she said, he said: a date with Stephanie Klein

SHE SAID:  It was a yummy date, a jdate, but a date with a 34-year-old man named Stuart.   He happens to live a half a block away from me with his yellow lab, Cali.

We met at 6:30 at Perbacco on E. 4th street, between A & B.  He picked the place.  "It specializes in wine" so said citysearch.  When I arrived, he was at the bar looking absolutely Hank Azaria delicious, but the Hank Azaria likening didn’t happen upon me until later. The restaurant was empty; it was only 6:45 (we were both running late).  I’d phoned him from the cab at 6:28 to warn him.  Something in his voice made me wonder if he thought I was canceling.  In our email correspondence, I had suggested he bring cards.  "I want to learn Poker," I demanded.  Cards he brought.

When I first sat down, he said I smelled like a garden.  "Roses," I said.
"Yeah, roses."  Then he grabbed my wrist and drew it toward him.
When it was my turn, I leaned toward him and drew him in, assessing, "you smell like a Sunday afternoon in socks sitting by the fire."  And then we laughed.  I’m a retard, I thought.

We drank wine from one another’s glasses.  He smelled arugula and wood; he liked zins.  He said there was a word he made up that sounded like a word.  And then, just like that, he couldn’t remember the word, which parlayed into camp stories.  He told me he went to Brant Lake camp.  Oh dear God.  WTF?  Todd went there.  Falafel Sam went there.  It never ends.

When he said he loved camp, I thought, he must have read on my blog somewhere what a camp crazed lunatic I am.  At the very beginning, I whipped out my notebook and wrote down “whiskey over.” Which is toasted rye, that he enjoys at the diner on our corner, with an egg white western omelet and The Post and his freshly squeezed o.j.  Though I don’t know how he takes his coffee yet, or if he drinks it at night.  He prefers that diner to the one I like, the crowded one with the good fries, because his guy knows his order there.

We traded first drunk stories.  He was 16.  I was 14.  He was at some camp “like Dirty Dancing,” he said.  “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” I thought.  It was New Years.  He drank champagne, beer, and then vodka.  And when he got to the vodka, it became a debacle.  He asked for a glass, and the old man said to him, “you’re with friends now.  No need for a glass.”  And he swigged from the bottle.  I liked the way he told the story with his hands.  He didn’t remember how he got home, only that his father took him there.  And recently, his doorman had to let him in because he couldn’t get the key in the door.  Hmmm. 

When the cards came out, I insisted on cutting the deck.  Growing up, when my father shuffled, it was my favorite part.  “You should knock it to show your trust of the dealer.”

“Yeah, but I don’t know you yet.”  And then I cut it and smiled.  “Besides,” I said, “I’ll always want to cut it, even if I do trust you.  It’s a fate thing.  I want my hand in the cards.”  I told him I’m good at roulette but I hate cards like Black Jack ’cause I still count on my fingers.  I tutored people in calculus at college, but yes, I still count on my fingers.  I always will.  He said he’d teach me to play craps.  I can’t wait to hold the dice.

He indicated that his father is laissez faire, while his mother is much more big stick.  “You should be happy, Mom, that I am independent and don’t come crawling to you anymore.”  Then I spoke of mothers and little boys wanting to marry theirs.

I realized he’s a lot like my dad.  Well, he’s like him in the golf-crazed, card-obsessed way.  That’s comforting to me.  It’s what I’ve known all my life.

He admitted he’d read some of my site (even though I warned him not to), and when he confessed it he started laughing.  "You’re so funny and awesome and real.  I know you say some guys see it as a turn off.  Your site is a great litmus test… weed out the guys who aren’t strong enough for you."  Then I told him about Jack… about how he said I was too social and got bent because I kept introducing him to friends, etc.  He said, "The guy is an idiot.  I want to meet all your friends."  Then he told me he studied all the photos of me on my site to learn my different expressions.  I know that by writing that it sounds a little stalkerish, but it wasn’t.  He was just interested.  And he’s hot, so let him stare.

He said I was unconventionally beautiful, “which is the best kind.”  Then he asked where I thought I was on looks and personality, like percentage wise.  I didn’t know how to answer.  I was just being honest.  I don’t remember what I said, but certainly my adoration for my friends’ beauty was conveyed.  “Guys usually like me for my personality, not my looks,” I said.  I think that’s true.

At one point early on during the night, he leaned over toward me and said, "I like you.  Just so you know."  Then he kissed my cheek.  He found ways to touch me when he told stories, and when I told mine, he moved a whip of hair off my face, tucking it behind my ear.  As he did it, all I could think was, “man, he’s pulling a power move.”  We closed the bar.  We ate ravioli and shrimp, though we smelled our neighbor’s rice balls.

