Girl Fail #22 (Ladybug)

A wise poet once defined love as two solitudes that meet, protect and greet each other. Although I don’t expect this to be a revealing statement, notice how “solitude” is the subject – the polar opposite of partnership.

This is my story of such a love.

Our first date was simple; Sunday lunch and a walk on the High Line (a public park built on an elevated freight rail line). There wasn’t a stream of silence lasting more than 30 seconds the entire time we were together. Her voice was gentle and silvery but words will always – as expected – fall short of the ineffable. Something about her timbre was soothing. Her face was also gentle, a little glossy and perfectly aged to 29. No makeup. A little fat to her cheeks with a light skinned mole on her right side. Her smokey brown eyes were comforting. Her wavy hair, stretching down a few inches past her bony shoulders, reflected a similar shade of brown. It was slightly frizzy but compellingly natural. No bangs. She made few attempts to conceal her age. Her hands were perfection; nails weren’t chewed but grown out a few millimeters past her digits, the sort of hands that give the impression of prescient dexterity despite knowing nothing of their history.

She was older, which probably meant she was taking a chance on me, a writer and a Yale graduate. I anticipated her intelligence but her wittiness and sense of humor was bewitching. (Not to sound sexist but from my experience, most women excel in replenishing flirtatious banter but not in the instigation. She was assertive and could craft a great joke.)  Her analytical mind and serene temperament matched my own but luckily we were able to break that wall from time to time with an invigorating story, like the one about the Muffin Man.

No, not the one who lives on Mulberry Lane but of Samuel Bath Thomas; creator of Thomas English Muffins.

“He actually moved to the city, right around here, about a century ago,” I explained.

“There was a serial killer in Alaska named the Muffin Man. Is it bad that I thought you were talking about that?”

“Are you serious? Now I’m imagining him outlining bodies with blueberry muffins – you know, instead of a chalk outline.”

“Think of all the wasted muffins. And who wanders around with a box of muffin mix and a cleaver?” she added with a smirk. “What if Thomas English Muffins is just a cover up?!? You better call Alaskan police.”

“Holy shit, we just cracked this case wide open!”

This repartee actually continued for several minutes and became hysterically detailed but you get the drift. The first date was a success, so we made plans for a second.

Plan:    An evening of bowling

Problem:    She was busy every evening

Solution:     Bowl at 10am on a weekday after a couple of waffles from a local diner

Unable to tell her I, too, was busy, and afraid of losing a second date, I called my boss and took off work in order to bowl on a brisk November Monday morning. Despite not having many vacation days, this made me look adventurous and a tad bit silly (hopefully).

“When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”  – Oscar Wilde

Breakfast was first. Conversation came easy and topics ranged from Lethal Weapon to Lady Gaga to Zen Buddhism to friendships to philosophy to roommates to writing to meditation to cooking and on and on. One topic would branch into a dozen separate tangents that we both had countless thoughts on. Never in my life have I been able to engage with someone on some many levels. She wasn’t an acquaintance I’m seeing for the second time, she was an old companion. Least, that’s what it felt like.

Do you know those self-adhering paper napkin bands that are wrapped around silverware?

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Well, a playful thing I like to do is to make paper airplanes out of them to throw at my frog.jpgdates. What I didn’t expect was that she retaliated with a paper stealth bomber. In actuality, she made a paper frog that you could bounce but it looked more like a aircraft to me. She had an equal or greater response to everything, as if she was returning the favor in an attempt to woo me as well. Boredom was not in the cards that morning, or any morning as long as it was with her.

Bowling was second and we had the entire alley to ourselves for our first game.

Where have the women like this been all my life? You see, I’m analytical and skeptical. Which means I inexorably scrutinize the world around me. On top of this, I obsess over philosophy and the nature of the mind, which none of my friends do, or if they do, I lead the conversation. This was the first time where I was well matched, so to speak, and could freely express my ideas without being misunderstood. I was a prisoner of solitude finally being let out. It tickled my brain and electrified my body to connect in this way, if only I could contain that ecstasy in a jar for future use.

