—Sunday, February 12, 2012—
Through parts of this day would come to exist on the internet, in audio form, it was actually one of the few dates that began in my home neighborhood of Astoria, Queens.
Maybe it wasn’t actually so few, but it felt that way for whatever reason. One cool thing about my date, Erin, was that she lived nearby. I have to admit though that this fact would have been more convenient if I had actually woken up in my own apartment. Alas, I did not.
I had been out the night before with Jamie, my Moustache Date, and I had stayed at her place in Manhattan, but we did not have any sex of any kind. In fact, I had seen her the previous weekend as well, but we still hadn’t crossed the sex barrier. She was really nice and fun to be around and I was clearly into her, but I still had the project and a thousand things on my mind, so I was trying to ignore those feelings.
Plus, my date with Erin beckoned.
I woke up early and rushed back to Astoria in order to shower, dress and meet Erin in the early afternoon. As I waited on the street corner underneath the elevated train tracks, outside of a coffee shop, I took note of the temperature — it was cold.
Erin and I met on OkCupid. Does it make sense to say that we hadn’t met yet? I think it does. However, online dating sites were so ubiquitous that they might as well have counted at that point. Did it really matter anymore — online versus in person? So long as you actually talked to each other about something other than hooking up? Seemed like just as good of an introduction as chatting at a bar.
Anyway, she had a good profile, big bright eyes and some really cool looking tattoos. Erin seemed right up my alley.
Bracing against the February winds, I spotted Erin coming across 31st Street and waved hello. It was a somewhat awkward first hello, maybe because we were both so cold, but we soon entered the coffee shop to escape the winds.
We were seated at a two top right in the middle of the restaurant and given menus. She had already eaten, but I was hungry, so I ordered a muffin along with my coffee. It was not a full meal, but I didn’t want her to look like a weirdo, sitting there idly while I ate a plate of eggs or something.
Erin told me a bit about who she was and where she’d grown up — a lot of the standard first date stuff. She was from Long Island and had a lot of friends out there still, so despite the fact that she lived in the city with lots of cool things to do, she often found herself driving out to LI to see her friends. The majority usually wins, I suppose. Like many first dates, she was a bit quiet initially but as we talked more, she began to open up. This was important because we would soon need take a pretty big jump from standard first date proceedings and record ourselves talking.
I could feel the pressure of that creeping in and I’m sure that as the OHD participant, rather than the creator, Erin was even more aware of that pressure than I was.
Naturally, I had debated different ways to approach this date, given that we needed to record something. I thought about having someone to my apartment to talk in depth about a certain subject. Maybe we would go around NYC and interview people about a topic. There were different ways to go with it and luckily, necessity had pointed me in the right direction that day.
Thanks largely to the number of cancellations I’d had in January, and some early February scheduling hardships, I was really in need of a date for that Sunday. So, when Erin said she was available, I jumped at the opportunity. However, she wasn’t totally free — she needed to go buy some new glasses.
This sounded like a good idea though. I would go with her to get glasses and we could record something about how we felt about eyewear in the meantime. A little adventure with some reflection on the world of corrective lenses.
After talking about work, general interests and all that good stuff, I finally asked Erin if she was ready to talk about glasses. And to have me record it. Fortunately, she held up her end of the bargain and said yes.
Here is the first bit — apologies for the background noise.
With our recording done, and our bill paid — the service was terrible — we jumped on the nearby train to whisk us away to Manhattan. It was an easy ride all the way down to Prince Street, which was only a couple blocks from the Warby Parker headquarters, hidden on one of the upper floors of an old industrial building.
As Erin and I stepped off of the elevator, we got the sense that this wasn’t the most welcoming showroom, and then we saw a sign which indicated we needed an appointment to shop there. With no appointment made, we simply hoped for the best.
Warby Parker’s show room was in the same space as their trendy looking office, just tucked away behind it all. We were greeted by a very kind sales associate who told us that it was not a problem that we were there without an appointment. It was a sleek, minimalist space with lots of light and a pretty hip crowd. It was not the uninviting space we’d perceived when exiting the elevator.
Erin and I both tried on a number of frames, interacted with the staff sparingly and also checked in with each other occasionally to see what the other thought of a possible selection. Outside validation was needed when shopping for eyewear, we both seemed to agree.
I explained the podcast date concept to one of the associates, and although he couldn’t speak on behalf of Warby Parker (no one from public relations was present either), he said that he would give me his general opinions on glasses if I wanted, but he couldn’t do it right then since he was working. Essentially, I got the impression that I would have to ask for his number or email and schedule a time to make it happen. I was not that outgoing nor determined enough to make this podcast all that it could be, so I forgot about him. The thoughts and words of Erin and I would be substantial enough.
Erin couldn’t choose between two great frames, so she bought both, which was a decision I supported. I waited for Erin to check out and daydreamed about working at Warby Parker. It seemed like a really cool place to be employed. Once her frames had been ordered, we thanked the staff and carried on our way.
Between my daydreams, I had also looked up a bar that was just across the street, so we headed there upon exiting the building. She was very happy with her purchases and a Sunday afternoon beer seemed like a great way to celebrate. When I initially said the name of the bar, Puck Fair, she thought I said, “Fuck Fest”. We got a good laugh out of that communication breakdown and decided that Fuck Fest would have been an even better name for a bar.
I really liked the look of the place as soon as we entered and we even found a small private-ish booth in which to take up residence. It was great. I grabbed some beers for us and we sat down to talk. I took out my phone, which was less awkward this time around, and placed it on top of my pint glass — a dangerous move — so I could record us.
Again, apologies for the audio quality.
Erin and I stayed at the bar for another round or two, talking about all sorts of stuff. She was really fun to chat with and I definitely began to sense a certain amount of underlying flirtation. The beers were helping too, without a doubt.
Eventually, we decided it was time to get going. We’d had enough of the bar and neither of us particularly wanted to drink anymore. However, since it was only about 7 p.m. and neither of us wanted our date to end, I asked if she wanted to go back to my place and watch a movie.
It’s amazing that the “watch a movie” line was still being used past college, but it was a totally reasonable thing to do on a Sunday evening, and plus, it worked so well.
Back at my apartment, I got Erin a glass of water and we took up residence on my bed, so we could watch a movie on my laptop. It was lame not having a television sometimes, but having to watch movies on my laptop was also one of the easiest ways to get women in my room and onto my bed. Not like it was a trick or anything — people knew what they were getting into (My bed) — but it made things less awkward if we had a reason for being there other than sexual curiosity.
We didn’t get through much of the film before we were making out and after we got hot and heavy for a bit — no sex again; two nights running — it was still only about 10 p.m. and she wanted to go home, so I called her a car. I thanked her for a great day and for letting me record her on what I was sure had been a fairly weird date in her world.
Long after Erin had taken off, I lay in bed and listened to what we had recorded that day as I drifted off to sleep. Nothing like reliving a memory so recently created.