The Man Who Feared Tomatoes

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?

Shawn: (tongue sticks out, appalled) Oh man – definitely not.

Me: Any type of seafood, besides calamari?

Shawn: Ew, gross!

Me: Burgers?

Shawn: Yeah, that’s what I eat pretty much every day. But nothing on them.

Me: Not even condiments? Ketchup?

Shawn: ABSOLUTELY NO KETCHUP – I hate it. And nothing else.

Me: So just a plain burger on a bun…do you like cheese?

Shawn: Nope

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 at that point 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.

A Post That Warrants Sharing Everywhere

tiger

A friend sent me the following post and told me it reminded her of me. I am honored – since it is extremely well-written, but also horrified that so many girls are dealing with the world of the “dating” lunatic.

My favorite quote from the post is not even directly from the writer, but from none other than Cher from Clueless, whose scripted words from nearly 20 years ago still remain true in my current reality:

Check out this interesting post, note that the writer actually knows how to well…umm…WRITE! Most importantly, please note that those of us dealing with such oddities are not alone:

http://jezebel.com/the-tragic-tale-of-the-blind-date-dick-pic-1608292704

Tales of the Tinder: “Tinderella” and Paranoia

Being a modern lady, I believe that it is my duty to try out the latest platform for singles to meet. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Tinder is an app that connects your Facebook “About Me” section along with your Facebook photos to create a geo-tagged profile page for you. Once a profile is created, you can search for people by gender, age and distance from you. Two people will not be able to communicate with each other until they both choose to like each other or “swipe right” on each other’s profiles. More questions? Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I will cover every detail at some point.

A few notes on Tinder for the paranoid / non-single / “happily married”:

– Um, no Facebook doesn’t tell everyone that you’re a loser searching online for dates

– It’s really not that interesting – and works pretty much like every other online dating site – meaning you still have to filter out the crazies. Yet, for some reason – everyone I know is dying to check it out like it’s a new toy that they want to play with – how did that happen?

– In my opinion, it is solely based on photos, and I’m okay with that. Those who are on it and complain about that factor should use another site or app. The people who argue against the “superficial” nature of Tinder are most likely the same people who say they “hate talking about themselves” in their written profiles and direct users to “just ask if you want to know anything else” on other sites.

– It is for people who are looking to hook up or date! If you have a profile on there, don’t tell me you are just “peeking around.” More on those winners in a bit..

This eye-opening video was sent to me by a co-worker who claimed that, as a blogger that writes about dating, it is my duty to view, share and emphasize the fact that, in general, like EVERY OTHER ONLINE DATING SITE, men certainly do view Tinder differently than women:

Like I said: filter out the crazies. More to come!

My Miniature South African and his Love of Anything Cultural

Oh Gavin, you were absolutely perfect on paper…or on my computer screen, as it were.

“Why haven’t I written to you sooner?” was the first sentence of my response to the gallant message that Gavin, the South African psychologist (yes, you read that right) penned for me via JDate.

He was charming, educated and looked really handsome in his photos. Gavin seemed to be a dream come true. But pssh, I’ve dealt with that one before. I wasn’t going to get ahead of myself. Well…besides imagining how cute our half South African babies would be and all of the international traveling our whole future family would be doing…

He chose a cute wine bar that is less than a 5 minute walk from my office. If I remember correctly, Gavin was already at a table when I got there. First detail I noted was that he definitely wasn’t as handsome and was definitely a few inches shorter than he appeared to be in his profile photos. But he wasn’t necessarily bad looking, had that awesome South African accent…and a J-O-B! It was a bit intimidating that he worked to evaluate and treat inmates with psychological and mental care at a very well-known prison in the tri-state area. But hey – we all have to make a buck.

So, while he wasn’t as physically attractive as I thought, he did have a brain that he actually used in dialogue. It was the beginning of September when we had our date and the upcoming Jewish holidays were brought up (by him). I’m pretty sure he asked me how I would be celebrating the Jewish New Year. I think that is the case because when I replied that I will be celebrating with some of the usual family members, then asked what his plans were, his reply was, “We will Tashlich and do the Selichot with our Machzor. It should be a joyous yontif.”

