I finally got a somewhat decent reply from a guy via my ad on Craigslist and we spontaneously met up at a sushi bar one night after work. Fortunately, I had dressed up for work that day so I was looking cute enough to go on a random date on a 'school night'.
Yet from the minute I walked into the restaurant, I was already writing this date off as a wash. First of all, "Holden" looked a lot like an ex-boyfriend of mine, which means he was fairly cute and very hip-hop, California stylin' and all that jazz. (Minus a point? Plus a point? I can't decide.) He was a Spanish, Italian, German mix but he looked like a Southeastern European, almost Serbian, I would say. He was wearing loose fitting pants, a Hawaiian print shirt, a black cadet cap, and listening to his iPod while drinking a beer. He definitely had the chill graphic artist/skater vibe to him and I somehow had the feeling that we wouldn't relate very well.
The date got off to a rocky start, partially because I was already on the defense, and partially because we weren't really sure what to say to one another or how to relate, even after all of those e-mail exchanges. He talked about his rough childhood in the Deep South, a life of poverty and abuse, and how he worked his way up in the world. I 'uh-huhed' in the appropriate places and I talked about, well, I talked about nothing. I felt like a huge square compared to him and for once, I had nothing to say, so I shut my yap, except to pour the occasional shot of sake down my throat. He told me about his apartment, his job, the boss he wanted to punch in the face, his mom, his sister, everything. He was a self-proclaimed lush and I love drinking, so in the hopes of having a better time, I drank. Lots.
We finished eating dinner and I offered to split the bill since we had spent so much (Minus a point to him for letting me split - girls should never have to go dutch on the first date) and we went off to find another bar. I couldn't say what on earth convinced me to hang out with him some more except the fact that "Holden" didn't seem to want to jump my bones immediately, and that was refreshing. And somewhat upsetting. Was there a goober in one of my nostrils? Did the cover-up on that nasty zit rub off? Hmm. I'd have to check a mirror - fast.
We went to Blue and Gold, a dive in the East Village and I drank some more, while he talked about how much he hated yuppies and all of the privileged kids, the trust fund babies that had gentrified areas like Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Park Slope. I wondered if he was suggesting that I was one of them. I understood his bitterness, it was something I had experienced once before, but I couldn't relate to that anymore. I had decided long ago to stop being bitter and to make it a point to make my life better, to make it what I wanted it to be, rather than to envy and hate others for having the things I wanted. I felt at that moment that "Holden" and I came from different worlds, had different perspectives on life, and that we would never see eye to eye.
As we left the bar, "Holden" kept trying to poke me and I was drunk enough to threaten to put him in a headlock if he did it again. He dared me to do it and so I did. (Plus a point for being cute.) I put him in a headlock and gave him a noogie like nobody's business. Little did I know that his revenge would take the form of something out of a scene from Catcher in the Rye. "Holden" went into a bodega bought a bottle of water and when he came out he asked me if I wanted some. I said yes, but instead of handing me the bottle, he took a big swig and like a human fountain, pursed his lips and squirted water out all over me.
Not to be outdone, I grabbed the water, took a huge swig, and sprayed water all over him. Soon we were jumping around, all over the street, dodging scared pedestrians, and squirting water all over each other like the boy and girl that Holden Caulfield watches from the window of his hotel in the book. It was crazy. It was nuts. It was the most fun I'd had with a guy in a really long time.
"Holden" walked me to the train station (plus a point for being a gentleman and walking me to my train) and it was getting late, so we said goodnight. We both seemed to like each other after that little escapade, despite our differences. Maybe I don't need a deep and meaningful connection right now. Maybe I just need to go with the flow and have a good time, backwash and all.