One Night Standoff

One Tuesday night, after a(n) (amazingly heart-piercing) show by the (amazingly heart-piercing) Amy Kuney at the Bootleg, my dear friend, ironysradiocheck and I are feeling a little prowly. We decide to hit up Tenants of the Trees to see if any of nature’s fine-looking (comma tall comma witty comma kind-hearted comma well-read comma well-dressed comma dark/broody) specimens are planted by the bar – or, anywhere within its walls. We’re not picky.

Door Guy: I like your stomach.

Why thank you very much, sir, for that uniquely worded compliment. (I was wearing a very cropped crop top.) (I am sharing this part of the story not only because I am super proud of my baby abs in training, but also because sometimes wearing half a shirt makes you a quick target for casually sexist, racist, disabled-ist a$$holes.)

Enter Attractive But Maybe Slightly Too Macho Dude.

I spot ABMSTMD on ironysradiocheck’s and my quick, catlike stroll around the patio. Eyes lock, gazes linger, etc etc. (The etc etc is the part where I then proceed to stare down everyone around him, just to let him know I’m, like, totally chill and I definitely wasn’t checking him out at all.)

ironysradiocheck doesn’t see anyone of immediate interest/ABMSTMD doesn’t seem to be making any moves from where he’s standing, so we stroll back to the bar area/debate calling it a night.

Me: Yeah, if no one intriguing appears by the end of this drink, I say we call it.

Just as we’re about to leave, I see ABMSTMD has maneuvered his way a few feet down the bar.

Me: That guy might be kind of cute.

I look at him. He looks back. I look away. (Just as chill/casual/nonchalant as before.)

ironysradiocheck: Oh yeah, dude. I think he’s coming over here. Score.

ABMSTMD: Hey.
Me: Hey.

Well, this is starting off well. (ironysradiocheck has found something super interesting/enthralling a few feet away with which to occupy herself.)

ABMSTMD: ABMSTMD.
Me: Stacie.

Please say this single syllable thing continues for the rest of our convo.

ABMSTMD: Did you see me checking you out earlier?

Welp. That hope was fleeting.

Me: Ha. I did.
ABMSTMD: Why didn’t you say anything?
Me: Why did it take you so long to say anything?
ABMSTMD: Look, it’s 2016. I think that women should be equally responsible for initiating the conversation.

I love when guys are adamant about the need for gender equality – but, you know, starting with the ways in which it would make their lives easier as men.

Me: Ha. Let’s maybe start with the wage gap and work our way down from there.
ABMSTMD: You ladies really just want it all don’t you.

I respond with an eyebrow arch.

ABMSTMD: Oh, calm down. I’m just kidding. Where are you from?
Me: I’m originally from Nebraska.
ABMSTMD: Midwestern stock. Nice. Here, what are you drinking?

The conversation continues as he orders my Tito’s soda with mint.

ABMSTMD: So how old are you, Stacie?
Me: 32.
ABMSTMD: Oh wow.
Me: Oh wow?
ABMSTMD: I just thought you were younger than that. Don’t worry about it – I never would have guessed you were that old.

That old. Don’t worry about it.

Me: Ha. I’m not too concerned about it.

I stare his non-baby face straight in the eyes.

Me: How old are you?
ABMSTMD: 38.
Me (smirking): 38. Wow.

He gets the ‘aren't you a little old to be hanging around bars, attempting to pick up 20-something chicks’ inference. Now that we’ve set the combative tone for the night! 

ironysradiocheck pops over to say she’s peacing out. Hugs. Love. Promises of texts.

ABMSTMD: I love how girls always do that.

I love how guys “always” make statements about all girls always doing dumb girl things.

Me: What do you mean?
ABMSTMD: Just leave their friends with a total stranger. I mean, you’ve been talking to me, so you know I’m pretty normal, but she has no idea.
Me: I mean, I guess sometimes we forget that we’re just walking prey.

Are we flirting or do we hate each other? I decide it’s probably both. He starts planning our wedding.

