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In My Next Life

I'm seriously bonding with Ms. Scribe over a bottle of 2010 Bordeaux at Vignt Sur Vin, a Frenchy wine bar in the Flatiron District. I've never had a bad date here, which I attribute to the unlikely combination of Feng Shui and cornichons. Probably the cornichons.

Some people are just so much easier to talk to than others. That's why it's important to go on enough dates to recognize the difference. You need to know who you can effortlessly talk to. And effortlessly laugh with. If it takes effort, it is just not meant to be. She is obviously thinking the same because she leans over and says, "it's all about chemistry. If there's chemistry you can talk about slasher films and have fun."

The conversation drifts to dating. Not surprisingly, she believes men have an unfair advantage. "In my next life, I want to come back as a single guy in New York," she says. Hmmn... I could tell her about all the women who treated me like an ATM machine, and about the thousand times I acted like a polite host only to be inexplicably ghosted, stood up, blown off, insulted and used, but I decide not to go down that road. The myth that dating is easier for men is critically important to the psyche of New York women; to them, it explains why they are still single.

Upon leaving she says, "See — I told you it was all about chemistry. If there's chemistry you can talk about anything, even slasher films."

On our second date we go to a film screening downtown, her choice, and a damn good one. Post event, I suggest El Quijote, an old school New York restaurant with great Spanish food. It's located under what remains of the Chelsea Hotel; a New York City landmark with a legendary bohemian history. We sit down at the bar and order a pot of Mariscada and a bottle of Rioja Reserva. Our jokes bounce off one another. She's pretty, funny, smart and charming. Everything I was looking for.

The night ends with me saying goodbye to her on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 23rd Street. I'm midway through a story when she interrupts, "just shut up and kiss me already." A few long kisses follow. We part ways. This mainlined shot of confidence has me totally euphoric. I replay the goodnight smooch in my head as my cab bounces and swerves through Eighth Avenue traffic.

Ecstatic that I met someone I really like, I buy two rather expensive tickets to an art party at the Whitney. I promptly invite Ms. Scribe who surprisingly responds by saying that she will get back to me shortly.

And then days go by without any word.

If you want to know how into you someone is — and this works for women as well as men — cancel your shrink appointment and do the following:

  1. Send them a text message with a question (i.e. want to go out Thursday? How was your day?)
  2. Give them a 45 minute grace period. They may at Soul Cycle working off the desert they couldn't resist. Or, not wanting to appear desperate
  3. Take an hourglass sand timer and flip it over

The amount of time it takes them to respond is inversely related to how much they like you. The longer it takes them to respond, the less into you they are. Period!

I reach out again and still nothing. I'm fully aware that delayed responses in dating are bad. Very bad. If a woman likes you, you can text, "I saw a dog take a steaming shit and thought of you" and she will respond. Probably find humor in it even. But delays mean buckle in for a hard landing and prepare for a trip to the Xanax drawer.

With this in mind, I decide that there should be delay of game penalties in dating, just like the NFL. I pull up the party invite again and see that names have to be put on the guest list tomorrow. That's it! I decide to throw a yellow flag and call a delay of game penalty, just to teach her a lesson. I send a text that reads: Haven't heard from you. Let's reschedule.

It doesn't go over well. At all. She is in disbelief that I no longer want to go with her. Or so she says.

A few hours later during a rare moment of maturity, I craft an email explaining my, gulp, feelings. It reads: Why should we miss out on a great party because of a misunderstanding? I would love to take you but I need to RSVP with names. Let's put this behind us and have a fun night.

A terse response arrives; not interested!

*****

Too late to invite a date I decide to bring my old friend Emilio to the event. Around the time of my breakup with ex-GF, Emilio was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his girlfriend. Back in our early bachelor days, Emilio and I never left a party without a phone number. Now we were out of retirement, back in the game.

I start a conversation with an attractive young woman. "You know, Emilio and I have been friends for 20 years. Do you have any friends that go back that far?"

"No!" she bursts out in horror. "I'm only 26 years old!" Note to self: old friendships are 10 years maximum.

We move along to chat up a few other women but no luck. It's a bust!

*****

Humbled by the Whitney experience I return to the comforting world of online dating. I luckily match with Ms. Grazie; a Midwestern woman fascinated with Italy. She sprinkles Italian words into her conversation whenever possible. It is just her thing. I am immediately impressed with her impeccable fashion sense; she shows up looking like she just stepped off the cover of Italian Vogue. In fact, she is well known designer and creative director, and we really hit it off from the start. I leave our first date feeling like we would make a great couple.

Our second date is really good too. I take her to an off-Broadway play and then introduce her to Ardesia, a favorite wine bar, where we further bond over flank steak and Priorat. However, when I kiss her goodnight, I somehow sense a soupçon of doubt. It's a fake kiss, the kind you do out of obligation not desire. I can just feel it.

The next day, rather than make assumptions, I again try the mature, express your feelings, approach. I text: Love your company, think you're great and would love to see you again but I'm a bit concerned that you're not entirely into it. Let me know what you think.

Her response confirms my intuition. Work. Travel. Commitments. No time for dating. At least dating me.

Another promising start ends in a disappointing bust.

*****

Smarting from the crash and burn with Ms. Grazie, I reach out one more time to Ms. Scribe. It's been a month since her delay of game penalty and I extend a friendly offer: "how about a holiday drink?"

Her response comes a day later: Sorry, traveling. No return date. No suggestion to reschedule. It's definitely ­— stick a fork in it — done.

I picked up my bag and I went lookin' for a place to hide
When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin' side by side
And I said, "Hey, Carmen, come on, let's go downtown"
And she said, "Well, I gotta go but my friend can stick around"

I stumbled down 11th Avenue toward my garage in a disoriented state. The only place on the planet I wanted to be was in the sanctuary of The Vessel but the walk over felt like it was taking days. In that soupy mix of negative thoughts bordering on hallucination, I saw a procession of disappointments past, and they all looked so bloody happy, all of them laughing and joking. It was fucked up. Safely belted in, I shifted The Vessel into second gear and revved up to 6,000 RPM. I queued up The Weight on the sound system and spun the volume knob until I could feel the music flowing through my body. As Levon Helm finished the second verse all the stress lifted and my mind cleared.

In my next life, I want to come back as a single woman in New York.

In good health, wine, and tequila,

— JJF


Next report

The Brentwood jezebel and the three ghosts