The Tights, The Prius, The Dinners

Dear Saturday Night,

My flip flops and I stuck out, and not in a good way, as soon as I walked into the Saturday afternoon “Friendsgiving” party and saw the sea of trust fund babies in their booties that probably cost as much as my paycheck. As soon as I walked onto the patio, what felt like three dozen pairs of eyes, all attached to blonde heads, stared at me and gave me the head to toe look over. Exhaling on a puff of their cigarettes, they decided I wasn’t anything interesting, and went back to their conversations. I looked down at my sandals, which were probably purchased proudly on sale at Target, and felt a knot in my stomach. I was hungover from the previous evening bopping around downtown with a friend in from New York. This little shin dig was going to have to be a quick in and out. “Ohmigod you’re HERE!” the hostess, Rhonda, exclaimed when I tapped her on the shoulder to say hi. “Yeah, and why did no one tell me that when it goes below 85 in Los Angeles, everyone bundles up with boots and coats?” I asked, pointing to my pitiful footwear. “Stop, you’re fine. Get a drink! We’re eating in an hour.” I looked over and saw a table sat for thirty people. As in a sit down dinner. I hated my life. I wanted a bloody mary and to nap in the bedroom with all of the coats, not to sit in an organized fashion with these people. Rhonda discovered she was a lesbian a few years earlier and had just married a woman. So the only men there were husbands of the trust fund babies, or gay ones who were besties with the lesbian guests. I mingled with some of the people Rhonda knew who were transplants, thank god for them, and tried to ignore the pounding in my head. Although the homemade sangria was helping. “Sit next to Colin*,” Rhonda demanded, and introduced me to a lanky guy with some sort of shaggy on top hair cut with the most unfair pair of blue eyes I have ever seen. He told me he had moved to LA years ago from Rhode Island originally to be a yoga instructor. Gay, I thought, and yawned my way through our conversation of how I was hungover, why were people in LA flakey, and how it was still too warm for these sweaters people were wearing. I guess I was yawning at my own self.

Once the triptofan from the turkey really kicked in and I could barely keep my eyes open, I thanked Rhonda and snuck away from the party, without saying good bye to the other guests, not even my new yoga instructor friend.

A few weeks went by I was performing my bedtime ritual of swiping through the men on Bumble. Usually my thumb goes, “left, left, left,” to all these men holding cups of beer, dead fish on a rod, or oversized sunglasses. I mean, why would you wear sunglasses in a picture in a photo where you’re trying to impress a girl? We need to see the eyes. But anyway. All of the sudden, a familiar face popped up on my screen with the name “Colin” underneath. I scrolled through the photos and read the description: “yogi, adventurous, coconut milk maker, techno. tv editor by day.” It was him. “Hmm,” I thought, finding this coincidental, so I swiped right. We matched. Normally, I will not initiate a conversation with a man- I don’t need to chase. However with Bumble, the woman has to initiate a conversation with the man within 24 hours, or the match disappears. I typed, “Hey, I met you before at Rhonda’s party, right?”

I was right. We had.

He told me he noticed my beautiful eyes. Inwardly I rolled at the cliche line, but he had piqued my interest.

A few days later, after a daily stream of casual texting, he asked to take me to dinner, and I accepted. “Where are we going?” I asked.

“It’s a surprise.” I love surprises. As long as he wasn’t going to be taking me for pizza and beer, where my carbophobia would have been in hysterics, all would be fine. I left work early so I could get a manicure, even though men never seem to notice these things, and tried on about four outfits for my roommate before I settled for jeans, a casual white top, brown boots, and a tan leather jacket. I mean, I needed to look good for someone who claims to make their own coconut milk, right?

Colin told me he would pick me up. Pick me up? Wow. Usually they make you meet them somewhere. But then again, it’s not really a swell idea to have random men from online dating picking you up at your house. Who knows who you’re actually dealing with, anyway? But since I had already met him through a friend, I figured he couldn’t be too much of an axe murderer.

When he texted me telling me he arrived, my roommate wished me luck and I took the elevator downstairs, telling myself not to have any expectations of the evening. The minute I walked out the door, Colin stepped out of his Toyota Prius. Here I was, the JAP, going out with a hipster wearing a peacoat, scarf, and driving a Prius.

He walked over to me and we gave each other a nervous hug. “It’s nice to see you again,” he said with a smile. “It is  nice to see you,” I agreed. God, he was so tall. An entire foot taller than me.

He opened the door for me and waited until I was tucked into the passenger seat to shut the door. He had a giant glass water bottle in in the cupholder tucked inside of this yarn sweater contraption. Usually the guys I went out with had half eaten protein bars or probably the previous girl’s crusty lipgloss buried in the console.  

“Is it okay if we make a quick stop to Whole Foods?” he asked. That’s like asking a child if they want to make a trip to N’ice Cream.

“Totally,” I said. I could walk through those organic, anti-oxidant infused and overpriced aisles any day.

“My friend is sick, and I promised I would pick them up chicken noodle soup,” he explained. Oh, I thought, and noticed he didn’t specify the gender. He’s picking up soup for a girl when he was with me? Strange.

