my eyes. But mostly because he was a mechanic not too far away who offered to help me with my bike, and that I could just stop by. I was not attracted to him at all. My head at the show was thinking about work. I was there as press and had been interviewing exhibitors about their products. I was not thinking about his body language, or the fact that his offer was an outright invitation to get to know him better. Nor did I think that the Facebook message was strange, since I gave him my card… oh no, but I didn’t. I didn’t give him anything but the bookmark that advertises the AlphaDog book. No email address, no phone number. And he gets on Facebook and finds me?!
He told me about a bike for sale. It didn’t take long to meet him again.
Was That a Date?
These days I don’t care about dating. I don’t pursue it. Drawing on past experiences to write about dating and relationships is enough. So, when the mechanic offers to help me with the carburetors on my motorcycle in exchange for dating advice, of course I take the offer. I didn’t have cash for a new bike, nor money to spend on maintenance I could do myself. Why not let someone else help out?
So, I ride up to drop off my bike. He shows me around the garage. Since I’m hungry, we go to a restaurant and sit down.
Then he spills the beans.
“You realize that I made that offer to get you to come up here.”
It didn’t register.
I change the subject, “When you ask that girl out, don’t ask for permission.”
He obliges and talks about this girl he had a crush on in high school. Her Facebook page doesn’t say she’s in a relationship.
We finished dinner and headed to the train, since I’d left the bike at his garage to work on a few things. But I missed the train.
Instead of waiting for the next train, he insists on driving me home, 40 miles away.
Tasting the Medicine
I don’t usually tell guys I date to read my book. They all know about it. It’s up to them. Then again, I didn’t consider the mechanic someone I was dating. He was someone who needed dating advice. So, of course I told him he should read my book. And he did.
A few weeks later, I call to get my bike. He offers to drive down to pick me up. “It’s no big deal,” he said.
At the garage he tells me that his high school crush has a boyfriend. He asks questions about how he can be an alpha without the cash. And he points out little things he fixed on my bike. They were totally unexpected. Blinders removed, I came out of denial. I didn’t know what to think or how I felt.
He asks to keep the bike one more week. “Okay,” I said, not sure if I really wanted to make another 40 mile trip.
The next weekend, I thought long and hard about the mechanic’s pursuit. We met in January. It’s now March. I was about to see him for the fourth time. Would I allow myself to be attracted to him? It didn’t matter that he has no college degree, or that his house is small, or that my income is nearly twice his. What stuck out was his tenacity, respect, patience, and his brains. In spite of having no college degree, he is still a lot smarter than most people. To me, that’s hot. It helped knowing that his personality type is “perceiving”, meaning he likes to keep his options open, and has a hard time making big life decisions. Hey, just like me.
Once again, he made the 40 mile drive to pick me up. Instead of going to the garage, we went for food. Everything was changing.
He was thinner than the first time I met him. His beard was neatly trimmed. We sat at the bar and talked. I don’t remember what we talked about. I only remember looking at him, attracted.
The next day, the chemicals overtook. I could not stop thinking about how well we connected, his openness, and the fun we had riding his motorcycle as he showed me around his neck of the woods. At one point of our ride, he took my hand to get me to hold on tighter to him before he accelerated into the highway. After the ride, I got on my own bike to go home. It was cold that evening, so he gave me fleece to wear for the ride.
The mechanic accomplished exactly what my book had laid out: getting a woman to go from a gray area to either black or white, or yes or no. I’m in the yes zone.
I was on Nerve.com and met a guy who told me about Moonit. I don’t think the guy was on Nerve to date, though. But anyway…
After giving up on Nerve and months of a seemingly endless number of conversations going nowhere on POF, I decided to check out Moonit.
First of all, Moonit is not just for dating. There’s a friendship component as well.
I like that I didn’t have to fill in any questionnaire except my birthday. Birth date is very important, obviously because of the astrology, and year is also important! (I think.)
After you register and upload a picture, you go through pictures of users and either friend or flirt with them. Once the other person accepts, you can read what astrology says about the two of you together. The more connections made, the better idea you get of just how dynamic relationships are. In addition, the more variety of connections you make, the more likely you will get a “badge” for a particular match. Then you can chat with your connections.
It’s all about compatibility. At least that’s the way it seems. Haven’t yet met anyone in person, though I did meet someone on Skype.
That person, who I friended rather than flirted because he is 10 years younger than me (though now I wish I flirted instead), is 96% compatible with me as friends. We Skyped a few days later, and I must say, I think this astrology algorithm might be right on!
There’s an iPhone app for it. Don’t know when or if there will be an Android app, but can’t wait!