After my fifth gutter, it became clear how many ersatz relationships I’ve had; that is, cheap imitations of this. Humility in intelligence is sexy. So, if she had something to say, I wanted to listen. My tenpins game is amateurish at best but it grew worse because I kept my attention on what my next joke or thought would be. Pulling it together, I managed a spare.

“Woah!” she cheered. “These graphics are ridiculous.”

She was referring to the cheap animation on the TVs overhead. One such graphic was a silhouette of a woman (like in the opening credits of James Bond).

“Some Asian lady wearing jeans comes up when you bowl a spare!” she observed.

“It’s a silhouette. How can you TELL she’s Asian? Let along an Asian wearing jeans?”

“She’s got chopsticks in her hair!”

“Oh yeah? And what brand jeans? Levi’s?”

“Sounds about right.”

This went on for a while until we were both laughing with exhaustion. There may have been tears.

After dominating the first game, she suggested that for the next round, whoever wins the frame gets to ask the other person a question. Challenge accepted! And challenge lost.

She won all but a couple of frames and consequently, asked me quite a lot of questions. What were you like with girls in High School? What do you do for Thanksgiving? How does your brain work? How do you form thoughts? What are your guilty pleasures? How private of a person are you?

Be honest, dear reader, how many dates have you been on where someone asks how your brain works? This was by far my favorite query and I knew exactly how to answer. I connected my response to a few heroes of mine, one of them being Bertrand Russell.

“I wish I could write about philosophy the way Russell did,” she commented.

At that moment, I wanted to throw my arms around her and kiss her. Not because good ol’ Russell turns me on but because I finally met someone who feels the same way about his writing and how pragmatically beautiful it is. But alas, I had to keep my composure and not melt at her feet.

“Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.”  – Rainer Maria Rilke

Prior to leaving the alley, we discussed what to do for our third date. Needless to say, we felt satisfied while making our way to an uptown R train.

After feeling the jolt of the train car at her stop, we kissed and she got off. Staying put, I watched her take a right out the doors and begin walking away. Just before escaping my line of vision, she turned around smiling, and waved to me. In that moment, I was the king of the world. I was so content that afternoon that I missed my stop.

That was the last time I saw her. A few hours later, we had the following conversation:

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Scanning that first text, I was crassly catapulted from my “date high” and slammed into my seat. Without any gain, I felt 100 pounds heavier. Good grief. And while I will never know if she was telling her entire side of the story, I was slighted by her insinuation that I don’t fall into the “touchy-feely/artsy-fartsy” category. The irony in that sentence may very well spark an identity crisis within me.

And yet, I’m not here to object her underpinnings. All pithy rhetoric aside, everyone uses the first couple dates to suss out how romantic they are willing to get with someone. You’re unknowingly asking yourself: Is this the guy I want to give birthday blowjobs to? Is this the woman I want to thrust into on the kitchen floor or in the shower, when the roommies are gone? 

“Among men, sex sometimes results in intimacy; among women, intimacy sometimes results in sex.”    – Barbara Cartland

To me, she was providential. To her, I was a decent guy to play tenpins with.

Here’s the best part, even her rejection text is FAR superior compared to the countless I’ve received. Most people would have remorselessly ignored my follow ups.

Any silver lining? Sure. A few months ago, I wrote a post entitled She Makes Me Wanna Die (Girl Fail #21) about an ex that – up until now – I considered to be the love of my life. For years, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever find a connection truly worth keeping until now. Just knowing that I can feel this way again is a victory.

But the truth is unsettling all the while. I keep telling myself you will forget her silvery voice; her gentle face; her smokey brown eyes; her wavy hair; her perfect hands. After all, much of her body will remain undisclosed and a complete mystery to me.

If I bumped into her on the street, I’d want to tell her that she’d been on my mind every single day since we met. How every idle moment seems to effortlessly, albeit not painlessly, default to an affectionate thought of her. Of course, I could never confess this. Ironically, that’s no way to treat a lady.

{If by some astronomical chance YOU (the subject of my post; you who dreams of being James Bond) ever read this, I hope it finds you in good spirits. You never need doubt your ability to create a spark in someone else. P.S. I hope I made you smile at least once here.}

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

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3 thoughts on “Girl Fail #22 (Ladybug)

  1. Pingback: 12 Days Of New York Christmas: Dating Edition | Single Guy in NYC

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