“Are you going to do a statement lip?”
“Well, considering I don’t even know what that means, I think the answer is no.”
“Okay,” Lux said, as she pulled up a variety of nail polish images on her office laptop. “From what you’ve told me about your outfit, here are some choices of what I think you should wear.”
“You have a whole Pinterest board just for nails?” I asked.
“Of course!” she exclaimed.
“I think I like that one,” I said and pointed to a deep purple shade.
“Good choice,” she said, nodding. “Very popular for Winter.”
I sat back in my chair and sighed. “God, I hate getting manicures. I was supposed to do it yesterday but I blew it off.”
She was wide-eyed. “Why would you hate getting manicures?”
“Because I hate strangers rubbing my hands with all that lotion and they clip your cuticles and the filing noise makes my teeth hurt and it’s all just so gross!” I shuddered. “And not to mention, then you have to sit there for 10 minutes while your nails dry and you can’t touch anything, not even flip through a magazine, and it’s so supremely a waste of time and SO BORING.”
“You should go where I go,” she said. “They have TVs and they show chick-flicks!”
“Next time. I’m just going to go somewhere near my apartment. Bradley’s meeting me in the Upper East.”
“Okay, but if you hate getting manicures you should think about getting shellacs instead.”
I sighed. “I don’t even want to know what that means.”
Bradley had been totally cool when I’d asked to reschedule and not only that, he’d offered to come to my neighborhood.
That was pretty impressive.
It’s pretty impressive because everyone knows that no one who doesn’t live in the Upper East Side ever wants to come here, just as those of us who live here, rarely want to leave once we are home. Especially on a work-night. This is simply for the fact that there’s only one subway line that runs that route and it’s a pain for everyone to get to. It’s the kind of thing where you make plans and then as the day goes on and you think of having to walk across avenue after avenue to get to the 4/5/6 that you suddenly decide you have a ‘late night conference call’ and can’t make it.
But Bradley was willing to come to the UES. And once I gave him a vague idea (Safety First) of where I lived, he even came up with the perfect place for us to meet. A small local tapas bar that was totally convenient for me and a place I’d wanted to try for a while.
“He sounds too good to be true,” Archie had said, chewing on the straw of his smoothie, when earlier that day I’d given him the run down on the date plan. “I mean, not to burst your bubble or anything.”
“Thanks for the feedback,” I’d said.
But I knew he was right, so I tried to keep my enthusiasm in check. After all, I had also been excited about Date One. And we all know how that turned out. And, as I’d told Zeke, I’d had Date Two right before the holidays but it was literally so unremarkable, I’d decided not to even write about it. There had been nothing of note except that after I’d gotten home I’d received a text from him saying I’d seemed “perturbed” at the end of our meeting. I truly hadn’t been perturbed. Well, not until I got that message.
I also worried I was putting too much pressure on this date. Other than Bradley, I had nothing going on in my Dating World. Tinder hadn’t been going so well as during the infamous Polar Vortex, I’d gotten an incomprehensible number of messages from guys saying they wanted to ‘spoon with me’ and telling me they could ‘warm me up head to toe.’ Match.com wasn’t much better. The last messages I’d gotten had opened with, ‘Hi there your eyes r so inviting. I’m sure ur a charming woman up close’ and ‘I love your picture in your black outfit, you look very feminine.’ On OkCupid things were going well with one guy until the second message when he’d asked me who (what?) my favorite Muppet was. None of these exchanges were really engaging me.
As the afternoon wore on, I got more and more nervous. I wasn’t sure why. If the date went well, great. If it didn’t, so what? I could be home in my pj’s by 8:30pm and catch up on ‘The Bachelor: Sean & Catherine’s Wedding,’ which I’d missed the night before because I was trying my hand at making a cauliflower-crust pizza.
But I’d gotten so agitated about it all that when I arrived home from the salon, I’d laid down to take a disco nap with the cat to try to relax myself. In doing so, I’d promptly ruined my manicure.
As I got ready, I kept thinking, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this,” and repeatedly checking my phone to see if he’d cancelled. I half hoped he would. He did not.
So at 7:10pm I made my way to the bar. I’d much preferred to be wearing my sleeping-bag-jacket as it was freakishly cold outside but I was being a trooper, wearing its replacement, a cute chocolate-brown coat with a faux-fur hood (“Gorgeous,” Sheri had decreed), even though it was much shorter and did little to keep out the biting wind. But looking good was more important than comfort. I’d learned that much at least.
So, all in all, it was with tempered emotions that I walked into that dimly lit bar. I pulled off my hood and glanced around the space, my eyes slowly adjusting to the candlelight.
“Please, God,” I prayed silently. “Please let this one go well.”
I felt I deserved it at this point.