So on Saturday night, I had a fairly dreadful blind date with a banker from Montreal. His advance billing was fine: Jewish, early 40s, relatively new to New York. We met at a French wine bar in the East Village that he picked out—barstools close together, low light, very atmospheric. He looked…well, a little like Mitt Romney. Not unattractive but…same Ronald Reagan hairdo, same aura of moneyed arrogance and he was practically campaigning as soon as we sat down. He quickly turned the conversation to himself and what he wanted from a relationship and began to extol his own virtues, including that he is “a very complex person” and that “I can usually figure out people within about twenty minutes.” He also told me proudly that he could be “very judgmental” because he is such an excellent judge of human nature. Which is…supposed to be hot?
I also had to work hard not to roll my eyes when he that he told me—more than once, in fact—that he “lives in the moment.” I’m sorry, y’all, but 99% of the time, that’s just a dumbass cliche employed by people who want to make themselves sound bold and passionate when they’re really just trying to justify their need for instant gratification and/or inability to get their shit together.
This went on for a little more than an hour. A very looong hour. Then he scooted his barstool a little closer, put his hand over mine and began stroking my fingers, complimenting me on how “long and sensitive” they were. I basically had three choices: pull my hand away, hold his hand, or do nothing. I went with the latter; I just left my hand lying limp on the bar. Undeterred, he spread his hand on top of it and then reached his thumb underneath so that he was stroking my palm with his thumb, really digging in and massaging it in circles. Basically, his hand was having sex with my hand right there on the bar. I could tell from the way he was eyeing me to gauge my reaction that this was his Big Seductive Move.
Thing is, it was such an obvious move, so blatantly calculated, from a guy who was trying so hard to convince me of what a catch he was that I just wanted to laugh. After a minute of watching with horrified fascination as he mauled my hand, I joked, “Can I have my hand back so I can take a drink?” He pouted a little and let go. I looked him in the eye and said, “You’re coming on a little strong,” which provoked even more pouting because the only thing worse than having your Big Seductive Move rejected is when someone calls you on your Big Seductive Move. We talked for a few more minutes and then he began to stroke the small of my back, which was not a good sign, because when a woman doesn’t want to hold your hand, you should know she probably also doesn’t want you stroking her back. But he seemed determined to keep trying.
“There’s this romantic little Italian restaurant down the street…would you like to continue our conversation there?” he asked.
Thing is, I really didn’t. I knew I wasn’t attracted to this guy. In fact, I was actively un-attracted to him. And while I didn’t want to be rude and wasn’t going to pull out the Bitchzooka, I was definitely going to get the hell out of there. I politely demurred, “No, I ate before I got here”—which was true, actually—and he finally got the message and asked the bartender for the bill.
Let’s just say that although my rejection was comparatively mild, he was clearly not happy about it and as we left the bar began making noises about how “we’re clearly very different people who want different things in a partner.”
Did I care? Did I give a shit? No. As soon as we got outside, I said good night and barreled off down the sidewalk in the opposite direction. Truth is, the only thing more euphoric than good date buzz is the gleeful relief of escaping a bad date. I was positively giddy as I headed for the subway.