Remember my previous post with my first OK Cupid man, Kevo?
Well, this blog post should be titled: 7 Ways For a “Date” To Hit Southbound
- Style your attire: First impressions DO matter. Sporting a brand name outfit from head to toe is one thing (maybe even earning a few brownie points in my lookbook), but dressing like a haggardly hobo is a flat-out disappointment. Just as a simple guy expects a girl to look nice and natural on the first encounter, a simple girl also expects the guy to make an effort on the fashion front.
I was in Newark for a residency interview, so my attire was business-fancy. Here I was after a long interview day, ready to meet my first online man. Even when I dressed down my bright green blouse with a pair of black straight-leg pants, I still looked at the very least … presentable.
I was both excited and nervous, getting ready to meet a stranger for the first time, despite getting to know each other only after a month. Will he like me? Will I like him? Will I live up to his expectations, physically and personally? Am I too bright and dressy? Darn, does my breath smell like tomato sauce and garlic from the Italian lunch buffet?
There I sat at the run-down hospital lobby, my mind racing with scenarios on what to say and do and the anxiety building up like a towering game of Jenga.
“Hey … Connie?” speaks a young lad. I looked up to find him standing there.
Someone pulls out that ill-fated piece and the Jenga tower implodes. Oh the numbing feeling of defeat … and disappointment. This guy was utterly unimpressionable: plain white tee over an old, washed-out pair of blue jeans with a red windbreaker and dirty white sneakers. His hair was unkempt. His face was popping pimples. Not as fresh-faced as I imagined.
Plus, he was shamingly skinnier compared to my physique; I am neither Hong Kong beauty Angelababy nor Little Miss Piggy, but I felt the difference. He missed the mark he made with his profile picture and statistics, even the video images. Indeed, the camera and Internet do wonders for a person’s height and features.
Let’s be real, it’s hard not to judge a person based on appearance. Physical attraction matters and is what triggers the initial connection and contact; it’s a hit or a miss, and this was a miss. Of course, I was not going to let physicality be the end-all-be-all; he had opportunities to let his personality shine.
2. Take care of your car: Personal hygiene is reflected in the most minor acts and belongings, including your prized vehicle. I have minimal expectations for what a guy drives to shuttle me around the neighborhood, but the hypersensitive OCD-side of me shivers to strange smells and stains.
So yes, there was an old car/old man smell that tickled my olfactory cells. He drove a pretty battered dark green sedan from the Stone Age. Seriously, who still drives a car with a cassette player anymore? Well, this guy.
What did we listen to as he drove me through a tour of the ghetto? None other than Korean pop, something we bonded over from the beginning. Except, the cutesy squeals of Girls Generation was less than high definition.
- Dine together, not solo, even if it’s frozen yogurt: We made it to Maplewood, his neck of the woods, safely. Whew! No bullets, knives or machetes came for my blood.
He suggested his favorite pizza hotspot, Arturo’s. Before the pizza place opened at 5pm, we went to eat frozen yogurt nearby. He was ahead of me, while I took my time deciding my flavor and toppings. He got his yogurt, paid and sat down at a table … and started eating. I was not even done filling my cup and paying!!
Come on dude, no girl left behind!!!
- Dining etiquette, pretty please: Even if you and I are casually chatting at a frozen yogurt joint, please guys, be mindful of dinner table manners. That should include chewing with your mouth closed and not sitting back in your chair, arms folded behind your head, one leg up over the other. It makes you appear sloppy and unimpressive, like you do not care about yourself or me.
- Deep in the cheap: I’ll give him props for taking the lead to find an authentic, fancy and pleasant Italian restaurant, Arturo’s Osteria & Pizzeria, and explore his favorite pizza dishes. One large pie was split between the Margherita (very popular selection with handmade mozzarella, tomato sauce, Oregon sea salt, fresh basil and EVOO from California baby) and the Montagna (tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella, parmigiano, arugula and smoked prosciutto).
Needless to say, the pizza was truly phenomenal, particularly the Montagna with the perfectly sliced and flavored prosciutto. I have the guts to say that Grimaldi’s Pizzeria has a competitor.
I was not hungry, given I was still well satiated from the vibrant pasta lunch and I had just gobbled down a cup of frozen yogurt covered in fruits and mochi. I ate two slices, one of each specialty kind. Let me rave about it again for a brief moment before I get fired up for the next paragraph. Visit Arturo’s, with locations in NYC as well, and prepare for a trip to heaven with the Montagna.
Now back to the regularly scheduled blog post: At dinner’s end, there was a third of the pie left. He asked me, “Wanna take the rest home?” Out of courtesy, I responded, “Oh no no, you take it home. Share some with your parents for dinner or something!”
Without hesitation, he took it all. Add to that, I offered to split the tab with him (again, out of courtesy) and ended up paying $12 for a couple slices of pizza. And he was perfectly okay with this picture … not even so much as a gentlemanly, “No no girl, I got it.” So I was not even that hungry, ate two slices of pizza and split the bill with him … while he took practically the whole pie back home. How ridiculous is this picture?
- Again, no girl left behind: Dude, what are you doing, racing me? At the beginning and near the end of the night, this guy was always 5 steps ahead of me, from the hospital to the medical school side and parking lot to the restaurant and train station. What happened to walking side-by-side, getting to know the girl like an equal? Must he make me sweat to play catch-up? Why yes he did, otherwise I wouldn’t be complaining about power walking that eventfully cold night.
The night was downhill from the first moment’s glance. After leaving the restaurant, I insisted I can make it to the train station right behind the place just fine. He was nice enough to say he’ll walk me to the station, despite being consistently 5 steps in front of me on that walk.
- Shrug the hug: At this point, I wanted the night to end and go home to my apartment on Long Island. I had a long trip ahead of me from Jersey. I wanted to be out and away from this guy.
The farewell could not have been more awkward. He opened his arms, weak and wide, feet planted there at the platform, with minimal eye contact and looking off into the pitch-black distance, and waited for me to fall into his embrace. Even then, it was not the warm and commanding embrace; instead, it was wimpy, yet wooden. Wimpy because his arms created a flabby hold and wooden because his body was stiff, his feet cemented in place. An epic awkward hug …
One week after that epic encounter, we were supposed to meet up to have lunch at Wafel’s and Dinge’s and see a WongFu show at Columbia University. It was prematurely planned in October, before we met. The thought of meeting him again made me cringe. Needless to say, after my interview at Mount Sinai that Saturday, I was ready to cancel and peace on this guy. And he sounded pretty okay with it too, judging from his nonchalance via texting.