tabula rasa

So the grand thing about first dates is that they are just that---first dates. They're a chance to make yourself over, to present your best face to a member of the opposite, or, in certain cases, the same sex.

It's such a tremendous opportunity to feed the mind and spirit, not to mention the ego. Worst case scenario: he never calls or returns my calls and I question my relative level of attractiveness. Best: I've made a new friend, have a shot at some nookie, and and improve my self image (as in, oh yeah, I'm hot.).

This is what I was telling myself as I applied my makeup, fussed over my lack of a dermatologist, and repeatedly pressed an unlit Confidence scented candle (who knew confidence had its own smell?) against my nose Wednesday night.

Eli and I had been calling back and forth throughout the evening (I took it as a good sign that he's generally fabulous about staying in touch; seeing that his parents---sweet customers who passed my number on to him a few months ago when I was supposed to move to the City---didn't mention any possibility of his being gay, so he must be that other rare male specimen that returns calls: a gentleman).

He had to work late, which was fine, as my sister Peetie and I had dinner plans that involved outdoor seating, escargot, and multiple glasses of wine. (Flirty manager proved better that the candle for aforementioned confidence.)

His driver dropped him off at the corner (19th Street and 3rd Avenue) and he called again on his cell phone. Peetie picked up; she had this elaborate scheme to make him guess which one was me (we have an elaborate shtick routine at the Inn), but of course, I couldn't keep a straight face.

He's gorgeous, but that came as no surprise. His blonde hair kept falling into his eyes when he'd look down.

He has a contagious laugh, which I knew already from our many phone conversations. And no one who can have that good of a time talking on the phone to a complete stranger just because your mother asked you to could possibly be unattractive in my book. But besides all that, he's seriously gorgeous.

He walked us back to the Carlton Arms Hotel, where we were staying.

Our floor's hallway was decorate like an Egyptian tomb, complete with hieroglyphics and a full size nekkid Isis goddess on the wall, arms splayed. The room itself consisted of two queen sized beds and art deco/religious imagery montages (I opted out of the Tantric sex room, but only because it would have been weird with my sister and all). The walls of the bring orange bathroom down the hall were one large shadowbox, its shelves filled with political buttons, a syringe, action figures, a Christ on the cross, etc. (The first time I went to wash my hands I was in there for almost half an hour.)

It was already 10 or 10:30 and Eli kept glancing at his watch. He had mentioned the day before that he had to catch a 7 a.m. train to Philadelphia, so I suggested we head out for that drink. (He had flown out to San Fransisco the week before to answer questions at a presentation that he didn't actually have to give and which never actually took place, so Peetie and I were wondering if this was just another elaborate ruse to get boozed up in some place besides New York---it wasn't.)

While he and I were walking I kept wondering if I should take his arm or if that would be too forward (this coming from someone who just brought a man she'd never met before up to her hotel room). I opted against it in case he secretly hated me and was just being nice (after all, I had met his parents on more than one occasion).

We ordered beers at one of the lesser crowded bars where we could half hear each other over the Yankees-Red Sox game din. We talked some, all the usual first date bullshit, uneventful, but pleasant. We both hoped the Cubs would win, although the game wasn't being shown.

He walked me back to the hotel (still no arm grabbing) and hailed a cab. We exchanged a quick hug goodbye and he told me to call him if I'm ever in New York again.

So is all this good or bad?

I wish we could use middle school tactics in the adult world, passing notes (or e-mails or text messages as the case may be) that say,

Do you like me?

Circle one:


If no, then I don't like you either.

So is it bad that he didn't say he'd call me, but told me to call him? Or is it better than "I'll call you" because that usually means, "I don't know how else to end this conversation and I'd like to leave now"?

I'd like to call him to thank him for the drink and conversation (post script: I went ahead and called Thursday night---had questions about a mutual fund---he was very sweet as usual; uneventful). I can't decide if and when to buzz off.

And I ask myself if it's bad that he didn't try and kiss me. Because in reality, I'm such a prude that overall I don't know what I would have done.

I e-mailed Moira about my conundrum and she questioned whether or not he has a penis. The implication is that if he does indeed have one, then he'll call if he's interested. If he doesn't, then no loss for me.

Do you have a penis?

Circle one:


If yes, then do you like me?

Circle one:


If no, then I don't like you either.

betholindo at 9:01 a.m.

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