Yesterday my friend Todd asked if I’d be interested in being set up with his co-worker’s friend. This bloke was supposedly Cute, Funny and Jewish. Todd attached the CFJ’s Facebook profile and invited me to have a look. So I did.
Yeah, I’ve already been out with that guy.
It’s a funny story, actually.
CFJ and I went for drinks and charcuterie (can I just says meats and cheeses? Charcuterie sounds so fancy) and then went for some more drinks. I think we were both iffy at first, but after a series of strange coincidences (we’re from practically the same town, he used to date the woman who cast my play), we started to warm up. (It’s worth saying that there’s only so warm I usually get on a first date. There’s a notable exception a few grafs down, but for better or worse, I yam what I yam. There’s a guard there that I’m aware of, and it’ll dismantle itself eventually, but I’m not going to be sitting in your lap on a first date. Wait, I’m never going to be sitting in your lap. Who does that? I am not some Vegas half-hooker! And should it be sitting on your lap? Oh, who cares. Where were we?) Ok, so: What I mean to say is, I was being as flirty as I usually get on a first date. Some arm-touching, some knee-grazing. All nice. All perfectly fine. Until.
A kind of groovy song came on (I can’t remember what it was) and I said, “Oh, I have the perfect pair of shoes to go with this song.” (That’s them, right there! Aren’t they awesome? They’re like, super platformy. Very Lady Miss Kier-ish.)
He apparently thought (or at least pretended to think) that this was hilarious. “You win,” he said. “You win everything. You win a kiss on the cheek.”
To which I responded, “I win a kiss on the cheek?”
“Yes,” he said. “A kiss on the cheek.”
He delivered my prize, and I responded with this delightfulness: “Wow, that was really sweet. And really weird.”
Now look, I realize in retrospect that this was not the nicest thing in the world to say, and I don’t really know WHY I said it other than I DID think it was a little weird, and obviously I was nervous, ok? Didn’t you hear what I said about being guarded?! (Sigh.) I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell. But yeah, what I mean is, I’m guarded. And this had me stepping out of my comfort zone. But ok, we go on, enjoy the rest of our date, everything’s cool as far as I can tell, and then it’s time to go. Outside, I’m wondering if we’re about to make out when he says, “It was nice meeting you. Take care.”
I was flummoxed, nauseous, had no idea what had happened. But I sucked it up and e-mailed the guy the next day: “Hey! That was fun. Let me know if you want to do it again.”
He never responded.
So now, cut back to my friend, whose co-worker knows this dude. (Which, let’s get back to how amazing that is: In a city of 8 million people, this is the guy my friend comes up with.) (PS: Is this figure still accurate? My whole life, I feel like New York has supposedly had 8 million people in it. Can somebody check?) More important, though, I felt I had a unique opportunity in front of me: I could find out what had happened. Had my guardedness injured the fragile ego of the CFJ? Was I not pretty enough? Had I done something offensive? We’d been having a lovely time…and then we weren’t. What the hell had gone wrong?
According to the CFJ’s friend, I was “cute” and “cool,” but “not his type.”
First of all, I call bullshit. I was his type when he wanted to kiss me on the cheek (WEIRDO!). But that’s not the point. (Do I even have a point? I have no idea. I should go back and rename this post Tangenty Tangents.) Somehow this “not his type” was worse than any of the reasons I’d imagined. “Not his type” is so…average. So trite. So simple. And average, trite and simple are not words I like when indirectly applied to me. “Not my type” hit me where it hurt, knocked the wind out of my sails. (OMG, I am trite.) And I realized, in some sadistic way, I prefer to think it’s some bigger thing: That I am physically revolting to the guy. That my cruel, callous funny-girl wit injured this poor, fragile bearded hipster boy. But no. I was just not his type. He really wasn’t mine either. He was a little pretentious (he tasted 17 different wines before choosing one, then inhaled it for 12 minutes before taking a sip. Am I exaggerating? Only a little.). And isn’t this what dating is? Trying people on for size and seeing if they fit? So what’s my problem?
As my friend Bob said when I told him the story, “If he thought you weren’t his type, he should have e-mailed you to say so!” That’s a really good point. (Bob also called him some very colorful names, including a few I’m pretty sure he made up. “Pussyfart” comes to mind. Isn’t that disgustingly and disturbingly evocative? I encourage you to use it in a sentence today.)
I’m realizing now that I’ve veered away from my original point a little (ok, a lot, so what???), but that’s all right because this is a blog, right? You can veer on blogs. You still with me, guys? Guys?
So: The whole thing was that my friend tries to set me up with an available male in New York City and I’ve already been out with him. Weird coincidence, right? WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR THIS!
