Cut It Short
When I used to teach shabbos groups at my shul, we were given some advice I'll never forget: cut it short. If you've planned an activity for the kids, have it end early rather than late so that the kids are left wanting more. This is advice that I think can apply to business and to relationships-leave people wanting more of you rather than have them be sick of you.
Someone needed to tell boy #17 about this concept.
I'm going to call him Soup. You'll see why.
Soup entered my life at a busy time. New job (that I hated) long commute (that I hated more) (no, jk the job was worse than the commute) and new apartment.
The best thing about new apartments is when the super forgets to put in your radiator and then it gets unseasonably cold one October night and he turns on the heat and you wake up soaking wet because your room is flooded with steam from the open radiator pipe.
I also have a fear of suffocating from invisible gas in the middle of the night so waking up to a room filled with steam was horrifying and triggering for me. I did what any responsible young renter should do and...woke up my roommate to ask her what I should do. We concluded together (mostly her) (all her) that the super needed to be awoken. I was scared to go back into my room so I went to the super's basement apartment in pajamas and bare feet to bang on his door for twenty minutes until he turned off the heat and agreed to install my radiator that day. Then, I wiped off all my belongings which were soaking wet from being covered in steam for hours. NYC BABY!
So, the day of this date started with a bang which I naturally took as a sign that this was THE DAY where I met my husband and we drove off into the sunset.
I went to terrible job and had a miserable time and was like "I need to quit this job but I also need to pay rent and I don't want to look for a job again why is life like this" and then waited for Soup to pick me up from my workplace for our date. My workplace was conveniently located pretty close to Soup's house so I guess that worked out nicely for him.
Soup took me to an okish Fleishig restaurant where, like many kosher restaurants, they had basically every dish you can make with meat on the menu with little concern about mixing up entirely different cuisines in one meal. You could literally travel the world in this restaurant and find out that-in Brooklyn it kind of all tastes the same. The prices were moderate so I felt little guilt when I ordered a small steak and an appetizer. Being the girl #feminism I ordered first. And then my date turned to the waiter and asked for-you guessed it-a bowl of soup.
So now I feel like this absolute monster who needs things like calories and complex carbohydrates while this guy goes out after a long day and gets...soup. Either that or he's poor which is just as bad. And then, since naturally they brought him his soup first and soup doesn't take that long to eat, he got the rare and wonderful pleasure of watching me eat which is...not my most aesthetic activity.
So we ate and we talked and I thought, wow this guy is boring, luckily this date is only a quick dinner.
Not so fast, Archer.
We got in the car and headed towards Washington Heights. Yay! This would be quick and dirty. While in the car he did everyone's favorite thing about Brooklyn people: asked me if I knew the names of major streets in Brooklyn and then acted surprised when I somehow didn't know the order of the avenues.
Yeah but I make up for that by not being from Brooklyn.
We also had this exchange:
Soup: So I heard from one of your references that you love Halacha tapes
Me: I....what is a Halacha tape?
Soup: Like listening to a Dvar Torah about Halacha?
Me: Oh that! Yeah, I've never done that in my entire life.
It often puts a downer on things when your date
brings up that he spoke to your references
got weird and untrue info from one of them, or, more likely,
is mixing you up with the last girl he dated or the other girl he is currently seeing or the girl he is looking into for when this date goes badly.
And then, the unthinkable happened. We exited the highway while still in Brooklyn and drove to the DUMBO area beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. This was not where I lived. Was he kidnapping me and selling me to a gang?
Worse. He wanted to spend more time with me.
By this point I've noticed something about him. He laughs way to hard at all my jokes and stories and is fascinated by my whole out of town vibe. I'm a Sagittarius #thearcher and when I see someone getting clingy I'm immediately like:
Regina George is probably a Scorpio but mad Sag vibes. And I'm starting to realize that this might be a me thing and not a guy thing. A guy listening to me and being interested in me is like...the biggest turn off ever? And that might be my Sag nature talking but it also may be that I can't imagine a boy actually liking me so instead I've decided that there's something wrong with every person who likes me and I need to flip that narrative to where we can both like me. Some psychology for while you read this as you poop.
But in this case I already knew he was weird because of the soup and the Halacha tapes. And he was clinging to my every word. Help meeeeee.
