One of my first blind dates was nearly 20 years ago with “tuna croquette” guy. My sister found him. Through a classified she placed in The Jewish Standard. Pretending to be me.
She told me he was a friend of a friend. She was oddly vague about the actual connection but with her alpha personality, she wasn’t about to budge and I was so ambivalent about the whole thing anyway. I agreed to have her pass along my number to this fellow Park Slopean.
The jig was up when we talked on the phone and he said he liked my ad. “My what?” I said. “Your ad,” he repeated. “In The Jewish Standard.” “Ohhhhh,” I said, dragging it out for as long as possible so I could try to figure out in less than three seconds exactly what the hell was going on. I was fighting the anger and humiliation and just decided to ream my sister out the next time we talked. But I figured I had nothing to lose. “Yeah, well, where should we meet?”
He offered to cook me dinner, which I thought was sweet. He turned out to be pleasant and non-threatening and prepared one of the only dishes he could cook with confidence, tuna croquettes. (For those unfamiliar with this, it’s a Jewish version of crab cakes.) The tuna croquettes tasted even better after several glasses of red wine. When I mentioned I had a penchant for cigars, he said he did, too, and we shared one. Then we got stoned. And made out a little on the couch. I had an overwhelming urge to pee so I excused myself to go to the bathroom. Then I passed out on the ledge of his bathtub.
When I came to, he seemed entirely unaware that I was even gone. But it was pretty clear that the date was over. He was a gentleman and walked me back to my apartment. I never heard from him again.
So fast-forward 20 years, and I am once again on a blind date. Of course, I never imagined that I would be here again, worrying about my outfit and my hair and my makeup and saying the “right” things. But this time, instead of practicing sound bites about my career and hobbies, I was rehearsing in my head the elevator speech about my divorce.
It turned out that Mr. Blind Date 2016 should have been practicing his own elevator speech. He proceeded to break Post-Divorce Date One rules over and over again. He talked about the expensive gift he had just gotten his soon-to-be ex for her recent birthday. He offhandedly mentioned wanting to “get laid,” which obviously was going to be with someone other than me. He wasn’t a bad guy, just a little clueless. And it wasn’t going to be my job to school him. No amount of wine or pot was going to make this situation better.
We said our goodbyes, and I headed home, sober, clear-headed and not in the least bit worried about anything.