In the psychology world, it is said that a, First Impression, is the event in which a person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person. It has also been proven through research that, in the first milliseconds of our first meeting someone we already have perceived someone or something and we not only unconsciously comprehend what it is, but we also have already decided whether or not we will like it. To me that is insane that in the first milliseconds we are already judging and casting out opinions based on a first impression. Which got me thinking about first impressions and whether or not any of us are capable of not judging someone before we actually give them a fair chance?
I am certainly guilty of judging based on appearance alone and I will also admit that sometimes the guilt of that weighs on me because I certainly am in no position to judge another human. I remember the first time I met this woman I was working at an advertising agency and we both worked on the same floor. I would pass by her and think of how hard she seemed to always be working, how I thought she was just this quiet person and that we would not have one thing in common and then one day we started talking and before you know it; I was asking her to go to a movie with me. Eleven years later and she is one of my very best friends. So, last Tuesday, I was meeting her in the East Village at this cute little Italian restaurant. I believe we all have friends that even though you are literally fifteen minutes away, you still have a hard time finding time to physically see each other. That is our relationship. We email and text every single day and yet you would think she lived across the country with how infrequent our visits are. However, when we get together, it is an explosion of laughter and well…judging people based on first impressions and last Tuesday was certainly no different. We updated each other on jobs, apartments, sex and of course relationships. After several glasses of wine later, it was time to take our buzzed asses home and we hugged goodbye and we just know that it will probably be another three weeks before we even see each other again but I wouldn’t change anything about her for the world.
Wednesday and I found myself heading to one of the very first bars that I ever went to when I first moved to Manhattan. When I first moved to the city, I had braces on, I was 18 and in order to get into bars, I would hide behind people that were taller than me, sneak in behind them and made sure that I kept my mouth closed so they didn’t see a mouth full of metal and I did this trick often at a bar called, G Lounge. Like any place in New York, one minute you are hot and the next you are not. When I used to go to this bar, the very first impression I had was how I didn’t think that I belonged. Of course, I was going into a bar illegal, I was meeting men in their 30’s and I had no money and depended on older guys with thick wallets to buy me drinks. So, the reality was, I didn’t belong but after more years than I care to count, I am now in a different place in my life and so was the bar. It is no longer the hot spot it was back in the late 90’s but I found it very nostalgic as I walked in to meet a friend of mine. This friend and I had gone on a few dates, which was how we met and he ended up getting back together with his ex and I just liked him as a person so much that I decided to do my best to maintain the friendship. As we sipped our cocktails and he began to tell me about his current relationship and work, it made me think that just how important first impressions can be because I knew instantly when him and I first met that he was a nice person and that regardless of the outcome, he was someone that I wanted to have in my life. One drink led to four and before I knew it, I was feeling my vodka and so we decided to call it a night at a reasonable hour. We hugged goodbye and I ended up walking all the way home. I was about three blocks before my apartment when I felt a tap on my shoulder. My first thought was, “This is it. Someone is going to try and pick a fight or ask for my wallet.” It was an attractive man and he motioned for me to take my ear buds out. So I did and I could tell he was with a bunch of his buddies and that is when I really thought my life was going to be in jeopardy. Instead I was greeted with something out of the blue. The guy said to me, “Hey. I just want to say that I am not gay but if I was…I would totally bone you.” It was the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a long time. Yes. It wasn’t exactly poetry but at 11:30 at night on a Wednesday, I will certainly take it. I thanked him and made it home safely.
The next day was wonderful, I was kicking ass with my other articles and I was looking forward to a nice long jog in Central Park before meeting my friend. We originally were going to go to, Hell’s Kitchen, since I was craving a margarita but it was a 45 minute wait and I didn’t have the patience for it. Instead we walked to Tenth Avenue and got a great table outside at a fun place called, Anejo Tequileria. It was one of those perfect nights in New York where it is warm, the humidity was low and the city was alive. Everyone walking, smiling and of course, riding those Citibank bikes. The conversation was great and so were the drinks, which went down a little too easy. After dinner, we still were craving one more drink and so we went to the bar, Hardware, for one more beer before calling it a night. I was having one of those weeks where you just realize how wonderful your life actually is. Three days in a row with three great people. I went to bed that night with a very full and appreciative heart.
I only worked a few hours on Friday before I found myself arriving at Penn Station all by myself in order to catch a train to Fire Island for a weekend out at my house. It was a typical summer day in the city, it was humid and I am the odd one out because I actually love the intense heat but no one likes it when you are carrying a ton of luggage and you are in work attire. I get to Penn Station and buy my train tickets and placed myself in front of the board that tells you what track your train will be arriving on. As I was standing there, this older man in a brown suit that had to have been from the 1970’s comes up to me and says, “Hi. I just wanted to tell you that you are very handsome and that if you are looking for part time work. I would certainly be willing to pay.” Then he winked at me. It only took me a millisecond to figure out what exactly this guy was actually telling me. He was asking if he could pay me for sex. It was 1:15 in the afternoon in a very crowded train station and this is happening? I couldn’t believe it. I told him that I wasn’t interested and put my iPod on. I told a few of my friends and some of them asked if he was cute, some said they would have been pissed and then I had some that asked how much he was offering. Gotta love these people but the train ride to Fire Island was perfect, smooth and not one hitch minus the prostitution offer.
