Sunday, September 25, 2011

My First Blind Date

When I walk up to the coffee shop on 20th Street and 5th Avenue, there's a young man leaning against the brick wall reading a thick novel and dressed entirely in blue and green from head to toe (green and blue striped shirt tucked into blue pleated pants with bright green tennis shoes). "That's definitely not him," I think, and walk right past him into the coffee shop. 

"Kate, is that you? It's me, Charles."

I turn to see the green and blue striped man pointing at me with the novel tucked under his free arm. He's about as short as me (around 5'2'') and as dorky as can be, but then again what was I expecting an art history phD student to look like?

We introduce ourselves and I ask him if he comes here often. He tells me yes, and explains that the "buttery pastries" are to die for, but then follows with, "I live on the Upper East Side, so I don't make it down here too often." I chalk up his contradictory answer to nervous chatter and order a cappuccino. When the barista tells me my total is $5.00 (!!), I hand her my Visa and Charles does not offer to pay. I think this is a bad start to a date, but also realize it happened so fast I probably didn't give him the chance to buy my overpriced coffee anyway. 

Charles orders the same drink (and exclaims, "TWINSIES!") plus a madeline almond cookie, pronouncing it with a French accent. He tells me he just got back from a summer-long archeological dig throughout France. 

"I LOVE Paris!" I say, well, because that's the only place I've ever been in France (and it was only for two hours when our cruise ship was passing though). And that was about 15 years ago. I act as if I was there as an adult as opposed to when I was a nine-year-old, and we sit down in a corner booth. He sets the novel on the table in between us, and the title is the type of title I cannot pronounce, complete with a painting of a naked boy holding a snake in front of a king sitting in a throne. "I've seen this painting in real life." Charles says.

There's a few other people in the restaurant, and none of them are talking. I can tell the others are eavesdropping, and they are probably doing so because my conversation with Charles is making it blatantly obvious that we are meeting for a blind date: Questions like "Where are you from?" and "What part of the city do you live in?" are all answered within the first thirty seconds of sitting down.

The barista brings us our matching cappuccinos and Charles immediately pours two packets of Splenda into his oversized mug, which has "parlez vous francais" painted on the side. He takes a slow sip and I watch the frothy foam stick to his thick beard like a milk mustache, which I mentally predicted would happen anyway. He doesn't seem to notice (or care? Geeky people don't care about looking unkempt) and I wait a while to drink mine so as to avoid looking like Santa Claus.

He immediately talks about his blue blood-ish family (He went to boarding school in DC, father and both brothers have law degrees from Harvard, he keeps a boat in Cape Cod, etc.) and I chime in as best I can. I tell him my mother once worked on Capitol Hill (for about 2 months before she got knocked up with my illegitimate half-sister), my brother just started law school (I don't mention he's in Oklahoma, not Cambridge), and my grandparents have a boat at their lake house (which is actually a doublewide camp site in Indiana). I tell myself everyone embellishes on first dates. If he knew the truths of my life so soon, he'd run for the subway before he finishes his French cookie.

What I do not embellish are stories about my dog and my job - both of which he seems genuinely interested in.

"So is Fashion Week like The Devil Wears Prada?" he asks, the first of 5 million questions. It is now I realize he talks a damn lot. When he isn't talking about himself, he's asking me more questions than I can even answer before he's on to the next. While he's firing off his questions, I examine every inch of him to determine if I could ever sleep with him. His hair is mousy brown and mop-like, with a thickness that my half-bald ex-boyfriend would happily trade his investment banker salary for, and his beard covers about 80 percent of his face. His brown eyes are pretty, but I am too distracted by the black forest of hair creeping out of the collar of his Lacoste shirt to spend much time looking in his eyes. 

The Lacoste shirt. That reminds me of his outfit. I point to his seafoam green shoes and he says he got them "in Italy by way of California" and chuckles loudly. They are Vans, and he purchased them because his top-siders gave him blisters from walking all over Bologna. 

"A lot of guys like boat shoes, but really the only thing they are good for are cleaning the boat deck because of the rubber soles." he says. I tell him I hate guys who wear boat shoes and he should just stick to the Vans.

Soon the conversation is waning, so he asks if I want to "wander" with him. I agree, and we walk around Gramercy Park, I tell him some more Fashion Week stories, and he laughs his ass off. A couple times he puts his hand on the small of my back. I feel grossed out, but don't do anything about it. Finally I make up something about having to meet a friend, and he offers to walk me to the subway. When we get there, I am already not close enough to hug him goodbye unless I walk back towards him, which would be weird and forward, so he extends his hand and we barely touch fingertips, which is 100x worse than an awkward ass-out hug. I can't imagine what people walking by must have thought of us!

"Kate, it was a pleasure." he says in his dorky lisp. We both agree we'll see each other soon, and I thank God this whole thing is over as I walk down the subway steps. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Time I Was Late for a Date Because I Got Hit by a Car

Dating in New York City is never dull. Especially if you're meeting me for a date.

It's Saturday night and I have been getting ready for more than an hour, changing outfits eight or nine times and practicing seductive grins in the mirror.

"This is it, I can just feel it. Plus we were friends first, and that's always good," I tell my roommate as I hold my nose and take one more shot of SoCo - can't leave the house for a date without a buzz going first.

