It was mid-October and I found this message in my OKC inbox:
Hi, I’m Jimmy,
I’m new to NYC and OKC. I am easy going. I like movies, dinners, traveling, music, shows, and many other things. I would like to get to know you. I am seeking someone to hang out with, go on date nights, and just take it easy. I would love for me to get to know you better and vice versa. If you are interested, hit me back.
One week later, my response:
I’m Choo Choo. Well, I’m not new to NY, and yes, new to OKC… This was more like a curiosity and see what the hype is lol… What are you in NY for, and how do you like it?
From there, we hit it off, virtually. Like an exothermic reaction.
And yes, I was on a messaging spree with several guys at a time. No real harm in playful chatting, right? This multitasking game of finding friendship and love is a thrilling ride. The key is to strike a balance and be efficient. It’s a skill that suits me for Emergency Medicine, similarly a continuous and simultaneous game of meeting patients, obtaining histories and records, figuring out what’s wrong and what to do next, talking to more people, and simply getting things done. I also happen to have a short attention span with tendencies toward ADHD, so I fit snugly into both the OKC and Emergency Medicine world.
Quickly enough, by mid-November, he was like, “Cool, hey wanna meet up sometime?”
We started the back-and-forth fun and flirty texting game. Right after things fizzled out with Kevo, I picked things up with this new guy. What was special about this new guy?
To start off, he’s a Brooklynite working on his plastic surgery residency at a major city hospital. Again, there was that immediate bond by default of our respective paths in medicine. I could relate to his life as a surgeon, after barely surviving 2 months of rolling into the hospital at 5AM and enduring retractor duties. And I’m sure he could relate to my current status as a 4th year medical student with interviews, travels and … freedom! And like every other guy on the Internet trying to win a girl’s heart, he was super enthusiastic for Asian food and coffee, both of which are the bane of my physical existence.
However, here’s an interesting situation. I mentioned this guy to two of my good friends, both of whom had essentially the same response: “Hmmmmm, noo00OO00oo” and “Ooohhh, that’s dangerous territory” [shakes head side to side]. Historically, surgeons have this tough-guy, ass-hole persona. Little pleases them and more pisses them in the face. When they’re happy or mad, their mouths dispense brusque profanities like a child playing with a Pez toy. When they get moody in the operating room, do take cover. The last thing you want to do is incur their wrath or become the object of their projected displeasure.
So I was forewarned about potentially dating a surgeon, let alone a plastic surgeon. Unexplainable, yet understandable. I was curious about this guy who so captured me with his charm and enthusiasm, how could I resist? I was atop an emotional high, mixed with anxiety and anticipation, even more so than the last one. And the lure of a plastic surgeon, the doctors often delineated as tall, smart, handsome and charismatic, an all-around lady’s man. I must admit, I’m a victim to such men; easy to like, or even fall in love, but also easy to fall down hard and break into pieces.
Me: “I’ll actually be in Manhattan for interview stuff this week!”
Jim: “I am around =) Let me take you out.”
Man, this guy was fast. Happy face and all. A coffee date was set for that Sunday.
In the meantime, he sent me his picture one day out of the blue. I had no idea it was him, so I freaked out. The balding man in scrubs smiling and sitting casually at the cafeteria table … was HIM. At least he had the decency to update me on his current appearance, which only meant his profile picture on OKC was a dramatic blast from the past. On OKC, he looked like a happy boy at a party, probably high given the cloudiness of the picture; in the new picture, he was still happy and somewhat young, but clearly a resident who has become victim to sleepless nights and endless days. I say “aged” judging by the receding hairline and premature balding pattern.
The aftershock of the surprise lasted briefly. I was not going to let appearance dictate the beginnings with a guy, as his personality was shining through. During that week, he’d initiate the morning texts, asking what I was up to and how my day was going.
For a surgery resident, man did he have time to text! Which goes to prove, if a guy is sincerely and seriously interested in a girl, he’d text and talk, in typhoon and turmoil, no matter how busy the workday gets, even in the hospital. Seriously, doctors text all the time. I’ve seen it … and done it myself.
The big Sunday afternoon, November 17: Before my social gathering out in Manhattan, Jimmy and I grabbed coffee in Park Slope. The anticipation escalated the entire train ride into Brooklyn and I was practically popping with nerves as I waited at the street corner. There were 4 possible corners to meet this guy. The weather was also not helping, gray clouds looming ominously overhead.
Then I got his text. I looked up and there he was, across the street on the other side. We crossed paths and walked to a nearby coffee shop. Based on first impressions, he was not bad at all. He was definitely more put-together than the last weirdo, dressed in a black shirt and pants topped with a dark blazer. Nice, a guy with simple style.
Sitting together in a cozy little corner by the front window, we talked in ease and breeze. Here was a cool, hip and chill Asian guy who has trotted the world. An ethnic Vietnamese, he lived in Hong Kong for part of his childhood, then moved to the middle of nowhere in Ohio, until medical school where he transplanted to San Francisco, California, and eventually to Brooklyn now by default of his career calling.
We hit it off, more so in person. It was a much more smooth and casual meeting. Of course we had to bring medicine somewhere into our conversation, given it was the initial glue and catalyst to our budding connection. I was super interested in how he chose to become a surgeon. It was a laugh hearing about the horror stories of his residency interviews, like playing Operation while sweating balls and getting pimped on tough questions. Despite living the burdensome life of a surgery resident, he was still enjoying his life, like making the time to meet me.
Unfortunately, duty called. The afternoon had to be cut short. He was on-call, requiring him to be nearby in case stuff hits the fan, and he had to tend to some work at the hospital. And I had to tend to my social business back out in Manhattan. At the subway station prior to parting ways, he gave me a solid hug and said, “Well it was nice meeting you today. I guess we’ll text?” [fingers twiddling in texting fashion].
What did I like about him? Well, someone in medicine is always a plus. Then there’s the ambient air of comfort, the initial connection and the subsequent conversation flow.
I was most attracted to his bad boy persona. He fit the party boy profile, based on his stories throughout college and medical school of boozing and “baking.” After spending time in California, what more do you expect? Man, did I find him gravitating. He had this charisma and humor, a particular ease in smooth talking and layering the mood and just being real and open.
What was not so hot? I know better than to judge a guy by his looks and height, but sometimes the difference is tangible. This guy was small and short, perhaps skinnier than I am, if not the same height. As stated in my previous post, I have particular checkpoints in relation to physical features. However, if the personality clicks, I would be willing to move ahead to the next step.
I followed up with him that evening on my way to Manhattan:
Me: “Nice meeting ya today, thanks a bunch for the coffee time!”
Him: “It was nice meeting you too, I’m surprised an awesome girl like you is on the market :)“
Awwwwwww … I was flying on clouds that night. Darn the dark, cumulonimbus clouds. Still, I was bouncing in bliss.