If you join, find me I want to see how compatible I am with you DT readers. I’m motorbaby, of course.
Courtesy of Alissa at OnlineMBA.com:
When I wrote AlphaDog, my dating guide for men, I wanted to make money from my desire to help guys. I had no idea what I would learn.
Book sales started off slow. I had no platform and I was unknown. But I had a boyfriend, who I met while researching for the book. We got along famously and were joined at the hip, almost. And, I had lots of ideas.
I became a contributor to Dating Thoughts. Slowly, sales started to rise. Then I became a writer for the men’s online magazine, TheRugged.com and sales jumped 500% over the previous year.
Then reality struck.
My doctor had told me I had anxiety and that I should go to the World Trade Center health clinic. In September 2001, I lived a little over a mile from Ground Zero in New York City. Just before 9 a.m. on that Tuesday morning, I woke up to what felt like an earthquake. It was the plane crashing into the first tower. Outside, with a crowd of onlookers, I watched in horror as the towers fell, and I saw droves of people covered in dust crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge. I then went to a nearby hospital and volunteered in triage until 5 in the morning, helping shocked people get home and answering the phone calls of people searching for loved ones and colleagues.
To add to this all, because I had no air conditioner, the dust from Ground Zero contaminated my apartment. I became sick with acute bronchitis and lost my job.
This past November, my book sales dropped to the lowest level all year, and I didn’t know why. I cared, but not enough. In fact, I almost gave up on this whole dating advice thing.
Why would something that in the past gave me joy become a burden?
After months of examinations and therapy, I finally realized that I had been living for the previous 10 years with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from 9-11. How I managed to put out a book in a year escapes me, except for the fact that one thing had motivated me: wanting to help people.
It even says it in my astrological charts – something I disdained until a few months ago. I am motivated by the ability to help people. Sadly, in the past people used this quality against me, but I’ve since grown wiser.
So, I thought it would be good to share my story.
If you’ve noticed, I’ve been the primary writer for DT for a while. (Funny, because before joining DT, I was trying to buy the domain.) The other writers got busy with other priorities. But since I have a book, I stuck around and eked out articles.
Book sales in a way had been a measuring stick for my mental health. Sales started to slump just when I started WTC therapy. I cried a lot, more than I had in my entire life. I was depressed. I didn’t even want to go out. I believe it’s divine intervention, or the universe at work, that caused the spring of emotions to coincide with the drop in book sales. But now that I’m healing and no longer sob at the thought of the towers crashing down, I’m ready to take on the role of wing girl once again.
This is really about my relationship with you. And it’s not too unlike a relationship with a date. I’ve learned that I need to engage more with you. I’ve always wanted people to write in and ask questions. So, now I’m inviting you.
In addition, I’m giving a Valentine’s gift:
- Free downloads of the Kindle version of AlphaDog. If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app on a smartphone or tablet, starting at midnight PST on Tuesday, February 14 through Friday, February 17, downloads of the Kindle version of AlphaDog will be available for free. Share the love!
In tragedies there can be beauty. There is more to the story, but I would have to write a memoir.
In case you were wondering, that hip-bound boyfriend became just a friend. I’m happily single.
If you’re not a football fan, but your date is, the first Sunday in February can be a dividing day. But it could be uniting if you knew how to enjoy a good game.
The last time the Giants killed the Patriots in 2008 during Super Bowl XLII (42), fans everywhere were on fire. New England and New York already have a legendary rivalry with the help of baseball great, Babe Ruth, who left the Red Sox for the Yankees helping both teams get to the World Series.
Suspense is in the air
How to enjoy football
Here are some ideas of what you might think about football and an alternate way of seeing the game.
- There are a bunch of bodies in tights and armor running around a field, occasionally tossing the ball.
- Pay closer attention and you might find that football is not just what you see. In the minds of the players, there is strategy, team work, challenge, foresight, and a lot of quick decisions. Get to know some of the rules and the running can get exciting.
- The game seems slow.
- The pauses between plays allow the teams to talk strategy, exchange players, and to reset at the line of scrimmage, which is the line where the ball starts at each play, or where it stops at the end of plays. Pauses also allow referees to review plays and make judgments.
- Because so much strategy is involved in moving 11 teammates and a ball down the field, it takes a lot of thinking on the coaches’ and quarterbacks’ part. Watch the Giants’ Eli Manning and the Patriots’ Tom Brady closely. You will see in their body language how many decisions they have to make.
- What’s a down?
- Each down is basically a chance to move the ball 10 yards. When a team has the ball, its players are in offense and they get 4 chances, or 4 downs. Each time they are able to get the ball past 10 yards, they return to first down and again get 4 chances to move the ball another 10 yards.
