One of the many challenges of dating is dealing with the unexpected. After having my original date number 7 cancel on me two weeks in a row (I am convinced that he was probably married with children), I was left scrambling to find a replacement date for week 8.
Earlier in the week, my friend invited me to a monthly networking happy hour hosted by a group of young black professionals. She told me that this was the event where she met her current boyfriend of one year. If she got lucky and met someone worthy of a relationship, surely I will be lucky enough to meet at least one potential date. I called up one of my single girlfriends and we, along with one of her other cronies, decided to check it out.
It was a long work week and I needed to decompress badly. When we walked into the happy hour, there were several cliques of people standing around and a large mass of people congregating at the main bar. Frustrated with the long wait, my friends and I decided to venture off to a secluded bar on the other side of the restaurant. Good decision. The bartender quickly served us and three guys followed our lead and strolled our way.
As they approached, I looked closer and noticed that they were a tad bit young, but attractive nevertheless. Initially, the tall one made a flirty comment that I was just his type, but somehow his pint-sized friend with a smooth caramel complexion edged his way to my side.
At the ripe age of 26, he was an accountant who loved to tap into his creative vices of cooking and photography. I shared with him that I just bought an entry level digital SLR and his interest piqued.
“What brand,” he queried.
“Nikon,” I replied. He was instantly enamored. Nikon is the only way to go, he assured me as he tugged on his goatee. This dude has clearly watched Love Jones one too many times and a vision of Bill Bellamy kept popping up in my head.
My suitor told me that he had dated a 45 year old previously and is open to dating a mature woman. Initially taken aback (I am not that old), I conceded and exchanged numbers with him as we said our goodbyes.
The next morning, I received a generic good morning text message. As much as I loathe texting, I decided that the Generation Y-er grew up in the technology age and it is best to communicate in his language. We texted back and forth about trivial things over the weekend, but nothing meaningful.
Monday rolled around and my young tenderoni hinted that he wanted to see me later that evening. He worked nearby and wanted to know if I was open to having dinner or a drink. Trying to be mindful of his wallet, I chose a drink over dinner. Since Muss & Turner’s was around the corner, I suggested reuniting at Eleanor’s, the hidden backroom to the boutique deli. I admitted to my date that I had eaten at Muss & Turner’s a number of times, but I had never ventured past the deli and through the freezer door. This would be a new experience for both of us.
He arrived before me and told me that I would love it. As I walked through the freezer door into a dimly lit hallway, I noticed the mahogany walls lined with wine bottles that led me to a room with intimate seating and a bar. Yep, he was right. I love this spot. It is the perfect place to get to know someone.
As I entered the room, I noticed date number 8 sitting at the bar sipping on some beer. He was texting on his phone as I tapped him on his shoulder. To my surprise, he tucked away his phone and gave me a warm embrace. We settled on the bar stools and I ordered a glass of red wine. Not too expensive, but something that I wanted. He had just finished his beer and declined another round.
As we chatted about our work day, I reached into my purse for some lotion. Before my hands settled on my lotion, my fingers stumbled across my camera that I tossed in my purse the day before.
“Wow, look what I stumbled upon” I exclaimed. His eyes widened with excitement as he grabbed my camera. He immediately turned the knob to manual mode and taught me how to adjust the shutter speed and the F-Stop in order to create photos with artist appeal.
“No flash is necessary” he instructed me. He placed the camera on the bar and took some of the most amazing pictures that left me in awe. Hmm, I could learn a thing or two about photography from this young lad.
After telling the bartender a second time that he didn’t want another round, he decided that he wanted to order some food. “Nothing from the entrée section tonight, that is reserved for weekends only”, he murmured. I’m glad I only ordered a glass of wine, I pondered to myself. He wanted to try the chicken wings and I suggested he order the homemade fries too, as they are delicious.
His barstool turned abruptly. “What are your intentions?” he queried while staring at me with piercing eyes.
“Uh, what do you mean…?” I immediately responded.
“I am not looking for a “boy toy,” I am simply getting to know you better.” I paused a few seconds and thought maybe he was looking for a “Sugar Momma”. Nah, I told myself and shook off that notion.
“Actually, you should be lucky that I am being open and entertaining you because you are only four years older than my godson.”
“Your godson has nothing on me,” he retorted while sticking his chest out. Puh-lease, young lad. Take your fake bravado and use it on some unsuspecting twenty-year- old.
“What are your intentions?” I asked.
“To get to know you better,” duplicating my answer. More than likely untrue, this young lad was trying to get another notch on his belt. I wasn’t born yesterday.
The food arrived and he offered me some fries and wings. I indulged a little as I learned that my date grew up as an only child (not a particularly good birth order for me) and his parents divorced when he was young. The divorce affected him negatively and he refuses to make the same mistakes that his parents did, which led him to pick up his current read, “How to Not Marry a Jerk” by John Van Epp. For whatever reason, I presumed that his father was the jerk and didn’t bother to confirm it.
The bartender slid the tab in front of me. I glanced at the tab and averted my gaze back to the young lad. I deliberated a minute, should I pick up the tab or should I let him pay it? What message would I send if I paid it? He looked at the tab and continued chatting for a few minutes before picking it up. I sighed with relief because the last thing I am about to do is give him the false expectation that I will pay the bill when we go out.
As we walked to the car, we discussed possibly having a photo shoot date soon. I gave him the obligatory hug, thanked him and drove off knowing good and well that I would never date him again. It just didn’t feel right. I felt like the old man in the club that preys on young woman. As my best friend would say, grimy…just plain grimy.