Dating in New York City is not like dating in the rest of America. Or at least, how I imagine it is from the movies and television shows I've watched. If you live in, say, Virginia, and you are going on a date with a guy, he will most likely drive to your house, ring your door bell and then walk you to his car, where he will open the passenger door for you and tell you how pretty you look. You'll smile as he closes the door, careful not to accidentally hit you with it, and you use the two seconds that it takes him to walk from one side of the car to the other to subtly run your fingers over your hair because man, that walk down the driveway really could have messed it up. Then the two of you will drive off to your destination, most likely The Cheesecake Factory, chatting and laughing the whole way there about what kind of music you like to listen to while you drive, and discussing whether or not you still use your GPS to get to the mall.
When you live in New York City, it's a little different. For one, no one is picking you up. You are responsible for your own transportation to and from the location.
So what are your transportation options? Well, there's really only three choices. Unless you have a lot of money to spend on a private car, you are either walking, taking a cab or taking the subway. All of these choices almost guarantee that you will look nothing like how you did when you left your apartment for this date.
If you chose to go down into the groady abyss that is the subway, your makeup has most likely melted off and been replaced with soot. There is no avoiding this. Even if you are only taking the train for one stop, you will be dirty when you exit the station. Another choice that I mentioned is walking. This can be nice, if your date falls on one of the five days out of the whole year when the weather is bearable and you have on comfortable shoes. But, you're going on a date, so why would you be wearing comfortable shoes? So the safest choice is probably to take a cab. Just make sure to account for the copious amounts of traffic in the city. I usually give myself a cushy 45 minutes in this case, because I really hate to me late to things and I can't risk my date just up and leaving.
So what I would do is sit in the cab for about 30 minutes and make it to my destination with 15 to spare. Now here's my trick. After being in a gross cab for half an hour, I go on my phone and try to find the closest Sephora to refresh myself before meeting with my date. You figure it's been over an hour since I so much as looked in a mirror, so I need to use these 15 minutes wisely.
I felt a fresh batch of nerves hit me in anticipation for my date as I enter the store and catch sight of my disgusting self in a mirror.
Damn it New York, why are you so dirty!
I spend exactly 10 minutes in there, applying some vanilla-scented cream to my hands to make sure they're soft in case he tries to hold my hand. I then made my way over to the makeup section, where I unashamedly sweep a generous amount of $40 blush on my cheekbones. While utilizing the mirror, I run my fingers through my hair, trying to get them to resemble something less Bride of Frankenstein and more Taylor Swift. After the hair is tamed, I scanned the store, deliberately avoiding eye contact with anyone who works there (because the objective is not to get trapped into actually buying anything!), and I find the perfume wall.
Now for the final touch. I pick out an expensive perfume (the parfum not the eau de toilette. Because, why not?) that I had been mulling over buying for some time now, and spritz a small amount on my wrists.
And now that I no longer smell like a cab, I walk to my destination and hope that a car doesn't accidentally make a sharp turn and cause a puddle to spill all over me. All the time wondering what it's like to get driven to a restaurant.
The above was excerpted from my upcoming novel.