He said he liked my teeth and said that I said something a lot, but I don’t know what I said.  We talked about not having New York accents.  I told him the story of Jessie Little getting weighed at the truck stop.  We had cards on our foreheads. I asked him if he liked my hair curly or straight.  He said he didn’t care.  “What I care about is right here,” he said as he held my face with both hands.

I told him he looked like Hank Azaria and that when I got home I was going to masturbtae watching Huff with my on demand.  I swear, who needs porn when there’s Hank Azaria?

He invited me to Tahoe with him.  "But it’s our first date.  You don’t even know my middle name yet."

"Well tell it to me.  And then I’ll know, and we can go to Tahoe together."

The only drawback… you were waiting… is that he’s just getting out of a marriage.  It ended in October, though he said it ended long before that.  Still, I told him it raised my red flags.  To which he responded, "I know you’ve seen When Harry Met Sally.  Joe got married after Sally.  She was supposed to be his transitional person, not THE ONE."  And all I could say was, "some people spend a lifetime looking for something with one person and find it in a moment with someone else."  Then we clinked glasses and tried to get drunk.  I think, somehow, I can still smell him.

Before long, we were quoting movies, doing camp handshakes and high fives.  And I don’t do high-fives, but we couldn’t help ourselves. Wine spilled on his phone.  He showed me a list he keeps of all the new restaurants he wants to try.  Loved that.  Cards were played, games were not.   We shared a cab home at 3 in the morning.  We didn’t
kiss the whole night… but didn’t kiss in a really good way.  Like saving it.  It was hot.

When I got inside, just into bed, my phone rang.

"I thought of the word: incentivize."

"Yeah, that’s not a word."

Then he told me he had an amazing time.  "Me too."  I went to bed smiling.

I awoke to this email from him:

Last night was fun,
I had a great time;

I’m still smelling roses,
My phone smells like wine…


As tired as I am today (and I have used your name in vein) last night was worth it Steph.  I’m looking forward to seeing you again, if you’ll have me…


AND… he just called.  That, dear reader, deserves an emoticon.

HE SAID:   A date with Stephanie Klein……  We met at Perbacco.  Translation = blame it on the wine.  I thought it would be a perfect place for a first date since alcohol can either ease the pain or grease the 1st-date wheels.  As usual I was running late, considering minutes are like dog years to me, but Stephanie was running late too and she ended up arriving just minutes after I got there.  Whew.  I don’t think a man should be late for a first date.  It leaves a lame first impression if you ask me.  I wasn’t nervous to meet her, especially since I did my homework before we met.  I read her blog.  My sister Eileen told me not to, and I said I wouldn’t, but my curiosity got the better of me.  The way I see it is It’s a good thing knowing 100 facts about your date before meeting them.  It sort of puts you at ease, knowing a few intimate details about the woman you’re about to meet for the first time (ie. It’s always good to know when a woman will orgasm from normal intercourse).  Useful information, if you ask me.  Stephanie walked in the door, wearing dark, thick-framed glasses, smelling like a garden of roses, with a black blouse with strings that tied up the short sleeves.  Her hair was straight, healthy looking, and it smelled as good as it looked.  I was looking for the bump on her nose, caused by a break as I recall, but it wasn’t really noticeable to me.  So far so good.  No red flags, no bad breath, no funny faces, no scars.

The bartender immediately gave us samples of Italian red wines, which got the night going right.  I felt like I’d known Stephanie for more than just a few days, which is a good feeling going into a first meeting.  The conversation flowed, from past relationship nightmares to current standings, and before we knew it 3 hours had passed.  We bonded with some of the patrons too, and were told he “had to try the rice balls, since they are the best in the city.”  Whata-the-fcuk is a rice ball anyway?  Needless to say, we skipped the little fried balls of rice, and ordered some tapas instead….Some highlights of the evening.  We played a few hands of gin, since I remembered to bring my playing cards.  Funny how the daughter of a regular card player has no idea how to play gin, even though she did smoke me after a brief review of the rules….

We moved onto Swift around midnight, for another couple of glasses of wine.  Around 2:30am we hopped into a cab together, sharing a ride to the upper west side…  All in all, I’d say it was one of the best first dates I’ve had.  Stephanie warned me repeatedly about her blog throughout the night, but I’m into her public display of emotion.  I know her deal going into things, and I actually find it appealing to meet a woman who’s got a plan, a passion, and quirky side.  Some people call it baggage, “a lot of shite”, or “a fcuked up past”, but I call it seexy.