Tonight I am meeting Nick, a 28-year-old I worked with at my first job in New York back when I first moved here four years ago. He was born in Cuba, has bright seafoam-colored eyes and the kind of thick black eyelashes that look like natural eyeliner -- not like questionable "guyliner," just the type of lashes any girl would kill for. Last week I passed him on a Broadway crosswalk, then that very same evening we ran into eachother on 9th Avenue when I was walking home from work. It was fate. And he must have thought so too because right then and there we made dinner plans for this night.

So now that I've had the prerequisite SoCo shots and chosen an intentionally-mismatched outfit (we're going to the East Village after dinner), I head out the door.

When I am a few blocks from the restaurant, my mom calls.

"Are you at your computer? Can you get on Craiglist and help me find a subzero fridge in Sarasota, Florida?" She asks.

"What the hell? It's Saturday night, I'm headed to a date, can't help now."

Rolling my eyes and thinking my mother is a damn nutjob, I look both ways and begin to cross over 39th Street when deep in my peripheral vision I see a yellow cab speeding around the corner; an illegal left turn. The cab strikes me in the knee and before I can help it, I am flying across the hood, and I land dead center between the cab's front tires, spread eagle on the pot-holed pavement.

"KATE?! Are you there? What the hell just happened?!" I can hear my mom screeching through my iPhone, which is laying face up on the curb about five feet away from me.

I jump up, retrieve my cracked-screened phone and frantically try to type in the driver's plates. Two mid-western looking tourists, utter terror plastered across their faces, are in the backseat, and before they can get out I stutter something about being fine -- I am, after all, alive and standing -- and the driver peels out upon hearing me say I am ok.

I begin to limp across the street towards the restaurant where Nick is presumably waiting for me, and my mother calls.

"Kate, what happened? I called 911." My mother says. I tell her not to worry, I just got run over by a speeding and illegal turning cabbie and blood is gushing down my legs. Hobbling towards the restaurant, I realize my body is shaking uncontrollably. I am terrified and still can't believe what the hell just happened.

Just as I am approaching my destination, a police car complete with flashing lights and an echoing siren pulls over. I walk up to the car window and tell them to wait just one second. Still limping, I enter the restaurant and see Nick patiently sitting at the bar, full beer in hand.

"Hey you!" he exclaims. His eyes look me up and down and stop at my heinously bloody knees. "What the..."

"Nick, I am sorry, this is really embarrassing, but I've just been hit by a car and the cops are outside. Can you hang out here for a second?"

Bless his heart, his face is overcome with worry as he tells the bartender to watch his drink explaining, "this girl has just been run over by a car!" and he follows me outside.

Nick stands beside me as I describe the hit and run and the officer takes down my report.

Later, after Nick and I have had a dozen or so drinks between the two of us, we re-tell the hilarity to every person we come across in the East Village. And though I assume he thinks I am some kind of weird accident-prone chick, he doesn't show it, because we end the date at 4 am, wildly making out in front of my building and promising each other we'll get together early in the week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Trust me, I'm a Vet

Sometimes, when I've had too much to drink, I give my number to men I am terribly UNinterested in. I don't know if beer goggles are to blame or if alcohol makes me nice, but if I've had a few too many cocktails, chances are good I'll put my digits in your phone if you ask.

For example, last Friday my friend Kara and I went to a pub on the Lower East Side. Our liquor is always poured with a heavy hand at this pub because in college we each dated everyone who either owned, bartended, or frequented regularly it. It's like an incestual assembly every time we visit.

At this particular reunion, we've had several potent vodka tonics and I am talking to a legit geek: velcro hair, thicker than coke bottle bifocals, a too tight superhero T-shirt, and ill-fitting faded jeans bunched together by a belt complete with a seatbelt buckle. His skin could use a once-over by a dermatologist, but I like the conversation we are having about pets. He leads me to believe he is a veterinarian, so I tell him silly stories about my dog.

Soon Kara pulls me away, nearly dislocating my shoulder.

"Why the eff are you talking to that nasty fool?!" she screams.

But Kara is seconds too late. I already caved and punched my number into his Blackberry.

Since we're familiar with this pub, we scamper down the back stairs, sprint through the basement, climb the front stairs, and make our escape right out the front door.

We are safe.

We go to a birthday party half a mile up 1st Avenue and forget about my plight. Kara buys us a few grapefruit tequila shots and in my haze, a familiar-ish face appears out of nowhere.

"Hey, Kate!"

The geeky vet found us. This time, his friend talks my ear off and it becomes apparent that the poindexter is not a veterinarian, but an undergrad student hoping to one day go to vet school. Big deal, maybe one day I'd like to become a millionaire plastic surgeon, but I don't go around telling that to strangers in bars. I am disgusted by this lying child, so Kara and I just go home.

The next day, I get a text that reads: "Hey Kate, it's Andy, the vet guy. Want to go to dinner with me?"

I don't respond and hope I'll never hear from him again, but two days later I get another text: "I'd still like to take you to dinner, Kate! Let me know what day is good for you."

I'm reminded of all the times a guy has let me down or not responded to my reaching out. Love (or lack thereof) has made me evil. I do not want to make Andy feel like that. I decide to do the right thing.

"Hi Andy! I am really sorry but initially I didn't realize you are still an undergrad and I am not really interested in going out with someone several years younger than me."

And just to drive home my point that he is too young, immature, and ignorant for my liking, he responds, "22, and I am going to vet school the semester after next. Your loss, Kate. See ya, have a good one!"

I really need to change my phone number and NOT memorize it.