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Ghost of Risotto Past

June 7, 2010

Top Chef’s Sam Talbot. Sadly not the real “Chef Hottie”. Photo credit: Scott Shafer/NBCUPB

My mother, happily re-married for years now to a wonderful man, likes to tell a story about one of her early dating experiences after her divorce. It involved her dating a man who acted very interested in her, and one day out of the blue not only did he not call her anymore, but he never returned her calls.

“I was so confused by it, I actually thought he was dead. I went into a restaurant one day and he was there having dinner with his friend. It’s as though I saw an actual ghost. I walked up directly up to his table and said to him ‘I thought you were dead!!!’ ”

When my mother tells me this story I always giggle and or roll my eyes. My mother can be so naive I think. I also think there are parts of the story I am missing, or signs she didn’t pick up on…until now. You see, I have met my first ghost, although I have not yet seen the ghost so I can’t say for sure whether or not he is actually dead, but I now know the feeling of having someone fall off the map over night.

See “Supermarkets and Charity Work“, May 1, 2010 or “He Will Boil Your Bunny“, May 5, 2010. In these entries I describe the concept that people (the masses, the books, the “parents generation”) state single people should be volunteering for charity events. It is at these said charity events that they will meet other single people. It is these events that people will be hard at work doing good for others and suddenly meet that special someone. The bond will be so pure, so beautiful, as it is routed in the work of that comparable to Mother Theresa. Besides they come with automatic credibility; how can anyone be that bad when they are so pure of heart and intention.

Well one evening, one particular charity I am involved with had an event that I was working on. The night of the event there were tons of good-looking party goer’s for someone such as myself , read single and tipsy, to meet. The crowd was a sea of business suits and cocktail dresses when I suddenly see him. He is dark and sweaty with sleeves of tattoos, oh yea, and he is one of the chef’s for the event. We meet quickly and we make the type of eye contact that makes other people around you uncomfortable. I ask his age. He is 29. I tell him my age. He tells me he doesn’t care about that. I figure I don’t either. This seems to be my new demographic anyway. More on that later. At the end of the night Chef Hottie asks for my number and I give it over. We are both going to be in the Hamptons that weekend and we make a plan to meet up.

Over the next week we text each other sweet things, we put emoticons on our texts, I learn he doesn’t know how to spell but realize I don’t really care. What did spelling ever do for anyone anyway, besides I think, it’s 2010 and there is always spell check. He apparently doesn’t know how to use it but it doesn’t bother me one bit.

The night we meet up I bring my step-sister as my wing woman. She tells me she is so uncomfortable with our chemistry, which I admit is outstanding, that she felt funny standing next to us.  We spoke for hours and drank champagne. He told me how cute I was and I told him how adorable he was. We held hands. It was all very sweet and incredibly sexy. I didn’t even mind that he was touching me.  We make a date for that week. He was going to cook for me. It all sounded very romantic. At the end of the evening he gave me a big kiss and I actually wanted him to. I was happy.

Over the next few days we are furiously texting and getting excited for our date. He is asking me what type of vegetables I like and I offer to cook the dessert. We are fast friends. I picture our dinner date to be a scene from Like Water For Chocolate.

“Oh no.” Max says, “You are not going to date a chef?”
“Why not?” I ask.
“They keep terrible hours and their lives are filled with addictions.”
I decide to never tell Max about Chef Hottie’s pension for alcohol and lots of it, and I ignore the advice completely. There is really nothing that can stop me other than death at this point.

The night of my cooking date arrives. Chef Hottie shows up to make Sea Bass and asparagus Rissoto. We dance to country music on my Ipod and polish off two bottles of wine. It is a scene out of a romantic movie staring Matthew Mcconaughey and Kate Hudson. Only neither of us are Blonde. Well I kind of I am, or some people say I am. But, I digress. We head up to my roof and talk for hours. He smokes cigarettes and tells me about his wants in life. He tells me I am the coolest date he ever had. I believe him. I eat the whole thing up, including the dinner he made me. I present him with the dessert I made. He tells me how great it is. I should have known at that moment what a good liar he was. I am a horrible cook.

Chef Hottie and I are talking until the wee hours of the morning when I finally invite him to stay over. Afterall he lives in a different area code which I joke makes him locationally undesirable.  We fall asleep to the sound of my Ipod and the heavy smell of wine and smoke. He is respectful and doesn’t try anything too major. In the morning he asks to see me again ASAP. We make a date for Friday. We can hardly wait.

