It was July of my first New York Summer. Every day was consistently warm and balmy – something I’d never experienced back in England. My new social life was buzzing, and work was quiet. I’d shed my Winter poundage (read Juice Cleanse Virgin), and was feeling fantastic.
I’d been cruising the dating apps daily, and was making a concerted effort to swipe right on Jewish men. I figured that, now in my thirties, I should start taking my husband wish list a little more seriously. However, every so often I’d see a dating profile that was a hands down ‘fuck yes’ – Jew or no Jew.
I saw him on Bumble: head full of dark hair, chiseled jaw, light eyes, and broad, muscular body. He described himself as an entrepreneur (ambitious) and South African (sexy). His name and appearance conveyed that he wasn’t a fellow tribe member – but he was too hot to pass up.
At the time of our first message exchange I was getting a pedicure, and became giddy with excitement. It ended with him giving me his number and asking me out for ice tea some time that week. Part of me thought it was old school and romantic; the other part wondered if he was in AA.
That Friday I unexpectedly got out of work early, and impromptu asked if he was free for drinks later. He wasn’t. The following week, I told him I’d scored 2 free tickets to see The Lobster at a hipster movie theatre in Bushwick. He’d already seen it.
A few days later I hadn’t heard from him, and was getting impatient. I texted to tell him that I’d asked him out enough, and if he wanted to see me, it was his turn to ask. He replied quickly, and inquired if I was free for tea in Bryant Park after work.
I wasn’t sporting a pre-planned date outfit, but felt nice enough in high-waisted, flower print pants, a tucked in black blouse and sandals. I told him that I had dinner plans, but could meet before. My forward, no bullshit approach had thankfully paid off – success!
Moment of Truth
I approached the park, feeling more first-date-nervous than usual. I found him sitting on the edge of the Bryant Park fountain, wearing jeans, a casual blue plaid shirt and sneakers. He had a dark, exotic look I couldn’t quite put my finger on. All I knew for sure was that he was handsome as hell.
Our dialogue was nervous and fumbled as we bought tea from a kiosk, but his accent was soft and beautiful. We sat opposite each other at a dark green, wrought iron table, and began to relax over standard get-to-know-each other chat. For someone so obviously attractive, he didn’t show a hint of arrogance.
He was an ex-accountant, who moved to New York to work at a recruitment start up. He was born and raised in South Africa, but had Spanish, Argentinian and Italian heritage, which explained his unfair advantage in the looks department. I also learned he had an identical twin back home. I’d never dated a twin before and was totally intrigued. Plus, the thought of him x2 got my dirty mind swirling.
Throughout our conversation I struggled to focus on his words, as his light-green, almost see-through, eyes were so distracting. He reached out to touch me, twice, in reference to what he was saying: once to tap my collar bone, and once to flick my pony tail. Both shot electric currents down my body.
The M Word
Midway through the date, he nonchalantly mentioned his love of giving massages. He told me, matter-of-factly, that he’d gotten pretty skilled at it over the years. Was this guy for real? Upon probing, I discovered that it was a result of his strict Catholic upbringing – he didn’t lose his virginity until his mid-20s, so had relied on massage as an alternative way to satisfy his girlfriends.
I should have focused on the potential clash of his Catholic upbringing with my plans for a Jewish family, but all I could think about was his giant hands on my naked back. Massages are an obsession of mine, which I promptly told him, and rank high on the list of my favorite things ever (read 30 Years Wiser).
A couple rounds of Connect Four later (from the games cart in the park), and our time was up. He walked me to the subway, and I was relieved that there was was no forced, premature kiss in the polluted chaos of Times Square rush hour. We hugged goodbye.
As I descended the subway stairs, I caught a final flash of his glowing, green eyes, and crossed my fingers and toes that it wasn’t the last time I’d see them.
Ready for more? Read the next post in the 50 Shades of South African series here.