Anytime I sit down to catch up with a friend these days, it seems that the hottest topic of conversation inevitably is: my dating life. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that I’m one of the few singletons left among us, or if it’s because I am one of the few that still has faith in the matchmaking abilities of a cyber cupid. Either way, my friends love to hear of my latest attempts at finding romance and tell me time and time again that this is what I should be blogging about.
As I would about going on television in search of love (never!), I shrink at the idea of such exposure. But this one, this last date, is too entertaining not to share.
It was this past Saturday, mid-Fourth of July weekend and I was here in the city without any plans for escape, without any real plans whatsoever. So my friend calls me and proposes setting me up on a blind date for that evening. Despite the churning in my stomach that is a natural side effect of my mind processing such a notion, I hear myself respond almost without hesitation, “Ok sure.”
So an hour later I am on the phone with the guy. (We’ll call him Sam). He tells me about this show we are going to see, a sort of Cirque du Soleil-style performance that includes live horses. Random, I know, but I have been on such a date before (sans horses but close enough) and loved every minute of it. Perhaps that’s because of who I was with…but, we won’t go there. So, I’m game to the idea. Sam and I are chatting away, figuring out the logistics, and to my surprise, I find out the event is taking place in New Jersey. Fine, but this puts a new spin on things. How, I wonder, are we going to get to Jersey. Sam continues, and tosses two options my way: a) we can take a bus or b) we can take his motorcycle.
Without much of a fight, the rebel voice in my head speaks up and responds that we will go with the latter. So I, knowing of the gear that comes with this hobby, and being a bit of a worrier by nature, ask what kind of attire I should wear for the adventure. Sam advises me that jeans are best and as far as shoes go, I should wear a pair that cover my feet completely. Now this of course is doable, and at another time and place could be stylish, but considering my current (note: temporary) living situation and the fact that we are in the middle of a 100-degree scorcher of a summer, I foresee pulling off any sort of good look as being a bit of a problem. Of course Sam doesn’t know— and I’m not about to tell him— but of my jeans collection, I have about one-fifth with me. And my boots—those are in storage. Oh and the leather jacket I wanted to buy last fall—I never did. Now will I call off the date because of a wardrobe hitch? Some girls would, but I’m not the type. I figure I will do the best I can, try to be my charming self and hope that Sam can cut me some slack.
Well— to put it bluntly, no amount of charm or slack would’ve done any bit of good for me. I reach the block where we are to meet, and at the end see a row of motorcycles. Standing next to it, there’s a guy in jeans, boots and a motorcycle jacket. Sam. I continue towards him and say hello. Despite his cordial greeting and friendly smile, that I believe are just parts of him by nature, as he is a jovial Irishman with pleasant looks and a healthy amount of confidence, I can tell instantly that I have failed on the first impression. The softly faded blue jeans that I have rolled with loose cuffs, the summer sneakers that I happen to think are cute, the casual but pretty black top, don’t seem to be racking up any fashion points. What can I say? I haven’t nailed down biker-chick sexy. As if this isn’t bad enough, Sam, out of concern for safety, hands me a spare jacket and pair of gloves that he said he would bring, that I have no choice but to put on. Now he happens to be a tall guy, around six-two I’m guessing. I’m five-three. Don’t get me wrong—I love tall guys. Usually however, I don’t have to worry about wearing their clothes. I put the jacket on and it’s down to my knees with the sleeves falling about four inches beyond the ends of my hands. The gloves look on me, like leather bear paws. And let us not forget the cherry on top—the helmet. Seriously, could this get any worse.
I’m on this motorcycle, still a little on edge about the whole first time bit, trying to have a conversation via a built-in helmet headset, and have at this point, thanks my half-ass outfit (that by the way I would ordinarily never wear on a first date and which has been made even more ridiculous with the help of Sam’s oversized jacket and gloves) about a thimble’s worth of self confidence. Here I’m supposed to be on a date and I feel like I’m ten on a joyride on the back of my uncle’s bike. I had no brain, no radar to detect what, in retrospect, surely must have been sarcasm on his part, and worst, no words to fire back. Let’s not even talk about my hair being a rat’s nest once the helmet was off, and how my hands were black when the bear paws came off. I was completely not myself. And to make matters even worse, at this moment in time, I happen yes, to be unemployed and I happen to be living not in chic Soho but in Brooklyn (which by the way I actually quite like). Anyway, I know that these wonderful facts, along with the sneakers and and my so-far-from-sophisticated aura painted quite a picture. It was me yes, but not a very accurate picture of me.
I haven’t lost any sleep over this guy and I won’t. I’ll chalk it up as another ‘oh well’. But from this, shall we say romantic misadventure, I will remember to never judge a book by its cover– because it sucks to have it happen to you. Having said that, I am also a firm believer in the fact that you really never do get a second chance to make a first impression.
And for all of you who have never dared to ride on the back of a motorcycle, if you are ever given the chance, let the rebel voice inside you say yes. It is awesome. And I live to tell!