And so it continued: the dating build up of all time. We took turns initiating, and met every other day or so for impromptu, whirlwind mini-dates: a stolen 30 minutes between work meetings; a sneaky cocktail before evening plans; an urgent kiss in the street.
Each rendez-vous felt like a painfully tantalizing stroke of foreplay – delayed gratification at its finest. I’d never been more attracted to anyone in my life. We were having a pulse-racing affair, with no cheating involved. He was redefining the concept of ‘keeping me on my toes’. I was hooked.
He had a penchant for being outdoors, and seemed to know all the rooftop bars in Manhattan. He took me to the stunning Bookmarks rooftop at Library Hotel, and St Cloud at The Knickerbocker. I was literally swept off my feet.
The pessimist in me was trying to uncover what his catch was. He was definitely on the quiet / shy side, and I had no idea what was going on in his beautiful head, but I found it mysterious and alluring. My friends hypothesized that he had a weird cock – why else would he be prolonging the pre-naked phase of dating? I thought it was refreshing, and romantic, not to be rushing to the bedroom.
We’d yet to spend more than 2 hours with each other, and I was eager to change that. He’d mentioned he liked cycling, so I suggested a Saturday ride along the West Side Highway. My sister arrived from England that night, so it was an afternoon-only plan, with no option for nookie. More dating foreplay. Yes please.
It was the perfect day for a bike ride: uninterrupted sunshine and warmth, cut with a soft, refreshing breeze. My plan was to look effortlessly gorgeous. I wore denim shorts, with a white, sleeveless, button-down shirt from Pinkyotto, and treated myself to a blow out. Having mismanaged my time as usual, I frantically grabbed a cab from my Flatiron hairdresser to the bike shop we’d found on Google.
He was waiting on the bus stop bench outside, wearing black denim shorts and a black t-shirt that accentuated his huge, muscular frame. His dark, tousled hair peaked from under his adorable baseball cap. He smiled, and I melted. He’d already paid the rental fee, and our bikes were ready to roll – mine even had a basket for my purse. He was doing it all right.
We headed north on the Riverside Drive bike path, side by side. Blissfully pedaling, we swapped life stories and secrets, ranging from funny to serious. It was the most open we’d been with each other – this was next level territory in the guarded NY dating world. We barely registered the impatient ‘serious’ bikers, swearing under their breath as they tried to pass us.
An hour flew by, and we pulled over at the little red lighthouse under the George Washington bridge. Finally; our bodies reunited. Against the railing under the shade of the bridge, I cemented to him like a magnet. We kissed. I didn’t know what was harder: his erection against my leg, or how hard I was falling for him.
Our cycle back was comfortably quiet. The heat had tired us, so we stopped on the grassy river banks for a lie down. I nuzzled into his warm, expansive chest, and we were both asleep in seconds.
We returned the bikes, and I felt sad that our idyllic outing was over. I was thrilled that he wanted to walk me home – despite it being the opposite direction to where he was going.
A few streets in, a sign beside a white van caught our attention: ‘Free HIV Testing’. It was extremely random, but the ultimate sign: sex was on the horizon. Harnessing go-with-the-flow mentality we climbed into the van, and (slightly nervously) let a friendly stranger draw blood from our fingers.
This is where things could have gone dramatically downhill, but thankfully we were both negative. It was the STD-free icing on the cake of our perfect date, and fledgling relationship. It was also a bizarrely bonding experience.
In keeping with our theme from The Kiss of all Kisses, when we reached the East Village we ducked into the incredible Fresco Gelatoria, and ordered a cone of lemon poppy seed and cookie crumble. We shared a few divine bites, and an even more divine kiss goodbye.
As I watched him walk away, licking that lucky, lucky ice cream, I knew that my body couldn’t handle much more dating foreplay. I was longing to take it up a gear. Our ride was just getting started.