People ask me how I do it, and when I respond, "I can’t not do it," I’m not sure they get it. So for example, tonight I was on such a bad date, that I had to come home and write about it. I had to the way you have to rub the belly of a very pregnant woman. It was our second date, and it was a Tuesday. I was in jeans with black heels, loving to love myself, in a white tank with an inner bra shelf, so if it was cold, he could admire my nipples and start thinking about seex. Who cares what he was wearing; it wasn’t memorable, which is better than remembering some Hawaiian shirt a-la-Larry from Three’s Company.
We’d made the plans yesterday, so he’d had some time for reservations, for linen somewhere, for a place with more than just appetizers. It wasn’t about getting fed… shite, most women only do tar tar, crab cakes, or some salad anyway. Okay, not me, but most women. It’s about showing interest. A guy asks me to meet him at some inexpensive East Village shitehole, and I’m thinking one of two things: 1) he’s cheap, or 2) he’s poor. Either way, he’s not the guy for me.
The first indication ought to have been when I suggested we meet at Balthazar for our first date drink. "How fancy shmancy," he said over the phone. Oh fcuk. Still, I went. He was cute, witty, and I felt we were on the same page. We liked one another enough to commit to bread. Then, an additional glass, and with an additional glass and a half, the hunger kicks in. Before you know it, there’s a seafood tower obstructing the view of your date. We drank more and ordered fries and a goat cheese tart. More wine. Then, we finished off our shoreline, and suddenly we’re kissing on the sidewalk while he tries to hail me a cab.
"Come meet my friends," he suggests. I didn’t want to say goodbye yet. I’m having fun with my new friend. We cab it to Chumley’s, which is soooo not my place. For starters, their idea of a wine list is “red” or “white.” Not, here’s our choice of reds, but “red wine.” I was agreeable, though, and ordered “red” because I was certain their idea of “white” was Chardonnay. I met his friends, who are also agreeable. Then, my date rubs my leg under the table, telling me he wants to be affectionate so I know how much he likes me. It’s a beginner move, but it’s nice just the same.
Between conversations, where we side with one another against the group, he leans in and whispers that he can’t wait to make out with me. And when everyone takes a nicotine break, that’s precisely what we do. Then we left and went to the next place where everyone says we should go because they are going. After an unsuccessful hour there, trying to get a table, we leave and get more watered down drinks at the next place. But we kiss well together, and his hands feel really good around my waist, so I break rules and agree to a second date on our first.
Which brings us back to Tuesday night. He IMs saying he doesn’t quite have a plan. I kind of want to kill him because he’s the boy, and this is his job. I just want to have to look cute and be smart. Despite knowing I live on the UWS, he suggests the LES, and when I hear Styvesant Street, I want to cancel. "Look, sorry to be a brat, but I’m not trekking down to the LES." Normally, I would have swallowed it, but come on, he should just know better. He should suggest what’s convenient to me. "Well I know you work here, so what do you think of this place or that place." That is ideal. "How about someplace citysearch gives one dollar sign that’s way out of your way? Sawdust is such a good time… keeps you grounded." That was my date.
Normally, I’d just do it. Instead, I pulled out the honesty via email… it’s so much easier to be brave when you’re hiding between well-constructed paragraphs. "So here’s the deal. I’m a big believer that the man should treat the woman as if she’s the good china; he’s got to use both hands. I believe in chivalry, in ‘can I pick you up’ vs. ‘Styvestant Street.’ I believe in a man treating me like I’m special, and when that happens, I’m all too willing to spring to “over the top,” let me give it back tenfold, position. But when I don’t get it, I don’t stick around to respond to anything tenfold. All I want to do is run."
Abrasive, but honest.
I should get a tee shirt made.
We circumvent the hurdle when he responds, "on a weekend, I’d leap at the chance to pick you up. I’m having a tough day." And when I hear, “tough day,” I think of what my father has said to me, more than once: “Hey Steph, stop being such a ball-breaker. People have tough days. Take it easy.” So the date hit a soft spot; I could do relaxed.
I meet him at Cibar, which he says is "too fancy."
It was NOT fancy, unless fancy means they serve martinis in actual martini glasses. It was a normal, good, first date place, for our second date. There was no actual food served there… which is not such a good second date place.
He’s one drink in when I arrive. He looks the same, in an unzipped black cardigan sweater and jeans. Cute, actually. We have some drinks, and then the real fun begins.
"Stephanie, I could never really love a woman unless I lost her. You know, I’m the type of guy who never realizes what I have until it’s too late, until it’s gone."
In vino veritas?
In vino, heisanass.
Okay, so, that’s his way of telling me, he’s still not over one of several of his ex’s. It’s also his way of telling me he’s a big baby boy. I respond, I kid you not, with the following diatribe…
"Well this is the part where I ask for the check.”
“Come on. Are you serious?”
“Quite. You see, I believe people when they tell me who they are. Clearly, you know you, way better than I ever could, so I’m going to take your word for it. And, some boy who doesn’t know a great thing when he sees it, isn’t the guy for me. I hate to use the ‘I want a man not a boy’ line, but that’s me telling you who I am."
“Oh, come on, at least go out with me one more time.”
“Um, we’re on our second date and we’re FIGHTING! Don’t you think that tells us something?"
"It tells me that you’re smart. I mean, we’re not fighting. We’re having a discussion, and most of the girls I date don’t know how to do that." Oh man, now I know what’s coming next. "You know, cause I date a lot of gorgeous dumb girls." Okay, I said he was cute; but he’s in no position to say he dates a lot of anything, never mind with the word gorgeous in it.
"Um, okay. How’s that working out for you?" Then I really did ask for the check. He then tried to backpedal out of his statement, but the truth already slipped out when he was playing with the thin red straw in his nothing but ice now glass.
"Please, just go out with me again."
"The only going out with you again will consist of going out to the street to get a cab so I can go home. Alone."