ABMSTMD: You don’t have any crazy in your family or anything, do you? I don’t want to end up with some weird Asperger’s kid or something.
Me: You’re going to feel really bad about saying that when I tell you my brother’s autistic.
ABMSTMD: Oh no, so you’ve got f*cked up genes?

Is he f*cking serious? Hate. It’s definitely hate.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), his friends arrive at this moment, halting the diatribe of death that had just begun its expletive-ridden exit from my mouth. They happen to be wonderful. We bond. We hug. We dance. I realize the two drinks I've had are going straight to my head.

Me: Is anyone hungry? I didn’t have time for dinner and I am starving.
Amazing Friend #1: Omg yes. I could totally go for some food.
AF #2: Yeah, same. Let’s do it.
ABMSTMD: We could go to the diner by my place.

We pile into an Uber. But wait!, they say. First let’s just make a quick stop-off at a house party – there’s supposed to be a cool band playing! Sure, I say, pretending I’m not about to pass out from drunken starvation.

An hour later, it becomes clear this is no quick stop-off. I announce my planned departure via Uber.

ABMSTMD: Hey, I’ll go with you. Let’s go get you the food I promised. Sorry about these guys.

Somehow, the promise of food and the surprise of an (unnecessary) apology makes me forget my general abhorrence of him as a human.  (Vodka, powers.)

At the diner:

ABMSTMD: Sorry, you can’t come over after – my dad’s staying with me for the week.

Oh good Lord. Abhorrence suddenly v v remembered.

Me: I think I’ll find a way to get over it.

He follows this with some other horrendous thing regarding our possible sexual future that I have blacked out due to an inherent distaste for vomiting.  I order my omelette.

I eat well over half of the very large diner omelette.

ABMSTMD (broadcasting shock/dismay): Wow, you’re really going at that thing, aren’t you.

Straight face. Single blink.

Later, when the waitress comes to clear our plates/ask if I’m all done with mine, ABMSTMD goes ahead and throws his answer in on top of my affirmative.

ABMSTMDI think we can all agree she did a pretty good number on that one. 

At what point do I have legal grounds to stab him.

The contempt-laden conversation stubbornly continues its journey back to the good ol’ days, eventually landing on the topic of interracial marriage.

ABMSTMD: I just don’t think it’s fair to the kids.

HI, 1952. So nice of you to drop by/add your antiquated views to the ever-growing pile of backwards bullsh*t. 

Me: You mean, fair to the rest of us because they’re so beautiful? My nephew’s half black and is seriously the most perfect child you’ve ever seen in your life.
ABMSTMD: So your sister f*cked a black guy, huh?
Me: My sister dated, married, and started a family with an amazing guy/father who, yes, is a black man.

Where oh where is that knife when you need it. He pays the check before I’m able to summon the waitress.

Outside, waiting for Ubers:

ABMSTMD: Text me when you get home, okay?

I stare at him, taken aback by the sound of this gentlemanly statement coming from his very ungentlemanly face. He misinterprets the stare.

ABMSTMD: What? You didn’t expect me to drive you home when I live right around the corner, did you?

Thank God this battle is almost over. I am exhausted. 

Me (V. slow. V. measured.): I don’t expect anything from you at all.

Two weeks later…Sunday night, 1:28a text message:

ABMSTMD: How you been?

Okay, that I did kind of expect. Sorry to leave you in suspense, ABMSTMD, but I’m gonna go ahead and tap out of this dear little donnybrook. It's been...really, really, tragically real.   

Match Made in Theory

A very dear friend of mine set me up with a somewhat dear friend of hers, based on our shared love of words and other things that are funny. Deep breath. Lots of trust. Let's do this.

Date #1: Post-work drinks at Misfit. Let’s keep this fun/easy/casual. I get stuck at work for an extra half hour-ish, cutting close to the end of happy hour. Not one to miss out on a great deal, my date decides to stock up on cocktails, while awaiting my arrival. This would have been a smarter idea, had he not also decided to consume every single one of them within that half hour. Let’s just say, he was plastered by the time I located him at the bar. Let’s also just say, it wasn’t love at first eye-roll.

