I recently had the pleasure of revisiting a valuable lesson that most people learn once and for all in their teens: never drink on an empty stomach. Especially on a date. Particularly on a date with a man who happens to combine an intricate balance of douche and alcoholic.
Jason* and I met in a way that, I suppose, could be perceived as “fateful”, unless you happen to be me, who has serendipitous stuff happen to her on a regular basis, without any fate-altering results.
*Fake name because I’m a respectful person.
Our meeting commenced, like all the best things in life, via the virtual cesspool of winners that is Raya. With his Howard street hipster vibe and aloof text manner, he seemed overly douchy even by my high standards, managing to somehow slip into one conversation that he was a filthy rich designer whose “brands were sold at Barneys,” before inviting me to come to his loft for Christmas leftovers at 11pm. I passed on the delicacies and quickly forgot all about his existence up until May, when fate got back in action.
It was one of the first hot days, and I decided to show off my new Miami tan by dragging my girlfriend on an exploratory bar-hopping mission around the Lower East Side. Said mission eventually led us to Leadbelly, where I noticed an extremely tall, smug-looking guy pushing his way towards the bar. Somehow, we ended up chatting, a mundane conversation that reaffirmed my suspicion of his inherent arrogance. I was getting ready to call it a night, when it suddenly dawned on me that he looked familiar – lo and behold, he was the designer guy from Raya! Five minutes later, the serendipitous circumstances were confirmed and a newfound connection had been established.
He texted me later that night, then disappeared for five days, then reemerged again with a series of bizarre texts, including a photo of Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz living it up in Blow, accompanied by the question “Do you like that?” I couldn’t figure out if he meant volatile relationships or drug cartels, but I continued talking to him anyway, realizing that I already had the groundwork for a good blog post. Little did I know how good it would be – and how much karma would bite me in the ass for such deviousness.
Fast-forward to Memorial Day weekend. I agreed to meet Jason on Monday night, figuring it would be a good way to test out my own staycation tips and spice up a a day of catching up on work. For no reason other than pure laziness, I completely forgot to have a normal meal that day, sustaining myself on nothing but coffee, coconut chunks and apples. (Yes, I’m weird.) At 8pm, I texted Jason to tell him that I was starving – could we please go somewhere that served food? He informed me that he had already eaten. I told him to meet me at Café Select, figuring that I could at least get a salad. (I’m not some 110 pound thing that can nourish herself with air. My blood sugar drops. I need food.)
By the time I arrived to Nolita on my Citi Bike (a trip that probably burned 200 valuable calories), I was convinced that I might pass out. Despite there being about six open tables, Jason was waiting for me at the bar, a clear indicator that dinner was not on his agenda. Instead, he had already equipped himself with a nice tall glass of tequila. He also smelled like a Diptyque fig candle, making me feel like I was at an Opening Ceremony store or some new age barbershop. Slightly nauseous, I decided to wait for a few minutes to ask for the food menu and ordered a glass of wine instead. Big mistake, huge.
We briefly chatted about our holiday weekends. He had gone to a concert, I had gone to Dia:Beacon, which I illustrated with a few photos, one of them being that of a Dan Flavin piece that he instantly proclaimed as ‘played out.’ I asked him who his favorite artist was. He told me that he didn’t have one at the moment, for he was too focused on his passion for space. Yup, space. He was particularly excited about the progression of discovery of life on other planets, a predicament that interested him far more than anything happening here on Earth. Feeling like I might chew off my own elbow, I decided to curb the excessive mental activity before it burned my last calories. Jokingly, I told him that I had a hard time figuring what we were doing on this planet, let alone understanding how life could exist on the other ones.
“Have you ever considered becoming more mindful?” was his response.
Huh? Was he for real? I briefly contemplated getting up and heading to the nearest Shake Shack, leaving him alone with his existential reflections, but, alas, he got the best of me. I tossed a few stats at him: we are driving the planet to shit, life on earth will be over in the next 1000 years, what’s the point of all of this anyway? He informed me that I should seek the answer within myself. I debated seeking the answer within my fist.
