3/3/2011

Empire Date: A Pre-Oscars Meeting In Midtown, citysbest.com

Empire Date
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The online dating world I’ve started exploring again is full of cutesy phrases that are supposed to mimic real life flirting. A smile across a crowded room becomes the “I’m intrigued” button on How About We, the “Icebreaker” on eHarmony or the wink on OKCupid. My first date winked at me. The wink came with a good one-liner. I wrote back.

I had scanned his profile quickly. Although profiles can be fun reading material, I don’t put a lot of stock in them. While I think people can be pretty good about summing themselves up, they can’t really tell you how you’ll feel around them, which is obviously what you want to know.

Dennis (not his real name) seemed like a nice guy, though, not too full of himself. Plus, he was older (three years), and I’ve been vaguely thinking I should go more in that direction. (They’re the ones who appreciate you more, right?) Dennis and I agreed to meet at one of my favorite bars, Gabby O’Hara’s. Nestled on 39th Street, right off Times Square, it’s a pub with a great French onion soup and enough quiet so you can hear a conversation, but with a constant background bustle that doesn’t make you feel stranded on another planet.

Leading up to the date, Dennis and I had some strange moments. I e-mailed him that I needed to make the date earlier because I had another “thing” in the evening, which led him to want to cancel it. He balked and wrote me that he didn’t think our date would work: He didn’t want to be a “thing” and felt I was playing games.

“I actually thought your thing was another date,” he admitted while we had ice cream at Gabby O’Hara’s.

“Oh, it was just an Oscar’s party,” I explained.

At that point, Dennis and I had developed a nice rapport. He had turned out to be a friendly person, easy to talk to. He was a teacher, and I associate friendliness and a certain degree of earnestness with that profession. We seemed to be on the same page about our work — we both liked what we did — the importance of friends, and the awesomeness of good food. However, I was also aware that we didn’t have many specific things common. We didn’t seem to do the same activities or share the same cultural interests, and although there seemed to be similar life attitudes, the mysterious chemistry element just wasn’t there.

We had a polite goodbye, and I returned home, my mind immediately focused on plotting out my route to the Oscar party. My date with Dennis was good enough that I didn’t feel compelled to call my friend and recount it for laughs, but nor did I feel like replaying it for romantic thrills. The date had felt like reading a decent magazine profile on a long train ride. Glad it was there, but I wouldn’t have chosen it on my own. I knew the search for love would continue.