So I just sipped my wine. Wow, I thought, this guy is really Jewish. He just spoke in mostly Yiddish and I have no idea what he said.

We had also ordered a selection of cheeses at the bar, and as with literally any cheese product I eat, all of them were delicious. I made a comment about how tasty the cheese was and Gavin’s reply was, “Oh I know – I love this epoisses. It tastes like it’s by Isigny Sainte Mere – but I’m not sure, are you? I have another type of this at home. I keep it with my challerhocker in the fromage decoupage.”

Crickets.

gavin

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920325

Once again, I had no reply. Who the heck knows the names of all of the fancy cheeses and has them in their home? I have always been a “curd nerd,” thinking that any cheese type will do. Packaged American cheese slices? Delish! String cheese? Great for breakfast. Basically, anything. But this fancy talk was way over my [cheese] head.

I think at some point, Gavin decided that he couldn’t accept my ignorance because our parting was final and I never heard from him again. He might have left his psychologist gig (which – by the way – would have been really interesting to learn about – had he brought it up!) and became a cheese instructor for the Yiddish…Who knows.

Gay ga zinta hate.

I’m no Annie, but you’re no Tony Micelli: My Very First Online Blind Date

Anyone remember when there were no profile pictures available on dating sites, and that was kind of okay, because the Interwebs and everything it could possibly offer was very new? During that infancy, I went on one blind date with someone I met in some sort of single chat room…or something. I honestly don’t remember how we started talking, but we did and it was a great learning experience, so stop judging me.

Brian was a very new officer for the NYPD and I believe he had just graduated from the academy within the same year that we met. We spoke on the phone and decided to meet near my temp job at the time and go to the movies. ‘Cause…you know…a dark movie theater is a great place to get to know a stranger.

I remember getting out of work and being extremely attentive to every guy with brown hair and eyes who looked to be in my age range. I didn’t really know what Brian looked like other than hair and eye color, and that he was “built.” I must’ve looked really intense as I walked down the cold streets of the city toward our meeting spot, because a pretty attractive guy walked up to me smiling and I said, “Brian?” and he responded, “Nope.” WEIRD – was I imagining him walking up to me or was he just nuts? “Okay, sorry,” I sputtered awkwardly, as I kept walking.

I arrived at the front of the movie theater and there he was. George Costanza. He certainly had brown eyes and hair, but I had never seen someone who looked more like Jason Alexander to date. He was a little shorter, with bigger man-boobs. And he was definitely fit but the bulging chest muscles (aforementioned “man-boobs” were made of muscle) didn’t match up with anything else on his body. And I’m sorry but I’ve never found George to be attractive. With permanently crinkled eyes behind round glasses and a slight separation of his thin pasty lips, he confirmed that he was, indeed, Brian. Great.

After getting tickets for our movie, we went to a café to pass some time before it started. I specifically remember Brian telling me that since I told him my hair was very curly and reddish-brown, he thought I would resemble orphan Annie. He was disappointed that I didn’t resemble her, and he made that very clear. I apologized for not having short cheddar cheese-colored curls and causing such disillusionment, which didn’t seem to make either of us any more comfortable.

aileen-quinn-little-orphan-annie

Brian’s dream date. How creepy.

Photo Credit: http://i1.wp.com/pgoaamericanprofile2.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/aileen-quinn-little-orphan-annie.jpg

We sat at the café, and thumbs up to Brian, who was bitter about my lack of banana curls, yet still attempted to make conversation. Each time he did this, his thin lips separated with a smacking sound and foam developed on the corners of his mouth. If that detail doesn’t turn you on, think about a body builder alternating his pec twitching to show off a unique physique. I specifically remember Tony Danza (aka: Tony Micelli) doing this on “Who’s the Boss” once in a while. To summarize, I was on my first ever online blind date and he looked like George Costanza enduring a mild seizure. I believe he thought he looked like a buff Italian guy like Tony Micelli who had the right to judge my appearance…but I’m only speculating.

A little while later, Brian and I sat in the movie theater and made some more small talk. It was during this time that Brian confessed that some of his buddies at the (police) academy mentioned that he somewhat resembles George Costanza.

