Rolling In The Deep
I dedicate this next entry to my parents. This particular date was one they have referred to many times over the years as one of their best “Alex Dating Disasters”. And on some level, I must admit, I agree with them, and had it not happened to me and someone else was telling me this story, I would find this utterly hilarious. But alas, it did happen to me…
Several years ago I was living on the corner of Norfolk and Rivington on the Lower East Side. This was before the Schillers restaurants and trendy bars appeared in the area. I lived there when the building was pretty much condemned and there was a hooker that lived on the first floor named, Shorty. One side note, Shorty was a lovely hooker, she never bothered anyone and always kept her “clients” in the privacy of her own apartment. The main reason I even began to get to know Shorty was one night I was coming back from a party late at night and she was in the entrance area of the building and she was in the middle of doing a “job” and I had to interrupt her and tell her that she has more class than that and to take it inside. Ever since that conversation, she became my friend and whenever I would bump into her in the building we would have great conversations about the future, men, and life in general. Eventually, Shorty turned her life around, I am not sure if it was all the words of encouragement I would give her to go and follow her dreams of becoming a lawyer or if she was just done with the “industry” that she was in. But one day she was gone, I asked the super of the building where she went and all he said to me was that she left for San Francisco. So wherever you are Shorty, if you ever read this, I hope you followed your dreams and you are kicking ass in the courtroom.
Rolling into this date I was on the old dating site that was known as, The Onion. This man had contacted me and from our exchange via email, I found out that he was a massage therapist that also lived in the east village right near where I was living at the time; he also practiced yoga like I did and liked to eat healthy. So I was rather excited that I was going to have a date with someone that I had a few things in common with already, plus if the date was bad at least we could talk about head stands and downward dog poses to kill time.
It was the dead of February, which we all know is one of the coldest months of the year in New York. Our date was to take place in the east village and we were going to a restaurant that he picked out and was not going to tell me what it was called. During the day, he called me and asked me if I can pick him up at his apartment, I told him that was fine but that I was not coming up stairs to his place that I was merely going to wait downstairs and we can walk to dinner from there.
Finally it is the night of the date, he had been traveling a few days earlier in Hawaii for some retreat and said he had a “surprise” for me. I was shocked seeing that this was a first date, an online first date no less, because usually on a first date you are lucky if someone pays for the beer or cup of coffee you ordered.
I rang his buzzer and waited in the freezing cold for him to arrive. My back was turned away from his doorway as I was looking out into the street it was than that I heard a loud thump and than another thump and it kept on and on; it was the motion of footsteps. As I turned around there was my date for the evening, coming down the stairs wearing roller skates. Yes, you read this correctly…roller skates.
As he rolled toward the door to greet me I paid close attention to the pair of skates that he was wearing. It was the kind of roller skates you actually rented at roller rinks, bright orange wheels with that tan material. One slight alteration he made to the skates, as I observed them with more attention was that he took one of those black Sharpie markers and colored the entire skate. So if you looked closely at them you could see the streaks of marker all over them. I wish at this point of the story that this was the only odd thing about this man in skates but alas…no such luck.
You see, not only was he in skates but he was wearing this huge necklace that was made out of huge chain links, the kind you use to make fences out of and on the necklace, dangling, was his cell phone that had many lights blinking on and off like it was at a disco. I was at a loss for words as he greeted me hello.
As he said his salutations to me, he asked me, “Please close your eyes and hold out your hand.” Seeing that I don’t know this man from Adam, I was not closing my eyes. So I said, “I will hold out my hand but I will not close my eyes.” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a little sack that had a purple ribbon tied around it. He told me that he saw these while he was in Hawaii for his retreat and got them for me. So, I opened the sack and inside was a bunch of chocolate covered almonds. Now, I had never told this man that I like chocolate or almonds for that matter, but there the nuts were, in my hand. I decided not to eat them right there and it was a good thing I did not to because as I examined the sack, it didn’t look like it came from a store. So I asked him “Where did you get this sack?” and his response was “I made it. I use old pillow cases and cut them up and make the sacks as gifts.” My next question to him was whether or not he washed this “old pillow case” for this current sack that rested in my hand looked like it had seen better days. And as I predicted the answer was…No. He had never washed the old used pillowcase.
I politely put the sack of almonds into my coat pocket and at this point all I wanted to do was run home but there we were; a man in roller skates, a bedazzled cell phone on a chain linked necklace and me holding contaminated almonds in my coat pocket. He told me that the restaurant we were going to was about 5 blocks away. The next of this journey is where it really gets funny; for now he is literally roller-skating his was to the restaurant and I am now chasing my date up Second Avenue to keep up. It is freezing cold and I am now chasing my date to dinner.
In our email correspondence he mentioned that he was a vegan and that didn’t bother me at all, so I figured we would be going to a place that accommodated his diet. And sure enough, once I caught up with him at the restaurant (can you believe this guy didn’t even skate at a slower pace for those not on wheels) it was a vegan establishment.
The minute we walk in, it was just like a scene in a movie where the music stops, the forks hit the plate and everyone stares at you. I guess, I failed to mention what I was wearing that evening. I was wearing a coat that had a hood and that hood was made out of rabbit fur. I wasn’t thinking that night before I picked what coat to wear if it would offend my date, he never mentioned a thing to me on the street as he was handing me my “special” surprise.
As he skates to an empty table, we sit and I quickly take my coat off and I am just nervous that people are going to start throwing their barley at me for wearing this coat. Just as I would predict, the conversation was odd, he never took his chain-linked necklace off so there I was transfixed on his phone that just kept lighting up. However, I was rather impressed at how he skated to the restroom before we ordered our meal. As he came back to the table I began to ask the usual first date questions…where are you from, what are your interests, etc. It was a struggle to get an answer out of him for every time he did answer a question it had some long drawn out explanation. As he rambled on and on about being from Nebraska, I noticed right in between his eyebrows was one single white hair…just that single lonely white hair that was out there all by itself DYING to be plucked. I had never wanted a pair of tweezers so bad in my life. That single white hair became my new focal point rather than the flashing cell phone hanging from his neck.
The date felt like it just went on and on and finally the check came and I was so relieved to get back out in the freezing cold so that I can rejuvenate myself back to life. The downside to telling this date that I lived on the Lower East Side was that he knew what direction I had to go in order to get home so there I was now running down Second Avenue chasing after Mr. Roller Derby.
We get to the corner of Second Avenue and Second Street and that is where I stop. I wasn’t walking this man to his door but he stopped on the corner and I thanked him for the evening and told him to have a good night. And just as I thought I was free from this date, he asked me if I wanted to receive a free massage. He told me he has his apartment rigged up so that he has hooks in his ceiling and that he lays the person face down and he grabs onto the hooks and walks up and down the persons back with his bare feet. I can’t even begin to tell you what is wrong with that scenario. Before he could go on any further about what kind of massage he wanted to give me, I cut him off, told him to have a pleasant evening and to be safe on those skates.
To this day whenever bad dates come into the conversation with the family, this one is always referenced. So to my loving and supportive parents…this one is for you!
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