Slap me in the face and call me Carrie Bradshaw

May 26, 2011

We have previously established that though I am a dating master, I have the potential to treat people rather badly, though always with humor, almost always as a result of too much gin, and in a way that the man seems to enjoy.  Our friend Dwarfy Chode texted me the day after I insulted him to his face and asked me out again.  Needless to say, that did not happen.

Karma bit me in the ass a few times after that.  I suffered two nasty heartbreaks at the hands of guys I thought were really cool but turned out to be total asshats, and definitely not in a funny way.  In fact, they made me wonder why the world considers women the crazy sex.  One of these gentlemen sent me a 2-page long message on Facebook telling me that he wished he could raft down a river like Huck Finn instead of facing the fact that he was unemployed, unemployable and perpetually on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  This was after we had been seeing each other regularly for almost two months and he dropped off the face of the earth for a week.  I mean, seriously.  That is everyone’s story in this damn city.  Every 20-something who lives here believes him or herself to be perilously close to a psychotic break, so I hope for his sake that Crazy Justin got a life.  The other dude, who my friends and I still refer to as Douchey Ian, was just mean to me and got back together with an ex-girlfriend who he told me cheated on him, owed him thousands of dollars, and stole his air conditioner on the hottest day of summer.  MEN, I TELL YA.  So It was with high hopes and absolutely no standards that I entered our next tale:

In Which Our Heroine Gets Screwed Into Paying a Large Bar Tab, Sneaks Off Without Saying Goodbye

In the midst of the Douchey Ian debacle, I worked at a long-term temp (now permanent) job at a law firm on Wall Street.   After about a week of sitting in the same outdoor lunch spot every day, I noticed a handsome man sitting on the bench next to me.  A few days later, he noticed that I was reading The Dark Knight Returns and decided to strike up a conversation.  See?  Comic books are man catnip!  They flock to them!  Well, a certain type of man flocks to them but if a guy isn’t at least a little interested in comics then I am generally not interested in him.  It’s nerd code.

His name was Cyriaque (that is not a fake name) and he told me he lived in (on?  I’m never sure) the Lower East Side.  Our lunchtime talks went on for a considerably long time before either of us mustered up the balls to suggest hanging out somewhere not in business-casual attire.  By this point we had covered all sorts of common interest topics, ranging from X-Men to my Lord of the Rings tattoo, from cartoons to the glory of New Wave, so I was pretty excited to go out with him.  The best part was that it was such a departure from my usual internet MO- the prospect of having drinks with someone I had already spoken with was so incredibly novel!  For the first time I was a little nervous about the little details of the date, like my outfit and how many gins and tonic were too many.  I even wore heels which, if you know me, is approximately 98% out of character.

Cyriaque’s choice of venue was the Hotel on Rivington, a decidedly fancy place for two office drone temps, and I was immediately relieved that I chose to wear the expensive leather booties and not my usual dirty Chuck Taylors, even though the heels made me walk like a toddler.  He laughed (at me?  with me?  The world will never know) as I hobbled down the sidewalk to meet him which  broke the ice nicely, I asked if he was secretly wealthy as one night in the Hotel on Rivington costs more than my rent, and he told me he wanted us to feel like high rollers since we often talked about how much of a drag it was to be sort of broke all the time.  Is it wrong that I assumed he would pay for it since HE chose a bar where domestic beer cost $9 a pop?  Not that I would go to McDonald’s for a first date or anything, but I would never choose THAT place since it is highway robbery to charge that much for a beer, let alone the $15-$20 it cost for a cocktail.

There were no seats at the bar so we got a table (where we were required to get table service- an important detail) and got on with what was sadly a really awkward, kind of bad first date.  In short, Cyriaque choked.  What was so natural for us sitting by the East River suddenly became stunted and arduous.  He was sweaty and he answered my questions with one-word responses.  He went to the bathroom three times in 45 minutes.  My go-to Batman conversation starter (he is the one who brought us together, after all and The Dark Knight had come out fairly recently) drew painful silence.  I felt bad and in light of those great lunch non-dates, I overcompensated to a comical degree.  I talked endlessly about why I secretly preferred New Order to Joy Division even though the latter is considered the better band, how I had virtually no friends as a child, how my last relationship was a qualified international incident and how it was SO NICE to finally meet a nice guy and oh my god had I gone out with some FREAKS in this CRAZY CITY!  Even the waitress noticed that we were struggling and kindly offered to bring us some food from the restaurant to ease the tension.  When I asked if snacks were complimentary I got laughed at again, but it was nice to know that she felt my pain at least. The situation did not improve and we seemed to think the same thing almost at once: we would need stronger drinks.

Our scotches and bourbons turned into doubles, respectively.  (As a side note, have I mentioned that the guys I went out with before Cyriaque did not appreciate the value of a good brown liquor?  They were not real men.  The stakes were high.)  Soon he became more relaxed, but a lot less coherent and I discovered that this fellow was a crap drunk.  He got all class-warrior about where we were even though HE PICKED THE PLACE and confessed that he did not, in fact live “just around the corner,” but rather just over THE RIVER in NEW JERSEY.  This lie was less egregious than D. Chode’s height farce, and one that would not come up until later since I ain’t no floozy who goes home with a dude after the first few dates, but COME ON.  Still, I was so desperate for it to work that when he pounded a full drink and announced that we were going to a dive bar, I relented.

I changed my shoes because obviously my Chucks were in my purse, and when we got the check I waited patiently for him to grab it.  That didn’t happen and, though a bit frazzled due to my previous assumption, I rallied and took it myself.  I am a modern woman, after all, and I sincerely believe that chivalry is dead.  It was a pricey $120 night since we both lost count of how much we had so the polite thing would be to go Dutch.  The ever-attentive waitress swooped in like the Flash and grabbed my card as soon as I put it down and before I knew it, I was paying for the whole thing!  He didn’t even try to stop her!  There were no words for this.  This was uncharted territory for me, taking a man out on our first date.  He looked me square in the face and unabashedly told me that he forgot his wallet.  Forgot. his. wallet.  I waited for the usual “I’ll get you back” or “next one’s on me,” but as I furiously signed the receipt he sat there with a stupid, drunk smile on his face that upon reflection seemed downright triumphant.  Thankful that I changed my shoes, I mumbled at him to wait for me while I used the restroom and promptly ran out of the hotel without saying a word of farewell.

This all begs many questions, I know.  Why didn’t we drink and dash?  Simple- I was a waitress once, and if ever I let a table slip out without paying, that shit came out of my pocket.  She was a cool broad and I couldn’t do that to someone.  Why didn’t I say something as it was happening?  I was too inebriated and surprised, and so angry that I couldn’t even look at this guy’s sweaty mug for another minute without punching him in the mouth.  I was also really sad that the date had turned out so badly and cried a little bit in the bathroom, not just because of the money but because I had gotten my hopes up again only to be sorely disappointed once more.

A note to you, dear readers: I contemplated not including this story in my dating tales.  When my roommate and boyfriend read it, their immediate reactions were “wow, that sucks” instead of “that’s really funny!”  They both also started spinning theories about how this cat probably swindles women right and left by “forgetting his wallet” at fancy bars.  Maybe it’s true.  Perhaps he is the sweaty, awkward Holly Golightly of the Wall Street temp set.  I apologize if this did not make you laugh but to date, it is still one of my strangest man experiences.  I promise, the last one will be a doozy of LAUGHTER, so stay tuned for our third tale: In Which Our Heroine Learns About the Dangers of Making Out with a Man in a Dark Club and Going Out With Him Later.

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