Dating Boys, Part 2 of 2: Warning Signs

Continued from Dating Boys, part 1 of 2: How to be a Boy

I go out with a lot of nerdy types. I also go out with a lot of boys. There is a direct correlation here. Nerdy people are often a little detached from reality and not exactly on top of social standards. I like to think that I’m tolerant and understanding. I have, upon occasion, firmly told a fellow that I want him to plan the date. But usually all that does is treat a single symptom. If you are a nerd of this type or know one, please read these two posts carefully. Unless, of course, you actually do want to marry a virago, in which case, keep doing what you’re doing, and please add your preference to your shidduch profile. It will save the rest of us the frustration of going out with you.

Like I said, I’ve gone out with a number of guys who exhibited these symptoms. But it wasn’t until recently that I had the little revelation that brought me to the “Mama’s Boy” classification. I had that epiphany on a slushy street corner in Brooklyn, snow drifting down gently, my toes soggy and numb, listening to my date explain why we shouldn’t go into the Starbucks two feet away from us.

Maybe it was my fault. When he’d asked where to go, I’d given my standard suggestion of a walk in the park. But since it was winter, I suggested we end the walk someplace where we could find a hot drink. I thought I had skillfully left him an opening to take charge of the date again by finding some cute boutique coffee shop for us.

Just in case, though, I googled up some local Starbucks shops.

Prospect Park was beautiful in snow drifts and flurries. I tried not to let it bother me that he let me choose the direction at every fork. It seemed to be because he had little interest in, well, anything. But maybe he was just being courteous. Conversation was pleasant, but my feet were soon frigid. I was wearing my pretty boots instead of my warm ones.

I suggested we head someplace warm, and he obligingly followed as I chose a fork that went to a park exit. There I stopped. He stopped.

“Where to?” I asked.

“Dunno,” he answered. Sparing you the back and forth: he hadn’t looked up any local coffee shops. Forget the boutique shop, he didn’t even know where the nearest Starbucks was. Luckily, I did. I didn’t want to rub in my lack of faith in him, though, so I just pointed in a direction that I knew would prove fruitful and said, “Why don’t we walk that way and see what we find?”

Wouldn’t you know, we came across a Starbucks in only a few blocks. I waited for him to suggest we go inside.

He didn’t.

My toes were sending Mayday signals that were increasingly urgent. I said, “Shall we go in?”

He peered in the window. “The line is too long.”

He was right. Every single person in Brooklyn had chosen to drop into this particular Starbucks on this particular afternoon. The line was at least a half-hour long, probably longer. But that wasn’t the point.

“My feet are cold,” I reminded him.

“Let’s walk a little further and see if there’s another,” he suggested.

His first original suggestion for the date, and it was wrong. I told my toes to hang in there. There was another Starbucks six blocks down. Their response was faint and pitiful, but they faithfully kicked into gear again.

And that was when all my illusions about him came crashing down.

You see, I’d heard wonderful things about him before we went out. About his dedication to the old lady across the street. His packaging food for Tomchei Shabbos. His helping Russian immigrant children with their Hebrew studies.

But standing out there on the slushy street corner, my toes crystallizing in my thin (but pretty!) boots, I realized that he hadn’t done any of these things. He had yet to demonstrate the thoughtfulness and initiative it would take to dream up even part of one of them. It must have been his mother. I could imagine her, a bustling woman who told her boy to do nice things like clear the table after a kiddush, who he promptly obeyed.

Well, she could keep him.


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Things I Have Not Said on a Date…

…but sometimes wish I had. I mean, it’s not like those dates went anywhere. I might as well have gotten something out of the experience.

“Mind if I jot down a few of these titles?”

The B&N date. There you are surrounded by shelves and shelves of books… okay, it very much raises your awareness of how many trees die for the sake of tripe, but what about the good stuff? Or the stuff that looks good? You can’t exactly pull The Hunger Games off the shelf to skim when you’ve got a guy to entertain. But would it be very rude to jot down the title and author of that book with the very clever cover over there?

“Can we get the inner tubes from your car and try that flume?”

This one occurred to me while putting at the lamest mini golf course in the world. I thought the fun of mini golf was hitting the ball through windmills and loop-the-loops and various other interesting obstacles. Not this course. It was 18 holes of 12 feet of blank fake turf. The most interesting thing was a fake stream coursing between the various stations. It reminded me of a water park slide. And it was long enough to afford a few seconds of sliding. If only…

“Just let me take off my heels and we’ll race.”

The Intrepid has a long flight deck. I’d probably have to work hard not to leave the average out-of-shape bochur embarrassingly behind, but it would be worth the effort. The other time I wanted to kick off the shoes and run: escalator racing in the mall. He takes the one going up; you take the one going down, and whoever gets to the top first wins. Only you can’t do that in cockroach killers. So you hand him your boots (he’s the gentleman after all) and take off.

“Would you mind admiring those violets for just a few minutes?”

There is one seriously deficiency to walk-in-the-park dates. You can’t actually do any fun park things when you’re wearing a short skirt and hosiery. It is sooo painful to walk past all those amazing climbing trees and not get a chance to give them a swing. Or a clamber. And seriously – what are sprawling, well-branched trees there for, if not climbing?

“Wheeeee!”

The Waldorf-Astoria has some amazing banisters leading up from its lobby. They’re wide enough that you can comfortably perch on them sidesaddle, and not so steep that you have to worry about flying off sans dignity… oh why didn’t I give them a whirl? I confess this is one thing I still regret and regularly kick myself over. If anyone finds themselves in the Waldorf-Astoria lobby on a date, carpe diem – take a ride down the banisters.