Sushi bar. Hoboken. It’s a crowded Monday night because the doctor I was on a first date with wanted to take advantage of the half-priced drink specials. I won’t get into the fact that he specified drinks only because he clearly didn’t want to pick up the tab for food, but it was getting late and I was already feeling the effects of my captain and coke. So how did I meet this Prince Charming? On Craigslist. That should answer any follow-up questions you were bound to ask.
Within five minutes he insulted my career choice and said he didn’t know how I could ever “write for a living.”
“Well,” I started, trying not to let his condescending air ruin my cocktail and raised spirits, “it’s what I love to do. And I’m passionate about pursuing it professionally…” My voice trailed because somewhere between the awkward “oh, you must be so-and-so” and listening to him walk me through a day in the life of a very important doctor who trolls path trains for dates I had completely lost interest.
“This fucker better pick up the tab,” I chuckled to myself as an ice cube melted on my tongue.
“I know it’s around here somewhere…” I was being led on a wild goose chase by a man with long, stringy hair and tight black jeans. “It’s this really great Italian restaurant. Totally authentic.” And so we continued along the cobblestone streets of SoHo attempting to find the only great Italian restaurant left in Manhattan.
“So how do you like living in Queens?” I started.
“It’s cool. Lots to do. Great bars, restaurants. One of my roommates is moving out next month so we may have a room ready if you’re looking to get out of Hoboken.”
What the… did he just ask me to move in with him? On a FIRST DATE?!
I laughed nervously and wondered where in the hell this restaurant was.
“There it is!” I breathed a sigh of relief.
We took our seats and I ordered the strongest drink on the menu.
“You should come out to Queens sometime, I’ll give you the royal tour!” This was the fourth time he had suggested coming out to his neck of the woods.
I smiled and lifted the glass to my lips. It was going to be a very long night.
It was a cool, breezy autumn day and I sat on a park bench in Union Square with a guy I met on OkCupid. We picked up coffee from the local Starbucks and he asked me about my family, life, and writing, all the while peering into the depths of my soul with his intense blue eyes. He opened up with each sip of his pumpkin latte: details of his life before New York, his sexual exploits, and his love of writing were the main topics of our conversation.
I laughed quietly into my decaf.
I didn’t know much about him, but I was intrigued because he was intelligent and had a lovely Irish accent. He had few pictures up on OkCupid, but his main profile picture showed him with a full facial tattoo. I was happy he decided not to stencil his face for our date.
“I have a book, you know. Would you like to read it sometime?”
What the hell, I thought. I’m sure he’s not a serial killer or anything.
Turns out he may have been (his “book” was a tell-all of the many hearts he had broken and the many ways he loved to hurt women—verbally, mentally, and once, physically). I never did see him again after that. But I did score a free bootlegged copy of the movie Drive so there’s that.
I am sweating like a moose on a cold day in October. A bundle of nerves and shvitz and I dunno why I even bothered with my hair because my curls are rebelling. I am about to go out with a computer guy from Jersey. We have had a few phone conversations and so far I’ve gathered that he has lots of tattoos, likes meditation, and has awesome taste in music.
This is also the first time I have ever agreed to a set up, by my ex’s sister nonetheless. So naturally, I’m a mess.
“Oh, hi! You must be Bryan…” I lean in for a kiss outside of the steakhouse. I have no idea why I picked this restaurant for our first date, especially since I’m a vegetarian and he’s a vegan.
He has a gorgeous smile, I think, as he leads me inside.
We both loosen up after our first round of drinks. I am so nervous I can’t remember what he ordered, but I think it’s a whisky. I’m having an out-of-body experience right now.
BREATHE I remind myself.
And slowly I do.
We joke about our stubborn ways (he’s Dutch; I’m German) and discuss our families and favorite concerts. We order another round.
“You have a really beautiful smile,” he says. I blush uncontrollably. My moose-like sweating is reaching epic proportions. But I don’t care. I lean in closer and kick him accidentally under the table. Smooth.
Somewhere between the second drink and the walk around the chilly park we laugh hysterically. The sound echoes off the trees, creating a symphony unlike any other.
I’ll never forget that date as the moment laughter walked into my heart again.
I am participating in my first writing prompt in well over 15 years (!) thanks to the fine folks over at Studio30Plus. Check out this wonderful community of writers today!