This dude was LATE AS HELL.
Everyone’s inner clock is set to a different speed. Sometimes I try to be late, but end up just being exactly on time. This does not make me virtuous; it makes me annoying, but being late is worse! I don’t know if this man is someone who is perpetually late, but he notified me that he had to work an extra hour about five minutes after we were supposed to meet, as I was sitting at the bar with a very generous glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.
I’d chosen the location, a place I have passed by many times and never entered on Lafayette. It’s the kind of bar where drinks are cheap and everyone talks to each other. I sat outside in the small fenced off area, nursing my half a bottle of wine in a glass, wanting to join in conversations on the right and left of me, but afraid of having to explain, “I may be getting stood up by some ding-dong who works in the ass-end of Queens, and I put on nice underwear for this.” I watch a woman pretend to fall into another woman’s lap as a come on, and wish I could just do that to somebody and call it a night.
To wait or not to wait?
Without even meeting someone, they can make you feel so vulnerable. If I wait, I’m a fool. If I leave, I’m a bitch. Either way, I am drinking alone. About half an hour after we are supposed to meet, he texts to say he is ten minutes away. Twenty minutes later, he arrives.
Dude tells me he’s been going from place to place on the wrong street, implying I told him it was on a different corner. For a minute I believe this, and apologize, but then check surreptitiously: I did not give him the wrong address. Either way, the fact that he’s late is now my fault so we don’t have to fight about it.
The table I have sat at makes him uncomfortable, so we move to the bar where he orders water and doesn’t tip the bartender. You may not tip the bartender for water, but it takes the bartender as much time to get you water as a drink, and you are taking up space at their bar. So…consider starting. To be fair, I was still drinking that original glass of wine when we sat down. It was very big.
Something I’ve noticed on dating apps, is that the people who most aggressively want to meet you generally don’t know anyone in the city. They’re just throwing punches, hoping to connect. This man was one of those, looking for a new friend/tour guide. The allure of showing someone your city when that city is New York is limited. It’s not a small town, there’s a lot to understand about it and see, and frankly, you should be paid.
Dude likes kids. He teaches yoga to them via an app that books him for classes that grow and shrink at a whim, and if that’s sounds confusing it’s because I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. He waxes on about how people in Queens are “real New Yorkers,” which I think is a reference to having an accent, and then says the people in his neighborhood…Harlem…are not. I try to correct this misapprehension, and he explains that he means the white people moving there from outside the city, like himself.
Though I left as soon as I finished drinking that endless glass of wine, by the time I was done I felt more warmly towards my first date. We had almost nothing in common, but he was trying just as hard as I was to do something new with his life. I told him he was really brave to make such a long journey.
“To New York, or to this date?”
“Both,” I said.