No shit. I didn’t think you “resembled” him. I thought you literally were him.

But I didn’t say that. I feigned surprise and giggled a little bit and we moved forward.

Beyond the fact that I spent my very first online blind date with a Seinfeld caricature with a freakishly big chest and mouth foam, I have to also say that Patch Adams might be one of the worst movies of all time.

So it was a success all around.

Brian (posing with Judith Light):

micelli and costanza mix

Photo Credits: http://www.ivillage.com/hottest-tv-dads/1-a-531543; http://replygif.net/thumbnail/243.gif

An Informative and Stimulating Guest Post: Cat Man Has Struck

Rejoice! I’m thrilled that one of my amazing friends has agreed to share one of her very own not-so-smitten dating stories and has allowed me to publish it here. While Beth lives across the country from me, her tale proves that crazy blind dates can occur anywhere, at any time:

The cool springtime air brushed against my face as I walked towards one of my favorite cafés in Minneapolis. He stood outside the door, looking around in anticipation of my arrival. He hadn’t seen me yet. We had connected through an online dating service and this wasn’t my first time meeting someone that way.

I typically did these first meetings during the day; and I always had plans immediately following, that would limit the amount of time we spent together straight away. Sound crazy? Trust me, it’s not.

He was tall, kind of cute and smiled big when he saw me stroll up. We said our hellos and he opened the door for me as we headed inside. So far, so good.

We tucked ourselves into a booth and made small talk as we studied the menu. He was soft spoken and seemed interested in what I had to say. As we ate, we learned we had some common ground. Cycling, photography, camping.

I wasn’t immediately attracted to him in an I-want-to-rip-your-clothes-off kind of way, but he was cute and nice. I know physical attraction can develop as you get to know someone, so I was willing to see him again.

He asked me out again a couple of days later and we met up at an art museum. Ten minutes into meandering around the galleries, things kept getting more and more uncomfortable. He didn’t get my sense of humor and I certainly didn’t get his. Conversation was forced and awkward.

As I was quietly figuring out my exit plan, we turned into another room and there was a photograph of a cat on display. He smiled and exclaimed how cute it was. I bit my tongue, hiding my irrational fear of felines. There was no point in revealing that anymore.
beth-cat-crop Proof of Beth’s comfort level with cats.

“I bought coloring books for my cats,” he continued to tell me. Did I hear him correctly? I was hesitant to ask. Coloring books for his… okay.

“Oh… they color?” was all I could think to say. For the next twenty minutes he talked about the psychology of cats and their need for creative stimulation and I had visions of what future dates with him might look like. Would he make me dress up like a cat? Would HE dress up as the cat? Then what would I be? A ball of yarn? For the love of all things, I didn’t want to find out. He had no clue that I was leading us back towards the lobby while pretending to look at art along the way.

“So, want to grab a bite?” he asked as we stood in the busy atrium. I’m either really good at hiding my disinterest or he was just that clueless. There was a large crowd gathering for an event at the museum and I was scanning the room for the door that led to the parking garage.

“Can I help you?” said a woman about my age. She smiled and the look in her eye told me she knew exactly the situation I was in.

“Parking garage?” I asked her quietly, my date totally oblivious to the exchange I was having with this woman. She winked and nodded her head in the direction of the door.

“Thank you,” I said softly, touching her arm and admiring her ink. She smiled and went on her way. I told the cat-man that I had a lot of work to do and needed to call it a night. We walked out to our cars, embraced in an awkward hug and I quickly got the hell out of there.

cat-man A portrait of Beth’s date from the museum…at least in her mind. http://www.halloweencostumes.com

I drove home, cautiously watching my tail.

Pun intended.

I hope that this dude has discovered kittywigs.com. It might be the perfect source of entertainment and comfort for him. And what’s up with the
cat-obsessed men out there? For more thoughts, stories and inspiration from Beth, you can visit her fantastic blog here: theawkwarddancer.com

Tales of the Regular

It was somewhat of a challenge to start having regular exchanges with Jay via okcupid.com. After we had introduced ourselves, there was maybe one more message between the two of us and then I didn’t hear back from him for about two months. When I had assumed that he had simply moved on to brighter pastures, he explained that he was having some health issues and apologized for disappearing. He seemed like a good guy with a solid personality and sense of humor. I liked his attractive face and shaved head in all of his well-displayed photos. At the time, he lived very close to where my apartment was, and actually had a good job and a car, which I liked as well.

