“Still, I sent up my prayer,
Wondering who was
there to hear?
I said, ‘Send me somebody
and somewhat sincere’
With the millions of
the lost and lonely ones,
I called out to be released.
Caught in my struggle
for higher achievements,
And my search for love
That don’t seem to cease”
— Joni Mitchell
It seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, I hadn’t been out with anyone new in weeks, unintentionally sidelining myself after the injury of falling—and failing—with the Scribe. So, after a couple of weeks of online shopping for new prospects, it was time to try my luck with a new batch of bachelors, and get myself back in the game.
Of course, being the extremely busy, overbooked and popular adults we all are—or so we like to think/say—schedules were tight when it came to planning dates. Apparently, everybody’s working for the weekend (shout-out to Loverboy), so when four of my new interests asked to meet up between Friday and Sunday nights, I figured it was a prime opportunity for Auntie Mai to get her groove back; or at the very least, get a new rhythm going.
So, in spite of my own exhaustion (and general malaise as of late), I scheduled four dates in three boroughs within approximately 48 hours with four very different men I’d met on three different sites.
Armed with only basic info, a good night’s sleep and a renewed taste for adventure, I threw on my least intimidating heels (I hoped) and struck out in search of something…new. Clearly, I lived to tell the tale(s), so here goes:
Bachelor #1: I hate being late to dates—especially first ones. Especially when the man is gracious enough to choose a location far more convenient to me than to him, and especially when a little more organization would’ve gotten me there on time. Especially when I have to hop a cab to get somewhere well within walking distance.
Needless to say, I was late. He was waiting patiently—and of course—graciously.
Because, by all appearances, he’s that guy: great manners, great smile, great build, great job in marketing, great pedigree, great style, great taste in food, travel, etc.…he’s even great to talk to. After our initial few inevitably awkward moments, we easily slid into relaxed small talk, accompanied by excellent food and cocktails.
Yes! He was exactly the correct choice for the first of my first dates, I thought. We were finding common ground and I was feeling comfortable—comfortable enough to share an order of spare ribs on a first date—not a small thing, trust.
I know: this is usually the part where things go left; where someone says or does something appalling. I’ve provided the setup; now is when the punchline is suddenly—and snarkily—revealed.
I hate to disappoint you, but…he wasn’t disappointing; not in the least. Defying all expectations of someone you meet on Tinder, this would seem to be the guy you eventually want to bring home to your folks—and that your folks would love for you to eventually bring home. This is the guy I must simply call “The Grown-Up,” because he seems to have this whole “adult” thing figured out.
That makes one of us, at least.
But I guess I must do a fairly good imitation of an adult, since the intimidation factor somehow reared its…intimidating head. I’m not even sure how, but there it was, as we stood chatting in the street before parting ways.
“Yeah…I can see how you could be considered intimidating,” he laughed.
I laughed, too. Mind you, I’ve come to suspect that “intimidating” often means “undateable.”
“Well, I don’t really know any other way to be but myself, but I guess that may be off-putting to some folks,” I responded.
We hugged and said our goodbyes. Admittedly, there wasn’t exactly combustible chemistry, but the date was definitely cool, and so was he. No goodnight kiss or future plans (though I’d be game), but all in all, a great time with a great guy, at least at first glance. I appreciated it—and him.
Confidence and equilibrium somewhat restored, I returned home, rested up, and readied myself for the next day, and…
Bachelor #2: I was a bit nervous about this one—maybe because he was my first date on the Happn app. Or maybe it was because he was older (47), VERY worldly (born in South Africa, settled in Australia, citizen of the world), and from the looks of it, very fit (and tall!). Even at seven years his junior, I wasn’t sure I could keep up…
Make that 14 years his junior—he laughingly admitted that he’d lied about his age, primarily because he’d never fit the parameters of anyone he wanted to date if he told the truth. He was right—my threshold currently tops at 50; meanwhile, his age range is from 28-46. Go figure.
Clearly, this is a trend among the older gents. Thankfully, we’d only agreed to meet for drinks in Nolita at a very safe 4pm. I could be back in BK by 5:30, if necessary.
Again, there was the awkward start—for a moment, I was grateful for the midday date, since I wasn’t sure we’d make it past the first glass of wine—then, all at once, something shifted, and got very…FUN.
Yes, he was tall, and fit, entirely irreverent and occasionally improper…all of which was enhanced by his great accent. He was also attractive, having been a male model in one of his many lifetimes. And…he was also an AEROSPACE ENGINEER???
Yeah, that’s right: I was basically on a date with a rocket scientist. We shall henceforth call him “Rocket Man.”
Because not only did the time suddenly fly while we riffed on Elton John, New York City (and New York City real estate), spirituality, apartheid, and all the places in the world he travels to on a regular basis, but this man was a nomad, an adventurer, an imp and a virtual Peter Pan, by his own admission. In fact, he was heading back to Melbourne in another day or so, eventually to move to New York, but—with friends around the world and the ability to work from virtually anywhere—who even knew when?
“When are you going to grow up?” he asked.
For a second, I thought he was channeling my father (which was unsettling, to say the least). But no—he was referring to himself, quoting the question most often asked by his more conventional and settled friends and family. It was a question I was all too familiar with.
And suddenly, I saw myself in him; perhaps I saw myself in another 14 years. Ever the wild card, the renegade, the loner, the wanderer. And somehow, suddenly, it was okay. Looking at him—twice divorced—I wondered if perhaps I just wasn’t destined for domesticity. Maybe I’m also the sort who’s meant to explore, finding my own fortune far outside of the expectations of others.
Increasingly affectionate, he took my hand, stroking it tenderly.
“You know you’re really beautiful, right? And really quite a thinker.”
I smiled. More like an over-thinker, but I’d take it.
“I think I’m glad I’m leaving,” he said. “I think you would crush me.”
It was quite a line, from quite a guy. I highly doubted that it was true, but I also doubted we’d ever have a chance to find out, with him in one hemisphere and me in the other. He sure gave one hell of a hug, though. Damned good. Good enough for me to friend him on FB, and suggest he give me a call when he returned to New York.
But in that moment, I was somehow reassured that maybe I wasn’t so lost, or even such a loner. I mean, sure: at present, I’m clearly alone; but perhaps I needed to be reminded that I’m still capable of connection—and of committing to it, if and when I feel it’s right. I’ve found it before; I guess I’m just going to have to wander until I find it again.
“And I think it’s gonna be
a long, long time
‘Til touchdown brings me
’round again to find
I’m not the man
they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no…
I’m a rocket man…”
— Elton John