I let my co-worker set me up on a date this weekend. We went through a quick checklist: he has all his teeth, a job, and always pays on the first three dates. I figured why not? Bring on the clowns.
B2 (we’ll call him that for now) asked me to meet him for dinner in Roscoe Village after Oysterfest. We met at Volo and sat outside under paper lanterns and heat lamps. Turns out we share a lot in common—we both love travel, the ocean, outdoor adventures, microbrews and Pinot Noir. Oh, if only I knew how much he loved Pinot Noir…
He mentioned that his friends may swing by after the fest to join us for a drink, but neither of us expected that they would arrive by the time the waiter could bring us our appetizers. I suggested we move to a larger table to accommodate the backpack brigade. B2 asked the waiter to bring 5 bottles of wine, and headed to the restroom. I’m left with The Panel who proceed to grill me with questions like: “Do you cook?” “How do you feel about children?” “Ever been married?” (answer there is no, btw) “How do you feel about B2’s ex wife?” (I had no idea he was divorced.)
When dinner is over The Panel asks where we are going next. They start to chant my name with such enthusiasm that for a second, I think I must be doing a keg stand. My date doesn’t reclaim the night, so off we go, on our group date, to the Roscoe Village Tap.
Now here’s the deal: at 10:30pm after a street fest, the only people you’re going to find in the neighborhood bar are the people who are too drunk to leave—the bottom of the barrel, or as I like to call them, The Dregs. I should have left then.
As soon as we arrive B2 gets quiet and glazes over, so I start swapping stories with his buddy, a professional kayaker. B2 gets a phone call, and heads outside. Fifteen minutes later his friends head home, but Kayak stays to keep me company. I text B2 and ask where he is— no response. Five minutes later, Kayak calls him. Twenty minutes later, it’s clear I’ve been ditched.
Before I can finish my beer a guy with a birthday hat stumbles up to me, fixates on my chest and says, “Your boobs are staring at me!!” I tell him to go away, but retell the story to Kayak, laughing. I’m deep in the dregs and I want to go home.
Kayak escorts me out. I think he’s behind me, but when I turn around to say goodbye I see a dude in a birthday hat splayed out on the sidewalk. Kayak is hovering over him yelling, “You can’t say that to a girl I’m with, Asshole!”
A crowd of starts to form and my instincts kick in. He’s 6’4 but I march right up to Kayak and start pushing him backwards down the sidewalk yelling, “STOP DEFENDING MY HONOR! I PROMISE, I HAVE NONE!”
He yells something at me I can’t understand and staggers home.
This morning I woke up to 6 messages from a very hung over date asking me how he wound up at home, with puke on his shirt.
OMG! I take it back. I just went on a second date with Mattieu, to a swank tapas restaurant that he chose. He ordered for me, ordered the most expensive wine, and then hesitated awkwardly when the check was delivered waiting for me to offer to pay! Eventually he took the check and said, “That’s ok, you can pay me back in other ways.”
I excused myself and hid in the bathroom, until the coast was clear.
This morning I had brunch with two of my old roommates from college. Turns out they are both preggers. Eight years ago we were all on the same trajectory: graduation in May, first job, yaddah yaddah. But somewhere down the line they got married. Then got baby bumps around the same time that I found myself suddenly single. So while they sat there talking about lactation, I was texting with Matthieu, the French guy who was up next in my dating pipeline.
They asked how this match thing is going. I told them the truth: if you assume that everyone you’re meeting is a serial killer, it’s nothing but pleasant surprises.
I didn’t know anything about Matthieu. Except that his profile picture is him wrestling with a webcam so I thought this made him one of two things 1) funny and quirky or 2) crazy.
He already told me he likes cats, so I was leaning towards crazy. I very clearly explained in my profile my stance on felines. Absolutely NOT, unless they are lions. So I had zero expectations for our lunch date. When he arrived I gave him a kiss on each cheek (because I’m French like that) and we took seats on the patio outside. Just as we were doing the whole “how was your weekend” schpeal, my stomach seized. This social experiment seemed so pointless. I was tired, I didn’t have energy, I had already EATEN. And I realized that I was so close to the side walk that I could just tuck and roll right onto the street and run right home…
But I stuck it out.
Turns out that Matthieu is actually an interesting person. We talked about traveling, his job as the head of North American Business Operations for a company whose name I can’t spell, the Cubs, rugby, winter… He didn’t know how to respond exactly when I asked him if he is a serial killer. (And his awkwardness only affirmed my suspicion that he may, in fact, have bodies in the freezer.) But other than that, it was fine. He asked if I would like to go out again. Truth told, I don’t really care one way or the other, but it was nice of him to ask.
And slowly, one date at a time, my cyber self is helping to remind my city self that it’s ok to give men who want to date me the benefit of the doubt. At least in the beginning.
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