Memorable notes: Girls aren’t funny. Girls can’t write. He was expecting me to be dumber. He had already managed to accrue a grand total of 3 DUI’s.

Swoon.

Date #2: Writer-y thing at the Hammer Museum. Assuming that his ego-charged, unintelligent barbs were due to accidental over-intoxication, I decided to give it another go. We make it to the museum just in time, but the seats are already filled. Hashtag fail. Let’s go have a drink back at the house and figure out where to go! Hey! Actually, why go anywhere when drinks here are free?!

Right. Why would anyone ever leave the house? Let’s just say he kept both the cocktails and the over-aggressive-quintessential-negging flowing, and I ended up…well…crying. Yes; apparently, I do have emotions. Shuddershuddertwitchtwitchtwitch. Overall, not a great success.

He tells our mutual friend he is both apologetic slash mortified. In addition, he has decided to x-nay alcohol from his life.

Our mutual friend asks if there’s any way I would give the dude another chance, as he would really like to make it up to me. Deep breath. I get it. He’s a nice guy with drinking issues that make him less of a nice guy. I am willing to see how a sober date would go down, if only out of pure curiosity.

Cue: A barrage of fascinatingly half-hearted, yet persistent, attempts to have me meet him at x,y, or z bar/or his apartment. I ask which edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette he favors. He confidently asserts that he doesn’t believe in chivalry.

How charming.

In the interest of full disclosure, here are our final two conversations:

Him: Let’s hang out this weekend!

Me: I’m having a staycation in Malibu this weekend, but will be back Sunday evening, if you would like to pick me up and take me to dinner.

Him: Are you going to Malibu with a suitor?

No response.

I wasn’t, just in case you were curious. Shocking, I know.

Him: Come to my pool on Sunday!

I mean…

Literacy. Reading comprehension. Social cues. Anything?

One week later…

Him: Last chance. Meet me at [insert bar-name-I-can’t-remember] at 8.

Seriously? Last chance?

It hurts.

Me: How compelling.

And scene.

I really thought that one was going to work out.

Chasing the Passion

In response to a friend’s shocked/appalled/aghast/bewildered reaction to the intense level of inactivity in my dating life, I vowed to liven it it up a bit. Two nights later, a tall Australian entered the scene. He had flown into NY that Thursday for his best mate’s birthday party, and was scheduled to depart on a business trip Saturday morning. His one free night was Friday and he would love to take me to dinner. 

I ran through my mental checklist: 
6’2” or above: Check.
Sense of humor: Check. (Though dangerously close to the cheesy side, not so near as to dismiss immediately.)
Broad-shouldered, athletic & attractive: Check, Check, & Check.
Easy conversationalist: Check.
Has a real job: Check.

Looks like I was saying yes. 

My initial concerns:

1. He appeared to be slightly older than I am generally comfortable with dating. Perhaps he had over-indulged a touch in all that Australian fun-in-the-sun?

2. I was still worried about the cheese factor, due to a couple fleeting moments in conversation - and also due to his shirt, of which I was not particularly fond.

Early afternoon on Friday, he calls to say he has made 8pm dinner reservations, and perhaps we can meet at 7p to walk along the westside a bit first. I say fine. Around 4p, he texts to confirm 7p at his apartment in SoHo. I respond that this should be fine, as I am currently frolicking around the West Village with friends. He replies back that I can come around 6:30 instead, if I would like. I’m not entirely certain what it was about, “frolicking around the West Village with friends” that led him to believe I would want to meet up earlier; regardless, I choose to ignore the text.

I arrive in SoHo around 7:15. (West Village antics may have segued into vegan ice cream bars and margaritas with mylifeissonotironic. Oops.) We thankfully skip the previously planned hour and a half pre-dinner stroll due to my delayed appearance. I mean, it’s a first date. Let’s not kill all conversation topics before we even get to the restaurant. 

We walk through SoHo and over to the Flatiron district to Pure Food & Wine. The walk was actually quite lovely and entertaining, and dinner proceeded to be both lively and delicious. I found myself remembering why I like dating. Fun, flirting, White Light Tinis…I really should do this more often.

