When I first moved to Chicago, I briefly worked for a matchmaking company (think Millionaire Matchmaker - Patti Singer style in Chicago), and we would tell the women that they shouldn't commit the following top three cardinal first-date sins: 1) Let the conversation be double-sided and do not dominate; 2) Never bring up your past relationships because men are afraid of baggage; and 3) Under no circumstances do you ever bring up future talk. For example, never use words such as "we" and "us" and never talk of future plans together until it has been established that you are a couple. Simple enough, right? So what happens when you encounter a man who breaks all of those rules and the game is suddenly flipped? Answer--you hold on for dear life and try not to run screaming for the hills. Or you can always follow my lead and drink through it.
I met "Speed Racer" online. He is hysterically funny, a little shorter than I normally like, but cute with big blue eyes and a huge personality that was more than entertaining. After the normal online dating protocol of emailing back and forth and talking on the phone, we decided to set up a brunch date last Sunday. When I walked into the restaurant, there he stood in all of his big-eyed enthusiastic glory, with two mimosas in hand. Now that is my kind of man. He gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and for a moment, I think I smell the faintest hint of alcohol on his breath; but then I thought that it must have been aftershave because, surely, he didn't drink before he came to meet me. It's only 11am, for Heaven's sake!
We immediately clicked, and started going around the restaurant making up what the other patrons were saying to each other; we even gave some of them accents. We had such a great time at brunch that we decided to continue the date and head to another bar. We leave the restaurant, and he grabbed my hand, and we take off running across the street to hail a cab. Once we reach the other side of the street, he turned me around and kissed me. My knees became weak, and I suddenly wanted to skip the next bar and just stay there making out on the street corner in below-zero weather. Cold? What cold? Being inside of his arms was nice and toasty, and if I had it my way, I would have stayed there for the rest of the day.
We hopped into a cab and head to Fado and grab a corner booth. He immediately orders a round of shots. After the second shot, I have a brief memory of another cardinal rule one is supposed to follow on a first date: you should never get drunk. Too late! Down the hatch it goes! We end up going to a handful of other bars downtown, until the next thing you know, it's almost 7pm! We have been having so much fun that we completely lost track of time! Neither of us wanted the date to end; ignoring my inner voice to always walk away from the date on a high note and leave them wanting more, we decided to grab dinner. I have officially gone from just having brunch to having brunch, drinks, and dinner, not to mention breaking every single one of my rules!
Speed Racer mentions that he has to go home and feed his cat, Mrs. Buttersworth, so the plans are to stop by his apartment and make sure the cat was taken care of and then eat somewhere in his neighborhood. We ended up opting for Thai take-out and a movie.
Somewhere between the Pad Thai and the Chicken Curry, he calls out to Mrs. Buttersworth and says, "Hey pretty, come show your new momma your fancy collar." Wait, what? Who? I immediately start fixing my hair for what I thought would be my big TV debut on any given hidden camera show. No such luck. I laughed off the comment and pretended to give a shit about how pretty Mrs. Buttersworth's collar looks in all of its bedazzled Pet Smart glory. Please keep in mind that I'm highly allergic to cats, so the minute the little monster climbed into my lap, I started sneezing uncontrollably.
Speed Racer is sweet enough to offer to run downstairs to Walgreens to get me Benadryl (and hair ties at my request). He came back to the apartment with a big pack of hair ties, and I laughed because I only really needed one, and he replied, "Well, you can just leave the rest in the bathroom, so when you come back next time, you don't have to bring your own. You should also bring a tooth brush to leave that behind, as well, for when you start spending the night."
Immediately, my brain began to firing on all sensors, and my Fight or Flight responses were trying to get me up and out of that apartment as quickly as possible! I tried to hide my shock, and I said in my flirtiest voice possible, "Well, don't you think it's a little early to be talking like that? Who says I want to come back?"
He responded, "Well, why wouldn't you? You know you can't get enough of me. Frankly, if you gave me another half hour, I would show you just how much you would be missing out on if you don't come back again." The next few seconds seemed as if they happened in slow motion, as I turned to see him reach for his zipper and whip out his little "peeper." I was in such shock that the only thing I could manage to get out of my mouth was, "I'm really not impressed, and your cat's new collar is tacky," before I ran (literally) to grab my purse and down the stairs to get into a cab.
After that, I vowed never to break even one of those cardinal rules again, because being on the other side of them is rather frightening. Boys, if you're reading this, just an FYI, whipping out your "peeper" is not proper first-date etiquette. I'm wondering if I should call my old boss at the matchmaking company and make sure she adds that one to the list. I know, I would have thought that would have been self-explanatory. Apparently, some people need more hand-holding when it comes to dating than others.