- Sometimes when a team is close to the opponent’s end zone, the players opt to kick the ball aimed at the field goal to gain 3 points if getting a touchdown does not seem feasible.
- After 4 downs, if the offensive team is unable to gain 10 yards, the ball is turned over to the other team.
- There’s a lot of pushing.
- The quarterback has a huge responsibility. He decides the plays and, as the alpha dog, directs the team on how to employ their strategy. (See why I like football? For more on the alpha dog, visit my book’s website.) All the pushing happens so that the quarterback can complete the play either by passing the ball to his teammate or running the ball toward goal. But there are rules to passing. He can only pass the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
- Sometimes the quarterback passes the ball to the runningback, who may also pass the ball or run with it. Whoever gets the ball behind the line of scrimmage, the passing rule still applies.
- Some teams have great defense. The Patriots this season had become famous for their defensive skills, or lack thereof. But their coach, Bill Belichick, has had something up his sleeve as their defense improved during playoffs. You can see great defense work when there’s a lot of pushing and tackling on the field.
- What’s with the waiting?
- Sometimes plays are disputed and referees need to discuss between themselves whether a play is valid. Other times coaches want to communicate with the team before their opponent makes a great play and calls a timeout. Each team gets 3 timeouts per half. Sometimes a penalty is called, or a flag is thrown, and play is stopped.
- The game is soooo long.
- The clock runs only when the ball is in play. If the ball is fumbled, a pass is incomplete, a penalty is called, or a runner with the ball goes out of bounds, play is stopped. The clock runs again when an official sets the ball down for the next play.
For more on football, visit NFL.com’s beginner’s guide to football.
Enjoy the game and your date!
P.S. If the date is in someone’s home, impress your companion by bringing beer or food, like wings, chili, nachos, or a savory salad if he or she is health-conscious.
(Continued from Part 2.)
For an entire week I neglected my motorcycle. The spark plugs are hard to get to, much like those incognito feelings that haunt us and make us feel lost. It’s because of these plugs my bike wouldn’t start.
I waited to see what James would do. How was his ignition working? Would his motor turn to put his words into motion?
We are ridiculously flawed. It doesn’t matter how together we look on the outside. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Our delectable second date at Blue Ribbon Brooklyn was followed by dinner the next night in the same neighborhood at a popular Italian place called Al di La.
Before we went in, James left me at Al di La’s wine bar while he jogged down the street to give an extra $10 to our waiter from the night before. Talk about extra mile.
He returned from his stalwart act.
“Was he there?” I asked.
“He was. He was surprised.”
Naturally. At this point something happened to my heart like a scab had been picked from it, loosening the skin underneath.
Our seating arrangement was unlike the first two dates where we sat adjacent to one another. By this time, however, it didn’t matter how we sat. We were so comfortable with each other that a little food stuck mid-bite was no embarrassment.
He reached his hand midway across the table where mine came to meet his.
“When can you fly out? Are you ready?” he asked.
“Friday, possibly Thursday. My bag is already packed.”
Our dinner ended on glasses of tawny port and discourse on the Republican primary.
We drove home.
“Sushi tomorrow?” He wanted to see me as much as possible before leaving town.
I wanted to trust James with all my heart. But I couldn’t. There were still old heart wounds with scabs still on them. Every invitation brought up in me a fear that he would not follow through.
But the next day he surprised me again showing up in the middle of the day while I worked from home. I had become sick with a cold. He didn’t seem to care, except that he didn’t kiss me that day. Then in the evening, he came over again and picked up take out from a nearby sushi restaurant. Four visits in three days.
He was a knight. Or he was over-infatuated.
The following weekend I got my bike running. Those damned spark plugs. To get to them, the fuel lines and gauge get disconnected, the seat and tank removed, and plugs unscrewed. Sure enough, the middle two spark plugs were fouled with wet, black oil. The valve seals were leaking oil into the middle two cylinders.
Troubleshooting an engine that doesn’t start requires a step-by-step analysis. Is the battery charged? Is there fuel in the tank? Does the starter turn? Are there sparks? The Saturday before, my bike reached the fourth question. The answer was no. This was unlike the new relationship on the horizon.
Every day we didn’t see each other, we texted, emailed, or called each other.
I wondered during his travels if he drank a lot. What kind of people he met. If women tried to pick him up. If he tried to pick up women. They were questions that arise with new relationships that are only answered by time, situations, and trust.
One week after our second date, he calls. “What do you think of Mendocino?”
“Sounds great.” I had never been there.
“Will you check out what’s going on there?”