When I arrived, my friends that were already there were more than happy to see me and I was greeted with a drink right away. Bathing suit on, sunglasses and a cocktail by the pool, this weekend had officially started. It was a typical Friday on the island. We drank, arrived late to the tea party and stayed up way too late. The next day, I was one of the first to wake up and I took advantage by having a nice long run along the beach and when I came back the house was starting to wake up which meant it was time to put on the music, have some coffee and get back in the bathing suit. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky and everyone was in amazing spirits. We went to a beach birthday party, followed by another outfit change and into town we went. You could tell there was something different about that night. The entire town was feeling that beach vibe. Everywhere you went there were attractive people, the music was amazing and we just kept seeing so many familiar faces. It was also the reopening of the dance club, The Pavilion, because it had been part of a nasty fire a few years ago. The place looked fantastic and we danced for several hours before going home and calling it a night somewhere around 4:30 a.m.
Yesterday waking up only slightly fuzzy and we all had a gorgeous brunch outside and I was also working on figuring out what time I needed to get back into the city in order to make a date I was to have. My friends were all doing their best to convince me to cancel the date, reschedule and stay with them. While they had valid points for me staying, I was only able to push the date back by an hour to give me more time on the beach. After I hugged everyone goodbye and told them that the next time I see them will be this Friday at the airport as we all head to Greece, I just felt such an overwhelming sense of love. For your entire housemates to not want you to go because they just want you to stay…that is a great and lasting impression. On my ride back, I began thinking about this date I was about to go on. I told myself that after this date, no more Sunday dates because it was very hard to leave the beach and secondly I needed a refresher course on the guy I was meeting. We had met on Match.com almost four weeks ago and had been doing the whole email/text dance all this time. He had work and then my schedule was constantly full and finally last week we agreed to meet this past Sunday.
The train pulled into Penn Station at 7 p.m. Of course, as I was pulling my luggage from the over head, my luggage accidentally hit one of those cheap ice coolers made of styrofoam and a ton of open beer cans landed on this woman. I apologized and even gave her my phone number so I could pay for her dry cleaning; she was the kindest and most forgiving woman I had met in a long time. She said it wasn’t my fault but the idiot who decided to leave open beer cans in a cooler and keep it on top of the entire luggage. I had exactly an hour and a half to get home, shower, change and go downtown to Chelsea at a wine bar where I would be meeting my date. I don’t know how I pulled this off but I only was precisely eight minutes late.
I walked into, Bar Veloce, and he was sitting down with two glasses in front of him and doing some work on his phone. We shook hands and I sat next to him. The place wasn’t crowded which was perfect so that we could actually hear each other speak. My first impression of meeting him was that I was instantly physically attracted to him. I could tell that he was tall, shaved head and a little bit of a scruffy face and nice hands. When he was taking a sip, I had to take a quick look at the shoes…whew, they were nice looking high-tops. I could tell that he was kind of shy and so I just started talking, actually it was more like babbling. I wasn’t sure why I couldn’t shut up but he did finally get a chance to talk and when he did, he said, “Finally. It is nice to meet someone that likes to talk as much as I do.” Well, I decided to go into neutral, slow myself down and let him do some talking. I discovered that he is originally from Ohio, (I have such a soft spot for Midwest boys) and has lived here for 13 years. He works in advertising producing TV spots. Enjoys living here and actually has a nice dry sense of humor.
We talked about everything and for the first time in months, I found myself actually smiling on a date. I noticed it because of a mirror that was in the bar and as he was talking, I looked at myself and I was actually grinning. Then something amazing happened, something that never happens on a first date…he was booking the second date. He was being honest and direct by saying that he had a wonderful time and that he thinks I am funny. Then the bill came and he said, “You know what. Let me get this. This has been such a wonderful time.” I decided to let him take the wheel and pay and told him that next time I am getting the drinks. We walked outside and I walked him to the corner of 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue and we hugged goodbye. I got on a different train and by the time I walked out of the subway there was a message from him. It said, “Thank you for a wonderful evening. Looking forward to our next rendezvous,” the next date, as of now is sometime this week before my vacation. It was one of those dates that I wish could have lasted forever but instead left one of those lasting impressions that regardless of whatever the future holds at least you know that in this day and age; there is still the possibility of a great first date.
First impressions are lasting impressions. I guess that is something we all should remember because we have absolutely no idea how the person sitting next to us on a train or standing behind you while waiting in line at the bank will impact your life. If you start off each day with the belief that the impression you leave on a person should be a great one than maybe all of our first impressions will last be ones that last forever.
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