Moustache Date

—Friday, December 2, 2011—

I present to you, ladies and gentlemen of the internet, a moustashioed date in two parts.
We begin with the prologue.

Moustache Date 1A friend of mine from college, Jenna, texted two weeks before this date, in late November.

Moustache Date 2

When Jamie texted me the Sunday before our eventual date, asking if I’d like to grab a drink that week, I told her that Monday would work. That straightforward text message and her initial desire to go on a date both gave me a sense of her outgoing personality — something I really loved in a woman.

Adding to this story is the fact that, over the previous month month, I had been growing out my moustache in support of Movember, an annual fundraising event for prostate cancer and other mens health issues. I knew I needed to keep the stache until I went on Moustache Date and, with the month winding down, Monday was the perfect day to get it done.

I asked Jamie if she would be okay with being my Moustache Date, and she said she loved Tom Selleck, so we made plans for Monday.

Before final confirmation though, she clarified by asking, “I don’t have to sleep with you after this date, do I?”

Looked like Jenna had been right about the funny part. That text cracked me up.

On Monday, I met Jamie in front of Pete’s Tavern in Gramercy, having no idea what she looked like, but trusting that Jenna hadn’t steered me wrong. When she arrived, I saw that Jenna had also been correct about the gorgeous bit. I told Jamie what Jenna’s description had been and confirmed that it was spot on.

We ate dinner and had a couple beers and we were able to go over most of the first date basics like careers, growing up and questions about OHD. She was perky, bright and fun. Those might all be synonyms, but I want to get across how vibrant she was. There’s another one!

In fact, we were having such a good time that we went to a second bar for one more drink. I walked her home and gave her a hug goodnight. It was a really pleasant evening out and made be excited for our real date on Friday. In fact, I was sort of crushing on her.

The obvious question is, if we went out on Monday, and I had a moustache, then why was our “real” date on Friday?

Well, this is the second part of our story.

After planning that date on Monday, I discovered that I could get two free tickets to Friday night’s Movember Gala Parté, a big party at the Roseland Ballroom which served as a celebration of everyone’s fundraising efforts and a generally fun time to hang out with hundreds of moustachioed men. There couldn’t have been a more perfect Moustache Date, so after explaining it to Jamie, we decided that the gala would be the one to count. Monday was only a test run.

Before the gala that night, I had an improv show and Jamie had dinner plans. Thanks to the lack of cell phone service in the basement of the Triple Crown, where my show was, I missed a couple of texts from Jamie. I tried to call her twice but no answer. I sent her a text that I would meet her at Roseland as I ran out of the bar and jumped into a cab on 8th Avenue.

Moustache Date 3

I was waiting by the Roseland entrance when she called to tell me that she was a block away. Wonderful — no crisis. I was worried that my communication failure would screw up the whole evening.

A few minutes later and Jamie was standing right in front of me. She looked great, wearing a beautiful smile, and it didn’t matter what else.

On the way inside, the doorman joked, “Moustache? All right. Head on in.”  I handed our tickets to the check in table and she said, “Enjoy the party. Thanks for growing.”

Already, I was loving how thematic the moustache bash was. That last phrase, in particular, was interesting: “Thanks for growing.”

Certainly, I had grown a moustache over the past month, but I couldn’t help but think how much I had grown as a person in the five months since OHD had begun. I wanted to think that the growth had been significant — I was more confident, more outgoing, more experienced and a better dater. However, everything was happening so fast that it was hard to stop and catalogue those developments. I could only hope that they were sticking somewhere in the background.

We went downstairs to the coat check where Jamie paid to have both of our coats held. She was very egalitarian in that sense, which I had learned by nearly offending her on Monday when I paid for dinner. She made it clear that I wouldn’t get away with that again.

Back upstairs, in the main event space, the scene was lively and the bar was crowed. We had to brave the storm if we wanted anything to drink. It took a long time but I managed to wrangle two Bud Lights from the bar, only to find a fellow moustache brother (dressed as a pizza delivery man) chatting up Jamie when I returned to her. She dismissed his attempt like the wonderful date that she was.

We walked through the main floor to get a feel for the place, stopping and checking out costumes. Many of the fellow attendees were dressed up: Mario & Luigi, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Manhattan Douche Bag with a Moustache and many other costumes of varying quality.

For the record, I was not wearing a costume. If anything, I was dressed like a bartender.

