—Sunday, November 27th, 2011—
A second date with a fellow dating blogger sounded like fun and a movie at home on a late November Sunday felt like the perfect choice.
As with the first time Ally and I went out, I arrived at the her subway stop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn early. This time I only had 15 minutes to burn and killed some time by playing with my phone and strolling around the block at a sloth-like pace. There wasn’t much more time I could waste, and so I approached the front of Ally’s apartment two minutes ahead of schedule.
Two minutes felt like an acceptable amount of time to be early. It showed that I was prompt, but not over eager, nor too much of a perfectionist that I waited until exactly the minute scheduled.
As instructed, I rang the top buzzer and Ally came down from her top floor apartment to let me in. I greeted her with a mildly awkward hug. It was only awkward because it was our second date and I think a kiss on the cheek would have been appropriate, especially since I had kissed her at the end of our last one.
It was my third second date that week. I should have been used to repeat hellos, and yet, I still messed up.
Entering Ally’s apartment, I noticed how nice her place looked compared to mine. Maybe it was the fact that she was a handful of years older than me, or perhaps it was because it was an apartment shared by two women and my place was inhabited by a couple of overgrown boys. Whatever accounted for it, there was a discernible difference in quality between her apartment and my own.
All three of my dates that week had taken place in the homes of my dates. I just think that’s worth noting.
Ally was cooking lunch for the upcoming week and assured me that it wouldn’t be much longer. “I should do that,” I thought to myself — cook a large meal on Sunday for the coming week of lunches. Not only would it be healthier in many cases, but it would save a buttload of money — a buttload.
She was dressed in what I can only describe as “activewear” and looked casually very cute. I think activewear is the grown up version of never getting dressed, and is definitely better looking than JUICY sweats or oversized hoodies. I wasn’t sure what I should wear for a Movie At Home Date, so I had gone with relaxed corduroys and a fitted sweatshirt. I was glad that she had taken the casual path as well.
Since it had been a few days earlier, we got caught up on each other’s Thanksgivings — hers in CT and mine in NJ. Ally’s had been the same as every other year. She had the same discussions with the same people, which only made those things feel more like an obligation than anything else. That had not been very fun. I hope that if I ever start a family, they won’t feel obligated to hang out with me on holidays. Though, I hope they’d want to. I don’t want to be a lonely old man.
My family wasn’t very regimented about Thanksgiving. Although we always congregated at the same place in Vermont, it was not a big deal for us to miss it. In fact, my brother had been in London that whole week, the same place I had spent Thanksgiving a couple years before.
As a fellow dating blogger, Ally was interested to hear about the Meet The Parents Date which occupied my Thanksgiving. I told her all about it, in Sparknotes form, as she continued to cook.
In my backpack, I’d brought a few things with me including a bottle of Syrah, nonpareils and microwave popcorn. I had also brought the following movies for us to choose from: 50 First Dates (thematic blog relevance), Fever Pitch (straight up rom com from Beantown), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (coolish movie to show that I am coolish), Saved! (dark horse choice, but offbeat and funny), Everything Is Illuminated (personal favorite) and Annie Hall (classic comedy).
It was a pretty stacked lineup for a movie at home date, and the choice was almost too easy as neither of us had ever seen Annie Hall. It was really a no brainer, and a good date should be a no brainer.
Ally finished her lunch preparation and we made popcorn for the movie, popping it in several times at small intervals so as not to burn it. Ally was particularly concerned with not burning the popcorn, and thankfully, it came out just right.
I was excited for the movie — I couldn’t believe I had never seen Annie Hall, especially since I’d owned it for roughly four or five years. As it began, the awkward comedic moments had us laughing almost immediately.
A seat adjustment here, a reach for the popcorn there, the opening of the nonpareils and we had closed the six inch gap which had once been between us. I was very consciously trying to get cozy with Ally without making it looking like I was trying, though I am sure she knew exactly what I was up to.
Not long into the movie, there is a scene where Alvy (Woody Allen) and Annie (Diane Keaton) have subtitles explaining what they’re really thinking as they talk through meeting each other. As we laughed, I asked, “Don’t you wish you had those on real dates?” “Of course!” she said, but damn, they might be scary.
