In our last issue, Husband Hunter preps for a first date with her latest match.com flame, a hot-shot ad man angling to become a U.S. diplomat. Now she’s (nearly) ready to meet her husband. Well, potential husband….
I slide through the doorway of a sleek bar in the heart of Little Italy. No sign of him. Not that I necessarily would spot him in a crowd.
This is my second Match.com date ever. I’m new to the ‘we don’t really know each other’ awkward introduction:a half-hearted hug along with the cordial greeting, “Hi, I’m so and so Nice to see you.” No one says “Nice to meet you” because then by standers may overhear and suspect you met online.
I locate the bathroom and pull out my hard-earned can of mousse. I’m a magician when it comes to last-minute fixes. A little water scrunched into the hair, add a dollop of foam and blot skin to hide evidence of running through city streets.
I step out of the restroom and peek around a corner. I don’t see anyone under 40 standing awkwardly alone. I slide onto a stool at the bar and practice looking nonchalant. He arrives. Handsome. Better looking in person than in photos.
Here’s an online dating tip: Don’t fear the posted profile photos. This may contradict what friends say – horror stories of people aging five years and 40 pounds since snapping the photo.
In my experience, guys are true to their photos and often even better looking, especially guys with noses a little too large for the face. Noses always seem better in person.
He settles in. We order drinks. Conversation is easy.
We’re both travelers and compare notes.He works for a startup ad agency but is interviewing to become a U.S. diplomat.
I’m a reporter who’s taken time here and there to explore the vineyards of France and the slums of Cambodia.
Like most young travelers, we agree:fancy hotels and detailed itineraries = bad; overstuffed backpacks and grimy,“authentic” restaurants = good.
We don’t really stray from travel talk.I note that his idea of a plush diplomatic placement is some volatile country in the Middle East. Mine is more like some happening middle-of-the-ocean island.
He’s a little low-key, and almost emotionless,whereas I’ve actually wet my pants,as an adult, from laughing too hard.Twice.
Balance is healthy though, right? Opposites attract?
We head outside and I offer a ride to the subway station. I figure he’s cute and bound for diplomacy. If the U.S. trusts him to represent us overseas surely I can trust him for two minutes in my dusty pickup. My logic seemed solid after two glasses of chardonnay.
My red truck sits in a nearby garage.I apologize profusely when I remember the blotchy windshield, scattered pebbles,used Crest Whitening Strip tossed in the drink holder and four shoulder bags crammed into the cabin. I rarely travel light.
The bags are the least of my worries when I open the driver’s side door and a sour odor hits my nostrils. What the hell?
It smells like rotten food.
I don’t say anything. He doesn’t say anything.I roll down my window and start the engine, hoping to god I have a heightened sense of smell and he hasn’t noticed a thing.
We start talking. I forget I don’t know where the hell I’m driving.
After missing two opportunities to drop him off at a subway station because I’m too busy entertaining and not busy enough navigating, he leads me to his apartment across the city. I still think we’re headed to the subway when we pull up in front of his pad.
I’ve played it really hard to get – invite a stranger into my car and drive him to his apartment across the city on the first date. Smooth.
We say bye.
I turn the corner while simultaneously, and not safely, struggling with my GPS. When I finally pull to a stoplight I seize the moment to find the source of the rotten food smell.
It’s rotten food.
Broccoli dipped in fat-free ranch dressing.A healthy snack which sat uneaten in my car for 48 hours.
A week later Diplomat still hasn’t called.
Was it the broccoli?
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