Two hours researching built excitement about ocean cave kayaking, horseback riding on a 10-mile deserted beach, wine tastings, and Mendocino’s crab and wine event. Airbnb advertised the Elk Inn, a perfect oceanside B&B and spa not found on Expedia. I forgot about all the work I had to do that week.
Expectations are what you have when someone else convinces you to plan time out of your busy life.
The next morning he calls. “Are you ready? When can you fly out?”
“Friday. Maybe Thursday. I have to find a dog sitter.”
“How about if we go someplace warmer?”
What if this all fell through? What if I packed my bag, sent the dog to the sitter, and had no ticket?
Tuesday I pull my carry-on down from its storage place and speak to a potential dog sitter. In the evening, still no ticket.
Wednesday we meet the new sitter. Arrangements are set. James texts, “Can you leave Thursday?”
“Yes.” I had moved my schedule around. Wait, Thursday is tomorrow.
With all the effort to plan a trip with a guy I just met, the last thing I would allow is to be left with a packed bag and nowhere to go.
Before riding a motorcycle, I did other dangerous activities like skydiving and skiing double diamond trails. In spite of plenty of invitations, I hadn’t skied in over 20 years. So, I made it my plan B. It was too cold to ride a motorcycle, and the valve seals were leaking.
When you ride a motorcycle, it’s important to have emergency phone numbers and a tool kit at all times. Motorcycle riders are infamously known as organ donors, and their bikes are infamously known to crash or break down. Perhaps this was experience enough to be prepared at all costs.
Wednesday evening arrives. Still no ticket.
Thursday morning the phone rings. It’s him.
Bag packed, I looked back into my apartment and bid farewell to the dirty dishes and piles of paperwork.
On Friday, I arrived at my destination, took care of business, and settled down to watch smiling faces as they laughed with the delight of their day off.
The chairlift carried me into a snow-blurred sky.
I thought about James’ phone call. I had answered. He hung up.
(Continued from Part 1.)
Mr. Flawless opened the passenger door of his seasoned German convertible coupe. It impressed me that he drove this little vehicle instead of some gas guzzling monster of conspicuous luxury. He dressed casually, again in cashmere but this time no collared shirt. Remembering our first date’s wardrobe mismatch, I had dressed up and donned a silver mink stole my mother bought at a yard sale and a black silk John Varvatos dress from a secondhand shop. He liked it.
We headed toward the middle of Brooklyn reaching a neighborhood densely populated with occupied storefronts, more than half of which were gated shut for the weekend. Neither of us knew where to go.
While I looked for restaurants on Yelp with a rating of at least 4 stars, he checked Zagat’s guide and came across an establishment saying, “Oh, this one has a 27.” I put my phone away. Even with 4 stars, places reviewed on Yelp can still be hit or miss depending on who you want to please. Settling on this dimly lit enclave in the middle of Park Slope, we parked and headed inside.
Blue Ribbon looked like a Saturday night. Fitting for a New Year’s Day evening. In spite of the crowd, James secured a table in a cozy corner with a long view of the rest of the dining room. One thing is certain. We both enjoy the energy of a crowded room.
The day before, my motorcycle wouldn’t start. Missing the beautiful unusually warm weekend before, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to take a winter ride. Subways on the weekend are to be avoided. Taxi cabs on New Year’s Eve few. Instead my motorless bicycle got me around town. Perhaps the bicycle was a better ride after all, since riding a motorcycle requires 100% attention on the road.
On a bicycle, it’s okay for your mind to wander while riding on paths with no cars. It’s a great way to reflect, think about life, maybe even grow a little wiser.
I thought about James and his confession. According to some psychologists, about two out of 5 men have a tendency to get emotional about romance. Two out of 5 women are less emotional. I’m one of those two. Was I insensitive to ignore “I thought about you all day”? I stopped my bike and texted back. “I thought about you too.” A day later isn’t too late. Or is it?
The rest of my ride that night consisted of thinking about the guy at the New Year’s Eve dinner who asked me out, wondering why my motorcycle wouldn’t start, avoiding stumbling drunks, and feeling happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I can do the quirky silly things I like whenever I want.
Coming across an abandoned and stripped bicycle frame on the sidewalk, I wondered if James would have fun re-purposing forgotten objects with me. This thought made me feel lonely. I tried not to hope too much.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
-Proverbs 13:12, English Standard Version
At the table, James and I talked and laughed through three courses of dishes paired with a full-bodied Super Tuscan. We had Malpec oysters and Cherrystone clams, roasted endive salad, and lamb shank with sautéed white beans. The wine worked well with all three plates.
