In 2013, determined to “get out there”, I went on exactly 30 first dates. I didn’t set out to go on this many; it just sort of happened as I stumbled across interesting men while browsing the online dating site OKCupid. Most dates just consisted of coffee or a glass of wine and then parting ways forever, and the majority were unremarkable. A few produced friends, or lovers, or lovers that became friends. There are a handful of one-night stands, and one or two that were downright awful. These are the stories of some of them.
“I just had a sweet kiss that made my heart skip a beat.”
That was the text I sent Katie after the 29th of the 30 first dates in 2013.
I hugged him, an overly familiar greeting just barely acceptable on first dates because of the automatic romantic subtext but something I generally avoid, except for this time, because he immediately felt different. I got a flash of something remarkable just before diving in to his shoulder and when I pulled back I confirmed he had the most amazing green eyes I’d ever seen, unexpected given his darker coloring. Months later I would ask why he didn’t highlight this trait in his dating profile, and he said photos probably did the job in showing them off, but they don’t. No photograph I’ve taken of him manages to do them justice.
I spent the meal trying to figure out if his first name is really Marley or if I had written it down incorrectly. (It turns out it is, and his parents are Bob Marley fans.) We ate risotto. My biggest piece of dating advice is “don’t get a meal on a first date” because what if, mid-meal, they say something like, “I don’t like black people.” or “I don’t think same-sex couples should be allowed to get married.” or “Hitler kind of had a point…” and you are stuck there? It’s way too risky, and best to stick to drinks for a first meeting. But risotto is only one course, so I agreed to it. (We were at Risotteria in the West Village, and it was awesome. They have 100% gluten free premises if you would like to go out to dinner with someone who has severe wheat allergies and can’t risk cross-contamination.)
After, we went for a glass of wine and then to the subway where, between the N platform and the R platform, he leaned in and kissed me, and I texted Katie when I got home with my heart still pounding in my ears. That was September.
In the months since, it has become overwhelmingly obvious – to me, to my friends, and to my therapist who, in a wonderful and rare slip-out-of-therapist-mode proclaimed, “Frankly, if you walk away from him you’re an idiot.” – that we are a really, really wonderful fit. Like all of my best decisions, it feels like a matter of course to run around the world with him. He’s smart and thoughtful, handsome and kind. We’re in the middle of packing up his apartment; he’s moving in at the end of the month. We are both so excited.
I love him a lot.