The bartender asked if we wanted anything. I decided that ordering food would be too much of a commitment to staying there for an extra thirty minutes and passed. Jason ordered another tequila, then turned to me and announced, with a very serious expression:
“I’m on a very special path in life. I’m not surprised that you don’t understand.”
Whoops. My hanger hit the fan and I exploded, ripping him a new one and telling him that, for all his New Age wisdom, he was but an embarrassment to a belief system that prioritized acceptance of ALL humans, not just those who share a passion for crystals.
To my surprise, he instantly recognized his faux pas and tossed something resembling an apology in my direction. I realized that I had just yelled at a complete stranger and reciprocated with an apology of my own. We laughed and toasted to our truce, after which I asked for another wine and he ordered his third tequila.
The conversation moved on to far more honest territory. Families, careers, personal challenges, psychological flaws were discussed. Over the course of the conversation, his weirdness started seeming appealing, and I began wondering if I had been wrong about him. Perhaps, rather than being an arrogant douchebag, he was actually my soulmate, a fellow weirdo, a lost soul, my other half? Jason may have been feeling the soulmate vibes as well, because he suddenly leaned in and kissed me, right there at the bar.
“That’s the fourth time I’ve done that in my life,” he whispered.
Fourth didn’t feel very special, yet I still felt that warm fuzzy feeling of giddiness spread over my body. Suddenly, it dawned on me that my other half had been chugging tequila from the moment I had arrived. The protagonist of my own Lifetime drama, I decided that my alcoholic soulmate clearly needed saving – from himself! And so, I confiscated his tequila glass and downed its contents, ensuring the evil potion wouldn’t reach his lips.
Proof via group chat:
Granted, five minutes later I was drunk. Not buzzed, but a straight-up wasted, a condition reserved for 2AM at ACME rather than a first date. As he kissed me again, his pungent fig candle smell blending with the taste of the tequila, I briefly wondered if I was going to vomit into my soulmates mouth. Instead, I composed myself and told him that my hunger had reached its pinnacle and I absolutely had to eat. Instead of feeling some sort of empathy for the object of his fourth spontaneous kiss in 36 years, Jason informed me that he had a 6AM meeting and had to call it a night. Desperate, I asked if he would come with me to get a bite at the takeout stand at Esquina across the street
Coming out, we discovered that Esquina was closed, an event that Jason seemed pretty happy about. Not even pretending to look for an alternative, he started briskly leading me to – no, not a taxi – but the Citi Bike station! That’s right, put the wasted girl on a bike and send her off to navigate the streets of New York City at midnight! What a gentleman! Prime husband material! The type of responsible, kind man I always pictured as the father of my future children!
Thankfully, I still had some logical reasoning left in me, because I actually got my shit together for long enough to tell him what’s up:
“Look, bro, I need you to bear with me for the next 15 minutes, because I’m drunk. I’m not taking a bike because I will get killed. I’m not taking a taxi because I will be sick. You are going to walk with me to the deli, then Canal street, then you can go home.”
A beautiful monologue, if I say so myself.
Crazy understands crazy, because he diligently obeyed and accompanied me on this trajectory. The moment we hit Canal, he turned to me, smacked me with another fig-scented kiss, and jetted off to get his beauty sleep, leaving me to navigate the sketchy lower Manhattan area solo. Over by the courthouse, three huge rats surrounded me, but I must have been pretty unappetizing because even they didn’t stick around.
By the time I got home, I had eaten two Kind bars, Snapchatted my rat buddies, ranted on the phone to a friend, sobered up, and made a sequence of important life decisions.
- If it looks like an asshole and talks like an asshole, it probably is an asshole.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach, particularity when out with an asshole.
- If you’re hungry, feed yourself. Ain’t nobody gonna do it for you, especially not an asshole.