“Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead.” Lucille Ball
This is not about a date with someone I met online. I know. I said I wouldn’t write about the “men in the real world” but I think you’ll understand why this one had to be shared.
I met Terrence while wandering around Barnes and Noble on 82nd and Broadway. If I have any free time I do that sort of thing. The Strand near Union Square is my favorite NYC bookstore, but on that day time was limited so I stayed in my ‘hood.
Terrence approached the New Nonfiction table where I stood. Tall (over 6’), handsome, and an ageless face. He could’ve been forty or sixty for all I knew. We began talking about the recent works of nonfiction that we’d read. I told him I had just finished the Steve Jobs biography. He had read it too. He was an interesting guy—talked quite a bit—and we chatted for about fifteen minutes. By the end of the conversation, Terrence asked if I’d join him for lunch the following day. I told him I would and we exchanged phone numbers.
Terrence chose Landmarc, a restaurant in Time Warner Center. I’d heard good things and was looking forward to the experience.
I got dressed in my cropped Gap “Sexy Boyfriend” jeans (cause that’s what I want), a Yummie Tummie shape wear tank and a BCBG MaxAzria jacket that I saw in the store window during my wine bar trek with Chloe and had to have. All I needed were shoes.
Hmmm, practical flats or sexy heels?
Short and stubby versus long and lean?
Vanity thy name is Heels.
Occasionally I’m, um, clumsy.
During my final date with Bernhard I twice dropped a fork and broke a champagne glass that I discreetly pushed under the table with my foot. The server was already annoyed with the replacement utensils she’d delivered.
Jeez, do you think that’s why he never asked me out again?
During my first date with Scott I set the menu on fire (yeah, you read that right). I was attempting to use a candle to read the very small print. Where’s the handy waiter flashlight when you need it? I also dropped a fork, but who’s counting.
I met Terrence outside the restaurant and we walked inside. The place was packed—it was lunchtime after all and I was happy to know we had a reservation and could immediately be seated.
Here’s what it looked like:
Terrence followed the hostess as she briskly walked to our table and I struggled to keep up.
I’ve been told that I glide into a room—my head high, shoulders back like I own the place and that statement is sometimes followed with, “then you eat shit better than anyone.”
OK, it has happened a time or two.
All it takes is a little water or an errant lime wedge on the floor and it’s Show Time!
Like a perfectly choreographed three-step dance number, I became the lunchtime entertainment.
Cue the music.
Fosse couldn’t have done better.
Step 1—The Rockette (please note the requisite Jazz Hands) and imagine the loud “WHOA!!!”
Step 2–a backward slam to The Dead Cockroach (not for the neophyte hoofer) with the always appropriate, “SHIT!!!”
And, because I breakdance, I flipped into the Pièce de résistance, the big finish: The Cousin It.
I paused for a moment, took a deep breath and tossed my hair back. The once noisy place was silent and here’s what I saw:
Now, I know what you’re thinking. I got up, walked to the table, laughed it off and had a great meal, right?
NOT A CHANCE IN HELL.
I did my best to stand with as much grace possible, turned and used the same stride I entered with to propel myself out of there. Once outside I limped towards the escalator (my fucking hip was throbbing) and knew I was headed home where an icepack was waiting. Terrence, be damned!
Actually I’d forgotten about him until I heard my name being called behind me.
“Melani, are you OK?” He said while trying not to laugh. “Where are you going?”
“I’m fine. I’ve gotta get out of here. I’m humiliated, I can’t go back in that place.”
“What? Are you serious?”
“Jesus Christ, Terrence, did you just see that? Of course I’m fucking serious.”
“OK, OK, no problem, come with me, I have another place we can go.”
We walked outside the Time Warner building and down the street to another restaurant (no clue of the name) and were seated immediately. Terrence laughed about the incident and I joined in. What else was there to do? It was quickly forgotten and he began what I thought was going to be a shared “getting to know each other” conversation.
It was a monologue.
He talked about his childhood in Baltimore and I nodded.
He went into his first marriage and the birth of his now grown son. I nodded some more.
He described his second marriage and why it broke up. I wondered if he realized his food was getting cold but my head bobbed up and down and I made the noises one does to show interest.
Terrence talked and talked and I kept pretending to care while my mind drifted to how much my ass was hurting and that I was going to spring for a taxi back to my apartment. The subway or walking was OUT.
Finally, the date ended. Terrence went in for a kiss and I shoved my hand towards him and said thank you for lunch. He said he’d call and the next day he did.
Here’s how the conversation went:
“I had a great time at lunch, really enjoyed your company,” Terrence said.
“What did you enjoy most about it?”
He better not mention that flippin’ pratfall.
“Just getting to know you. You’re a special woman.”
“What do you think makes me special?”
“Oh, lots of things.”
“Too many to name.”
He laughed nervously.
“Terrence, what’s my last name?”
“How about where I grew up?”
“Or how many children I have?”
“The color of my eyes? Do you know that?”
“Um, you want me to tell you the color of your eyes?”
Well played, Terrence. The trick of repeating the question when trying to come up with the answer. I do it all the time.
“Yeah, the color of my eyes and if that’s too hard then just tell me if they’re light or dark.”
“Weeeell, hmmm, I think they’re dark, but I could be wrong.”
“You are wrong. Green. My eyes are green. You talked for ninety minutes without asking one thing about me. You didn’t seem to care and yet I know everything about you. Where you grew up, your marriages, your son, your job, where you’ve lived. Everything.”
“Weeellll, I know you have a much younger body than most fifty year olds. How about we get together again and you do all the talking?” He said with a chuckle.
“No thanks, but I wish you the best.”
And I do wish him the best. In spite of the fact that he had absolutely no interest in truly getting to know me, I am grateful that he wanted to see me again after witnessing my Lucy impersonation.