Around Thanksgiving, I went on a first date with Soccer Guy. (I know what you’re thinking: Man, she goes on a lot of dates. It’s true. I do. Or at least I did. I was actively seeking a boyfriend the way some people look for jobs. Dating seemed like a good way to do it. At 34, the spontaneous date does not happen the way it did at 24. My only other options, I think, are going back to grad school, where dating is easier, or living somewhere other than New York, where dating is easier. In any case, all of this dating became something of a liability, I think. It numbed me, took my eyes off the prize, made me forget what it is I was looking for. Anyway.) After the first date, which was…fine (nice person, no discernible chemistry), Soccer Guy texted me to say he’d had a nice time and we should do it again. (Note: This is a lovely, old-school thing to do, and everybody should. If you had a nice time with someone, tell her. Ask her out again. Now. Thank you.) I texted back to say, “Sure, that’d be great,” and next thing I knew, my phone was ringing. It was him. “Hey, Soccer Guy said. “Something weird just happened.” [Beat.] “You were in my phone already.”
What. The. Hell.
That’s right, folks, we’d been out already. Only, neither one of us remembered the other. At least, that’s what we think happened. I guess we’ll never know. If we did date each other previously, we obviously didn’t make a strong impression. In any case, it’s hard not to feel like I’m actually running out of people to go out with. And what that implicates—that I’ve dated the entire male population of New York City with very little to show for it—does not feel good. It’s making me re-evaluate, which I guess is a good thing. Other than a few short-lived romances, all of my real relationships came about in a more organic, less cynical time, when finding a mate was less like online shopping. (I’m a really good shopper, incidentally, which may be a detriment when it comes to dating.) I could give you a reason for every single date (or six) that didn’t go anywhere. Maybe we just didn’t like each other. Maybe he liked me but the feeling wasn’t mutual. Maybe the reverse of that. Maybe it was more confounding. I have lots of experiences that fall in the confounding column.
I think of a guy I went out with four or five times in October-November. I liked him, and he kept asking me out, which signaled that he liked me, too. He was a slow grower, someone I found increasingly endearing and attractive the more time we spent together. But what also increased was the undeniability that this guy did not want to kiss me. Like, at all. On our third date, I finally just went for it. He stood with his arms at his sides and let me plant one on him (Oh, thank you! You are too kind!), but on our fourth date (I am telling you ahead of time that I am not making this up), greeted me by saying, “Air-kiss, air-kiss” (I told you I’m not kidding!) and at the end of the date LITERALLY ran away from me to catch a bus. (I should mention that I live in Brooklyn, not Insert the Small Town of Your Choice Here. This was not the last bus out of ’Nam. Running was really not necessary.) So what’s clear is that this guy was not that into me either—or was at least conflicted about it. But what was good about that experience for me is that it made me realize whatever was going on, it was him, not me. My inclination when things go south is to look for something I did, something I am that’s a turn-off (hi, inferiority complex), and Mr. Air-Kiss was obviously going through some stuff that had nothing to do with me. In the Air-Kiss-Off letter he eventually sent me, he said as much, and I respect that. (It’s certainly better than the CFJ, who said nothing and who, by the way, was not actually that F, though he seemed to think he was—OH, SNAP.)
And while we’re on the topic, what about the guy I went out with last week, who I had an unequivocally good time with—and he with me, I am sure of it—and a Taxicab Confessions–worthy ride home who never asked me out again. What happened to that guy? (No, really. Do you know? Because I’m curious. Ask him to call me if you know him. Thanks.)
So, what’s my point? I’m not sure I have one. I guess those are just some of my reflections on recent dating highlights (lowlights?). I don’t really know what to do with them. Do you? Let me know if you’ve got any ideas. “Dating highlights can be cooked up into a delicious, protein-packed stew.” “I like to knit together my dating highlights into a warm, colorful muff.” (That’s what she said?)
Did I mention how chilly it is in New York City? And how much snow we’ve gotten? My brain may be frozen. I might have Cold-Weather Post-Traumatic Dating Stress Psychosis (it’s a thing!). Every slushy corner presents a Choose Your Own Adventure challenge: A) take a running leap and try not to land on your face, B) wade through on tippy-toes and pray that the lining of your boots holds or C) climb the closest mound of snow, plant your flag at the top and hope for the best. (This is reminding me of a first date I had the other night—oh my god, will she not STOP???—when I slipped and fell on my ass. Not as mortifying as you’d think! It’s very slippery outside!) (I’m also noticing that I really like CAPS today. Who do I think I am, James Frey? I really enjoy James Frey’s writing, for whatever that’s worth.) (I’m officially starting to sound insane, right? You’re beginning to worry about me now. Don’t! I’m fine! I think it may just be time for a nap.)
Ok, if you’re still with me, THANK YOU FOR STICKING BY ME AND NOT RUNNING FOR THE BUS. I love you. Do you want to go out?