I’m the Best Date I’ve Ever Had

An blog post written in spring 2007:

I gotta say: I’m the best damn date I’ve ever had. I always pick the right restaurant, there’s no awkwardness over who’s paying, I don’t talk during movies, I know when to shut up, I let myself read, I don’t insist on banal conversation, I don’t offend myself accidentally… It doesn’t get any better than, well, ME!

I was annoyed and didn’t particularly want to go home after work because I was having roommate issues, so I decided around 4:00 that I would get my hair cut, go see a movie, and then get a drink afterward.

Here’s the thing: I had no one to go with me. Anyone who I’d actually want to bring with was busy, but I didn’t let that deter me. I was going to take myself out and I wasn’t going to feel bad that I was going alone.

At 4:30 or so I impulsively make an appointment to get my hair cut.

5:30 I show up at my favorite NYC Chain Salon down Fifth Avenue, seriously hoping that I made the appointment at the right place as the pregnant receptionist in the funky green striped dress and blonde wig searched for far too long for my name on the list.

5:35: Chanel (my hair stylist of the moment) discusses my upcoming cut, then leads me to the back where Love washes my hair and gives me a quick scalp massage. (Every employee of this Chain Salon goes by a weird nickname like Drag Queens: Destiny, Freedom, Sting, Smooth, etc.)

5:45-6:25: Commence hair cut and lengthy blow-dry. It is at some point during this exercise that I think about the fact that I’ve had different stylists every time I visit this salon. And for the first time, they’re all working at once! I feel a little promiscuous with my stylists, but really like Chanel and will possibly book an appointment with her again… After all, she didn’t push hair dye on me—a first!

6:30: I take the 6 train from Union Square to Bleecker St.

6:45-9:00: The Namesake at the Anjelika Film Center. I am forced to sit next to a couple who judge me for being alone and who I determine will break up in another month.

9:01: The movie is over. I wonder if I want to get that drink after all. It would be rather nice to just crawl into bed and be miserable and alone on a Friday night.

9:03: I stand behind a large troupe of Spanish tourists and their children as they struggle to get through the NYC Subway turnstiles, blocking all entrances to the subway platform. I wonder if I’ll be pissed if they make me miss a train because I can’t get through. I decide that I would be.

9:04: Finally through the turnstile, I distance myself from the Spaniards and some other people giving each other directions from Union Square to wherever they’re going next. I think about the manuscript in my bag and wonder if I feel like reading it on the train. Or do I want to read that book I’ve been carrying around and am almost finished with on the Klondike Gold Rush—you know, the latest one that was just published…the only one that I haven’t read on the subject?

9:05:30: The 6 rolls up and I’ve decided I’m only going two stops—to Union Square.

9:09: I disembark the train and walk a few blocks to my favorite Caipirinha-pushing restaurant, Piola on 12th.

9:14 or so: I roll into Piola, ecstatic at the sight of the empty bar (It’s a small bar, but I loathe crowded bars! I like to spread my crap out, anyway.)

9:15: I hook my bags and jacket on the hooks underneath the bar (I’ve heard that in Brazil, if a woman puts her purse on the floor, it means she’s a prostitute—thus any proper Brazilian joint will have places to hook a woman’s purse).

9:15:30: I order a Caipirinha from my favorite bald Brazilian bartender (he’s there, without fail, every time I go!), rolling my r properly. The bartender asks me if I’m Brazilian and I’m flattered for the first time in weeks. (Because I love supermodel Giselle Bundchen.)  I grin and say “no, I just love Cairpirinhas.”

9:17: I pull out a partial manuscript to read while I drink and eat my Caprese salad.

9:47 or so (but who’s counting anymore?): A single guy occupies a bar stool just down from me. I keep my eyes on the manuscript and pretend not to see anything around me (right, ’cause my focus is so good that I can maintain it even in a noisy restaurant/ bar!).

Sometime after 10:00: I make it to the next chapter of the MS and put it away, knowing that the single douchebag down the bar from me is poised to start talking to me. I’m curious, even though I’m sure I won’t like him.

10:00:09 or so:
Douchebag: Can I ask you what you were doing?

And thus, it commences… Me: I’m reading for my job. (I wonder: What’s going to happen if I just tell the truth?)

D’Bag: Really? I just spent the last two hours at The Strand. … (Me in my mind: So?) … And I’ve actually just completed an outline for my book.

(Me, in my mind: Oh Holy Christ. You deserve it, McCann, you moron!)

He offers me money to read his outline. I tell him that I’m going to be totally honest with him and hope I don’t make him cry (but deep down, don’t care if I do) and reluctantly hand him an email address.

It turns out he’s a chiropractor. I try to joke a little with him, but he completely lacks a sense of humor and having met someone in publishing he’s all business: selling his book. God. I think: I knew you were a douchebag from the second you sat down and tried to flirt with the waitress. Seriously. So. F’ing. Boring. My eyes are a little crossed due to my two Cairpirinhas but my tongue, amazingly, is still in check.

I consider the fact that this is how women meet men in New York: randomly. But two seconds later I realize that not only would I chew this feller up and spit him into the gutter by the second date…but there would never even be a first date, let alone a second!

Hello, you ass! Stop talking about the philosophy of chiropractics! I don’t give a shit!

He eventually leaves, I thank God, and I order another Caipirinha, despite the fact that I’m so full I think I must look like a midwestern football fan watching the NFL on Sunday. I get my check, tip my bald Brazilian well and put on my coat. As he takes the check, he places a double-shot glass three-quarters full of a creamy substance in front of me.

“What’s this?” I gasp.

“Coconut and Vodka,” he says, grinning. Not suspicious at all, because he’s always so nice, I slowly sip the desert-like liquor and let my brain fade into oblivion for another ten minutes.

I step outside into the frigid wind and walk to Union Square. I almost get hit by a few skateboarders and someone asks if I’d like to buy some ecstasy. I roll my eyes at him and gracefully stumble down the stairs to the subway. I reflect back on my night and think: I had a fabulous time!

11:45: At home, sing a little song and do a little dance for my cat because we got our tax return (she doesn’t appreciate it as much as I do.), and I am just buzzed enough not to care if anyone else is home.

winter-010
Emerson Cat in 2007

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