I felt awful as I got ready for my date with Rob. Sure, it was only one night of promise with Scott, but it meant something to me. I allowed myself—ever so briefly—to be hopeful. You’d think I would be jaded, considering my history of bad dates. Some might even suggest I should plan for the worst so if something good happens it will be a pleasant surprise.
That’s just not my nature.
Yes, in many ways I’m a realist, perhaps even a cynic, but when it comes to love, I’m a dreamer.
Pedro Superdoorman called to let me know Rob was in the lobby so I took a deep breath, put on a perky face and repeated half-full-isms as I rode the elevator down to meet him.
He looked great. In fact, that’s an understatement. He looked like he stepped off the page of a Brooks Brothers catalog. The man was practically wrapped in cellophane and there’s nothing that makes me worry more about an errant hair or spinach in my teeth, than a guy who’s that fastidious. And you know I love a well-groomed man but have to say, I draw the line at Felix Unger.
Even his shoes shined like a mirror and the streets were a slushy mess after a recent snowstorm.
Did he walk over with trash bags on his feet?
We headed out to Dakota Bar where he’d made a reservation. The place was crowded and noisy—filled with a bunch of hipsters. What is it about that ironic mustached bunch that leads them to believe they’re so clever? That everyone (even those seated two tables away) can’t wait to hear what they have to say? Could it be all those trophies for participation?
OK, back to Rob.
We ordered wine and shouted across the table to each other. I learned that he was in the process of a divorce, but not single yet. His parting was taking longer than usual because he had a very difficult situation with his wife—one I’m not going into. That he shared it with me was brave and I respected and admired his willingness to be upfront. He talked about his job and what he enjoyed doing when not working. He was a triathlete and competed often in ironman competitions. He started running many years earlier as stress-relief from his marriage. He mentioned that he’d been unable to run outside because of all the snow and working out in the gym didn’t give him the results he must have.
Now, when I say this man had a perfect body I want you to understand I’m not comparing it to the average in shape fifty-ish male physique. Rob could hold his own with Olympic athletes and I told him as much. Then he mentioned his BMI was that of a fit twenty year old. He wasn’t bragging, either, just stating a fact. He also said he was hoping that the next day (Sunday) would be clear weather so he could get up at 5am and go for a run. A fifteen fucking mile run or some god-awful distance like that.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
Let the over-sharing begin.
“I put on weight this winter. I’ve been sedentary, trying to finish my book.”
“You have a great body, I don’t see anywhere you need to lose weight.”
OK, Rob got big points for that one but he didn’t understand. I was wrapped in shape wear that would eventually come off. When I bid adieu to my little spandex friend—shit would get real.
At that point I knew two things: There was someone at our table who looked head-to-toe airbrushed AND one of us could strip down, walk naked to the bathroom and receive mad hipster applause. Neither, was the blonde wearing Spanx.
After a second glass of wine I was ready to go. Rob walked me home and apologized for choosing such a noisy place.
“Next time I’ll make sure we can hear each other if you’ll see me again,” he said.
I struggled to see the point. I could probably push through the impossible hardship of dating a physically PERFECT specimen, but Rob didn’t make me laugh. Not once. He was smart, had beautiful manners, and seemed incredible decent but I was kind of bored. Nonetheless, after the recent Scott debacle, “decent” won and I told Rob I would enjoy getting to know him better.
“I need to clarify that I’m not ever going to run. If you’re looking for a woman who’s willing to lace up her sneakers for a Sunday morning togetherness jog, that’s not me.”
I didn’t add that I was hoping for Sunday mornings in bed with the Times, a bacon, egg and cheese bagel sandwich, strong coffee and an even stronger man because, well, some things are best saved for the second date.
We said goodbye in front of my building with a chaste peck and over the next several days, Rob and I sent a few texts back and forth. He said he’d like to arrange a dinner date for the weekend and he’d get back to me once he had figured out his schedule.
Good ole reliable Rob. I was all snuggled up, safe in his steadfastness.
Welp, that weekend passed and another and another and I never heard from Rob. I didn’t text him, either, and wasn’t bothered a bit. Sure, it was weird, but no biggie. I just wasn’t that into him and obviously he felt the same.
A month later my neighbors and I were just about to head over to that same bistro for dinner when I got a text.
I’m at [bistro name] and haven’t been here since the night we met. Would you be interested in meeting for a drink?
Funny you should be there. I’m having dinner with friends in less than an hour.
We met up with Rob as we waited for our table. He ordered drinks for all of us and we chatted until our table was ready. I asked if he’d like to join us. He declined and instead asked if I would be interested in going to dinner the next night. I knew Rob was a good man and probably had a logical explanation as to why he disappeared. I was willing to hear him out. He said he’d call in the morning with a time and place and asked if there was any food I didn’t like. I told him I was really watching what I ate and I would appreciate a place with fish on the menu. I didn’t add that I’d lost five pounds and wasn’t wearing shape wear because who shares that kind of information anyway?
Steady Eddie called the next morning to let me know he’d made a reservation at Ocean Grill and would meet me there. Dinner was absolutely delicious–the conversation, painfully predictable. Rob didn’t mention his disappearance so I did. He apologized and then explained. He realized after our date that he had to push forward with the divorce—a messy situation. He’d also been approached about a job in another state and he’d traveled there, first for an interview, and then twice to assess the area. Both were valid reasons for being unavailable but still not justification for his lack of communication.
“I get it. Totally understandable that you’ve got a lot going on. You still should’ve told me.”
“You’re right. I got caught up in everything but should’ve reached out.”
“Ok, but I want you to understand. You disappear again, I disappear forever.”
We finished our meal while continuing to talk. I made him laugh and hoped he could do the same for me. Didn’t happen. It wasn’t as boring as watching paint dry, but it was pretty dull. I didn’t think I was up for a third date and after another chaste kiss goodnight I was sure of it. If he’d really kissed me I might’ve known if we had a drop of physical chemistry.
The next day he texted to let me know he’d enjoyed our night. He had some divorce stuff going on that week but would keep in touch and was looking forward to seeing me again. Over the next few days we exchanged texts. I didn’t want to go on a third date with Rob but I also didn’t want to reject him in the midst of what he was dealing with. I spent a lot of time thinking about a nice way to tell him. I wanted it to be the perfect blend of flattery and kindness—to let him down softly, that decent, considerate and consistent man.
After a few days that radio went silent and I never heard from Rob again.
Good Ole Reliable Rob.
“A man’s kiss is his signature.” Mae West