“It’s someone I work with,” he added. I figured it couldn’t be something too scandalous if he was going to run an errand for a “friend” with me.

Since Whole Foods apparently didn’t do chicken noodle soup, we decided organic chicken and black bean would have to suffice. “So, we have about an hour or so until our reservation at 9:30,” he said in the check out aisle. 9:30 reservation? I thought. Damn, this was late for a school night. Whatever, I would have to put on my big girl pants and suck up the lack of sleep. “I thought we could stop somewhere and get an appetizer first, if you’re hungry,” he continued.

“I’m always down for food.” He drove to Superba on Rose. Perfect, I thought, since I had never been. We perused the wine menu and the appetizer selection.

“To good company,” he said as a cheers after our glasses of wine arrived.

“Do you like chicken liver?” he asked, after we took each took a sip. Oh, no. I hate chicken liver.

“All I remember about chicken liver is that my mom made it once when I was little. I can still taste it,” I grimaced, remembering the chewy texture and awful after taste.

“It’s really good here. The pate,” he explained. Fine, I might draw the line at fried macaroni and cheese balls, but I could at least be open to a protein option I hadn’t touched in two plus decades.

“I’ll try it,” I said. I knew I had just scored a point. This pate concoction was served with a side of bread and raspberries, which apparently just added some sweet complimentary flavor, blah blah, I don’t speak cuisine. I just know the calorie content of most salad dressings.

“This is all you,” I said, pointing to the food arrangement which apparently required assembly. Masterfully, he spread some of the brown mush on a slice of bread and topped it with three raspberries and put it on my plate. I waited for him to make his own so we could endure so called delicacy this at the same time. I bit into it and surprisingly liked the taste.

“Oh, I get it,” I said, thinking either my childhood palate was just underdeveloped or my mother was not the cook I thought she was.

“I told you,” Colin said with a satisfied smirk. After a few  more bites and praises, we moved onto more pressing topic: my sexuality. Not to mention, we had already covered politics, and were both feeling the Bern. Usually on a first date, politics and sex are no-no’s. Apparently neither one of us were good at following the rules.

The conversation began by us discussing our mutual friend, Rhonda’s sexuality. “See, when I met her,” I explained, “Rhonda really liked the D. She even accused me of being a lesbian. And I’m not!”

“I knew Rachel was gay when I first met her. I got that vibe,” Colin replied.

“I guess I have bad gaydar, then. What do I know?”

“So, you’ve never been with a woman?” His expression bordered confusion, as if you know, all women sleep with other women at some point.

“Nope, I’m pretty vanilla,” I said, taking a long sip of my wine. “I just don’t feel like getting down there, you know?”  

I’ve just never had the desire to go eat at that buffet.

“Why, have you hooked up with a guy?” I asked. “Well, one time I was with two girls and another guy. Things got pretty interesting and the girls wanted us to kiss.” I tried not to spit my chicken liver mush back onto the plate.

“So what did you do?” I asked.

“We kissed,” he answered. I should have known better at that point and ran. But curious to a fault, I pressed on.

“What was it like?”

“Well, the weird part was kissing someone with stubble. As in, if you only kiss girls, their face is smooth.”

To run away? Or not to run away? is what most women at that point would have had

in their minds. But, being that I was in the epicenter of Hipster Venice, I decided to not be the typical JAP I can be.

This was a good decision, as our next stop was Djulina on Abbot Kinney Blvd. You know, one of the “It” spots not just on the entire Westside, but all of Los Angeles.  “Oh, nice,” I said casually when Coconut Milk Colin told me where the main dining event was taking place. Dimly lit and absolutely packed, we had to wait even though we were on time for our 9:30 reservation. We ordered more wine at the bar and continued with more PG conversation. “If you could sell anything,” he asked me, “what would it be?” I’ve sold across several industries and products since I was in college, so it was a valid question. It’s also one I don’t have to ponder.

“My book, duh,” I said.

By the time we sat down and were squinting at our 8point size font menus, I was starving. Being that Gjulina is one of those small plate sharing places, we ordered about four dishes to share. Burnt brussel sprouts, roasted butternut squash, that kind of stuff. It was delicious of course, but the portion sizes catered to those with bird size appetites. Oh, Los Angeles.

“How about I come and sit next to you?” CMC asked.

“Sure,” I said, realizing I needed another glass of wine. This shaggy haired, lanky, perhaps a shay of gray on sexual spectrum, hipster of a creature was growing on me. I eyed the table next to us as their waiter brought out what looked like a chicken tandoori dish.

“Wow, that looks incredible,” I said, not even paying attention to the fact Colin was now thisclose to me and had his arm around me.

“Are you still hungry?” he asked jokingly. He was making fun of me.

“Oh god, no. I’m so full,” I lied. Eventually we were buzzed enough that we could take our PDA out of the restaurant, so Colin waived down our server for the check. I didn’t see what the total was, but I know I’m glad it wasn’t being charged to my credit card. I thanked Colin. Ladies, we have periods. Men, they get to pay for dates.

We walked back to his car and turned on the heat. I couldn’t believe it actually got this cold in Los Angeles. It had to be like, forty-five degrees and I was shivering in a leather coat. I asked when his birthday was. “March 23rd,” he said.

