Friday, September 10, 2010

The First Date

My status update on the night of our first date reads: "Really excited about tonight's date. Which probably means he's a creeper."

Why do I do this to myself? It's simple application of Rule #1 in 100 Cups of Coffee dating: never, never get your hopes up. That way, you can never be disappointed. *Note to the readers: not getting my hopes up about this date ended with that status update. Prepare to break all the rules!*

There's a running joke amongst my sisters that a man needs to possess only one quality in order for me to date him: His name must be Michael. I do not feel awful about revealing his name on here only because Michael is the most popular boy's name of all time, so it doesn't exactly narrow down the field. Out of my four "sisters" (not blood related but definitely family), three of them are involved with a Michael. Two of those are married and one is a best friend. The fourth sister is only 13 years old so we're giving her time but I am certain that a Michael is in her future. I am the only one to have never dated a Michael and I want one. Simple as that. So when I see his profile online, I'm intrigued. When I learn that his name is Michael, I'm obsessed. Now I'm a girl on a mission!

The first message I actually sent him was about something I noticed on his profile. It simply said "I have to know: what on Earth is a Roomba???" He wrote back that a Roomba is a robotic vacuum cleaner that tidies his apartment for him while he's at work, thus keeping up with the cat hair and dust so he never has to exert himself on menial chores. Sounds brilliant. Thus ignites our discourse.

It starts off with little details about where we spend our summer weekends, our respective college days, dreams of places we'd travel to with unlimited time and money. He always responds without hesitation or desperation, the perfect combination. I know that he has his own life and friends but is happy to have me be a part of his day. He's interesting, witty and reasonably good looking. Our first phone call is over an hour long and feels effortless, like we've been friends forever. He's so easy to talk to that I feel really comfortable meeting up with him the very next day.

Improv (improvisational theatre) is a huge part of my life. I rehearse and perform with a fantastic group of people and we're always going to new shows to watch and learn from other groups in the city. As he'd never seen an improv show (and really, everyone should) I invited him to the PIT for their free Wednesday night line up. He was going to come straight after work and meet me there and we'd grab a drink together afterwards. Easy, fun, casual, no pressure.

I arrive to the theatre to find him waiting in the lobby for me. Except there's one problem. He's so cute I'm speechless. Honest to goodness, speechless. I manage to hug him hello and mumble a greeting, all the while staring into the brightest eyes I've ever seen. His hair is jet black and his eyes are the color of Caribbean waters. Cloudless skies. Precious gems. I'm dreaming, I'm sure of it. In case of emergency, I always have an escape route or back up plan which tonight was in the form of my fantastic friend. (Having friends around also helps the credibility of this project because no one would believe half the things I've seen or done without witnesses!!!) My lovely friend performs improv with me and her instincts are so strong, her observational skills so powerful, I knew she'd be the perfect person to chaperone should the night take a dreaded turn. Now I needed her for one purpose: pinch me. He's way too cute to be true!

We all head into the theatre for a super fun, hour long show. He laughs really hard at everything the actors do onstage and I can tell he's enjoying himself in an unexpected way. There's something magical that happens to an audience the first time they see improv. They spend half the time believing that what they're seeing is pure illusion and the other half not believing that this show has never been done before. That these lines have never been said before. That these characters have never been played before. But it's true. Nothing you're seeing on stage has ever been done before or will ever be repeated again. Kind of like my dates.

After the show, we walk a few blocks to my favorite wine & chocolate bar in midtown. Some of you may remember that Spidey Watch introduced me to this place. I've been back no less than five times since. It's that good. Unfortunately, everyone else in midtown seems to have had the same idea we did at seven o'clock on a Wednesday which is to go for drinks and appetizers. Alas, there are no tables for a solid twenty minutes. Choosing not to wait that long for a drink, we head across the street to O'Reilly's pub and settle in at the far less upscale bar. I can't complain though. His company (and those eyes) have made my night thoroughly enjoyable. I even offer to grab Round Two of my wine and his beer and he refuses, offering to pay again. When I insist on picking up the tab he just looks at me with those eyes and softly requests, "Please let me treat you?" Wow...

We sip and laugh and talk and share for two solid hours. No topic is off limits. We bring up family, friends, education, hopes for the future. I even put all my cards on the table and mention my divorce (ever the sore subject). He replies that he was also in a relationship for six years and the only difference between his break-up and mine was paperwork and lawyers involved. True. Very true. I ask him point blank if he does any drugs and he admits to partying in high school and college but then he grew up and got a real job, real life and doesn't do stupid shit anymore. He asks if I want kids and I tell him that I always thought I did but now I'm not so sure. I want to be with the right person before starting a family, if that's the right choice for us at the time. For most of my marriage, I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother. My marriage eventually dissolved because my then-husband changed his mind about wanting kids at all and I could not hold onto the relationship with no hope of having babies together in the future. We had names picked out and I was chomping at the bit by the ripe old age of 23. By 25 I felt like an old maid and by 27, I was going stir crazy. Our divorce left me reeling from the impact of what children would mean in my life and walking away was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I hope it's the hardest thing I ever have to do in my life, period, although I doubt I'll be that lucky. Sharing all this with him on the first date was not what I had in mind but he (amazingly) hadn't run away screaming so perhaps it'll be ok. He tells me how his job as a photojournalist could lead to freelance opportunities overseas but he wants to settle down eventually and have a family of his own. He can't do that when he's on assignment halfway around the world for six weeks at a time. Alright, now we're talking!

All too soon, it's time to go as he promised friends he'd meet them downtown and is more than fashionably late at this point. He walks me to Penn Station which is not in the direction he needs to head, but he insists on making sure I get to my train safely. Holding my hand all the way down to the LIRR platforms, he gently kisses me good bye and asks me to text him when I get home. Asks if he can please call me tomorrow to set up another date. Yes. The answer is undoubtedly yes. I can't stop smiling the entire ride home. I text all my friends stupid things like "I'm in lurrrrrve." I have no idea what to do with this level of elation. The answer from a dear friend is simply: "Enjoy it."

Copyright Kimberly Spice 2010

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