As he handles the check, I reach to check the time on my BlackBerry. F. Dinner had spanned more than three hours. It was currently pushing midnight. So much for going home to change before meeting up with my friends. (Yes, I had post-date plans. And no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.)

I assumed we would do the whole hug-goodnight-I-get-in-a-cab-in-front-of-the-restaurant thing, and I’d be with my BFF’s in less than twenty.

This is where things began to unravel. As I’m trying to politely extricate myself from the situation, Aussie has turned his game on, angling to get laid. This is not a stellar combination.

He wants to walk. Curbside, of course, as his grandmother instructed him to do when walking with a lady. Ok, fine. I can saunter through the park with him and hail a taxi on the other side. I message my friends, giving them an ETA of 30 minutes. 30 minutes later, Man-From-Down-Under is still ignoring every semi-cordial attempt of mine to end the date. I’m making a concerted effort to not be rude slash abrupt, but my companion has made the full transition from amusing and charming to annoying and cheesy. I KNEW IT WAS IN THERE.

As our meandering path veers suddenly and suspiciously toward his flat, I am rescued by back to back phone calls from my besties. (Said phone calls may or may not have been precluded by SOS alerts.) Hi! Yes! I’m coming right now, I swear! Sorry! Literally getting in a cab right now!!

"Are you sure you have to go?" 

Is he serious?

"Yep! Oh! There’s a cab! HadagreattimethankyoufordinnerBYE!"

His reply?

"Oh man, you’re totally running. I wish you wanted to stay and chase the passion with me." 

CHASE. THE. PASSION.


"Yeah, ok. I’m going to chase that cab."

This is why I don’t date.

Hi, cats. 

A Nice Little Sunday

There are probably three questions tumbling through your head right now:

1. “Hey Stace, how was the 30th Annual Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade?!

2. “Omg. Stace. How much are you loving your new Blackberry?!”

3. “Dude. When was the last time you, like, officially skinned your knee? Like, 2nd grade style?”

Oh, wow! Guess what?! I can answer all three of those questions in a single story. How convenient.

The 30th Annual Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade was spectacular.  Barry Manilow references, small children tossing Now & Laters to the onlookers (I got both Grape & Strawberry. Score.), a gay snowflake singing karaoke and frolicking in front of his Christmas tree back-up dancers… How can that be anything but a rollicking good time?

Apparently, I took that as a challenge.

As the sun set on the few remaining sparkle-fied dinghies, we attempted to venture from one side of the canals to the other.  We were halfway to our next destination, when we stumbled upon an unexpected curb.  My friend pointed it out to me. I stepped over it.  Great success.  A few feet later, we came to another curb.  I spotted it, and once again cleared the vertical pavement with inches to spare.  The ground below was a bit lower than originally anticipated, but thanks to my excellent balance (Seriously, ask Equinox.  I rock the sh*t out of balance tests.), I regained my footing and did a little quick step to join the rest of the group on the sidewalk.

What I did not spot, was yet another curb.  Another curb I came at with a quick step full of momentum.  My super-cozy loafers caught the top edge of the curb, and I went down. With entirely too much velocity for my own personal comfort.

I have a lot of experience in falling.  I am actually one of the most graceful fallers you will ever meet.  I land softly and quietly, legs crossed demurely.  I am not accustomed to full on face-planting.  Luckily, my instincts led me to catch myself with my hands, so as to protect my face.  Unluckily, one of these hands was holding a plastic cup full of red wine, which splashed against the left side of my face - and directly into my open eye.  (Thank you, old couple in the home adjacent to my personal disaster zone, for the paper towels to clean myself up.  Also, thank God for eye shadow primer.) My other hand happened to be holding my brand new Blackberry.  It now looks like this:           

My left knee managed to get in on the action as well.  I think the damage would have been greater, if it weren’t for my opaque tights and knit OTK socks.  Fun fact: I had purchased the tights the day before, as a replacement for another pair that I somehow managed to destroy in one clumsy moment or another.  Stop judging.  Gawky limbs.  Impossible to control. Anyway, here’s a photo of my knee, in all its skinned-up glory:       

I think I won this round.