I’ve been on … a lot of first dates. Like, I couldn’t even tell you how many at this point, because the number is well over 100. It’s maybe at 150? Maybe not quite that high. And most of them have been fine, I guess? I’m not the sort of person who needs to have something fancy orchestrated to impress me. Mostly I’m just fine with a couple of hours of conversation over beers. Conversation is really how I connect with people, how I know if I want to see someone again, how I get a feel for a person.
There have been bad first dates, like the guy who asked if I’d had a good pee, or the guy who kept asking me questions only to interrupt me to tell me what I REALLY thought, the low-talker guy for whom I essentially performed a one-hour long, improvised, one-woman show (HUNGOVER), and other stories that I might get into more details about in other posts.
And while I think most of my first dates have been somewhere between ‘well, at least I got to try out that bar’ to ‘that was pretty good I’d see him again’, not very many have been incredibly memorable.
It was early 2012. I’d been horrendously dumped out of the blue on a trip back to Toronto the previous October, after which I decided to actively seek out non-monogamy. I had met a great guy in Toronto over the break (I would go on to date him for about a year and a half).
Back in New York, I was teaching my first class ever and excited but also stressed the fuck out. And, despite having many great friends there now, New York has always been a lonely city for me, and a nearly impossible city to date in. I went on many first dates, but I didn’t really date anyone there for an extended period of time. And this guy, we will for the purposes of this story call him Philosophy Guy (I mean I’ve dated lots of philosophers at this point but he’s the only one I dated in New York), I ended up dating him for nearly a month before it crashed and burned for reasons that are understandable and complicated.
We met on ok cupid, and as a philosophy phd student, he was initially suspicious that we’d already met. We hadn’t, in part because I’m a student at the one uni in NYC that doesn’t really socialize with the others (though I ended up meeting them through him). We chatted a bit online before meeting, and then finally managed to find a time to meet up right after one of the first classes that I taught.
We met at Milano’s on Houston. I was still high from teaching the Euthypho, which had gone unbelievably well. My students that semester were warm and lovely and on point and I got super into talking about how crux of the dialogue is that if something is right because God likes it, then it’s arbitrary (and that can’t be right) and if God likes things because they are ALREADY RIGHT then you don’t need God (or a moral authority). They immediately picked up on how this applies to the law (we have laws because they are right, not the other way around) and there was an incredible class discussion and it was JUST SO AWESOME.
In fact, that semester was when I first started finding my feet as a graduate student. And I hadn’t dated a philosopher in about five years, not since I’d lived in Edinburgh, and I felt like I was embarking on a whole new chapter, and there was something just so unbelievably satisfying to go on a date with someone who could relate, who could talk about teaching university and philosophy and the whole thing was totally romantic and erotic and incredibly satisfying.
So we had a couple of beers at the bar, talked about philosophy and teaching for a couple of hours and then he suggested we get food. I can’t remember why, but we ended up at this little Cuban place in Soho that I knew of, that isn’t cheap but has delicious delicious sandwiches and so we went there and had tapas and drank more beer and I told him about the person I was dating in Toronto at the time and he told me about getting divorced from his wife. We ended up basically closing the place, leaving around 1am and as we walked out onto Prince Street it had just started snowing in that amazingly picturesque New York way, and he swept me up in his arms and kissed me as the snow continued to fall around us.
Like, hot damn. That was a fucking DATE.
But dating is unpredictable. We only dated for about a month, at which point his wife called him up and they decided to give it another shot, and so I got dumped. A year and a half later we’d start to be friends, and he’s currently one of my closest friends. Which, to be honest, is one of the best endings I could have wished for.