“Oh no, oh no, oh no,” I thought. “This is too much.”
As we followed the hostess to our table, my gaze moved around the elegant glass domed room that was criss-crossed with large metal piping that ran from the floor to the high ceiling. Oversized art deco chandeliers hung throughout the space, giving off a comforting glow. Our cozy table for two was set off to the side, with a crisp white linen tablecloth and two delicately arranged napkins.
My immediate thought was, “Fuck. I am so underdressed.”
I’d taken extra care with my appearance that morning, but still, it wasn’t enough. Not for a place like this.
As I arranged myself in the lush velvet chair, I looked over at my date. He had been my Date Six and since I’d thought he’d been very kind and funny, I’d agreed to go out with him again.
I smiled at him and then opened my menu. Holy Crap. The average entree here was $50. “Oh dear,” I thought again. “This is just too much.” This was the kind of place that’s a special occasion place. Not a second date place.
Although, my date didn’t seemed phased by the menu at all and even suggested we order some sides to share. So I relaxed and ordered what I wanted (still being mindful of the price, of course).
Our conversation was easy and fun, a lot of laughter and interesting questions. He was a fascinating guy, full of information about hidden NYC theater venues and jazz clubs and underground performance artists. He had a compelling past and I found myself leaning forward while I sipped my wine, listening to his tales. His two college-age kids sounded sweet and well-rounded. He was jovial with the waiters and kind to the bussers.
And he wasn’t just talking about himself, he was asking me a lot of questions too. He’d clearly remembered everything we’d talked about on our first date, and was making a point to follow up.
We talked about work, our families, our travels. And as we finished off our steaks and sides, I thought, “I am really having a good time.”
However, after the table was cleared and he announced, “I don’t know about you, but I’m getting dessert!” I found myself feeling disappointed and anxious. I wanted to go home. As much as I enjoyed his company, I just was not feeling any sort of romantic connection. He was still very kind and funny, just as on our first date, but I was running into the same kind of problem I’d had then.
I just could not see myself kissing him.
I sometimes forget what Lux wrote in my profile, so I was somewhat taken aback when he asked about my writing. Apparently she mentioned the two books I wrote, as well as a non-specific reference to this blog. I stammered as I told him the Venice Book was currently at an editor for a final polishing before my writing partner and I were to send it out to agents, and that the Sorority Book was slated to be self-published in the Spring. I skated around the issue of the blog – instead commenting that we’d just had our One Year Anniversary Party and that it was a fun side project for my friends and me.
He listened intently and nodded in all the right places, and I was flattered by that.
But when he exclaimed, “Wow! What will my friends say when I tell them I was out with a woman who wrote two books and has a successful blog? They won’t even believe it!” and I noticed he was looking me with genuine affection, I found myself blinking rapidly and scrambling for a reply. “Thank you,” I said. “That is a very kind thing to say.”
And as he toasted me with his dessert fork, I felt an inexplicable lump forming in my throat that I tried to swallow away. This was not right.
That’s when I knew.
I couldn’t do this anymore.