twentyONE

I walked into the ghost town that apparently is Bar Abilene on a Wednesday night. Furtively glancing around for Mr. Tonight, I stomped my booted feet and clapped my mittened hands to warm up. The host brought me around to David, a fantastically large-shouldered man of average height with a crop of curly hair and bushy eyebrows (not dissimilar to a young Eugene Levy).

To be honest, I wasn’t in the mood to be on a date. I wanted to get to the gym for a good, sweaty, mindless run and then plop on the couch with the latest from Qwikster Netflix. But, there I was, outfitted in my wear-on-lazy-days cotton dress, Target-purchased scarf and zippered leggings, eyeing up the apps menu for something non-greasy and attempting to disguise my flat-as-heck hair. David ordered a glass of cab and we got down to the business at hand: determining how Bar Abilene was possibly still profitable with such scant patrons. Must be all those wild, post-college kids, drinking loaded beers and dancing on the weekends that keep the lights on. (Surely, this never was me.)

That conversation topic was quickly exhausted and we turned to the inevitable — talkin’ ’bout jobs. David, it turns out, works as a consultant to the banking industry. Basically, he powwows with banks on how to increase profits. This includes such popular strategies as wielding an ever-changing rulebook and slapping consumers with a large variety of debit fees (which, by and large, prompted the Facebook-led Bank Transfer Day that urged citizens to switch to not-for-profit credit unions). Oh BOY, that was a fun discussion.

After our goat-cheesed black bean dip arrived, we engaged in typical first-date chatter — where you went to school, what you do outside of work, the places to which you’ve traveled, what your house/apartment is like, how many siblings you have, etc. David was an entirely decent guy who regularly volunteered, loved his family and probably was in the a habit of holding the door open for the infirm and elderly, but the conversation was like day-old soda — a bit on the flat side. For example, David said he was an avid reader and I excitedly asked for his favorite books to add to my “to read” list on goodreads. However, he didn’t come up with a single recommendation. Not one! Lamefest ’99, dude.

Luckily, we stumbled on a few things we had in common — annoyance at not yet dining at Tilia, inability to tolerate gun-sluggin’ rap while enjoying a smarter iteration a la Atmosphere, and a mutual love of NYC (he had lived there for half a decade).

We kept talking, albeit aimlessly, until the darn waitress finally wandered over with the check. Upon paying, we bundled into our respectively puffy jackets and headed out into the chilly Uptown night. When it came time to part, he asked if I was up for doing this again. Like a good little girl, I was really brave and told him that I had a good time, but wasn’t interested in a second date. (I think it was more along the lines of “I’m actually okay… . . . but it was fun,” which is a super lame way to decline, but I still felt a bit proud about being fully honest in the moment.) He totally took it in stride and we shook our again-mittened hands. It was quite frigid in the cloudless night, so I skipped my way back to the car, humming a little ditty and hoping there was an open treadmill at the gym.

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Math!

#15: Goldilocks was on to Something…

A first for me, I had initially declined a date with It’s Just Lunch potential match Chidau for one reason and one reason only: he was 25. Although he graduated from an Ivy League school and was “very mature for his age,” I just wasn’t feeling it. But upon prodding and the feeling that my true ageist (and apparently flaming) colors were  showing, I agreed to meet the kid.

I wore fitted jeans and a slightly-less-fitted Theory top, anticipating he would be more dressed down than me regardless. I slapped on big, bouncy earrings and a complementary bangle, and although my desperately-in-need-of-a-trim hair was barely making the cut, I moseyed over to Amore Victoria and arrived before my date. (Maybe another first? Score.)

Chidau was smiley with endearlingly crinkled eyes and a combustible demeanor. We held the same job title at our respective companies, but didn’t share the same responsibilities so we ambled around a variety of work-related subjects until I realized I was most definitely approaching the conversation as if he was the child and I the parent. A surefire sign of a romantic connection. I doled out career advice in a sanguine, (hopefully) helpful, yep-been-there-done-that fashion and he reminded me about life with roommates, college loans and internships. Well-intentioned, but exceedingly not relationship worthy.

Side note: Having now dated boys in their mid-twenties to guys in their very-late thirties, I believe there is a morphing of years that occurs in age differences between men and women. A dude younger than me will seem disproportionately more so than another dude with the same age difference but older. To rectify this, take the difference in years between you and him. If he’s younger, multiply by two. If he’s older, divide by two. Now you have a better representation of your standing.

Although our conversation at Amore was interesting yet uneven, Chidau delicately pressed his business card into my hand as we saddled up to my car, but I haven’t followed up.

Thereupon, I would like to suggest a Goldilocks theory that seems to be testing well — there’s too old (>34), there’s too young (<28) and then there’s juuuuust riiiight. As luck were to have it, my idealized Mr. Right(eous) fits snugly between these two limits — mature, yet adventurous, spontaneous and youthful; experienced and grounded.

A friend recently asked me what was the No. #1 characteristic I looked for in a guy. My immediate answer was “He’s smart… he’s just… smart.” If I were given the chance — and I’m clearly giving myself a soap box here — I would extrapolate that to “he’s smart, therefore he’s likely to be educated, funny, interesting, worldly and freaking smart.”

Geologically speaking, I wonder how many levels of defining characteristics I would need to dig through until I reached the “optional/not essential” plane. Let’s see… The Must-Be’s:

  1. Smart
  2. Funny
  3. Handsome* ** *** (to me)
  4. Generous (to all)
  5. Patient (to me all of the time, others as needed)
  6. Loving (to all, but most pointedly to me)
  7. Kind-hearted, cultured, passionate, fun, adventurous, spiritual, willing, lovable, endearing, entertaining, independent, unique, rugged, engaged, dependable, driven, grounded, interested, interesting, athletic, hobbyrrific, so so sweet, disciplined, open, loving, affectionate, animal-loving

*Tall, dark and handsome, to be specific. See: Robert Downey, Jr.

**A TD&H man doesn’t always guarantee attraction, however. See: Nathan Fillion — although my grandma thinks he’s “hot” (her words).

***I will also accept a Patrick-Jane-esque man, of The Mentalist variety.

Seven and I’m in heaven! I think Goldilocks would be quite enamored with this fellow. Yes?

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Age difference, schmage difference. Underneath it all, we essentially want the same things: