"Update" NYC

Beauty and the Beast

They say that, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” which translates to us knowing that beauty is subjective. Each and every single one of us has some sort of beauty whether that is from within or blatantly put out there for the entire world to see. However, when we think of beauty we generally assume that is in the form of a celebrity, an athlete or a Victoria Secret model. Which leads me to wonder if beauty is ever really in the eye of the beholder or are we all just beasts?

We all are our own worse critics even when you have someone mirroring love and acceptance back at us. Last week I found myself realizing that not only is beauty subjective but that I also was capable of judging someone solely based on looks. It was a realization that I wasn’t proud of but something that I needed to discover because it has made me more aware of how I view others and the world for that matter.

This past Tuesday was the first real glimpse of summer in New York. The humidity was thick in the air but that didn’t stop most of us from going out and enjoying it. I had been communicating with this new guy from OKCupid for about a week or so. He was really nice, his photos appeared to be normal and he was someone that I normally don’t usually go for but sometimes it is a good thing to branch out. So, branching out I did when we finally agreed to meet that evening. I had suggested that we meet at a wine bar that is close to my apartment, Medi, over on Ninth Avenue. We settled on meeting at 6:30 and since the weather was so nice, I figured I could rush home really quick and put on shorts and a cute shirt. I was the first to arrive only by two minutes and then he showed up. As I saw him get closer and closer in view, I knew instantly that I wasn’t attracted to him. I was literally judging an innocent person before he even walked into the door. I mean, who the hell was I to judge someone when I was going on a date from the internet? I told myself to put the preconceived notions aside and give this nice man a fair chance.

Seeing that it was rather warm that afternoon, he did show up a bit sweaty and disheveled but then again, so did most people walking the streets that day. Once we sat down, my inner judgment became so loud that I was working overtime on making sure it kept quiet. You see, my date for the evening had THE longest nose hairs coming out of both nostrils. Had this been the jungle, I could have used those nose hairs to swing from tree to tree, that is how long they were. What surprised me the most about the nose hairs and appearance of them was that my date began the topic of how he had gone on a date recently and that his date wasn’t properly put together for the date. I thought to myself, “You do know you have nose hairs that require a scrunchie, right?” Try as I did, I managed to change the subject to try and get past the physical appearance of this date but I would have no such luck because after the nose hairs, I discovered that he had really bad teeth. I broke one of my own online dating rules which is: “If there are no smiling photos or photos showing teeth. There is a major reason. It’s because their teeth are jacked up.” Sure enough, I broke my rule and sure enough…his teeth were in pretty bad shape. The next part of this date makes me feel like a complete asshole. As the conversation continued on about the normal stuff of what you do for a living, where do you live, how long have you lived in New York; I noticed that something was off…way off. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it but something was definitely not right with my dates face. Then it dawned on me that his right eye didn’t move in the same direction as his left eye. In fact, the right eye didn’t move at all. I had never seen a glass eye before so I wasn’t sure if it was in fact a glass eye or not. But I certainly knew that one eye was moving and the other was not. Somehow, we got through one glass of sangria but he suggested we get one more. When I looked at my watch, it was only 6:50. I felt terrible for being such a judgmental person based on his physical appearance that I agreed to have one more.

I looked at everything around me. The people at the next table, the cooks in the kitchen, the people walking on the sidewalk and doing everything I could to avoid the nose hairs, the teeth and the eyes. Finally after the second glass of sangria, I could tell that my date was buzzed. I wasn’t even in the slightest form of being intoxicated and so with my guilt; I told him that I would get the bill. He was most appreciative and during the date, I made the mistake of telling him that I only lived three blocks away. So, he asked if he could walk me home, to which I said, “You can walk me to my corner but not to my building.” As we walked onto the sidewalk and began our short walk to my corner, he tried to hold my hand. I pulled away and acted like I had to scratch my eye and then proceeded to fold my arms for the two blocks we had left. When we finally reached my corner, he looked at me and said, “Well, since it is still early. Do you think I should come up to your apartment?” I had to give the guy credit for being direct but I politely declined, blamed work and hugged him goodbye.

When I got inside, I washed my hands, sat down and really told myself that I was a jerk. I was a jerk for judging a nice guy based on appearance alone and that I know this will come back and bite me in the ass. However, I think based on my dating experience that I was allowed to not beat myself up too much for basing this date on appearance alone. I should point out that if he had been someone I was physically attracted to, that mentally we also were not a match. So, maybe this wasn’t a date that was bad because of nose hair, teeth and eyes that didn’t move but that the date wasn’t good because we simply weren’t a match. Later that night, I received a text message from him saying it was nice to meet me and that he looks forward to seeing me again. During our date, we did manage to talk about how dates should be managed. If you like someone set the next date up and if you don’t like someone then you should be respectful and tell the person. Which is what I did the next day and he handled my news to him with maturity and that is the last I will see of him.

By the time Thursday had rolled around, I had shaken off my date from Tuesday and was intrigued about my date for that afternoon. This guy I had written about last week. He is the guy from my gym aka Ballerina Bear. He is this husky, 6’4, shaved head, scruffy big guy whom I just happened to talked to at the gym after several smiles back and forth and later discovering that his big guy also likes to take ballet classes at our gym. Our smiles had developed into text messaging and after several attempts to get on the same schedule we agree to meet on Thursday afternoon. Earlier that day, we did the tango of, “Where should we meet?” I suggested a few happy hour places and when he responded with, “How about something that doesn’t involve alcohol.” I knew right then and there that he would hate me anyway based on my social life alone. So, I told him of a Starbucks on 52nd and Eighth Avenue that we can meet. He agreed and we settled on meeting at 6pm because he prefaced the date with telling me that he only has an hour to see me. I was fine with that because most first dates should only last that long.

I arrived to the Starbucks and he was already waiting for me at a table. He was eating a meal and it was just too early for me to eat and so I grabbed a bottle of water. There were a few awkward silences and so I knew that I was going to have to be the one to take the wheel. What I discovered is that he is from Texas, lives in Astoria, doesn’t know his direction in life but did offer up the fact that he comes from a long line of alcoholics. When I found out that information, I asked, “Is that why you wanted to keep this date alcohol free?” To which he responded, “Yes. I only allow myself one drink per week. What about you? How much do you drink?” I was honest and told him that my life is rather social and usually those social events involve some sort of booze. Before his judgment of my lifestyle settled in, I quickly changed the subject to why he only had an hour to see me.

At first, it didn’t bother me really that someone only allows themselves one drink per week. I mean, if I am being honest with myself, it wouldn’t hurt if I cut back every now and again from my cocktails. However, just when I thought I was in the clear of the topic of alcohol, Ballerina Bear decides to tell me that tonight was going to be the night that he will be having a cocktail. I then asked, “What’s the special occasion?” His response to me was a response that I couldn’t make up even if I tried. He told me, “I am doing a burlesque show at the bar, Stonewall tonight and our pay is two drink tickets.” The look on my face must have been priceless for I was speechless. It must have been a long pause before I said something because he said, “Does that shock you?” Nothing really shocks me anymore, in fact the stuff that I experience on dates has left me numb but hearing that this rather bigger man is going to be doing burlesque performance just sent my mind in a million different places. I decided to not judge and ask him if this was a passion of his. He went on and on about how he knows that his body type isn’t exactly in dancing form but that shouldn’t stop someone from having a good time. And you know what…he is absolutely right. I told him that I admired his attitude toward the whole experience and wished him luck on the show. I thought we might be done with the burlesque subject when he asked me, “Do you know of a place where I can get glitter?” I wasn’t sure what he needed this glitter for and so I asked, “What exactly do you need it for?” To which, again, his response was something I cannot make up and he goes, “I need it for my nipples. I want the glitter to match my outfit and he pulled out his outfit from a Whole Foods recyclable bag.” It was there that I was done with this date. I told him about a Ricky’s drugstore on 57th Street and told him that I should get to the gym. We exited the Starbucks and I wished him again the best of luck with the show. Could there ever be a future with me and the Ballerina Bear? Probably not and it has nothing to do with his extracurricular activities because when you love someone, you support all their silly ideas. There is no future because he confessed that he doesn’t really have any direction in life and is content with not knowing.

After I left Ballerina Bear, I managed to get in a workout and when I got to my locker and looked at my phone there was a message that I had been waiting for. It was from a guy that I met late last year. We met at an art gallery and he was rather handsome and he was strictly there for sex. It had been a long time for me and since the string of bad dates had just been continuing for me, I decided to reconnect with the art guy. To my surprise, he remembered me and was free that night. And so, with only a few text messages to determine what time I should come over; we settled on 10:30. As I was showering and getting ready, it dawned on me what I was really doing with this guy. I wasn’t nervous by any means as I got closer to his apartment, I noticed that I was walking with confidence, determination and told myself that I wasn’t leaving his apartment until I came what I was going there for.

When I got to his building he was actually outside walking his dog. I hadn’t seen him since October of last year and we haven’t even communicated since then either. He was going through some depression at the time and I was not about to become some rebound but our connection was rather intense that I decided to not delete his number. Seeing that only about six or seven months had passed, he looked just like I remembered him. We sat down, opened a bottle of cheap wine that I brought and began talking. Boy oh boy did he have a lot to say. I was expecting this to be a rather quick production but when I looked at the clock and it was already passed midnight I knew that he had better make a move fast or else this was just going to end up with me going home with a cheap red wine buzz. FINALLY, when he came back from using the restroom he kissed me and his kisses were also just as I remembered. It was the kind of kisses that have a purpose of intensity mixed with sensuality. He is an artist and so everything about him is passionate. Including when he just threw me up against his floor to ceiling windows of his penthouse and his view was of uptown was what I was looking at as we made out. Finally after looking at the clock at 2 am, I knew I didn’t want to stay the night but that I wanted to go home. I got what I came for and now it was time to go home. When he asked me to stay the night, I blamed work and an early start and he believed it.  After the long dry spell and the dates that week, I needed someone to mirror some beauty back at me.

For Memorial weekend, I decided that it might best to have a relaxing weekend and get as much rest as possible and so I went to Feathers country house and that is what we did for the three days that we had off from work. We ate, drank, laughed and rested. When he dropped me off yesterday afternoon, I still had several hours of daylight to enjoy the city. I threw my luggage in the living room and walked right back outside. I wondered around the city, a city that was deserted, there was no one walking around, the cabs were scarce and I was just hoping that everyone was on their rooftops having BBQ’s or just enjoying the beautiful weather that we were having that day. It was a nice bookend to the weekend and I was more than ready to tackle the week ahead.

Maybe the tale is as old as time when it comes to beauty. Just like art, who are we to say what beauty is. It can range from something physical to something that mother nature provides us. What I do know and what I have learned is that beauty is in fact in the eye of the beholder. Maybe if we start looking at the world with our hearts rather than our eyes, we can actually see what the world actually can be…and that is a beautiful thing.   

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1 Comment

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