If you remember dear (and very patient) readers, we last saw my date M__ laptop in hand, tasked with finding a place for dinner while I left to finish the laundry.
Taking a deep breath I reentered my apartment. Stepping into the living room I saw a grey and white blur leave M__’s side and shoot up the stairs. Were my eyes playing tricks on me or was that actually….Petie? “Yeh,” said M__“He just came right up to me. Cute cat.”
What did this mean? Petie is by no means a social cat, especially when it comes to men. In fact several of my friends, never having seen him, questioned his existence. Maybe M___ was some sort of cat whisperer. Perhaps there was more to him than I’d had the chance to see.
“I found two Italian places close to you,” said M__ smiling broadly. “And they both have whole wheat pasta (apparently a deal breaker for him). You pick which one we go to.”
- OPTION #1: A pizza-by-the-slice joint that just happened to sell pasta, the kind they scoop out of industrial size pans.
- OPTION #2: A place near my work where I sometimes grab a salad at lunchtime. In fairness it has a deceptively fancy Italian-sounding name, I explained to M that it was more of a fancy deli serving mediocre food that could barely be categorized as Italian. He was undeterred.
My patience was waning and I was sure my stomach was starting to feed on itself. I enquired if he’d considered the East Village (a 10 minute walk) where tasty, inexpensive Italian restaurants abound.
M__: “That’s too far to walk”
Me: “We could take a cab?”
M__: “It doesn’t make sense to take a cab when I have a car.”
Me: “We could take your car.”
M__: “I don’t want to have to find parking again.”
It took every fiber of my being to resist telling him I’d forgotten it was my night in with cats and they were looking forward to being brushed. But I looked at Petie and couldn’t bring myself to do it. Plus I was ready to eat a shoe.
It was 6pm when we arrived at Option #2. We were the only customers and were seated immediately, then presented with laminated menus complete with fingerprints and food bits. M__ was ecstatic.
M__: “Look they have Chinese and Mexican food too!”
Me: “Yeh, that’s the problem.”
M__: “Wow, you can get a salad with your choice of 7 items in it for $8.99.”
Was it possible I equated a man who fed me well with one who’d best take care of me in other aspects of life? It ‘s not that much of a stretch really. Men used to hunt and bring kill to feed their family. It was a matter of life or death.
I couldn’t help but wonder how M__ would have fared in those days. “M__the other husbands bring back antelope. What will we feed the children this winter? Field mice?”
While men don’t literally hunt their food these days (at least not the ones I know) they can “hunt” for a good restaurant and put some effort into the ”kill.” Not just pick a place based on proximity or availability of wheat pasta and brown rice.
As we wound-up our dinner and M__ instructed our server to combine the tuna salad “appetizer” and marinara pasta in one box (“It gets mixed together in your stomach anyway right?”), he casually mentioned that he had a busy week ahead of him. “Oh?” I asked.
“Yeah, meeting new clients tomorrow morning, then picking friends up at Newark airport, then Tuesday I need to file a petition with family court to see my son – my Ex won’t let me visit – Wednesday I’m having construction done on….”
Son? Family Court? Now don’t get me wrong. At my age I know most of the men I’ll date will already have kids. And heck, I like kids and want them myself. But to break the news as part of a run-on sentence? I heard what he said but decided against reacting. Instead. I nodded my head and smiled politely, feigned engagement as he went detailing the remainder of his week.
Friends, it’s best I stop here. But trust me when I tell you the evening ended early and abruptly with me practically running home sans M__. I don’t think I’d ever been happier to see my cats. I never heard from M__again. This was clearly for the best.
While a man who appreciates good food and feeds me well is important to me, so is a man who is self-aware and doesn’t play games. M__ had failed on all counts. Next time I’ll go with my gut. On all counts.
PS – I later learned that M____’s son was all of eight weeks old at the time of our “date.” And for those readers convinced he had a wife? Close but no cigar. He has a roommate all right. Not a wife, but his mother.