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Coming Together

Date #2 with The Terrorist:

On our first date, we had made plans to watch a movie; her idea – The Hangover 2 at the Dollar Theater on Saturday. I called The Terrorist (so named because of her frequent business jaunts to Israel and Jordan) that afternoon to finalize the times and offered to pick her up, which she gladly agreed to. I suggested having a glass of wine before the movie, which she also gladly agreed to. I should have been more specific. I pull up to her house, open the trunk to grab the bottle of Cabernet, and she jogs out excitedly, asking me which bar we’re going to for our wine. I quickly toss the bottle back in the trunk and we drive.

We sit at the bar at this divey Italian restaurant which serves us wine in massive glasses, just huge soup bowls of wine. We talk about restaurants we haven’t been to yet and food we’d like to try and cook. I play up the truffles I’ve made as desserts for several cocktail parties. We chug the wine and head for the movie. Of course, once we’re settled in the back row, I’m thinking the entire time about the mechanics of holding her hand, or making out, or whatever, trying to focus on the movie and simultaneously assess her body language and her level of interest, one-quarter-of-a-second at a time. I catch myself. That was the old me, begging for approval. The new me leans over every few minutes to make a cute joke about a scene in the film, but otherwise pays her little heed.

One of the restaurants we both mentioned wanting to head to at some point is Chez Fon Fon, so we drive there. It’s closing down by the time we arrive, and neither of us are particularly hungry, so we share a goat-cheese-and-veggie appetizer and some more wine. But it’s quiet. There’s no music. We’re sitting at a table, across from one another, not really in the right frame to make good physical contact, but we’re really chilling. We talk about music, and she tells me some more of her travel stories, like the time she pepper-sprayed herself. Accidentally, she says.

Neither of us is ready for the night to end. We think about Speakeasy, or Rogue, or some other dive with good music, but I decide on old reliable, Pale Eddie’s. The band’s excellent, a good mix of fast and slow songs. We sit outside on the patio for a while and joke about rebelling against our parents, then we walk inside and lean on a table, and sway to the music. She buries her head into my neck. I melt. It’s the confirmation I’ve been looking for all night. I push the bridge of my nose against hers (that’s my move, don’t steal it!) We kiss, a couple times. The bar lights turn on, and we check our watches. It’s almost 2am. She apologizes for keeping me out late. If she only knew that there was no place I’d rather be at that moment than with my arm around her, her hair matted against the side of my face. She strokes my cheek and tells me I should grow a beard like Zach Galifianakis. I make a point to throw all my razors in the garbage.

On the car ride back to her place, we make plans to get together Friday night for the film festival. She’s a movie fanatic and has always wanted to check out a show at the Alabama Theatre, just for the atmosphere of it. We make some tentative plans. I think in the back of my mind that I could get out of work early Friday and we could cook dinner together at my place before the movie, toss back some more wine or some sweet tea vodka martinis. Too much too soon? Or is my kitchen prowess the way to a woman’s heart? We kiss goodbye… and all hell breaks loose. In a very good way.


A good half hour later, we’re like two human Tetris pieces, stuck somehow on the front two seats of my dearly departing Beetle, trying to figure out how our legs and our arms and our hips got where they got in the first place. I’m laying flat on the passenger’s seat, shirt half-unbuttoned, my head jammed against the door handle and my right leg pinned under the parking brake. She’s on top of me; her blouse is rolled up to her armpits and drenched in cold, clammy sweat from her neck and her chest. I had always heard the cliché of car windows fogging up, but that was the first time I had ever seen it. She caresses the sides of my face. I rub her back.

“You want to go inside? We’d have more room,” I suggest.
“My mom’s staying with me for a few months.”
“Is she waiting up for you? Just kidding.”
“No, but our walls are very thin.”
“Let’s call this ‘to be continued.’”
“My purse spilled.”
“I see your keys. And a cough drop.”
“This was, uh… less chaste than I expected our second date to be.”

Despite this obviously being the hottest, sexiest moment of anything I’ve had in a while, with one of the more attractive girls I’ve gone out with, I’m a little anxious. Not at her perceived attraction for me. I get it; she’s on “my team”. She wants me to seduce her. But I don’t want to fall into the same old traps:

1) The too much, too soon. The easiest to rectify, but man, this takes a lot of confidence. I’ve sabotaged many potential relationships by going “all in” way too soon and scaring women off. This time, easy on the texts and the phone calls. Easy on initiating the public hand-holding and touching. Make her work for me. And more importantly, be confident that she *will* work for me, if I give her the opportunity. Hence the worry about the dinner date, and coming on too strong.

2) The tunnel vision. Related to the first one. Despite my claims to want to be a swinging bachelor with a little black book of hotties’ numbers, once I get some good feedback from a girl, everyone else seems to melt away. Also, I stop pursuing other women with the same initiative that I had before meeting the girl. Remember, friend, we still have:

The Killer, back from vacation this week; I’m ready to make a big move on her, mainly because I don’t trust that she’s really attracted to me, and I’m kind-of willing to let her wander off my radar if she moves too slowly.
The Lebowski Fan, a new girl on Match who won me over by quoting The Big Lebowski in her profile; we’re doing drinks Thursday after work.
The Intern, another new Match prospect who’s doing her surgery residency, and who I’ve seen around the hospital but not since we started e-mailing; tall, thin, blonde, and a total science geek, sounds like a fun date if she ever *does* leave the hospital…

3) The pure distilled insecurity. The hottest girl I ever dated was a teacher at a Catholic school back in Cleveland. I was 26, she was 22, and she looked like Dr. Cox’s wife from Scrubs (also the girl from The Drew Carey Show), but fresh out of college. I miraculously picked her up in a bar on one of those sleety snowy lonely winter nights when everyone in the city is huddled around a heater and a cold beer. I spent two months essentially convincing her that I was not worthy of her, forcing her to pinpoint every intricate thing that I did right during our courtship, while she was giving me every indication (including great sex!) that she truly liked me and just wanted me to be the same goddamn guy she met in the bar.

End result, hopefully none of this happens, I just act like normal happy me, and The Terrorist and I have lots of passionate, meaningful, emotionally charged, acrobatic sex.

Next time:
– will power, true goals, and the challenges of the Dave Palumbo diet
– I find a new muse in comedian Louis C.K. and his beautiful show on FX, “Louie”



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