By the time we made it to the other side of the dance floor, we had finished our beers, so we went to the bar on that side of the venue. As we waited by the large circular bar, Jamie asked me what I liked to drink (beer, wine) and what cocktails I liked (mojito, gin & tonic). Usually, I was comfortable with being an inexperienced drinker, but sometimes it could be a little embarrassing how much of a novice I was. Jamie could drink, she had informed me, and when our bartender took our order, she went for a Jameson and Coke. Since that was the case, it was a gin and tonic for me. Jamie paid.

We walked to the edge of the bar, where we could see the dance floor but still talk. Woof. That drink was a strong pour. We chatted more about booze and my occasionally comical experiences with it. Jamie was so calm and collected thus far. She had this really nice way about her that exuded confidence. I felt like she knew exactly where she stood and no one was going to rock that — as if she had a handle on the current situation, no matter what.

Jamie finished her drink well ahead of me and nagged me to hurry up. Okay, okay. I got the rest of it down my gullet and we returned to the bar for another round. Woof city. The next one was even stronger.

As we stepped back from the bar, I saw that the awards ceremony was beginning on the main floor. I didn’t know there would be an awards ceremony until just then. We walked out to join the crowd and watched the different awards be presented in categories like Group Costume, Best Moustache and Most Money Raised. As I neared the end of my second G&T, I was starting to feel flirty and more confident.

I stood a little closer. I made eye contact more. I smiled every time I looked at her.

I couldn’t help but smile every time I looked at her.

The competition was wrapping up and she said she needed the bathroom, as did I. We moved through the crowd and she grabbed my arm, then, my hand. There it was: that was my sign. The hand hold was almost always a sure sign that a woman would kiss me.

In my buzzed stupor, I was a bit cocksure about it. We began down the stairs and there was no one near us. Upon reaching the first landing, I turned to Jamie and went in for a kiss.

She backed away.

“I just want to kiss you!” I pled.

Jamie knew that, but not there, not then, she said.

Shit. That was stupid. That was really stupid of me.

As always, Jamie seemed unfazed, like the cool, confident woman I’d seen previously. She just pushed me forward towards the bathrooms and we went into our separate entrances.

In the bathroom, all I could do was scold myself. I mean, dammit. Come on, Evan. Who do you think you are? Is this some game to you? Maybe! It’s a all just a “project”, after all, isn’t it?! Grow the fuck up, man.

I calmed down by the time I found Jamie outside the bathrooms and within a minute or two, we had befriended another couple, Matt and Tara. Matt was sporting a great moustache, some serious height and a powder blue suit. While Matt was distracted, Tara made sure to tell us that they were only sort of dating and mostly just hooking up. It was great to know so much about them right away. Cheers to romance!

Per his insistence, Matt led us upstairs for shots on him and more dancing.

This is where I experienced a slow motion moment of clarity and thought for a split second, “This night is about to fly off the rails.” I had had three drinks since arriving there and two drinks at my show earlier, and I had already overstepped my bounds with the failed kiss. I was about to do a shot and the night wasn’t even half over. I think we’d only been there for about an hour and a half, but I couldn’t turn the dude down. He was so fun!

Bottoms up! Oh, God.

“I think that was straight vodka,” I said to Jamie as we followed Matt and Tara to the dance floor.

Now we were talking! There were a lot of rugs being cut out there and even a limbo stick floating around. Life was decidedly better than 15 minutes earlier.

We had been dancing for a little while when Jamie leaned in and we kissed. In contrast to my earlier attempt, this wasn’t forced. It was genuine and I felt redeemed, but most of all, I felt relieved that she wasn’t offended before. My timing was just wrong. It was not that she didn’t want to, I just had to have some patience.

Eventually, we took a break from dancing and found ourselves back near the bar. Jamie asked if I’d like a beer and when I said yes, she asked, “Are you sure?” Man, I didn’t feel nearly drunk enough to be questioned as if I were near my limit. Maybe she just thought I was a super lightweight. I assured her that I was totally fine to have one more beer and so she made the journey to the front line to fight for a pair of cold ones.

Having separated ourselves from our rambunctious new friends, we stood calmly between the bar and the dance floor, drinking our beers. I apologized for before, for trying to kiss her on the stairs. She told me it was not a big deal, but that in the moment, she thought of the 99 other women. She remembered what she was a part of – a part of OHD.

Allow me to paraphrase the conversation:

Jamie: There are 99 other girls.