Friday comes along and we go for drinks and dance a bit. We are having a great time. We behave as we are the only people in the room. He continues to tell me he can’t believe how much he likes me. He likes that there are no awkward silences or long pauses in the conversation. We sneak out of the bar for a midnight dinner at an excellent sushi place. We feed each other sushi until about 2:30 am, and Chef Hottie puts away a large bottle of Sake. Chef Hottie can drink more than most men I know. I tell him I probably won’t have a chance to see him for at least a week as I have so many commitments coming up and then I am leaving for the weekend with Bear. He starts to mope and asks me if he can come with us.

“I am sorry, but no one I date meets Bear. I keep that very separate unless i was to be in a long-term committed relationship.
“Oh. That makes it hard. But i guess it’s good for him right?”
“Yes, why drag him into anything. He is an innocent party.”
He pretends to understand but continues to mope at the table.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“You don’t seem upset that you aren’t going to see me for a week.”
I find it insanely cute and uncomfortable all at the same time. I guess he really liked me. But it was actually okay because I liked him. He was all wrong for me. Wrong state, wrong religion, wrong age, he liked veal, he drank too much, he had one too many tats. But even though he was wrong, he felt very right. I liked him.

We found our way home at 3 am and the next morning he had to leave to prepare for a wedding he was attending. Before he left he let it slip that he was 28.
“You told me you were 29. Twice.” I said.
“I told you I was 28. I think I know how old I am.” He said.
My memory is never wrong. I should be registered as a federal memory weapon.  I knew he was lying but I overlooked it.

That day was like any other. He texted me that he wanted to make sure we found the time to get together this week. I told him it was important so we would. We texted a little throughout the day and then he texted me from the wedding asking me how my lunch was. All very normal.  He then texted me a picture of him at the wedding. Still normal. I asked if he was going to be in the city that night as he said he might be. He said he didn’t think so but he would let me know. That was the last I heard from him. Literally.

The next evening I was so surprised I hadn’t heard from him again. I sent him a text. “You okay?”, as I could have only imagined his car to fall into a ravine, or he was tied up by the brides garter belt and unable to escape. Maybe there was a flash flood and he was clinging to a tree in the middle of a river, maybe his “side business” had gotten him into trouble and he was now living in Federal university. Whatever the case, I could not imagine that someone so crazy for me would never contact me again.

I finally sent the text that you know you shouldn’t send, but sometimes you do, because you are human, afterall:
“I can’t believe you used me and you couldn’t even give me the dignity of a response. No one has ever made me feel so terrible.”
He texted back alright:
“Hi. I have Chef Hottie’s phone. He is not available right now, but he will be back. PS- He probly didn’t use you. His friend, bob”
What I wanted to write back:
“You and Chef Hottie spell probably the same way (probly).” But I kept it to myself.

I never heard from him again, and I never found out why. I did care, and it did sting and everyone party to this blossoming sweet relationship was in utter shock and awe and couldn’t imagine what had gone so terribly wrong. I guess this is what a diss is. A straight up diss. The kind you hear about and you think only happen to other people.

One day I too may see his ghost, and tell the story and people will roll their eyes. ‘She is so naive’ they will think, or they will wonder what part of the story is missing. The truth is nothing is missing. I am telling all of you how it really is. The good, the bad and the ugly. The upside to this tale is that I probably saved myself a great deal of money on tolls and the path train! There is always that…

I ended up finding out what the real story was after this was written. Want to know what really happened? See: It’s Complicated

7 Comments leave one →
  1. tara permalink
    June 17, 2010 3:52 am

    this is m favorite… i read it over and over….
    thank you…its like you are holding my hand through this…and that makes it sooo much less scary….

    • June 17, 2010 5:09 pm

      Thank you so much for reading! I am glad you find the stories comforting in some way. We have all been there Tara! This story happens to be my least favorite from a personal perspective, as it was the most hurtful, trashy, disgusting thing a person has done. The type of thing that makes you question your sanity and judgement. However, it happens to the best of us, and it is part of the journey. I have found spotting a wolf in sheeps clothing is not that easy when you are at the center of it, but remember, the high road is your friend and no one can take that away from you!

      My favorite quote is one I learned from Oprah, who learned it from Maya Angelou: “When people show you who they really are, believe them the first time.” This is the best most true advice, but I don’t always follow it. I am working on it. One day I will get it. When people brag about their bad behavior (which this particular person did), it should be the time to shake hands and call it a day. While you would like to think you are different, you rarely are. People have patterns of behavior that they repeat. It is their script and very little can change that.

      Just my advice,


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  2. It’s Complicated « Darcy Dates
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