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Finally, A Good New York Date

by Grace Anders
A romantic summer date in Central Park with a picnic and a rowboat--by vutheara via Flickr

New York looks a little sunnier today, and it's not just because I finally Windex'd the dust off my mini blinds. It's because I went on a good date for the first time in New York City, more or less. Sure, I had a few that were fine, but this one might have been the best that I've had since I moved to New York. And, we already have plans for a second date, which no doubt I'll blog about.

I'm slightly embarrassed but still willing to admit that I met this guy on OkCupid, a site I've ridiculed in the past. Despite my best efforts to make my profile seem as normal as possible, I still get multiple messages from people asking questions like “Am I not cute enough for you?” I assume this is a poor attempt at baiting me. I also get messages offering to do all kinds of lewd activities, which I assume is the online equivalent of hitting on every girl at the bar and hoping the numbers work in your favor.

Anyway, this guy messaged me, and I normally wouldn't have replied – but a few weeks ago, I realized I reply to less than five percent of the guys who message me, and I'm trying to be more open-minded. He's not my normal type, in that he's a little more muscular, a little more clean cut, a little blonder, and a little younger than the guys I tend to gravitate toward. That probably doesn't sound like a bad thing, but I tend to go for the scruffy, dark-haired guys. But, since I decided to be more open with dating, I gave it a shot. 
Scruffy, dark-haired guys are more my type--by Bob Jagendorf via Flickr
He asked if I wanted to meet for coffee, which seemed reasonable and, more importantly, short. If I wanted to bail, I could do it after half an hour or so at coffee, versus the requisite hour for first-date drinks. Plus, he came to a spot near me, which I found to be both chivalrous and convenient: two important qualities in any man.

I arrived to the coffee shop slightly early, because I find it easier to be seated and make them find me than vice versa. However, when I arrived, he was already there and confessed to the exact same strategy and habit of over-thinking dates. This is something I can certainly understand.  And, I was pleasantly surprised with his appearance, which was less muscular and less blonde than in some of his pictures. Although that may be a turn off for some women, it's a huge selling point for me. 

A coffee shop is perfect for a first date because it doesn't require too much commitment--by Warm Sleepy via Flickr
More importantly, he's fun. I ordered a cappuccino and commented that I had recently seen a blog in which a clearly very skilled barista made 3D animal shapes out of cappuccino foam, which prompted him to challenge me to a cappuccino-sculpting contest. Cleverly, this also required two more cappuccinos, and thus another 20 minutes of time together.  
My cappuccino looked nothing like this one--by Bryan Pocius via Flickr
He won by sculpting the tail of a fish jumping into his drink, although I think my insistence that my cappuccino blob was supposed to be a shapeless amoeba had some merit to it. When we parted, he suggested we get together for a “real date” for next week, which I quickly agreed to. 

I don't know what made this mini-date great. It could have been that it was low stress, that I've lowered my standards due to my other dating fiascos, or that it was just 45 minutes long. But now, I have a second date that I'm actually looking forward to, unlike my last second date, which I was “willing to go on,” at best. I'm now starting to Google things like “fun spring activities for couples in New York,” replacing my browsing history of “quickest online food delivery,” and “good horror movies to watch alone.” 

We're going out next week. I'm not sure what will happen, but it feels like something fun  instead of a burden, like some of my dates have felt. That's probably a step in the right direction, and I'm planning (for once!) to at least be slightly optimistic about the potential of where this one could go.

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