“So you’re an Aries?” I said.

“Sure.”

“Well, I’m a Gemini,” I said.

“I heard something about Geminis,” he said.

“Oh really, what’s that?” I asked.

“They are really good kissers,” he said with that wicked grin I really couldn’t resist much longer.

“Oh, are they?” I asked.

And suddenly, my appetite was gone. He leaned his face to mine and slowly, our lips didn’t just touch, they began to dance. There are many, many first kisses. Yet there are very, very few memorable ones. Well, sitting in the passenger seat of a Toyota Prius in the parking lot of a restaurant behind Abott Kinney, I kissed a hipster. A whole decade could have passed and we wouldn’t have known it. I’ve had men bite my lips like they were a piece of steak, or engulf my mouth with theirs, and then there’s the whole tongue stabbing situation that can be gag inducing. Of course, I’ve kissed a lot of good kissers too. But this kiss (make out, whatever)- it was like the universe sent to me, perfectly delivered as a message of saying, “Well, Jill, there have really been some douche bags to come your way, so here’s our way of making it up to you.”

Thank you, universe.

When we finally broke away from each other, we looked at each other, not needing to use any words. We both knew we were thinking the same thing, something along the lines of, “Oh, wow.”

“So, would you have said the same thing if I told you I was a Libra?” I asked.

“Yes,” he admitted, while his face was still centimeters from mine. There he was, out in the open about his pick-up artist talent, and I was too busy to process this since my hormones were basking in some teenage-esque post make out bliss. Twenty-eight or eighteen, it seems I’ll never learn to recognize trouble.

We untangled from each other to buckle our own seatbelts. After all, it was after 11pm and much past my weeknight bed time.

When we pulled up in front of my apartment we resumed a second act of that whole high school tongue twisting activity. I was hooked. But at some point, my brain took over and told my mouth to break away before he started to think he would have been invited back up to my place. We sat there, talking about nothingness to avoid the night ending. Just as I was about to grab my purse between my feet and make a grand exit from the Prius, Coconut Milk Colin grabbed his phone. “Oh, my friend who needs the soup,” he mumbled. He didn’t realize, but the screen of his phone was reflecting off of his window and I could see it. He was typing a message into the Bumble app- I recognized the design since I use it. The chicken liver pate curled in my stomach.

“Well, thanks for dinner,” I said briskly. What nerve to type a message to another girl while on a date with moi.

I got out of the car and shut the door before he could even give some sort of non-commital good bye.

This is what I was starting to learn about LA men: in the heat of the moment, you might have them under a spell. But as soon as your bodies separated from whatever verbal or physical exchange was happening, it’s broken. There’s always another witch in the waiting.

The Aftermath

Somehow I resisted the urge to reach out to him and I let him come to me, which he did, four days later on a Sunday morning as I lounged around the apartment, hangover depression raging my poor brain cells. For three weeks, we had the craziest wanna-be rapping sexting conversations since he was out of town for the holidays. I started to fall head over heels. I hated my job at the publishing company, was sad everyone had left except me, and literally jolted every time my phone dinged with a new message from him telling me where he was going to lick me, make me wear pantyhose, or make it rain. Who knows how many pairs of underwear I soaked through. Finally, he was back in town and we went out for a second dinner. Flirting, nibbling, some drinking, blah blah. Of course we ended up coming back to my house and going right at it. Coconut milk Colin is literally 6’5” and needs to put on some serious weight, but god he knows how to throw down. My body was practically convulsing for what seemed like hours. At some point, we passed out. Like a psycho I went to the gym bright and early and left him sleeping in my bed. When I came home, I showered and got back into bed so we could go for round 2. Clearly, this was love, right? Running late, I dashed off to work. I was expecting a text all day long, of course, but the phone was crickets. I broke down later and texted him when I came home to find my bed made, the wine glasses rinsed, and the pantyhose he had purchased that we didn’t use on my pillow. Did he like me then? He must have, he cleaned the wine glasses… right?

I got a minimal response even though I attempted to strike up some flirtatious banter. You know me, the girl with a ton of game. NOT, as my phone went to crickets again. For approximately five days. That following Tuesday, sometime in the late afternoon while I was in Ralph’s, my phone dinged. And it was him.

“Hey, I think you’re really sexy and cool, blah blah, had a lot of fun with you, blah blah, going through a lot of stuff right now, blah blah, just didn’t want to ghost on you.”

After consulting about seven people as to how to reply I settled with, “cool, thanks.”

Months and months later he popped up on my Facebook under “People you may know” and I chuckled as I clicked the “Add as Friend” button. He accepted. And that has been it. This is fine by me. It’s funny how you look back on someone you hook up with and think to yourself, “Wait, what? Why? Why all this energy on him?” This is exactly what I think looking back now. He’s a TV editor hippie who drives a Prius, has admitted to making out with a guy, and looks underfed. That’s not Mr. Right for me.

Who is Mr. Right for me? I don’t know. Maybe he’s already circulated his way into my life somehow, or maybe he’s light years away. Universe, only you know.

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