Monday, July 12, 2010

A Jew Grows in Brooklyn

There's nothing wrong with him.

That's all I can think during our emails, texts and phone calls. I'm anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop like it has with all the others when I finally tell myself that maybe it's ok to relax. Maybe, he's just a really good person. Maybe I got lucky this time.

He offers to take me out for dinner on a Saturday night. I have learned from experience never to give up my weekends for just a "cup" but I have the distinct feeling that he may be a whole lot more than "just a cup" so I agree. He offers to take me out to this little hole-in-the-wall Italian place in Huntington with only 12 tables. The kind of restaurant where there's hardly even a menu. The chef is the owner. You just tell him what you want and chances are, he can make it for you.

Unfortunately, we come to find out that the restaurant has changed hands recently and the quality of the food has declined rapidly. He asks if I wouldn't mind instead checking out this little Mediterranean place in Garden City. The Wild Fig.

Are you kidding me? I already have a rewards card there!!! Apparently, so does he. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

I pull into the parking lot a full 5 minutes early (I know, I was shocked too) and I send him a text to say I've arrived. No response. I send another. Still no response. I call. Twice. No answer both times. Great! I've been stood up by the first guy I was looking forward to going out with. Well, screw him. I'm going in for some baklava and freshly squeezed lemonade. I don't care if I have to take it home and watch TCM on my couch tonight, phyllo dough will be involved!!

Wait, I think that's him.

He's standing patiently on the sidewalk, just waiting for me to arrive. Not wanting to be rude during dinner, he left his phone in the car. Wow. He's considerate. I'm not used to that. I'm used to guys who not only have their phones on them, but leave them out on the table during a meal. Reply to texts, answer phone calls...while we're eating together!!! At least I know that with his phone safely tucked away in his vehicle, his mother can't call during our first date.

Cause we know how that story ends :-)

He asks me if he looks like his picture to which I reply "I don't know. I never look at the pictures ahead of time. I just go by personality." Which is true. If I see a photo I really like, of course I'm more likely to reply to a message (or initiate one) but I'd much rather see if our personalities mesh first. Attractiveness is important, but getting along is absolutely essential.

He asks what online dating horror stories I have. I tell him I have a lot. After a few brief descriptions of my recent escapades, he says "you should write these down." I tell him I am writing them down, I have a blog. He wants to know if I'm 100 Cups of Coffee.

Oh. Crap.

How do I answer without scaring him away? Well, the truth is usually the simplest explanation so yes, I am.

"What number am I???" he wants to know.


"Wow, so you have 39 more losers to get through?"

"Yes, is that a problem?"

"Well, no, I'm just wondering what happens if you meet someone (whose number is maybe...61) and things work out. Do you have to finish the hundred cups? Or can you just rename it 61 cups of coffee? People love a Hollywood romance!"

"Personally, I'd really like to finish. Of course if I found someone I really got along with, I'd put the project on hold and focus on them, but I would only hope they'd be understanding that this is the process I'm going through. I call it 100 Cups of Coffee. Most people just call it dating."

"Ok, I fully support your project. I think it's great what you're doing and I will even help you find 39 other guys out there to have coffee with. As long as you know that I want to be the last man standing. Oh, and I wanna read your blog."

Confidence. I like that!!!

We share the hot appetizer sampler (my favorite) and a chicken gyro pide. ('s the Turkish version of pizza.) I don't normally share food (on a date or ever) but I'm pretty comfortable with him and he puts me right at ease with his humor and smile. He's quick witted, funny, intelligent, successful, sweet and immediately disarming. It feels more like having dinner with an old friend than someone I "met" on the internet. There are no awkward silences, no uncomfortable pauses, no "so how was your weekend" moments or discussion involving the weather. It's just fun, pleasant, exciting conversation that lasts until we realize we are the final two people left in the restaurant. Wow. Did not see that coming.

We decide not to hold the wait staff up any more by having dessert out instead of in. He asks if I'd like to grab an Italian ice as there's a place not too far from here. He insists on "being a gentleman" and paying the check which of course I appreciate but never expect. It is a nice change of pace from boys who struggle to offer me a glass of wine, let alone an entire meal. Still, you can see that his generosity is heartfelt and it makes him happy to treat me to dinner. His eyes sparkle as he talks about his friends, his family, his job. He has an infectious laugh that I can't help but share. It's all going so well.

Then we are faced with the decision: take two cars or one? I have only let one other "cup" drive me anywhere, and in my defense, he was driving a Camaro. How could I have passed that up??? This guy has a sensible Infinity which is really nice but hardly qualifies as the Batmobile. We spot fireworks in the distance and he asks if I want to find out where they're coming from. One car it is and off we go.

He's a safe driver which I'm relieved to learn. None of the ridiculous antics you see from most guys with sporty cars these days. He's got a GPS with his own voice programmed in (so cool) and Sirius satellite radio with 6 country stations (a passion we share). I guide him in the direction I'm pretty sure the fireworks are coming from and we chat as he drives. I am not used to being the passenger in anyone's car (let's just call it control issues) but I'm fairly relaxed on this ride. He's charming in a way I haven't found most online guys to be. Maybe it's confidence, maybe it's age, but he's just so easy to get along with.

The fireworks end before we arrive at their origination point, which is fine, because there's a Ralph's ice shop nearby. We look at the menu for what feels like ages as I am completely overwhelmed by the amount of choices I am faced with. I settle on Cannoli / Tiramisu and he gets Graham Cracker / Vanilla. We find a park nearby and talk for what feels like hours.

He has 2 cats (I have 3). We both love country music and Sinatra. We have the same favorite Beatles song (who else loves Eleanor Rigby???) His parents live in Florida but he sees them a few times a year. He was raised in Brooklyn but moved out to Long Island a while back. Spent most of his adulthood on the North Shore, yet still calls the city home. He was raised Jewish but doesn't find himself believing in their teachings anymore. He is considering converting to Christianity and wonders if he might accompany me to church sometime.

This is good. This is really good. I know he doesn't want to say good night (I'm hesitant as well) but it's getting late and I may turn into a pumpkin soon. This has so far been the best first date I've been on since Train Guy stole my heart many months ago. How does one walk away from the best first date of the year? Make plans for a second date of course!!!