It’s 5:00 and I’m back at Café Fulya, killing time before Date #13’s arrival. I’m wearing flats because the last time I saw Date #13 (yes, we’ve met before), he was sitting in the front row of the Freehold Borough Little League team photo. Even though I was just six years old then, I was already standing in the back row with the tall kids. I find it hard to believe that there was a time when I preferred baseball cleats to heels (especially since it seems I’ve been strutting around Philadelphia in stilettos for years now) but evidently, there was.
It was during this period that I met Date #13. He was shorter than me then, as he had been in first grade and as he would be all through elementary school (after which I started homeschooling; I don’t think I would’ve ever seen Date #13 again if not for the fact that he and my younger brother were in Boy Scouts together).
I know that most guys experience their growth spurts at a later age than their female counterparts, and that Date #13 might have passed me by now, but since he doesn’t come with benefit of a Match.com profile, I’m not taking any chances. And since he’s nice enough to drive to Philly all the way from New Jersey just to take me out, I figure the least I can do is forego the high heels for tonight.
(This is strictly for Date #13’s benefit and not because the past week has afforded me nine blisters. Nine! I gave up on dancing en pointe for less.)
Strictly speaking, tonight’s date is for “old time’s sake” although it’s been in the works for over a year now. It all started when I was living in London. I was in my dorm one night, cruising Facebook, when a message popped up.
“You’re in London!” It was my old Little League teammate, aka Date #13.
“Yeah,” I typed back, “grad school.”
After a few minutes of small talk (during which I established that Date #13 was still living in New Jersey in the very same town in which we’d grown up), he lowered the boom: So you know how your brother and I were in the same Boy Scout Troop?
Yes, Date #13. How could I forget? As the eldest Richter child and the first to obtain a driver’s license, I waited in the parking lot for my brother after many a Boy Scout meeting. It was cool the first time— you mean I get to take the car, drive across town and just sit there amongst dozens of Freehold’s finest Eagle Scout candidates? Yes please!— but it quickly got old. There’s a reason the boys in my brother’s troop never made it onto the cover of Boy Scout Magazine. They were (with the possible exceptions of my brother, Date #13 and a reasonably good looking high school senior) all either ugly, overweight, immature, or all of the above.
Well, Date #13 continued typing, your brother told me you used to have a crush on me.
Did he now?
I made a mental note to clobber him (my brother, not Date #13) the next time we were actually in the same country because as far as I can recall, I never said this. I might have said that Date #13 was funny, or a nice guy (both of which are true) but I really don’t think I liked him like that. (Did I?)
Unfortunately, my little brother did have a growth spurt during his Boy Scout years; when he left for two weeks of Philmont backpacking, he was shorter than me. When he came back, he wasn’t, and just like that, I lost the ability to clobber him.
Long story short, Date #13 has been angling to meet me for a drink “for old time’s sake” (never mind that we lived in the same town all through high school and never once got together). I’ve been told by date #13 and by others from my New Jersey days that the years have treated me well, and I suppose they have. Thanks to Baltimore, Boston, London, Oxford and finally Philadelphia, I’m no longer the awkward girl I was in sixth grade (I wear jeans now, for example). And since I’m in need of men to date, I finally said yes.
I did warn him (“You know I’m going out with like a hundred guys right now, right?” He replied, “Yeah, I’m reading your blog. So when you gonna squeeze me in?”)
At seven o’clock on Monday night, Date #13, that’s when.
At 6:30, however, I get a text. He’s arrived, which makes him half an hour early! This is a nice surprise, especially after Date #9 kept me waiting for 20 twenty minutes and I’m absolutely thrilled by the thought of getting to bed at a decent hour. We decide on Jon’s for dinner and as we make our way up South Street, I realize that not much has changed about Date #13. He’s still a nice guy, he still cracks me up and he’s still, well… it’s a good thing I wore flats.
But then we get to the restaurant, head out to table on the deck and Date #13 actually pulls out my chair! I’m floored. I don’t think Date #4 even pulled out my chair for me.
“I have 32 female cousins,” Date #13 informs me. “I treat all women the way I want guys to treat them.”
Well now, there’s a nice boy. Or a nice man, I should say; we’re not six year olds in t-ball uniforms any more.