(Part One) (Part Two)
So back to our comic-tragic story.
The second date (of the four blind dates in five days) was a doozy and a half. This was a date I was not looking forward to. He was way out of my age bracket, for one, a good 14 years older than me. He also sounded much too conservative for my taste.
I suggested meeting for a coffee or a drink, to keep things casual. This guy (I'll call him Max) offered dinner in the West Village. And not just dinner but tickets to a dance performance at the Joyce Theater.
And not only that, but he sent me poetry beforehand. Thankfully the poetry wasn't written with me in mind, someone he'd never set eyes on. This was poetry that he'd written at an earlier date. Oh boy. Way to make my heart sing.
I'm not a poetry person. I respect the art, but I don't even have the patience to skim through it. I can't say the poetry was a strike against Max, but it was not a positive thing. (Note - do NOT send poetry to someone you don't know. Like root beer or licorice or Marmite, it is an acquired taste).
The date with Max was on a Friday, the night after meeting Nameless Guy. I'd dreaded the date the whole week, but I told myself I was doing this for the good of humanity. No matter what, I could not back out.
I met Max outside the Joyce, on 8th Avenue. I was polite, dread-filled and dressed up for the occasion. To dress up for someone I had little interest in made me feel absolutely horrible inside.
I felt like a child bride in the 18th century, about to commit her life to scrubbing pots and shoveling coal. My thought bubble was filled with ampersands and exclamation points. Now imagine my despair when we bumped into a married couple whom Max knew, while waiting in line?! (Insert internal withering scream).
Max introduced me to the couple as his 'date' and they promptly exchanged surprised, smiling looks that said 'Oh my, Max, you're going to have to tell us all about your secret ladyfriend'. Oy! What I go through for the good of humanity!
Cut to dinner.
It turned out that Max was a fervent lover of dance. He was taking two different tango classes, sometimes dancing for hours on the weekend. He could not stop talking about tango. Tango, tango, tango. This was the conversation for most of the evening.
The enthusiasm was charming, I guess. I mean, it's better than no hobbies at all. However, there was not one question directed at me. Hm. I'm fine with chit chat and just kept asking questions about tango to pass time - the steps, the history, the other tango students.
Finally, as dinner came to a close, Max got around to asking about me. So what had I studied in school? What was I doing now? I told him simply that I'd started out as a serious musician. I'd fallen in love with architecture my freshman year. I was working on houses for extremely wealthy people.
After my two sentences, there was uncomfortable silence. I'd like to think that Max realized that he'd gone on about tango for half an hour and only then were we getting to me. I'm not sure what his thought bubble said.
I must have said something about how late it was getting. We parted ways under streetlights; Max hailed me a cab and I made the long trip up to the Upper West Side.
Along the ride, I felt wretched for a number of reasons - for possibly leading this poor man on, for enduring the evening, for another one in a string of dating disappointments. I did my best to tell myself that the summer was just beginning. It was June, and though I had nothing to go on, there were bound to be at least a few warm, happy days ahead.
Photo by myself in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.