Me: Yeah, that’s true. But if all I wanted from you was to make out, I wouldn’t bother right now. I wouldn’t be out with you twice in one week. I could go find someone to make out with. That’s not super hard. I want to kiss you!

Jamie: Do you actually think I’m gorgeous? Or were you just saying that?

Me: Are you kidding me? Of course you are.

Jamie: “No one ever says that.”

How had no one ever said that? People should have said that if they thought it. She was gorgeous, and there was no good reason why she shouldn’t have felt that way. Maybe she knew it. What was a man’s validation worth, anyway? Still, I bet it would have been nice to hear from time to time.

With our beers finished, we took the floor again and danced briefly, only this time, she definitely thought I was drunk. Yes, I was certainly tipsy, but I was honestly not that bad. For the record, I had only slept three and half hours the night before, and that was likely affecting how drunk my dumb face looked. She called me out, telling me I was drunk, but I argued that I was fine. This was a slippery slope.

We returned to the lower level to use the bathrooms, and finally, while I was taking a piss, I closed my eyes and recognized that I was drunk. I think it just took another 15 minutes to hit me. In fact, it was as drunk as I should ever be while on a date. Anything beyond that point was bad news. But hey, at least I was drunk enough to take pictures of myself!

Moustache Date 4

I walked back towards the women’s bathroom and waited there by a large concrete pillar. It was taking a little while but I just assumed that the line for the women’s room had been much longer. I leaned up against the pillar, attempting something like the look, “Oh hey girl. I’m just casually waiting for you because I think you’re great. No rush.”

After a couple minutes, my fatigue began to kick in and I felt my eyelids grow heavy. I felt like it wouldn’t matter if I closed my eyes. After all, I was standing up; it wasn’t like I was going to fall asleep.

This decision to close my eyes while waiting for Jamie was the worst decision I made all night. Worse than the failed kiss and worse than the too many drinks.

From a little ways away, I heard Jamie exclaim, “Evan!” and I slowly opened my eyes to find her. To my surprise, she was not walking from the bathroom — she was coming down the stairs. Apparently, I had been the one who took too long in the bathroom and she had been upstairs looking for me. She had texted me but I didn’t have service down there, so I had no idea. She asked if I was okay and I assured her that I was, but she didn’t buy it. She asked me if I wanted to leave, or if I though I was okay to go back upstairs.

Let’s face it. In her mind, I was missing in action and she found me propped up against a pillar in the basement with my eyes closed. She already thought I was drunk. When I opened my eyes, they had a week’s worth of exhaustion in them. I know that I looked like a waste case.

But I rallied, because honestly, I didn’t feel that bad.  I felt drunk, but I was in that good zone where life was fun and the worst effect would be a little off-balance dancing. It didn’t seem that Jamie agreed with me though. After about 10 or 15 minutes back on the dance floor, she spoke up.

Jamie: “I think we should go.”

Me: “Really??”

Jamie: “Yeah.”

Shit. Fuck. Dammit. We were only leaving because of me. She thought I was too drunk to be around. I really thought I was doing fine out there, dancing and keeping my shit together, but apparently not. I tried to tell her I was not as drunk as she though I was, but I didn’t protest the decision. If she thought we should leave, then we should should leave — she had already given me a few breaks that night.

I was ashamed. For the first time in a very long time, I felt ashamed.

We got our coats and walked towards Broadway to catch a cab. I asked if she would like me to “walk her home” and clarified that I was not trying to be a drunken creep. At first she agreed, but it would be just a sleepover, nothing scandalous. But while trying to hail a cab, within 30 seconds, she changed her mind, “Actually. I don’t think that’s the best idea.”

Oh. Okay. Well then, goodnight, I guess.

Jamie hugged me and got into a cab.

On the way to the subway, I checked the time and saw that it was not even 1 a.m.

I texted her: “I feel like such a fool. I’m sorry.”

Waiting on the subway platform, I could feel the alcohol more and more. I realized that I was too drunk to have been on a date. I had really fucked it up. I was not happy about it at all.

Without a doubt, this was the most disastrous date I had been on and it was entirely my fault. Twenty minutes later on the train home, I was just plain old drunk and could barely keep my head up.

Thank God Jamie had sent me home.

As I peeled off my clothes and threw them in a pile, I crawled into my bed feeling my very lowest.

This was a lesson. Take note, Evan.

So much for growth.