In retrospect, I should have done a Radical Honesty Date where my date and I would both have to say what we were truly thinking the entire time. I can only imagine how ridiculous it might get. Picture it for yourself — the tension, the accidental slights, the unfiltered truth!
Ally made sure to tell me that this was a terrible idea, and she was likely correct, but I wasn’t one for avoiding terrible situations with women.
Later, there is a scene where Alvy tells Annie to give him a kiss early on in the evening of their first date so that they may avoid the inevitable awkward moment later. I laughed at it and wished I had the gusto to be that bold on a first date. I found the gesture to be very confident and also endearing. Ally saw the moment differently and remarked that it was a weak move for a man to ask permission to kiss someone. Although I understood her point of view, I told her that I actually asked for permission a fair portion of the time, so I was disappointed to hear that she disapproved.
Asking for someone to kiss you and asking if you can kiss someone were a bit different though. The first showed a bold confidence, while the second was a decidedly beta male move.
We debated the act of kissing, specifically whether or not it’s the man’s responsibility. Ally didn’t think that she should ever have to make a move. She said that if a woman wanted you to kiss them, you would know. Well, that was not so true, at least not in my experience. Sometimes women needed to be incredibly obvious because there were guys like me out there. Guys that didn’t want to fuck up anything, even if it seemed safe. After I pointed out some of the shittier aspects of being a man in that situation, she agreed that it could be tough. After all, there was a lot of pressure on us guys.
I watched Ally grab a blanket and drape it over the two of us and realized that I was not the only one maneuvering to make the date more cozy. It was becoming more and more a movie at home date — the kind you have when you actually know someone well and it’s not just your second date. I continued to enjoy the movie but eventually needed to pee.
As I entered the bathroom, I could hear Ally pause the film.
Take notice of this moment because it’s a good one.
Ally had just done something that let me know that she gave a damn. It was the kind of moment that told me I was out with a great woman. I hadn’t asked her to pause it, but as soon as I made my move to the bathroom, she made sure I wouldn’t miss anything. Sure, it was common courtesy amongst friends and family, and some people may simply consider it polite, but it wasn’t uncommon in dating that people simply forgot to be polite. Those small moments of kindness make a lasting impression.
I returned from the bathroom and asked if she wanted something to drink. Though water would have been a wise choice as well, we went with the wine that I had brought. We’d have to hydrate later.
As I opened and poured the Syrah into a pair of glasses, Ally took the opportunity to use the bathroom herself. We sat back down on the couch to continue the film and it was then that I make my mistake.
Just after sitting down, I took a sip of the wine without toasting Ally, and she let me know that was not how to do it. She educated me on the bad luck associated with not toasting with full eye contact and how it would lead to seven years of bad sex. I had never heard this superstition but apparently the rest of the world had.
Damn — a faux pas. I didn’t want to be corny and formal by toasting, but I suppose I was trying too hard to be casual. Oh well — she forgave me, thankfully. She would just have to avoid having sex with me for the next seven years.
Half a glass of wine down and I was feeling bold enough to kiss Ally, but I always wanted to kiss, so decided I should finish the glass of wine first. Once complete, I placed my glass down on the table and waited. A few minutes later, Ally did the same. With my first obvious opportunity of the evening, and knowing that I sure as shit shouldn’t ask first, I leaned over and kissed her.
We made out several times as the movie wound down and when it ended, we sat next to each other, wondering what exactly came next.
Ally said that it was on me to decide what was next since it was my date and I told her, “Well, I know we need to eat dinner eventually, but I’d kind of like to just make out some more, to be honest.”
“Okay, let’s do that then,” she agreed.
After a little while of getting hot and heavy, interrupted only once by her roommate, it seemed the perfect time for tacos.
The food was solid and the company was great too. We tried each other’s dishes and had some laughs. It was a calm, unhurried dinner and boy, did I love a good taco.
I went back to her apartment to get my things, leaving her with Everything Is Illuminated and Saved! for her to watch on her own.
Once I had everything ready to go, Ally walked me down to the front door and gave me a kiss goodnight.
It was a picture perfect Sunday.