Dater X: A Sunday Kind Of Love & A Bizarro Type Of Date

I want a Sunday kind of love. No, really, and not just because I could listen to that song every single morning.

Allow me to explain. This Sunday, I had a full day that was unapologetically mine. Really, I had a whole weekend that was unapologetically mine, including a visit with El Guapo (since you asked, and more on that later), but I’d like to start with Sunday.

On Sunday, I slept in, hitting snooze and luxuriating in the sunlight that poured through my south-facing windows. I got up when I pleased and spent a few productive hours working on an editing project and plowing through a week’s worth of laundry. With the chores done, I dressed in one of my favorite fall sweaters and a comfy pair of boots, slipped a knitted cap over my (growing out, steadily but nowhere near fast enough for my liking) hair and went out for an aimless walk through the city, autumn leaves fluttering down around me like so much set dressing. I spent almost an hour on the phone with my best friend, discussing the various confluences and digressions of our uncannily parallel dating lives, which – in the interest of keeping things current – include that rather than closing himself off as planned, he slipped and slept with The One, then called things off with her “for good” the next day.  I hope I am rolling my eyes loudly enough for you to hear it.

I did a little window shopping, then meandered into one of my favorite parks to watch the puppies play at the dog run. I treated myself to dinner at a cozy restaurant near my apartment, reading a new book by one of my favorite authors while sipping a glass of unnecessarily extravagant wine. I went home, watched a couple episodes of “Gotham” (thanks for the binge-fodder, Netflix), then headed down to the corner bar to catch the end of the football game.

If you’re hearing “me, me, me!” well, you’re right. It was a Me Day. And it was blissful.

It’s not that I didn’t interact with anyone else; in addition to chatting with my friend on the phone, I texted with The Big Easy during the football game. (Nothing exciting to report on that front, but more contact, all the same.) But I also basked, without shame, in the unfettered happiness of making my own itinerary, doing just what I pleased all day long, and though I hasten to admit that some parts of the day might have been better with company (“while hitting snooze” and “while watching the game” come to mind), it was unmistakably delightful to have no one to answer to all day long.

And yet, tucking into bed, there was the pang that has become so familiar lately: the feeling that one or two Me Days are a luxury, but a lifetime of them is a burden.

To that end, I went on yet another first date this week. I should pause here and confess that I’ve been listening. Not just to Adele’s new song (which: wow), but to your advice! After so many years of dating and having more or less the same cadre of friends, it’s refreshing to hear different, if semi-anonymous, voices chiming in on my dating life. So I set up a Tinder date for happy hour, aiming to have one drink (!!!), and also made plans to chat with the guy on the phone first (!!!).

At the appointed hour on Date Day, the guy called. We’ll call him Marty, short for McFly, because he’s short and plays the guitar. We had a friendly chat, our Tinder-to-text banter translating nicely into voice-on-voice contact. There was something vaguely familiar about talking to him, which I took as a good sign and did not belabor; we agreed that he would text me a few options for our rendezvous that evening and concluded our call. Text he did, and we debated, then settled on a place and time.

I got there about three minutes early. He got there about 25 minutes late. (What is it with me and these guys?)

It’s not that he didn’t call; he did, to say that he was on his way, and then again, to say that he had gone to the wrong bar and was now en route to the right one. As before, his voice sounded almost eerily familiar. Reading comprehension issues notwithstanding, I appreciated his communications and his candor, and I offered to have a beer waiting for him when he arrived. Settled comfortably at the bar with two pints of Oktoberfest, I waited. (And mistook another guy, similarly bespectacled, for him. My relief, when this portly, blazer-wearing gent ignored the second beer beside me and ordered himself a framboise, instead, was likely palpable.) A few minutes later, Marty walked in. All 5’1” of him.

Look, I’m not tall. Quite the opposite, in fact. And as you well know by now, I’m not exactly the sort to teeter around in treacherously high heels. So when I stood up to greet Marty and realized, in my low-heeled boots, that I was taller than he was, I was disappointed. Not dealbreaker disappointed, but still: not thrilled. And that’s when it hit me. The voice, the height, the witty banter, the musicianship – Marty was a Bizarro version of one of my college buddies, and my déjà vu was thanks to having rejected his advances a decade ago.

For those unfamiliar with the Bizarro episode of “Seinfeld” (get thee to Hulu and watch it immediately!), Marty was basically the same person as this college friend of mine. A few subtle differences, including his name, but for all intents and purposes, this was like dating a glitch in the Matrix. Like my friend, Marty was hilarious and easy to talk to. And like my friend, I felt no chemistry at all. Unlike my friend, he apparently felt the same way. We finished our beers, talked a little about what a strange universe Tinder can be, agreed that we might like to go on a hike and compare dating war stories some time, and parted with a friendly hug. While it certainly wasn’t the worst date I’ve been on in recent memory – no criminal activity, no vomiting, no propositions of trophy wife-dom, no Ex File – it scarcely felt date-y at all. Which meant that I was free to enjoy my Me Day on Sunday, but also that I have a seemingly endless supply of Me Days lined up for weekends to come. And while this week’s Dater-X-Fest was divine, I’m still very much in the market for someone to share the “while hitting snooze” and “while watching the game” with. And, if I’m being honest, most of the other stuff, too.

Speaking of that, and since you asked, a quick note on continuity and the proverbial “other stuff”: generally, I have relegated this column to the happenings in my dating life (or my friends’ dating lives, which I often find more fascinating than my own). To that end, I did not tell you that I went to visit El Guapo at his bar shortly after The Big Easy and I split. I hadn’t seen him since we got together, at my now-ex’s behest, and we laughed a bit about what a bummer it was that my then-boyfriend was so threatened by someone who so easily returned to “friend” with nary a moment’s fretting about the “benefits” part. Shortly thereafter, he accepted a promotion, and has been training and working pretty much non-stop ever since; when I stopped by on Saturday, things were as friendly as ever, but I have to concede that two months of not seeing someone you used to hang with regularly does, in fact, change your friendship. (Though it remains just that: a friendship.)

Which is more than I can say about BB King, who has more or less vanished into thin air again, as he is wont to do. Maybe he’s enjoying a few Me Days, too.

Moral of the story: this column parallels my life, in real time, and surely I don’t have to tell you that real life tends not to run in tidy storylines that resolve week in and week out. For that, you’ll have to stick to Netflix (and really: check out “Gotham,” though only if you have several uninterrupted hours to kill).

Until next week,

Dater X 3.0