I’m the Brett Favre of dating. I’ve threatened retirement so many times, people stopped paying attention. But last fall, I decided to give online dating one last shot. And I hit the jackpot. A human man in his 30s with a job who wants a relationship!? Record scratch? Could the low bar actually be high enough to limbo under!? I had to take a turn and see.
Jeff NotHisRealname worked at a “financial company probably in Tribeca.” (I assume everyone works at a financial company probably in Tribeca.) We were good with communication - as much as two flirting strangers can be over text. He told me about his family, about recently moving to NY and about what he’s looking for in a relationship. All signs pointed to “good dude worth a date.” As per usual when I mentioned I was an improv comedian, he asked me “uh oh! Are you gonna talk about this in your act LOL!?” I naturally responded with “Only if you do something stupid! Ha ha! Just kidding I don't have an 'act' because I'm an improviser, idiot!” Just kidding I didn't say that last part. But I thought it.
I definitely said the first part though.
We met for 2-for-1 happy hour drinks on a Wednesday. I had already had a full day: an early morning audition near Times Square, then taught a class in Queens… and then I headed to the lower east side to meet Jeff NotHisRealname at a wine bar for drinks. He picked the place and we agreed on a time. So far, so great! I was excited for a drink and a date with a handsome man. I wore a cute black dress that says “I'm a grown up” and Michael Jackson Leggings that said “...but I'm fun and quirky!”
He was 15 or 20 minutes late but hey, we’ve all been there. No problem. I ordered a glass of red and continued reading my book (Just Kids by Patti Smith. So good, right?) Jeff seemed possibly anxious when he arrived (maybe afraid I'd judge him on his tardiness?) so I did my best to make him feel at ease.
Me: “What'd you do today?”
JN: “The lie or the real story?”
Me: “Uh. The real one?”
JN: “Well to be honest I was out kind of late last night so I spent most of the day watching TV in bed.”
Me: “You were worried about telling me that? That sounds freaking awesome. I’d love a day of bed and TV! Good for you!”
While perusing the menu, he commented that “he had a rough night last night.” He ordered both a Heineken and a Sprite. The Heineken remained on the table untouched throughout the next 20 minutes. In between small talk, he'd look around like a guy who’s just come into public after a lifetime in hiding. Sweating profusely, he kept asking “Is it hot in here? I think it's hot in here.” (It was not. It was brisk November evening.)
It wasn't until he left for the bathroom and came back to the table sans sweater and covered in sweat that I realized: this dude is hungover as F*ck. I was contentedly drinking my wine & thinking about ordering another but he seemed definitively not ok. I asked multiple times if he was feeling alright. I also mentioned that if he had wanted to reschedule, it would've been no problem. He waved my words away. He reassured me that he was totally fine.
Then Jeff quickly said, “Wanna get out of here? Maybe just go for a walk? It’s so HOT in here!” That wasn’t the direction I had hoped we’d go in. We were just starting to get the conversation going and I was ready to order drink #2 of my 2-for-1 drink deal, but he quickly asked for the check. (And paid!! What a gentleman! That’s nice!) Everything was happening so quickly. The date had not even been 30 minutes or so. I followed him outside.
The moment we hit the cold air, he held his hand to his mouth and stepped away. (Aw. He doesn’t want to burp on me. What a gentleman! That’s nice!) But then I realized… oh wait. No. No. Not a burp. Nope. He’s throwing up all over the sidewalk.
While my date was profusely throwing up on a sidewalk, I felt so embarrassed for him that I pretended I didn’t notice by "making myself look busy" by perusing the menu on the outside door of the restaurant. Oh it looks like they have a special on Sunday nights. Huh.
He finally came up beside me. After what I would call, a dramatic pause, he goes…
JN: So… I think I should go?
Me: Ya think?
As we walked toward the subway aggressively avoiding eye contact, I assumed he’d apologize or make an excuse for his behavior. He didn’t. I even tried to give him a way out: “Don’t be embarrassed. It’s ok.” And he confidently replied with an oddly cocky air, “I have nothing to be embarrassed about.” (Meanwhile I’m thinking you SHOULD be embarrassed, dude. It’s a Wednesday! At 6pm! You’re a grown adult man and you’re still hungover from the night before! From drinking on a Tuesday! And you just threw up all over the street on a first date! This might be the time to apologize...)
After that, I could not stop laughing. I straight up had the giggles. He repeated “You’re going to use this in your act, aren’t you?” Well, you weren’t supposed to do something stupid, remember? That was the deal!
I headed home. (Actually, first I stepped into a CVS where I called every single close friend I have until I could get one on the phone, because I was desperate to immediately tell someone this amazing date story. My friend, Taylor, finally picked up my call and I got the audience I needed.) Then, I headed home.
When I got off the R Train at my stop, I was flabbergasted to see that Jeff NotHisRealname had texted me: “I had a great time meeting you tonight! Brunch on Sunday?” I responded “No thank you. I’m not looking for anything messy.”
(written for Sheknows.com)