By Zoe Eisenberg
A couple of weeks back I wrote about a rainy date I went on with my friend “Carl” that went all sorts of wrong. As I sometimes do, I got a bit carried away writing about the date, and maybe it came off a little bit insensitive. Okay, harsh. It was pretty harsh. I called Carl habitually anxious and bad at dating, which is the pot calling the kettle, to say the least. Carl read it and I obviously hurt his feelings despite the fact that I had teased him relentlessly about everything I wrote about. Apparently, there is a difference between flirtatiously poking fun at someone and writing about them on the internet.
This isn’t the first time I have hurt the feelings of, alienated or outed the people I care about through my writing—I wrote a sex column all throughout college, and my then-boyfriend probably wanted to stick his head in sand every time the newspaper came out sporting a title like Lube, Not Just for 13 Year Old Boys and Dried Up Old Ladies with my name next to it. I am sure it won’t be the last time I do something like this either. However, I do admit that in some cases I should be a bit more sensitive about content. I can publically call myself a wet hot mess all day long. But I learned about being kind to others in kindergarten—maybe I should revisit that lesson plan.
For some insane reason, even after our drizzly date, Carl still wanted to hang out with me, and so we went out again. And this time, Carl was not at all anxious. Actually, he was pretty relaxed, and charming. Of course, the evening couldn’t have been bad considering that we were in NYC, and we went to Blossom, where neither of us had been before, which is sad because I am a food obsessed vegan and Carl is a NYC born and raised vegetarian.
Before I continue with the events of the evening and how much of a biatch I can be, I will talk food porn for a second. Here I go. We started with the seitan empanadas which came with a guacamole made from avocado and hearts of palm, and this saffron aioli that I was basically licking off the plate at the end—classy. The empanadas were delightfully crispy and the guac was flavorful and unique without being bizarre or jarring. Carl had African Peanut Stew which had layers of teff, roasted veggies and a garlicky chard saute. Carl–who also loves to talk food–told me each layer had a different flavor and texture yet they complimented one another well. He let me nibble, it was great; the nutty flavor was enough to make the dish rich without overwhelming the other ingredients. I ordered lemongrass tofu which was crusted to perfection in cornmeal and pan-fried, served with a cauliflower & cabbage salad and some insanely decadent coconut basmati rice. It tasted like it had been straight up cooked in coconut cream; I was gasming a bit. It isn’t often that I get the chance to eat vegan desserts, unless I make them myself. So I ordered the dessert special, which was a parfait of three different flavors of pudding—salted caramel, banana and chocolate—with pecans and walnuts on the bottom.The chocolate layer was surprisingly rich and fudgy–can’t go wrong there. Carl didn’t order dessert but he couldn’t resist helping me enjoy mine. For doing so, I called him a woman, because (in case you aren’t aware yet) I am not very nice. Right, isn’t that a stereotypical woman thing—not to order dessert and then eat her date’s? Stupid stereotypes.
Carl got mad suave points for picking up the check while I was in the bathroom. I am known for arguing bills, and often feel awkward when being treated (I don’t know why) so that was nice.
Our post-dinner activity was the highlight of the evening, and that says a lot, because Blossom was amazing. First we stopped back at his place where we played a quick game of indoor soccer to Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man. For once, this isn’t me trying to think of a clever way to say we had sex. There was no sex. We didn’t even kiss. We really played some soccer to that amazing song. And then (the best part) we went to the park where Carl taught me how to play chess. This was a good move on Carl’s part because 1. Anything that requires brain-power and strategy makes me hot, 2. Being taught anything makes me hot. So, it made me hot. I wasn’t so hot at chess, however. No big surprise there.
Carl was great. Of course, because I am not very nice and also a big huge mess I ended the evening with an awkward conversation about how I am not ready to date anyone seriously and it wouldn’t be fair to expect anyone to date me when I am such a mess.
Of all the games we played that night, the only one that was not intentional was the one that occured at the end when I made up excuses for not seeing him again. It probably seemed like some weird “hard to get” manuever since we had just had a great time. But I don’t know how to play games (remember, I was terrible at chess). All of my friends, male and female, are costantly talking about game playing and suggesting rules I should follow: “Always make him pay on the first and second date.” “Never spend the night with him the first time you sleep together. Always leave after.” “Make him call you first.” “If he asks you out last minute, always say no so he thinks you have other plans, even if you don’t.” ”Wait a couple hours before responding to messages.” But the thing is, I have absolutely no self control; if I want to talk to someone, I do. If I want to see someone, I do. And if I don’t, well, I don’t. And if I act extremely confusing, well it is probably because I am extremely confused! Rules are for drinking games and football, not dating.
Basically, if Carl could read between the (messy, badly written) lines, what I was saying at the end of the night is I like you, that’s scary, please go away now. Sigh. One day I will pull up my big girl panties and get my shit back together. One. Day.
Hey, do you have dating rules that work for you? Suggestions? Want to leave me a note telling me what a terror I am? The comment box is open!
The Lusty Vegan is a lifestyle and sex column focusing on living and loving as a twenty-something year old vegan. More rants from Zoe Eisenberg can be found at www.sexytofu.com.