August 22, 2011 by Kat Richter
Before we get started, don’t forget to click here to cast your vote for Philadelphia’s Most Valuable Blogger (me, obviously; where else can you go for erudite discussions on the merits of puff paint, as applied to recreational hockey uniforms?)
Now, getting down to business: if it seems like going on and on about my weekend in Pittsburgh with Date #7 without actually saying anything, it’s because I am.
Would you believe me if I told you we’ve not spoken since we said goodbye last Monday? It’s true: I called him from the highway to thank him for having me (as I’d forgotten to do so during the whole “departure is such sweet sorrow” portion of the afternoon’s proceedings) and asked if he’d like me to call him when I got home.
“Sure,” he said. So I did, and after ascertaining that I’d made it back safely to Philadelphia, he said, “Well I should let you go. I’m sure you want to unpack.”
“Of course,” I replied. (What Date #7 doesn’t know is that I never unpack. I still have my beach bag sitting on my floor from two weeks ago and I suspect it will at least until two months until I get around to doing anything about it.)
“I do want to talk to you,” I informed him before hanging up. “Not in an ominous ‘we need to talk sort of way’ but it would be good I think.”
“It would” he replied.
And that was that. It’s been a week now.
I’ll offer my thoughts on all of this tomorrow but before we get to the post-trip analysis (you had to know it was coming at some point) I suppose I should say a bit about the end of our visit.
On Monday afternoon, it finally dawns on me: if I want a proper, home cooked-meal before I go, I’m going to have to orchestrate it myself.
Now “orchestrate” might seem like an odd verb choice—surely “cook” would have been sufficient—but here’s where you have to remember that I’ve spent the past 48 hours in the company of a thirty-something year old bachelor.
Maintaining a well stocked fridge isn’t terribly high up on his list of priorities so when I suggest we cook a nice lunch before I leave, what I really mean is, “Can we please stop at the grocery store on the way back so that I can buy some proper food to prepare?”
So far, my meals at Date #7’s house have consisted of a hot pocket for dinner, eggs for breakfast and Entenmanns’s cookies for everything else. (I was also given the choice of Rice Crispies but I’m more a Kashi whole-grain cardboard and almond milk kind of gal.)
I imagined we’d prepare a nice meal together at some point during the weekend (complete with wine, the John Legend station on Pandora and numerous breaks to make out in Date #7’s kitchen) but this never happened.
“Do you have any spices?” I ask.
I’m power walking through the grocery store, hell bent on recreating my grandmother’s pastelillos recipe for some reason (probably because we drove by a Taco Bell earlier, and I’m starving), and Date #7 is strolling behind me, looking rather bewildered.
“Not really, no,” he muses. “Just salt and pepper.”
There’s a shock. I grab some Adobo (the spice of choice for lazy cooks) and head for the poultry section.
“Do you eat ground turkey?” I ask.
“Not really, no.”
There’s another shock.
“It tastes just like ground beef” I inform him, “except it’s healthier.”
He shrugs and tells me he’ll try it.
By the time we’ve returned to his apartment, I’ve totally taken charge. I tell him exactly what I want: John Legend on Pandora and diced onions, please. Then I make the mistake of asking him if he’d like to help with the next step (we’re making empanadas essentially, and the makeshift tortillas need to be stuffed) and he says “no.”
(I’ve since been told that when it comes to men in the kitchen, one does not “ask” them to help. One simple “tells” them to help. But I was trying to be nice. And trying to impress Date #7 with my grandmother’s pastelillos recipe because I’m determined to give this relationship—or lack thereof—my very best shot, even if I’m beginning to doubt that we’re destined for anything particularly Jane Austen.)
I know, without asking, that there is no way he has a rolling pin. So I improvise (having been an impoverished grad student in a foreign country at one point in time, I’m quite good at improvising) and use the jar of salsa I bought.
“I think I have one of those things…” Date #7 muses.
“A rolling pin?” I ask, trying to keep a straight face.
He starts digging through his drawers, shuffling spoons and forks aside as if a rolling pin could be hiding beneath his utensils, and comes up empty handed, looking rather bewildered once again.
“Its fine,” I assure him. “This will work.”
Twenty minutes later, Date #7 is lying on the couch and I’m frying pastelillos on his stove by myself wondering what the hell happened to my little duel-cooking fantasy. This is so not how I’d envisioned the afternoon going and it occurs to me that if I’m not careful, I’m going to set a terrible precedent in which I buy the groceries, I do the cooking and I clean the dishes.
In his defense, Date #7 is extremely complimentary of my efforts and tells me not to worry about the dishes. Plus he did carry the groceries, and fry the eggs for our breakfast on Saturday morning and take me to see Fallingwater…
He’s also done all the driving for the past three days.
It’s not much, but it’s enough, especially as John Mayer’s just come on the radio. I’m a sucker for Gravity.
“Dance with me,” I whisper, resolving to forget all the weekend’s awkward moments and concentrate on enjoying our last few minutes together.
He complies, and we sway, 8th-grade dance style, in his living room for the next three and half minutes.
“This sucks,” he murmurs into my hair.
“This sucks. I don’t want you to leave.”
The entire exchange smacks of too little, too late but then something unexpected happens: my eyes well up and for the life of me, I can’t quite understand why.