We took a walk around Brooklyn Bridge Park, a long walk, basically half a mile down the river and half a mile back up. I saw the rock climbing they had set up and was like "oh that looks super fun!" Soup responded "do you want to do it?" I'm like yes, Soup, I'm definitely dressed for rock climbing right now and I definitely want you looking at me clinging onto a wall for dear life. Boys. It's like they don't know how to think!
When we returned from that walk I thought we were done. But Soup guided me towards a trendy Brooklyn hotel saying that they had a great rooftop. Fine. Let's go look at the Brooklyn Bridge from a rooftop in the cold.
We sat up there looking at the Brooklyn Bridge and talking and-remember earlier that the heat was on?-I was actually freezing, not just get out of a date early freezing. But at this point it wasn't get out of the date early, it was get out of the date before I turn 30 long. So I told Soup that I was freezing (since he didn't notice me actively shaking) and we went downstairs. Finally! We were done!
He took a hard left into the hotel lobby and got us both waters. At this point I've been up since 5 am. I've had a big meal and I've walked and I've lost a baby toe to frostbite. I'm tired. And, I've been talking the entire time. So I tried to flip the script and ask him about his life. I remember nothing of what he said because I was actively falling asleep and then trying to shake myself awake like an eight year old during the seder. Also, like me during the seder.
At some point I needed to use the bathroom because at some point during a 45 year date you will need to empty those bowels (for all your reading needs while you empty those bowels check out thearcher13.com.) He walked me to the bathroom because he was bad at reading cues and couldn't tell that I needed space and also that this date was over for me hours ago. Also, he also needed to go. He discovered that it was a gender fluid bathroom because Brooklyn. This is a bathroom where there's a wall of urinals and then a wall of stalls and everyone goes to the bathroom together regardless of what our genitals are. Every single girl that walks in to this bathroom sees the urinals and does a double take that she's in the wrong place. Soup insisted on making sure the bathroom was empty before I used it and looking back that was very nice but in the overtired I've been on this date for 1,000 years moment I was like (in my brain) "Sexist. I can take care of myself." BTW Soup used the bathroom after me so we both sort of used it as our own personal private bathroom that happened to have a bunch of urinals.
As we were walking back to our chairs (STILL NOT LEAVING HELP ME) a clearly yeshivish girl, also there on a date asked me where the women's bathroom was. I explained to her that in this part of Brooklyn we all share everything and she was not super happy about that. I wonder how often the staff of that hotel get asked by yeshivish girls where the women's bathroom is. And, honestly, no matter how women vote they can all agree that they don't want to have to see the urinals.
We talked for a bit more, I think I may have fallen asleep for 10, 20 minutes and finally we went back to the car....
....and got stuck behind a massive accident on the FDR.
At this point I'm loopy. I have zero control over what's coming out of my mouth. So then, we had this notable exchange:
Soup: I don't think we have the ability to really impact the environment
Me: Well the real problem is cow farts
Soup: Cow farts?
Me: Yeah there are way too many cows because with fast food everyone eats too much meat and all the cows are all farting and that releases methane into the ozone layer and that's why the environment is being destroyed and we need to stop the cows from farting.
I am a class act when I am tired.
I got home, 10,000 years older and collapsed into bed after tripping over my new radiator.
Soup didn't need a second date considering I barely survived the first. It's too bad because I think he's a nice guy who needs to get a personality and get better at dating. Though getting the personality would potentially solve the dating problem. Birds, stone.
I saw Soup at a singles event during COVID (the tagline was: People are dying, let's make more babies! I'm kidding. Maybe.) He looks the same as ever: sweet, awkward, the kind of guy you would expect to only get a soup at a meat place.
I probably looked the same too: on guard, tired, abrasive, sarcastic.
We all have our things that come out when we're tired or hurt or just done. That's why I like cutting my dates short. Like the 4 year olds I used to teach, I'm someone who is better off left wanting more. It's why restaurant dessert portions are so tiny. First dates don't need to be ordeals or magical journeys with 6 stops, they can just be a taste so that you are left wanting more.
I've gotten more mature and am able to ask for what I need instead of falling asleep and waiting for my date to notice or using Panda Sex to escape.
And what I need is short first dates where I get an idea and am left curious, hungry for more.
Sort of like having only soup for dinner.