XOXO teammate Florence is back with another installment on her misadventures in dating. Except this time, we’ve got a real first date on our hands, people (with a guy who is Adam Sandler’s biggest fan. Get ready).
I show up for my first date with Bus Boy head-to-toe in Urban Outfitters. This is not a deliberate choice. I’d much rather come off as a twenty-something New York intellectual than an angsty seventeen-year-old with a middle class allowance, but when you only do laundry once every four weeks, the options get pretty limited towards the end of the month. Not only do I look like a teenager, but I also haven’t eaten yet, which would probably be fine except it’s 5 PM and we’re committed to drinks, not dinner. No problem, I tell myself, I’ll only have one beer and make sure to order Seamless on my way home.
Fast forward two hours and I’m on beer #3 and cigarette #2 at an outdoor patio deep in the throes of Brooklyn – we’re talking man buns, partially shaved heads, and outfits so trendy I half expect a street photographer to pop up behind one of the graffiti splattered walls and accuse me of not trying harder. Luckily none of this is really bothering me due to the beer : food ratio, i.e. too many : not enough and really I’m having a splendid time. Bus boy and I are really hitting it off despite the fact that he kind of can’t sustain eye contact, keeps texting, and talks an awful lot about himself. He’s sooooo cute says the voice in my head (do I dare to call her myself??) and it’s practically summer and I’m practically in the prime of my life. Could I ask for anything more?!?!
“So do you want to come and see my movie? My apartment is just up the street,” he says.
“Yeah, totally,” I say and I pray it’s nothing like something his idol, Adam Sandler, would produce, though he had brought him up again, as if I hadn’t spent the last week trying to forget about his creative influences.
Speaking of creative influences, as soon as we get to his apartment he admits to a small habit he didn’t seem to shake in college.
“Want some?” he says and I try to give him half a point for at least not offering me some make shift water bottle apparatus.
“Certainly,” I say because I don’t want to be a fun suck but really the issue is more serious than that: I’m incapable of being myself on first dates. Every people-pleasing instinct comes out and an exchange from the first episode of the OC trickles into my head. Marissa asks Ryan “So who are you,” and he says, “Whoever you want me to be.” I’m the same way, but not in words, in actions.
A few minutes later my eyes are glazed doughnuts and I’m really wishing I had a glazed doughnut. All around I feel terribly self-conscious about my face being on my head which is why I tried this stuff once in college and never again. Luckily he dims the light and I start suffering through his stupid movie, which is just really stupid.
“Here’s my favorite line,” he says and I brace myself, but not nearly well enough as the middle aged main character looks directly into the camera and says. “My wife is great, except I have to keep the A/C at 50 degrees. It’s the only way to make her nipples…”
Dear God!, yells the voice in my head. Luckily my whole body is now a glazed doughnut so I am unable to vocalize my horror and ruin the date. But know this: I am appalled. Not only for this fictional character’s wife, but for myself and for women in general.
When the movie ends, he plays me a few terrible songs he’s written on the guitar, then shows me some of his sub-par photography of New York, which he then offers to give to me “as a souvenir.” I’m sorry, but how did I end up in the Museum of Idiot, where the tours are meant for boys ages 12 and under?
“Can I use your bathroom?” I say and I try to coordinate my feet/body movements, but it’s been awhile since I’ve stood up. I stumble my way there and splash water on my face. I realize I look terrible and thus everything about Bus Boy becomes irrelevant. Never mind that he’s a donkey, my one mission is now to appear sober though I’m the whole length of the L train away from anything resembling sobriety.
“Must. Make. Him. Like. Me.” I gasp at my reflection. “And. Think. I. Am. A. Respectable. Girl. Who. Does. Not. Drink. Too. Much. On. Sundays.” And here is the second deepest issue in my dating life. Not only am I incapable of being myself, but I am also consumed with making sure the other person likes me, so much so that I don’t stop to consider if I really like him.
We end up hanging out for a total of six hours and though parts of it are appalling, we have a few laughs too. When I get up to leave he asks if he can kiss me and since the last skin-to-skin human contact I had was when I flew into a stranger during an abrupt stop on the 2/3 two months ago, I don’t say no. Surprisingly he’s a great kisser and by the time I pull away I’ve entirely forgotten that the majority of the evening was disappointing.
“Maybe we can get drinks after work this week?” He says.
“Sure,” I say and I sound very cool, very sober, and very cute, but actually I’m ecstatic. Clearly I fooled him into thinking I could not only handle my liquor but that I was worthy of a second date! Brilliant, I say to myself, just brilliant, and since I’m still feeling the effects of the evening’s festivities, I’m too paranoid to get on the subway, which requires that I hail a cab (because I’m the only person under 60 who doesn’t have the Uber app) and pay $50 to get back to my own bed. I decide it’s a small price to pay, since soon Bus Boy and I will declare our love for each other and I’ll have to start sharing a bed with someone who snores (Haven’t you heard all Adam Sandler fans snore?)