I have a confession to make: Monday morning’s post took me a rather long time to write—three days, in fact— because the men in my life refuse to let me finish writing about them before they make their next moves. I really wish they would stop doing this. Don’t they understand the basic conventions of good storytelling? How am I supposed to steer this tale towards its happily-ever-after conclusion when my main characters refuse to cooperate?
Next time around, I’m going to stick to dating inanimate objects (they’re easier to control, and no, that’s not a sexual reference). Until then I shall simply confess that was I while I was busy recounting my most recent conversation with the Man from Marshalls (and wondering if Date #17 would ask me out again), I managed to plan, reschedule and finally execute my thirtieth date!
(Cue applause, confetti, fireworks, champagne, more confetti and more champagne… or rather coffee and breakfast cereal as it’s only 8:30am but make it a good cereal, not something healthy and cardboard like; this is a true cause for celebration!)
When presented with the options of a Saturday morning breakfast, lunch, brunch or coffee for my final rendezvous, I selected brunch. Dinner would have been a more fitting capstone to my Match.com experiment but alas, my presence was required at a faculty-organized haunted house, so I was forced to abandon the idea of raspberry chocolate martinis in exchange for a kitschy Jewish soul-food café in Northern Liberties (anything is possible in NoLibs).
Although I’d consider myself a morning person, I settled on brunch. An 11:00 engagement, I figured, would give me enough time to sleep in (ahhh… 7:30!), wake up and enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee while engaged in such pursuits as reading the paper, leafing through the newly arrived Harper’s magazine in search of high-brow conversation topics or finishing the great American novel (by which I mean finish writing it, or, at the very least complete the chapter I’ve due for an academic publication at the end of the month).
Oddly enough, the time I’d allotted to brushing up on my knowledge of current events happened to correspond, almost exactly, to the time it took me to shower and shave my legs. And the thirty minutes I’d set aside for Harper’s was rather effortlessly converted into a half hour of doing my hair. (Given the disastrous poof-cum-ponytail I sported during my Steven Starr date last week, I wasn’t taking any chances this time around and so, for my thirtieth date, I brought out the big guns: the industrial strength blow dryer I purchased in high school and have used approximately six times since.)
By the time I was properly sprayed, scrunched and spritzed, I had barely enough time to engage in my usual “I have nothing to wear!” rituals. Usually I end up flinging every dress I own onto the floor in an odd combination of renunciation (“I hate this stupid dress!”) and prayer (“Maybe someday I’ll have enough cleavage to fill this out properly…”). As I often end up hitting myself in the head during the process, there’s a fair amount of self-flagellation involved as well, hence my classification of closet-emptying as “ritual” (see what a good anthropologist I am?).
In any event, I was forced to slip into the first outfit I could find:
My cranberry pink Asda tights (yes, I bought tights from Asda when I was living in London, and yes, I thought they were pretty enough to import, and yes, they’re about as fluorescent and ghettofabulous as the Wal-mart owned grocery store’s entire clothing line, but I love them).
My black sleeveless, empire waist Banana Republic jersey knit dress (purchased by my mother at the Banana Republic Factory Outlet circa 2005 and “inherited” by yours truly a few months ago).
My chic, European pashmina (also cranberry colored, and purchased to the tune of £3 during one of my grad school forays to Camden Market).
My equally chic, equally European “Milano glass” ring (also cranberry colored—do we see a pattern here? Between you and me, however, I’m doubtful of the ring’s “Venetian” origins; I picked it up at flea market in New Jersey for just a dollar).
And finally—make sure you’re sitting down for this one— my black ballerina flats (but only because they were the best shoes for the outfit, not because I’ve made any progress in developing a healthy relationship with high heels.)
By the time I topped it all off with my Avon lipstick and my homemade earrings (constructed from The Shop’s clearance beads), I felt like a million bucks; even if the sum total of my garments and accessories came to substantially less, I was about to embark upon my thirtieth date. Whereas I might have balked at the sight of my reflection twenty-nine dates ago (and would have probably traded the pink tights for something less conspicuous) I wore my fluorescent hosiery with pride.
It wasn’t until I reached the bus stop that I realized the imminent danger. To reach Northern Liberties, I’d have the take the #57. The last time I had to take the #57 was back in August, on the evening of my very first Match.com date. Having not yet incorporated the daily SEPTA commute into my morning routine (nor reprogrammed my brain to account for the fact that we drive on the right in America), I waited on the wrong side of street, nearly got ran over in my attempt to cross and worst of all (yes, embarrassment is invariably worse than vehicular manslaughter) got yelled about by the bus driver.
But this time I caught the #57 without incident. I won’t say that I arrived in Northern Liberties without incident (I missed my stop and rode an additional four blocks before I gained the courage to ask the driver, “Excuse me, did we pass Brown Street?”) but I managed to backtrack and locate the restaurant just as my phone began to buzz.
“I’ve put our name on the list,” the message read, “but take your time and give me a call when you’re here.”
I barely had time to decide whether recent developments warranted an on-the-cheek-kiss or an-on-the-lips-kiss before I was delivering something between the two, accidently smearing my Avon lipstick onto my date’s chin.
“You’re awfully color-coordinated today,” he teased with his trademark smile. “Is this a talent that comes naturally to you or is it something you have to work at?”
“A bit of both,” I laughed. If only he knew!