It’s been a while since I’ve written about my dating life. Primarily because I haven’t had one. If there’s one thing this city seems to have an over supply of, it’s single women looking for a companion – or just a date. Which is harder to get than one might imagine.
This is not meant to be a post of the state of female singletons in the city, so I’ll move on. And while this post doesn’t revolve around cats, my cats do play a minor role, so hang in there.
After a long absence from online dating I decided to give the free site OKCupid.com another go as several women I knew – or had heard about – had met their significant others on it. I dutifully updated my profile with new photos ranging the gamut from a formal professional shot, to the obligatory full body photo, and a playful one of me snuggling a rescue kitten (hinting at, but not overtly calling out the role cats play in my life, as this is an area that must to be introduced with care).
Several days passed before I finally received a message from a man who seemed to hold potential. I liked what he had written in his profile, he was in the right age range (not so young as to be looking for an encounter reminiscent of “The Graduate” and not old enough to be my Father), could spell, write in complete sentences, had more than one photo (we can all take ONE good photo), didn’t have a photo of himself taken in the bathroom with his shirt off (why do men think we want to see that? particularly after the age of 20?).
He was a bit shorter than the men I usually go for, but given i’m only 5’4” I knew I couldn’t hold it against him, and a short person does not a bad mate make. (As an aside, it’s amazing how many men living in NYC are outdoorsy – an adjective that would never be applied to me. The number of photographs of men skiing, running, camping, waterskiing and taking part of other such activities is quite amazing given we live in a city where much of that is hard to come by. I often had to double check to ensure I wasn’t looking at profiles of men in Colorado or California).
If it’s one thing I have learned about online dating in my limited experience, it’s that you should not waste time going back and forth on email or spend too much time talking on the phone or texting before meeting in person. A man might have a lovely “voice” or great sense of humor on email, calls or texts, but you’ll never know if his profile is a true reflection of himself, or if he has a tick that drives you made, and how he treats the waitstaff until you meet him in person. Not to mention having the ability to apply the ultimate litmus test (in my book at least). Could I imagine kissing him? If the answer is a resolute no, than I must move on. Quickly.
So after a few text message exchanges we agreed to meet up for a drink. I’ll admit I was slightly annoyed as I suggested he pick a place but he wanted me to, and after I did, he began to question it. Look buddy – either step up to the plate and take charge or just are to my suggestion. I let this go and tried to play “light and breezy” (a feat for me).
When I met him I was happy to see he actually looked like his photographs. He said the same about me. He looked a little like a younger Kevin Spacey. Not necessarily my type, but I could work with it. Turns out he was an ER doctor (no complaints there) and conversation was easy to come by. He was easy to talk to, there were no awkward silences. I made jokes and laughed at his. Things seemed to be going well. Will had made plans to meet friends for dinner (a classic move, an “escape hatch” should the meeting be a failure – which I fully understood), so we wrapped it up after an hour and said we’d meet again.
After weeks of texting back and forth. It was nice to have a new male text buddy but seeing that a new texting friend wasn’t my end goal. I was eager to get the show on the road to see if there was any potential here. Now I should have pursued other dates to keep the pipeline full and not put my eggs in one basket, but there had been no other messages from men I found the least bit appealing.
Finally Will suggested I come over to his roof deck on a Sunday evening. We could hang out and he could play guitar. While I can’t say I was terribly excited at this prospect as a second date, I chalked it up to modern dating. A cheap date. No need to invest until he knew I was “worth” it. When I asked if there was anything I could bring (assuming he might have snacks or drinks), his response, “Not unless you want anything in particular” (read: there would be no rooftop spread).
I arrived at his building (in a very nice part of the Village – Greenwich Village and it wasn’t a rental I learned, thanks to StreetEasy.com) and we had a nice time swinging in his rooftop hammock, awaiting the sunset. I asked about his family, his job. He did not reciprocate. After a while we did exchange a rather innocent kiss, and he promptly begin scratching at his face and neck.
Will said, “Do you have a cat?”
Me: “Um, yeh.” (omitting how many)
Will: “I’m deathly allergic to them.”
Me: Thinking to myself “He’s a doctor, I’m sure we’d find a solution through the miracle of science should it come to that.”
The topic was dropped and we continued with non-feline related chit-chat.
After a short while Will asked if I wanted to hear him play the guitar (a rhetorical question). He was surprisingly good, especially given he’d only recently begun teaching himself. I made some commentary about how impressed I was given the difficulty involved in all the modulations from Major to Minor key etc, given him the opportunity to enquire how I knew about such things (I’d played the violin for many years and all through college). But he didn’t pick up what I was putting down and proceeded to regale me with another piece.
I won’t lie. It was slightly awkward. Sitting there, an audience of one having to make sure I looked sufficiently engaged and fascinated enough even though I didn’t know the songs he was playing and he’d been better off not trying to sing, and sticking to instrumental.
For those of you who grew up in the age of land lines, it was reminiscent of having a High School crush put the phone down on his bed while subjecting you to hours of live performance he must have thought you’d find sexy or at least pleasurable as opposed to the prison it felt like. There was no way to get his attention no matter how loudly you yelled into the phone. And you couldn’t hang up, because if memory serves, you couldn’t use the phone unless they hung up on their end as well.
After a few songs, Will said he was feeling rather tired and should probably get ready for bed. He not only told me with his words, but was doing a somewhat exaggerated yawn-stretch combination. Universal body language for “I’m sleepy.” It was 9pm and I’d only been there for a little over an hour. Never mind he wasn’t anywhere near my part of town. But it turns out he’d worked that day and ER doctor’s have very irregular schedules so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I mean, we’d had a nice time. Even though he hadn’t asked me a single question about myself.
I told him I’d call an Uber from the lobby and bid him a good night. No sooner had I ordered an Uber and called my friend to tell her Will was allergic to cats, that the elevator doors opened and la voila! There appeared Will. His guitar strapped to his back.
My first thought was “I hope he didn’t hear me talking about the date and his cat allergy.” Which was almost instantaneously replaced with,“Where the hell is this lying piece of shit going?”
Will looked surprised to see me. Turns out for someone who has an MD he wasn’t all that bright having taken an elevator just moments after me. I mean, at least give a girl ten minutes to clear the premises! I cut my conversation short, and all I could think to say to was, “You didn’t have to lie to me.”
There was a bit of mumbling and stammering and something about having gotten his second wind. And how a group of guitar players congregated in Washington Square Park on Sunday evenings. I didn’t say a single word as he followed me out of the apartment to my car. A fake half smile plastered to my face the entire time. I wished him the best, climbed into the car and immediately called my friend back with the update, grateful I’d found the truth out sooner rather than later.
Upon retelling this tale to a younger co-worker the following day, I was surprised her response had nothing to do with his lying or lack of curiosity in me. But rather I’d dodged a bullet because who wanted to be with a a 40+ year old doctor who wanted to “slum it” in Washington Square Park on a Sunday night playing guitar with a bunch of randoms. I hadn’t thought about it that way.
Regardless of how you look at it we had no future given the most obvious problem. He was allergic to cats.