As it usually is with setups, I felt a certain degree of pressure to make a decent first impression, if only out of courtesy to my HIL, who was already stepping way beyond his comfort zone by saying positive things about me. I also figured that, in case Jewish Theo didn’t work out, a glowing review would yield more future set-up opportunities. Rushing home from school, I spent an excessive amount of time selecting an outfit that would effectively portray the skinniest, most polished version of myself, finally settling on some sort of skinny jean and Helmut Lang blazer combination. (Being an incredibly boring dresser, I like to think of myself as emulating Emanuelle Alt.)
I was instructed to meet Jewish Theo at Beef Club in the Etienne Marcel area of Paris, a yuppie-populated neighborhood that I like to snobbishly equate to Murray Hill. Beef Club is one of those connoisseur joints that makes a selling point out of informing you about the grass-driven diet of the cow you are about to eat. (A far cry from the majority from Parisian brasseries, which haven’t changed their menu in forty years and would do scary things to anyone who dare question the origin of their entree.)
Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a tall, handsome guy who looked like he could play Adrien Brody`s cuter, younger brother in a WWII biopic. The only off-putting thing about him was the awkward white linen scarf wrapped around his neck, looking completely out of place next to an otherwise decent outfit. (Parisian men seem to have a bizarre girly scarf fetish that I fail to understand – during my morning commute, it looks as though half of the train accessorized from their wife’s closets, while the other half woke tied to the bedpost by some hippie stripper.)
Ignoring the offensive scarf, I focused my attention to Jewish Theo, who was suddenly leading me to a cavernous space underneath the restaurant. I realized that I had been invited to arrive precisely at the time when normal people finish dinner and descend to Le Ballroom du Beef Club, situated downstairs. While I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the idea of sipping cocktails in artificially intimate lighting, I really couldn’t blame JT for avoiding a full dinner with a girl he had only seen in an iPhone photo album (I’m positive there’s a Bro Coderequiring men to show pictures of prospective set-ups for pre-approval.)
We settled down at a ‘cozy’ table in the corner of the cave and began exchanging basic biographical data. Like me, JT had spent some of his childhood in New York (check). Unlike me, he had pursued a real profession, obtaining a law degree at the ripe age of twenty four (Completely plausible in France, where law is an undergraduate major. And, double check.) Instead of putting said degree to use, he had instead decided to follow his true passion, film making, at which he was already relatively successful. Overall, he was interesting and certainly far from stupid, which makes what happened thereafter even more disturbing.
Twenty minutes into our conversation, JT interrupted one of my expat anecdotes with a very exaggerated compliment on my looks. A bit rushed, but flattering nonetheless. When he paraphrased this again three times in the course of the next ten minutes, I decided that perhaps he just doesn’t like to listen to me speak. (Many people wouldn’t blame him.) I reverted the attention back to him, inspiring him to concentrate for fifteen consecutive minutes to tell me about some passion project documentary he was working on. As I nodded and made all the right facial expressions (combination of fascinated, concerned, and very, very impressed) he suddenly announced, in all seriousness, what a miracle it was to have met me. It appeared that, in all of his twenty five years, nobody had understood him as well as I did. Following this declaration, he got up, crossed over to the couch where I was sitting, and began giving me a very sensual back massage.
“When I find something I like, I never let it go,” he whispered in my ear, as he rubbed his long skinny fingers into my neck muscles in ways that were clearly meant to allude to his other hidden talents.
If it wasn’t for the hubby-in-law connection, I would have been out of there in a flash. However, I couldn’t run out and risk the chance of disqualifying myself from all future matchmaking opportunities. Instead, I delivered some rigid American spiel about ‘moving too fast’, which inspired my offender to eventually back off and return to his seat. In twenty minutes, JT had gone from being the cute film producer in the bad scarf to being the creepy Frenchman who may use said scarf for things far scarier than basic bondage.
He made one final attempt to express-rush the night by asked me to go back to his place for some more amazing small talk. With all the magic he felt, it was unimaginable that we would have to part so quickly. Unless you count the occasional adrenaline rushes of terror that I was experiencing, I did not feel much magic, and so I politely declined. In one final act of crazy, he then asked if I would like to accompany him to the Opera that following Monday. Temporarily thrown off track by the idea of fulfilling one of my Paris bucket list dates, I agreed to discuss it over the weekend.
The weekend came and went without as much as a word from the man who had claimed that we were two parts of one soul. Not only did I not make it to the Opera on Monday, I actually never heard from Jewish Theo guy again.
While I was never really affected by said events, I worry for the younger and impressionable girls who may actually fall for this crap and allow Daddy Longfingers to convince them that their love needs to be cemented overnight.
Consider this a warning, kids.
Bisous and BON WEEK-END! D-Magnetico and I are off to Anwerp to explore concept stores and the geo-locator function of Tinder.