Doubts I had about the potential of our relationship melted with every smile and touch. Though not completely.
We got so comfortable in our corner that our legs intertwined under the table.
We spent the rest of the evening at my place, impassioned.
Completely at ease with our spent bodies, we slumped back on the couch. “I want to go someplace warm next weekend. Will you come?” He was leaving for the west coast later that week he said for business. He would be gone for two weeks.
I looked at him wondering how long his infatuation would last. “Sure.” The thought of going someplace warm while New York temperatures dropped below freezing was enough of a lure to not care what happened to our potential.
This wasn’t the first time he mentioned taking me away. During the first date, he alluded to it telling me about his racked up frequent flier miles and “if things work out…”
Whether or not things work out, I try not to hope. Besides, I don’t know what expectations are.
To Be Continued.
My last boyfriend and I split up during the holidays of 2010. This past holiday season – and I’m not the only one who felt this – didn’t feel like the holidays at all. I bought 3 gifts for my 3 best girlfriends. No boyfriend, no gifts for family, not even for my dog.
I rode my bicycle after a party in the freezing air on Christmas early morning across the Brooklyn Bridge. There were a handful of pedestrians on the bridge at 3 a.m. and no other bicycles. No tourists! I stopped and took pictures of I-don’t-even-remember, but I do remember feeling happy. I’m single, 40, and happy.
A week later, similar circumstance. New Year’s early morning, just before 3. Several more walkers – or should I say, stumblers – and no other bicycles. One thing was different. I had met someone.
Actually, we met the Friday before Christmas at a party in the home of a warmly hospitable host. Only two degrees of separation. He and I talked about exploring areas of the city, namely Brooklyn, my home. I wasn’t even interested in him during that conversation. But he wanted me to show him Brooklyn, so I decided I would introduce him to my friends’ restaurant. How could I not bring them new business?
I forgot about him by the next day, Christmas Eve.
A few days later, he texted. Darn it, what was his name? Mike? He lol’ed and corrected me in jest. All I could remember was his perfectly formed hair, flawless skin, and clean manicure. Totally not my type. Not for a girl with grease under her fingernails, a six-month old haircut, and unkempt cuticles, not to mention skin blemishes. Still, business for my friends.
When our “date” was about to begin, I hadn’t changed my clothes from work. In fact, I got off my bicycle after a 5-mile commute, and greeted him with a “Hey”. My makeup had not been touched up. My hair was windblown. My clothes were damp with sweat. He looked like he just stepped out of a limo at a Newport, RI mansion. What did he see in me?
First, a drink at a local hangout. Superfine is run by the coolest women who keep the 20th century alive with weekend DJs, bluegrass bands, and occasional burlesque extravaganzas. The food is locally-sourced, except for the California citrus and Hatch, New Mexico green chilies. I ordered a margarita. Better to bear with this man wearing cashmere and an oxford shirt. Certainly is not the guitar slinger nor the geek I usually date.
The drink was followed by dinner at my friends’ place, AlMar, at the bar. Surprisingly, he was okay with sitting at the bar. Personally, it’s a preference when the only seating options are across from each other. Why, when the food is to be savored and enjoyed, should one be distracted by a dining partner’s presence when familiarity and comfort is at a minimum? How self-conscious can a person get with a new date at dinner? No wonder so many people prefer just drinks for a first date. But this wasn’t a date with a prospect in my eyes. Dinner was devoured.
The third place we went to, Jack the Horse Tavern, in my opinion has the best traditionally-mixed cocktails in Brooklyn. By this point, after he disdainfully refused my inquisitive financial contribution, it was with pleasure to bring him here. Not because he was paying, but because showing him great places was the least I could do to as a courtesy.
Fortunately, on this last Thursday of 2011, he surprised me once again.
Granted, by this time we each had had a cocktail and a half bottle of wine. In spite of the reduced judgment ability, his conversation locked my attention to the point where words flowed from my mouth without the need to edit. I can’t remember the last time I sat with someone with this conversation ease. We talked about our post-9-11 experiences, our families’ highlights (or dysfunctions), travel destinations, and things our fanciful drinks reminded us of. The more we talked, the easier it became to see our similarities and reconcile our differences.
He walked me home. I didn’t need to be drunk to kiss him.
The next day he sent a text. “Last night exceeded my expectations.” Expectations? What are those? I tried not to think about a possible future with this atypical date. It’s pretty easy to do that when you can think of all the reasons why it would not work out.
Early New Year’s morning I rode my bike with hope. The memory of this man would not go away. If anything, he gave me a glimpse into a different life. Fifteen hours later, I answered the phone to, “When should I pick you up?”
To Be Continued.