  1. This is a great post — really cute! And I agree with Stuart, Steph — just because its only been a few months since his divorce doesn't mean his next relationship can't/won't be the "one." Please don't let that scare you off, seems like you'd really be missing out on something potentially great. You've been through divorce, and are still looking/hoping for the one, too. Good luck.

  2. Yaaaaayyyyy!

    This is so incredibly adorable. I've been married for a while, but this entry takes me back to those first-date butterflies.

    Stuart & Stephanie, please keep us posted.

    P.S. SK: I like him!

  3. Steph,
    The grand canyon wasn't present with Stew as it was with the jack knife episode. Let Stew marinade, sounds like it will get better with time.

    and a grain of salt.

  4. I'm so glad you had an amazing first date. He seems like a pretty nice guy. Hope your next date goes just as well. Good luck.

  5. This is *the* last thing I needed to read right now. But in all honesty, I'm happy as hell for you! In your corner as always, PT.

  6. when i think of Hank Azaria, i think of Moe or Apu on the Simpsons! haha. good writing !

  7. Brava!

    Hope for you that this isn't just a passage for the book. Hope for him that you're not following the "I don't write about guys I like" rule. (Maybe just the name was changed to protect the innocent… and the next hand of poker.)


  8. Of course he's wonderful. He went to Brant Lake Camp. All good Jews from the New York area went there. If he knew Melissa Chesler from 2nd grade, he'd be perfect.

  9. He sounds wonderful! Glad you had a nice time. You two would be the type I would enjoy glancing over inbetween dinner converstion with my husband and commenting, "isn't that an adorable couple…."

    I enjoy seeing people bring out happiness in each other. And you, my dear, sound smitten.


  10. A dissenting opinion: dump him. And just because of this sentence:

    "All in all, I’d say it was one of the best first dates I’ve had."

    A man should be able to distinguish the best from the rest.

  11. take your time, before this you wanted something a little too much. i know, i met you on nerve and you said "im tired of dating, i just want to meet someone i like…", hence you called me bitter. trust your instincts before your impulses, although one may be buried under the other right now.

  12. Great post.

    Thats funny about the Brant Lake Camp thing. I went to their "sister" camp and we were forced to have "cocacola" socials with them all the time. Hardly any of us ever spoke. It was just like a sad middle school dance with girls on one side and guys on the other. ohhh memories.

  13. Stewart the Stalker Stalks Stephanie…
    Sounds like a good set-up for the next article.

  14. He may be a nice guy. But here is the question:

    Should a talented, witty artist risk her best blog writing award because of a nice, yet uncouth, guy?

    "The way I see it is It’s a good thing knowing 100 facts about your date before meeting them. It sort of puts you at ease, knowing a few intimate details about the woman you’re about to meet for the first time (ie. It’s always good to know when a woman will orgasm from normal intercourse). Useful information, if you ask me."

  15. so far so good.he sounds good to me.keep him.write about him.if it works out, you'll have great lovey dovey type blogs to write , if it doesn't work out, you can talk about his 'penis' right hre on the blog. everybody wins!!!

  16. I can't believe you let these fuckwads write comments on your site. It's like making a great painting and then letting everyone spray their shitty graffitti tags on it. You write for yourself, so why the hell do you care what the annoying people think (forget the stalker weirdos, even the innocuous ones are annoying).

  17. You don't get it michael.

    It's all about music.

    Some people have a better ear than others. To them, a guy that finishes a summary of a date with a sentence including phrases like “a lot of shit”, or “a fucked up past”,
    a person than implies that he had also some other great dates recently — is not talking to our beloved Stephanie, but might be using her blog to address somebody else, perhaps his ex-wife.

  18. So I take it picture #238 is you and the infamous "Stuart?"
    Looks like a good time!

  19. This guy scares the hell out of me. The best advice I can offer is to quote the immortal jenny from forrest gump……."run forrest, run"!

  20. names are taken in vain not vein – unless that's some intravenous love reference i don't understand. seems a little too educated on his homework.

  21. Please help. I need a translator.

    OK, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer and certainly don't have the necessary mental and emotional edge to penetrate what a woman is really trying to say. I enjoy this blog immensely, but am often completely lost by it's finer points.

    For instance, two burring questions about this entry:

    1. Whatever happened to our dear Tragedian and Stuart? I can't find further mention of this fellow and there are a few closely following blog entries that seem to indicate the early promise was sabotaged by insecurity.

    2. Did he write the "He Said" entry?

    Your assistance appreciated,
    Dull Blade

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.