New Year’s Eve was less than a week away, 1/2 of my friends had the flu and it hadn’t stopped snowing for days. I had decided my celebration was going to be buying a new pair of pj’s, ordering in and watching movies.
My plan changed. Dan – divorced, kids and lives in south Jersey – and I had emailed and spoken on the phone for over a week, while he was traveling. He just got back and hadn’t made any plans for NYE, so we decided to meet for dinner. I gave him a bunch of links of places to look at and he should pick one. He picked a place that my very good friend owns. This will be fun, the foods amazing, I get treated like a queen there, Dan seems nice and maybe this will be the start of a good year!
It’s New Year’s Eve day, my outfit is planned, nails are done and walking home to get ready. I get a text “Can I wear sneakers?” WHAT? No! It’s NYE in a nice restaurant, in NY and a first date you shouldn’t even have to ask! I write back “No”. A few minutes later “Jeans? Do I need a shirt with a collar?” OMG! Really? “Dark, or black jeans I guess, nothing faded or ripped, or nice pants would work, a collar shirt or sweater, shoes”. So I’m no longer wearing my little black dress and stiletto’s, clearly not worth it. Rethinking my outfit and I get “oh, ok, what about a sweat shirt?” “No”… Ok, I’m just going to wear black jeans, silk blouse and boots.
We decide to meet at a bar near the restaurant first. Not sure why, but it made him feel better. He’s in black jeans, a Cosby sweater (it’s 2010), black sneakers. We walk to the restaurant, it’s packed, they see me and the hostess says “I’m so sorry, you might have to wait a minute, I don’t have anything yet, early seating is wrapping up, you’ll be the first seated, let me get you both some champagne! I’ll let him know you’re here”. Laughing, “It’s ok Maria, we can wait like everyone else, we’re fine” Dan immediately gets uncomfortable. We get seated my friend comes by to let me know that we can have what’s on the menu or chef’s made me my favorite meal. Yay scallops! And each table has gotten a small bottle of Champagne to share, we have 2, Dan only likes beer, so now I have 2! I’m liking this so far….
Extra treats keep coming to the table, all of the staff comes by to say hi and happy New Year and Dan is not enjoying it! How do you not enjoy special treatment? “Are you ok?” “I didn’t expect this, the bartender at my local place just gives me free beer.” “How is this different?” “It just is”.
We are having a nice conversation, but it’s clearly a city mouse/country mouse situation. He doesn’t understand how I can like all the people and public transportation. He drives to Philly every day, 1 hour each way in traffic. I would hang myself! I sleep on the subway or express bus for 45 min each way. I tried to explain that when he gets home he still needs to “unwind”, I don’t have too, I’ve just taken a nap on my way home or gone to happy hour, dinner, shopping, or the gym.
He talks about his boys and his X-wife, and that he’s going to be looking for a new place to live soon, he needs to get out of their house, too many people. HOLD IT! Something’s not right… So I asked “are you officially divorced, agreements made, papers signed, done, over divorced?” “Yes.” “Are you guys still living in the same house?” “No. I want to move into a smaller place, maybe get a roommate, another single dad maybe, it will be fun.” Really? 40 something & you want a roommate? Does he think he’s in a Will Farrell Movie?
He tells me that him and his friends come in to the city and stay over and hang out. “Oh cool what do you guys do? Go to concerts, theater, try new restaurants?” “no, we like to hang out in the bars by NYU, watch sports, play pool, and get trashed, we try to do it once a month.” So, yes, he does think he’s in a Will Farrell movie…
It’s almost midnight and I’m about to open my other mini bottle of champagne to get ready for the champagne toast when he says “Can we pay and spend midnight at that bar?” But there’s hats, streamers and a toast here!…. And the bus home is on the corner… And did I mention…hats and streamers! “Why, don’t you like it here? I’d rather stay here” He isn‘t comfortable and wants to go to the bar, he’s used to spending NYE in a bar. Fine, there’s one on the other side of the bus stop we can go to. The check comes & he asks for separate checks. Ok I was going to offer, because I always do, but we picked a very reasonable place, he would have spent this much on a normal dinner and wine in NY and he should have discussed it with me. He says “I know they were really nice to us and everything but you should leave the bigger tip since they know you, I can leave a small one” are you serious? Cause going Dutch isn’t bad enough! “No, you should leave at least 20% because that is what you do when you go out, but more today because they were nice to you too, and didn’t charge you for all your beers.”
I took my mini bottle, hat and streamers and we went to the bar.
Midnight came we shook hands. I left for the bus.
Over the next 2 months he would randomly text me “my x and the kids are at her boyfriends this weekend, come spend the weekend with me”. I wasn’t interested – and again, it sounds like they live together. 3 months later I got a text “Hey it’s Dan, woohoo wife moved out, you can feel more comfortable about staying” “that wasn’t my issue and I thought she didn’t live there.” He never text again and luckily my friends have stayed healthy and so more blind dates on NYE.