So the somewhat flirtatious banter started again, and then carried over into actual phone calls. It was during our first phone conversation that I learned that Jay was in the beginning stages of a fairly serious health condition. I won’t get into specifics, but it is an illness that chooses its own timetable, and definitely one that can mess with someone’s emotional well-being. While he attempted to play down the effects it had had on his life thus far, I could tell that he was questioning a lot of aspects of his future. But he was online looking for a date and possibly a relationship, right? I decided to be the dynamic individual I had always suspected myself to be and give it a shot with someone who seemed like a great person. Being a relentless dreamer, I looked into my future with Jay and imagined myself the noble wife of an ill but admirable man, wheeling him around and constantly trying to keep him comfortable while, showing a brave face to the rest of the world. I’m a hero, obviously.

There have been very few first dates where the guy has picked me up from my residence in an actual vehicle that they own (imagine that!), but Jay was one of them. So I got door-to-door service for the time and resources used on this date. That’s good considering how it went.

Strike 1: Rude, secret smoker. He said on his profile that he didn’t smoke cigarettes but his car reeked of smoke from the second I opened the door. I smoked regularly for a number of years and probably wouldn’t have judged him if he was open about being a smoker from the beginning. The pack that nearly flew out of his glove box didn’t help his cause too much either. He also complained about “not being able to get around the area” or “get an easy parking spot.” He grew up and had been living about 20 minutes away from where we were at the time for his entire life. Within the first 5 minutes in his car, I found him to be a rude liar who shouldn’t have volunteered to drive. So things were going well.

amazing-race-russian-taxi-guy

An image of Jay shortly before (and after) our date.
Source: http://www.tvgasm.com/home/amazing-race-recap-rushin-russians.html/2

Strike 2: HOLY CRAP this guy is unapologetically racist. After grumbling about not being able to find his way around anywhere, and the lack of parking spaces, we got to the restaurant (within minutes) and he parked across the street (easy peasy). We saw an older Latino man in chef whites limping slowly across the street, clearly trying to do it quickly. It was obvious that the man worked at the restaurant he had just walked out of and I immediately felt bad for him. Jay said a rude remark about the guy’s limp.

When we were sitting inside the restaurant a few minutes later, Jay brought up the guy’s limp again, laughing. I looked at him with disgust, and asked him why the Mexican guy who works in a kitchen is amusing.

He said “Oh, I thought he was regular.”

Come again? “What’s regular?” I asked. I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. Did this dude not have appropriate bowel movements? Was he not a repetitive part of Jay’s life?

“You know,” he says, then puts his fingers in air quotes, “Caucasian.”

What the hell the guy’s race had to do with his occupation, his ethnicity or the reason it was funny that he had a limp – I have no idea. But I was completely baffled and started to think I was on a date with possibly one of the most ignorant people on the planet.

all-things-regular-x-new-era-59fifty-fitted-baseball-cap_1

Source: http://www.strictlyfitteds.com/blog/2011/02/regularolty-x-new-era%E3%80%8Call-things-regular%E3%80%8D59fifty-fitted-cap-2

And…

Strike 3: He said this: “Any girl that goes on an online dating site is looking to get laid or get married.”

How’s that for class?

Jay offered other gems such as his new pot-smoking strategies at the apartment he just moved into. He also stated that at the time of our date, he actually did not have a job, had no idea if he would ever work again and had no plans to figure out how to go about doing anything. Again, he had some health issues and was understandably shaken, but he had described a real job on his profile, so there was something else he had covered up. He obviously needed more time to work on his marijuana routine, but one would think a paycheck would be required for that sort of thing…

Now I don’t want you to faint from surprise, but I was thinking that this definitely wasn’t the guy for me.

After a wondrous dinner and ride back to my home, I got out of his smokestack – – um — car and quickly said thank you and goodbye. If I hurried inside, I would at least catch the second half of 20/20.