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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Oh yeah, the date*. (revised)

I’m trying to figure out if Mercury slipped out of retrograde or if this is my saturn return (a few years early.) Why? Because the dates* are getting less and less horrible. Maybe I’m picking better from the dating lottery, maybe god is smiling on me, maybe my cruel and judgmental sense of humor is lessening.

My date* was far from horrible last night.

There, I said it. Finally–one week with two dates and EACH ONE was far from horrible. Something curious about dating* guys from personal ads is that they all want to know who they beat out to go on a date with you. It is weird saying to the guy across the table, “I had 40 different men write me from that ad and I chose to go on a date* with you.” It is also weird to me that they want to hear about the faltering steps of other men. It is hard for me to tell the “I’ve got seven dollars” montage without potraying myself as a stuck-up princess.

I was prepared to have a wonderful, hilarious coincidence. I let my date* pick the restuarant without telling me what it was. All he had to do was tell me a time and the el stop. I think I wrote earlier, that he asked to meet at the Starbucks across the street from the restaurant. Hoping it wasn’t too far north, he told me to meet him at Wilson and Lincoln. You know what is across the street from that Starbucks? The Daily. A place where I am a super regular and the place where The Waiter confusion happened.

For the first time in a while, I tried to do my hair with gel and a hair dryer. The result was a disaster and me frantically doing an updo. I also went through a number of outfits, before settling on the conservative end of things. Was my outfit ice cream free? Is it ever? After I got there I noticed some zanzibar chocolate on the cuff. Damn.

I got to the starbucks and was trying to decide which 5’8″ guy with brown hair was my date*. Luckily, he was the first person I tentatively said hello to. There was some confusion with the astrologically/spiritually minded barista who told us, “I felt something when you two said hello. You know each other, right?” This could be a disaster. I said, “Did you feel that I’m in danger and should turn and run?” “No,” she said, “This is something good. When are your birthdays?” “Late March,” I said. “Early March,” he said. “oooh, interesting. Here is your non-fat, decaf latte.”

Again, in front of a date*, I had to order my totally ridiculous drink. I hate that I am watching my caffiene intake and can’t handle a glass of whole milk without racing to the bathroom. I just want to mumble my order and hide when I start the litany of “Size, restriction number one, restriction number two, latte.” It is embarassing. I immediately worry about seeming to be the worst, as Harry told Sally, a high maintenance girl that THINKS she is low maintenance.

After coffee and some obligatory chit chat: age, hometown, college, degree, work. He said we were going to the Square Kitchen. Woo Hoo. Not The Daily, but somewhere new and in my neighborhood.

I am proud to report that my food thing stayed far far away. I’m always afraid when I agree to have dinner with a boy, I could end up pushing food around my plate and taking home doggie bags. Nope. It was no where to be seen. So I was able to enjoy appetizers, entree, and dessert. Yum.

We split the steamed mussels and spicy duck lettuce wraps. The mussels were wonderful. I have been hooked on mussels since I tried them at Belgo in London. Very delicious and a little sexy. Although with only one small fork between the two of us, it got confusing. Then I had salmon with a white wine and butter sauce with garlic mashed potatoes. To finish off the meal, I went with creme brulee and he had cheesecake.

Conversation stalled a few times as we tried to avoid the big three subjects. Politics, religion, and money. Lucky for me, he is not a republican. Whew. He is a computer guy with a creative streak–photography on the weekends. What he is most into visually is 90 degree angles, so the Square Kitchen was right up his alley. Even the cheesecake was square. Does a deckled edge send him over the edge? Yes.

It was a funny and pretty easy conversation. This time I kept the ice cream chit chat to a minimun, deflecting “What is your favorite flavor?” At one point I tried to put him at ease by explaining, “If it makes you feel better, I grew up under a 5 foot by ten foot painting of two nudes that my mom did. Your art doesn’t scare me.”

Will he call again? I hope so, but he leaves for Paris next week. By the time he returns, it will be nearly Thanksgiving and I will be in the thick of things at work. I’ll try not to worry about that until the time comes.

There you have it. My date*.

*I have to clarify. It wasn’t actually a date. It was dinner with a guy I did not know before the dinner. It was in response to a “women seeking men” personal ad I placed. While it went better than any other date I’ve been on, it, in fact, wasn’t. I don’t know what it was, but no date. Please replace all references to date or dating with a nebulus, ambigious, as of yet undetermined word.

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