The Brit was someone I can describe only as Lord Marcus on “Gossip Girl.” Well, except for the title and the vast family riches. Nine years older than me, the Brit was a U.K. transplant in the banking industry and a sweet, sweet man. Not only did he own a house across the pond, but he would sometimes bring small index cards on which he’d previously jotted down the names of nice restaurants we could go to after quick drinks or karaoke, depending on where we had agreed to meet. He was thoughtful, attentive, and thoroughly romantic, especially with that hot British accent.
One night, after an insanely fun night of boozy karaoke and a seafood dinner with entree-appropriate wine, he dropped me off at the door of my apartment. He then swept me up in his arms and spun me around, right in next to a busy street, for God and everyone else to see. I was floored. This was the stuff of Seventeen magazine fairytale dates – the ones I had looked forward to in high school that never materialized…until now. Giggling and semi-swooning, I kissed him goodnight and walked up the stairs to my apartment happy.
The next day, he called me, and I picked up right away. After a bit of small talk, he began speaking at a rapid-fire pace: “I’m sorry about last night. I was really quite drunk, and I hope I didn’t say anything to offend you.” I was immediately confused. Was his PDA a result of his feelings or of the booze? I certainly remembered everything that was said, and we had had roughly the same amount to drink. I brushed it off, chalking it up to first-few-dates jitters about not wanting to take things too far.
On a later date, we watched the sun set over the river as we drank green-apple martinis that seemed highly appropriate as the summer came to an end. He held my hand and told me how beautiful I was and afterward took me to an expensive old-school restaurant on an impulse (on account of my beautiful sun dress, he said). When the drinks menu landed on our table, he looked at me and said, “I’m going to stop. I so enjoy talking to you, and I feel that the alcohol clouds our conversations.” I suddenly didn’t know what to do. Yes, he was probably right, but I wanted a cocktail. Or some wine. Or both. I didn’t consider myself an alcoholic, but was I supposed to censor myself on account of him being a lightweight? I got a cosmo anyway (the green-apple martinis called for one, I think), but I felt guilty for doing so.
On our last date of that summer, the Brit took me to an American restaurant, and to follow suit, I brought him to my regular bar. As we walked there, I found myself turning around and saying, “You okay? You okay for another drink?” We’d only had a glass of wine so far. We went to the bar and had a couple of Coors Lights, and he talked to one of the regulars for 10 minutes while I sat silent. I knew he must be drunk. At the end of the night, he spun me around in front of my apartment again, but this time I knew he was wasted. One glass of wine and two Coors Lights did this boy in. And that, as a Jack Daniels-swilling, multiple-Bud Light-ordering, vodka-tonic-heavy-on-the-vodka-specifying, red-blooded American woman was something I just couldn’t abide.