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Supermarket Aisles and Charity Work

May 1, 2010

When you are single, they always say you will meet someone fabulous walking through aisles of a supermarket. They claim if you join a group of some kind, do some type of charitable work, possibly plant a tree in some sort of community garden, he will be there. Your soul mate. He will approach you in a parking lot (creepy), you will meet him in a bookstore (lurking behind a shelf somewhere), you will lock eyes in a coffee shop somewhere and he will approach your table…the people that give this dating advice have never been to New York. Okay, okay, so it does happen. Sometimes. People meet people in public places. In fact, it happened to my mother, but it is rare.

It happened one time early on after my divorce. Out to dinner with my family for my sisters birthday I locked eyes with a very handsome stranger. He was very cute. After a virtual staring contest and 2 appletini’s later, I summoned up the courage, with the encouragement (albeit inappropriate) from my sister to send this handsome stranger a drink. The waitress informed us he ordered a beer and when we asked if he was cute she told us he had a thick accent like he was not from the city (I believe red-neck was the exact term she used), and she had assessed there was some type of missing tooth. Figures.

Minutes later he approached our table. He said he was not from New York City but was here for work.
“What type of work do you do?” I asked this toothless hick stranger.
“I play hockey for a team in Pittsburgh, we are in town to play the Rangers”. Are you kidding me? a Penguin? It explains the missing teeth! He asked for my number and asked if I wanted to come to the game tomorrow. I told him I would be cheering for the Rangers, but I would go. As I left the restaurant an hour later he and his teammate suddenly had a posse of groupies or prostitutes of some kind surrounding their table. I waved awkwardly and he said he would call me, which he did, at 12 midnight and asked me to hang out. What? Was this real? I was getting booty called by a player for the NHL? I said no thanks, but was a bit flattered and quickly erased him from my mind. 3 months later I read in the paper that he got married. Engaged no doubt when he called me. I guess  the stereotypes regarding pro athletes were obviously true!

Well, it happened again. The dating unicorn, as I like to call it, an urban myth if you will, when a man and woman meet by coincidence in a public place. Where drunken bar talk is not involved and you lock eyes and everything falls into place, whether it be while picking cereal in the cereal aisle, working in a soup kitchen, or praying in some type of religious establishment. Only this time it was at a swank restaurant on the Upper East side.

I had met a male friend for dinner and went to the back of the restaurant to use the bathroom. As I was returning to my table the hostess was escorting two men to their table when i locked eyes with one of them. He was insanely handsome and I flashed my greatest Darcy smile at him without even realizing I was doing it. He stopped in his tracks and smiled back. It was exactly as you picture it to be, only better, because it was real. I quickly prayed he wasn’t married, promised to go to services on the high holidays this year if he wasn’t and returned to my table. An hour or so later he was leaving the restaurant and had to walk past my table to exit. Again, I summoned my inner light and shot him my most dazzling smile. Quickly eyeing my dinner date he asked if we knew each other.
“I don’t know. Do we?” I asked coyly, knowing that we did not, but hoping we would soon.
“I’m Jonathan” He said, again eyeing my male dinner partner with suspicion.
“I’m Darcy. Do you know me?”
He smirked and said he wasn’t sure.
“Did we date?” I asked, knowing that we didn’t, but at this point i couldn’t control my shameless flirting.
“I don’t know, did we?” he said.
“For six months, I think.” I giggled at my own joke. It was shameful. I had to suppress the voice in my head that was screaming “thank you, thank you very much, I’ll be here all night”
But like every other New York story where boy smiles at girl, girl smiles back, boy gets off the subway and it becomes nothing more than a craigslist missed connection, he said to have a good dinner and i watched him walk out of the restaurant.
Just like in back to the future when peoples faces start to disappear off the of the pictures as history starts to change, the same thing happened with our imagined relationship. Sigh. Back to my sushi and my dinner date.
My dinner date’s cell phone rang. “It’s my girlfriend, be right back” He stepped out of the restaurant to talk to her in a quiet place, when suddenly the hostess appeared at our table.
“Are you Darcy?” she asked. Couldn’t be a stitch past 24 and not a wrinkle in sight.
“Yes?” I said, not sure where this was going.
“You have a phone call.”
I didn’t know what to make of this. Who knew where I was. Was my child okay? Oh my goodness. My child. is there some type of emergency? It quickly dawned on me that if there was an emergency they would try my cell phone first and not some random restaurant no one even knew I was at.
I followed the hostess to her stand and she handed me the phone.
“Hello?” I said.
“Darcy? It’s Jonathan, from 5 minutes ago”.
Was this really happening? Was I really the star of my own private romantic comedy? These things only happened in Sandra Bullock movies. I could not even fathom this to be real.
“Oh yes, hi Jonathan.” Yea, hi Jonathan, like I had already forgotten who he was.
“Hi, listen, I wanted to ask you to dinner, but wasn’t sure if you were there on a date with that guy. If you weren’t and you would like to have dinner with me I’d love to take you out. I couldn’t let this night pass without trying everything I could to see you again”
“Sure, that would be great” Is really all I remember saying at first. But then it happened. Barbara Walters invaded my body and a barrage of questing ensued right from the hostess stands telephone. “are you married? how old are you? 40? oh divorced. Do you have children? No? oh, I do, yes one. yes. What do you do? Investment Banking? Huh. where are you from? I see. What is your last name? Oh! You’re Jewish?!” Like any diligent woman, I was collecting my facts and assessed that Jonathan, 40, Jewish, investment banker, divorced with no children would be a suitable dinner date. I gave him my number and walked back to my table feeling like the hottest girl in town. I was sure it was the new belt I had been bullied into buying at Intermix only a week earlier. I never owned a belt, but it had to be good luck, or a good look for me. It was definitely the belt. I couldn’t remember Jonathan’s last name, so I was not able to do my run of the mill google-facebookzabasearchecourts extravaganza. But he texted me and just like that, we had a date for Thursday.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2011 7:13 am

    We were discussing this just last night- how many opportunities have been missed for mere lack of proximity.

    What happened with restaurant dude?!

    • October 24, 2011 9:19 am

      So true. That’s why it’s nice when people actually go for it. As for what happened with the restaurant guy, you can read about it of course! See “Jonathan, 40, Is Really 47” and “Jonathan, 47, Really Had A Girlfriend.”


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