“He kissed me goodbye, happily mounted his bike, and disappeared behind the clouds of steam rising from the sewer.”
The onset of mid May is the apéritif to summer, which is essentially the amuse bouche to Gemini Season(the point in the zodiac where the Gemini births fall, and most Geminis are at their best) which is basically the prix fixe to all the most amazing rooftop shenanigans, and I just knew something amazing was about to happen.
So, it was no surprise that the next day, as I crowded onto the J train on my way to Brooklyn to meet a friend for dinner, after I had swiped through what felt like a million guys who either had lousy photos on non-descript profiles (automatic left swipe), had either gone to Harvard or Yale but had multiple spelling errors on their profile (I’m a grammar alt-righter, were they just letting anyone in?) or had quotes about only being into “masc, muscle guys” (whyyyyyy is your masculinity so fragile? Seriously, it’s 2018) that I found a seemingly competent, mysterious, broodingly handsome guy. We matched, I smiled a little, and I got off the train at Lorimer.
I was trying to be a good friend by not texting the entire time at dinner while the LED lights on my iPhone continued to flash, notifying me of messages that had been sent on Tinder from… well, let’s call him Richard. My bestie and I gorged ourselves on oysters and rosé. After a while, I pretended to go to the restroom, sneaking to check my phone to see what had been sent.
Richard wasn’t drop dead gorgeous, or a part of the privileged elite that went to Yale, or Harvard, but he owned a coffee shop in Bed Stuy, and shared a ridiculously striking resemblance to Ethan Hawke. Not like, current Ethan Hawke though. The Ethan Hawke from Great Expectations, who was overwhelmingly in love with Gwyneth Paltrow. (I could be Gwyneth! I could!) So much so, that I saved him under the pseudonym “Richard Hawke” in my contacts. It was perf. Richard had sent me numerous messages about my profile, our shared interests, and he was witty and funny. I was completely smitten. How was I going to finish dinner now?
Turns out, I wouldn’t have to.
I came out of the restroom and my bestie had guzzled the rest of the bottle of rosé, met a tall hipster who wore round Oliver Peoples glasses and she had basically given me the okay to biggity bounce. So I did.
The train ride back to SoHo consisted of me messaging Richard non-stop. I have this Dating App rule about not giving out my number before I meet the guy in person, to prevent me from being a murder victim, possibly stalked, or receiving constant obnoxious messages, and ultimately just wasting my time. And it’s literally saved me SO much time, and probably, almost definitely my life. When I got home, I suggested meeting Richard at one of my favorite coffee shops in the city, Stumptown Coffee Roasters near NYU. Since he owned a coffee shop, I wanted to see how he thought they stacked up. He agreed to the date and asked if I preferred whole beans or ground coffee. I thought this was a trick question so I said whole beans because it sounded more adult, and fancy.
“Interesting,” he said. “See you tomorrow at 7pm, handsome, and good night”
Tomorrow at 6:54pm came and I was standing outside, on the corner of 8th street at Stumptown Roasters when I received a message from him. I rolled my eyes and figured he was bailing last minute, but to my surprise, his message said “For identification purposes, I’m wearing a black t-shirt, Zanerobe joggers and green and white Nikes” – This was VERY different to my style of dress, but a welcome, much more relaxed change.
At 6:59pm a handsome guy turned the corner on a vintage bike, wearing a black t-shirt, Zanerobe joggers, and green and white Nikes. It was quite the opposite of my cropped trousers, Ted Baker brogues, and polka dot Lanvin pajama top. He was MUCH more handsome than his photos and he smiled at me, a wry, smug smile, and things started happening downstairs.
The date went great. He got off his bike, hugged me, and we walked into Stumptown and ordered small iced coffees. After walking out the back door and sitting on the patio, he immediately pulled a small white pouch out of his messenger bag and handed it to me. “Yeah, dude. This is the new batch of coffee we just got in, from Ethiopia. You can’t even get it here yet.” He said it so San Francisco cool that I was sweetly taken aback, ignored the fact that he called me “dude” and instantly regretted the fact that I told him I preferred whole beans. I didn’t have a coffee grinder. Fuck.
We finished our coffees, walked and talked all through the Lower East Side, and had a few public make-out sessions. He was an attentive listener, casual conversationalist, and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. At the end of the date, he walked me to my apartment, and I didn’t invite him up, because I liked him (isn’t it strange the way we wait to have sexual contact with someone we like but fuck assholes on the first date because we know it’s not going anywhere?) and instead gave him my number so he could text me, without using the app. He kissed me goodbye, happily mounted his bike and disappeared behind the clouds of steam rising from the sewer.
That’s when it all started. He texted me when he got home (which was adorable) but continued to call me “dude” (RED FLAG). He insinuated he was looking for something long term. A partner. He pulled out all the stops and showed me photos of his 15-year-old blind dog who had recently passed away, remarking he’d love to rescue another dog, with the right guy, of course, someone loving, caring, and affectionate who had time for a fur baby. Still, though, maybe I should have been, I wasn’t scared away.
The next evening, he tells me he was offered a position with Doctors Without Borders (my first question was, DON’T YOU HAVE TO BE A DOCTOR TO DO THAT?) – but instead, I congratulated him and just like, tried to be happy. Besides, he wouldn’t know if he got the position for a while, and we could at least have a little fun before then.
He asks me to come to BED STUY from my place in SoHo so he can make me dinner, which is really sweet. He (while I mildly assist him) makes homemade pasta, scallops, truffles, and heirloom tomatoes. It’s spectacular. We have another hot make out sesh that turns into a naked make out sesh drowning in mint green linen and an ivory duvet, but I have to leave for Chicago the next day, so I offer “Why don’t we wait until I get back from Chicago in 3 days, it’ll be totally sexual,” as a compromise to why we wouldn’t have sex right at this very moment – oh, rewind, while we were making out, I must have gripped him so hard that I cracked his back and sternum and it really freaked me out, so much so that the rest of the time we were making out I kept asking “Is this okay?” He chuckled through it and thought my asking for consent was adorable, but like, it’s just regular.
Post dinner. I’m hot and sweaty in the Uber home. It was SO worth it. Thanks, Biggie for introducing me to Bed Stuy even though I didn’t have a pass to cross that bridge. I sleep like a baby, get up early, and head to Chicago.
Meanwhile, the next day I’m in Chicago and I can tell he’s different, because like INTUITION. He says not to worry, and I talk myself out of trusting my gut. I check on his progress for “DOCTORS without borders” and he’s noticeably detached. We had previously planned for me to fly back into NYC, come to his place, and things would get a bit more… hands on. But my flight was delayed and it was making things a bit harder.
I wished him luck on his interview, via text, and we never spoke again. I messaged him two days after to see how things went. No response. We never messaged again.
It was only two dates, and sure I didn’t really know him, but it still fucking sucks to have a connection with someone and have that severed without an explanation. And I know the worst thing I can do is blame myself. I also know I’m a great person with a lot to offer, and just because someone couldn’t appreciate that, doesn’t make me any less amazing. Not everyone can drive a Ferrari. I know when it comes down to it; I’ll be completely fine.
Plus, honestly, Richard turned out to be a real dick.