Sean traveled to Manhattan from the middle of the New Jersey suburbs to meet me for our first blind date at a little Italian restaurant that I had chosen. And I know I say this about so many other people, but Sean really and truly was (and maybe still is?) a good guy. It was definitely me who kept him away after our second date.
I’m certainly no foodie, but I like to pretend I know what is going on in the cooking world and am friends with people like this guy who have helped me hone my superficial interest in dining.
During our first date, I vaguely remember suggesting several different appetizers for us to share – including mozzarella cheese, stuffed mushrooms, and possibly something seafood-related. He looked at me like I was crazy for each suggestion, and I believe we ended up sharing an order of fried calamari. His entree was a fairly simple pasta dish and he ate it very slowly. As he examined every morsel that went into his mouth, I started to ask him about food that he actually enjoys. I mentioned different types of cuisines to see if he would have any sort of positive reaction:
Me: Mexican? Tacos? Burritos?
Sean: (tongue sticks out, appalled) Oh man – definitely not.
Me: Any type of seafood, besides calamari?
Sean: Ew, gross!
Sean: Yeah, that’s what I eat pretty much every day. But nothing on them.
Me: Not even condiments? Ketchup?
Sean: ABSOLUTELY NO KETCHUP – I hate it. And nothing else.
Me: So just a plain burger on a bun…do you like cheese?
Sean likes plain burgers, plain pasta and possibly some calamari (although I probably devoured that by myself).
At some point, he mentioned that he was a very simple “meat and potatoes kind of guy” so when he asked to see me again in Manhattan, I suggested Keens – a very well-known steakhouse that I had wanted to try for a long time. He seemed okay with Keens. He wasn’t over-the-moon like I was to be anywhere that was considered a classic. Yet he seemed content enough to order a steak. Like any nice meal, his steak had some random vegetables on it and I pointed out that the cherry tomatoes looked good. At that point, I think he was really trying to make me happy. He put the tiny tomato in his mouth and immediately spit it out. He was mortified. Flushed and tearing, shaking his head and sticking his tongue out, he glanced at me and I’m pretty sure I saw a little contempt in his eyes. I guess he wasn’t ready for a tomato.
Once I licked my plate clean of whatever I had been gratefully served, we exited the restaurant. Sean texted me later that night to let me know he had made it home (to the burbs) safely. I thanked him for a lovely time, and he said, “Yeah, I enjoyed it. But you made me eat a tomato.” It was like I committed murder and it was confusing to actually experience some guilt about something so ridiculously insignificant.
I have no idea why Sean asked me to hang out again. I had to turn him down. I love food too much for that sort of anxiety and trepidation to be repeated.