laughter: a concerto in four awkward dates

– Posted in: dating, the bachelorette lifestyle

***

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!

28 Comments… add one

@bluenotebacker September 21, 2012, 11:37 AM

More writing prompt participation from you, lady. This was a pleasure to read, thank you for sharing!
@bluenotebacker´s last blog post ..After the Fire

kath galasso September 21, 2012, 11:49 AM

It’s been so long since I was in that world. I only hope in the end, it’s worth all the dumpster diving. oy.
kath galasso´s last blog post ..Over The River…

David Arroyo September 21, 2012, 11:51 AM

Very cool, I am very happy for you that you have gone on a spectacular date and it came from the most unlikely source. maybe if i keep reading your blog some of that good karma will come my way and break my curse ;)

Emily September 21, 2012, 12:24 PM

I freaking love this.

Mrs. Match September 21, 2012, 2:52 PM

hahah, oh man I love this! The comparison between meeting Mr. Wrongs to meeting Mr. Right. Love it!
Mrs. Match´s last blog post ..It Wasn’t Meant to Be

Nicole September 21, 2012, 3:07 PM

HAHAHA… oh, how I remember each of these like it was only yesterday… Tattoo face was definitely my favorite. ;-)
Nicole´s last blog post ..ad astra*

Jayme September 21, 2012, 3:25 PM

Love. Love. Love. I have had some real winners myself dear. I cannot even imagine trying to find a date nowadays. Makes me sound like a old lady. Heck, I really haven’t gone on many dates that I can remember.
Jayme´s last blog post ..Some Days You Gotta Dance

Krysten September 21, 2012, 5:34 PM

That last one made me smile so big =-)

Lauren September 21, 2012, 5:47 PM

Wow! It’s hell out there. I’m glad you lived to tell about it. Laughed out loud. You had so many great lines. One was: “I laughed quietly into my decaf.” Another: “Sweating like a moose…”

I’m here from S30P, not SPF 30.
Lauren´s last blog post ..Pingback backlash

frelle September 21, 2012, 6:52 PM

Fantastic! L:ove it. One day I’ll start writing about my forgettable first dates :)
frelle´s last blog post ..Six Word Memoir

Dawnee September 21, 2012, 10:35 PM

This was WONDERFUL! When we got to Bryan, I smiled.
Dawnee´s last blog post ..Now What?

Gia September 22, 2012, 4:35 AM

this. was. perfect. I loved the style of this piece! I hope you won’t mind if I borrow this from you because it was such an inspiring way to convey the dichotomy. Absolutely loved it! :) Gosh, Bryan just keeps sounding like a better and better fit – despite any bouts of miscommunication; for who doesn’t have those!

And thank you for the unbelievably kind words you left on my post. Totes sending you uncomfortably tight hugs! XOX
Gia´s last blog post ..moved. no longer moving.

Mothering From Scratch September 22, 2012, 12:37 PM

{Melinda} The right one is out there, Charlotte. And he’ll respect you and what you do. He’ll be worth the search to find him. Don’t settle! :)
Mothering From Scratch´s last blog post ..don’t let our wounds go to waste

hilljean September 22, 2012, 12:43 PM

I love this! I was so engrossed and found myself sweating like a moose, too. Sheesh. You’ve had some experiences, girl!
hilljean´s last blog post ..My Tiny Freak-Out

Miz Dinah September 22, 2012, 1:30 PM

Ack! I’m so glad I’m not single. You had me laughing at “sweating like a moose”. Visiting from SITS. :)
Miz Dinah´s last blog post ..Back to School…Finally!

adrienne September 22, 2012, 7:29 PM

Wow! These are the worst dates EVER. Your word really kept me intrigued! Such great writing! :)
adrienne´s last blog post ..Firmoo eyewear review

Single Mom in the South September 23, 2012, 7:45 AM

*SIGH* I love the way you ended this one. Makes it almost seem all worth it no? You had to go through a lot of frogs to find your Prince Charming!
Single Mom in the South´s last blog post ..Friday Fragments: Mostly About Blogging

Blond Duck September 23, 2012, 8:29 AM

I need to do more with studio 30. Thanks for giving me a kick in the ass. And I’m not surprised the date with Bryan was magical, even at a steakhouse. :)

Stringy haired guy? I would have disappeared before we found the restaurant.
Blond Duck´s last blog post ..28 today

Alison September 23, 2012, 10:25 AM

So glad you found your prince. :) xo
Alison´s last blog post ..Of Lists and Not Making Them

Kimberly September 24, 2012, 6:56 AM

Love this. I’m so glad that I’m not on the hunt. Oy…
Kimberly´s last blog post ..When You Fall In Love With A Blogger

Star Traci September 24, 2012, 2:10 PM

As a former New Yorker, I love how you wove the different burroughs and their personalities in a way that reflected each man. So nicely done!

:-)
Traci
Star Traci´s last blog post ..A Return to Poetry — The Holy Grail

keishua September 24, 2012, 6:05 PM

dating is not for the faint hearted but i am so glad that you have a sense of humor and way with words.
hope life is going well in your corner.
keishua´s last blog post ..savasana/until october

trininista September 24, 2012, 6:51 PM

This post sure as hell brings new meaning to the saying that you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince. These are not just frogs but some mutant species of toad! lol.
trininista´s last blog post ..Steam Room Magic

Blond Duck September 24, 2012, 7:03 PM

Have a wonderful Monday!
Blond Duck´s last blog post ..Mr. Rochester is Befuddled

Ilene September 24, 2012, 7:04 PM

OK – I have just separated from my husband of 11 years – it may be temporary, or it may be for good. If it is for good, I may have just taken a glimpse at my far away yet potential future….Tattoos? Meditation? The vegan at the steakhouse put some laughter into my heart too?
Ilene´s last blog post ..The Walk

Karen Peterson September 25, 2012, 5:20 AM

I loved this post!! And I’m especially glad it has a happy ending!
Karen Peterson´s last blog post ..Project 52: Interesting, Not Shocking

(FL) Girl with a New Life September 25, 2012, 2:55 PM

Laughter really is the green light, isn’t it?

I enjoyed this.
(FL) Girl with a New Life´s last blog post ..Dreaming of a Bathroom Remodel: Black, White & Vanilla

Pretzel Thief October 15, 2012, 9:34 AM

Looooooooooooove this SOOO MUUUUCH!! By the time we got to Bryan I was smiling from ear to ear. You are a wonderful, gifted writer. And I love that you two hit it off on your first date…and even though I knew about it when it happened, it’s lovely to be reminded of it. :-) xx
Pretzel Thief´s last blog post ..Yogi’s photo of the day #4

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