WHAT HAPPENS ON HAPPN
We met on ‘Happn’, the app which matches you with people you cross paths with. It tells you how many times you’ve walked past the person, and where it happened last. A tad creepy, but it’s always ‘after’ the fact; it’s not a live feed, which I imagine would provide terrifying notifications like this:
‘Sexy Josh is crossing the street towards you now… PUT THE TWINKIE BAR DOWN AND SMILE!’
Except I don’t know anyone in America who actually eats Twinkie bars.
Happn is not the most intuitive app on the block, and takes persistence, but there’s a decent ratio of nice looking men on it.
It was Jan 2016; I’d been in New York 4 months and was yet to date someone I’d wanted to see more than twice. The worst of Winter was coming, and finding a cuddle buddy seemed like a good idea.
It was a few days before I flew to Florida for a much needed break, some parental love, and hopefully a tan. I started chatting to a guy on the app, who ‘happn’d’ to be Jewish. I reveled in the novelty that I didn’t have to go on a Jewish dating app to find a Jewish man in New York; they were everywhere.
His chat was cool and straight forward – no bullshit. I overlooked the slight oddity of the multiple pictures of him posing with freshly caught shellfish. He asked me out, and I said it would have to be post vacation, which triggered a conversation on where I was going and why.
What came next was one of the craziest coincidences of all time; he was also leaving for Florida to visit his family that week, and their holiday home was a mere 20 minutes drive from my parents’ rental. Fate? I could hear my mum’s voice in my head, whispering ‘beshert’ (the Jewish word for when something is ‘meant to be’).
We agreed to meet up in the sunny state.
The night before our date, I had plans to see Latin jazz with my folks. For a pre-eat we booked a divine looking farm-to-table restaurant that Mr Happn (who knew the area inside out) had recommended, conveniently around the corner from the venue.
A few hours before dinner, I was flirtily messaging Mr Happn from the pool, when we made the ridiculous discovery that his family had a booking at the same restaurant that night. Not ok! I couldn’t think of anything more awkward than a ‘meet the parents’ before the first date.
I considered asking dad to change the restaurant, but that seemed a bit OTT, plus it’s hard to get a booking in the area on a Saturday. Luckily, our reso was at 6pm, and his was at 7.30pm. I reassured myself that we could make it out before they arrived.
LIFE ON THE EDGE
Naturally I was a nervous wreck at dinner, constantly scanning the intimate, open plan venue; there was no way you could miss anyone in there. A few cocktails helped.
Being the family that we are, we couldn’t resist ordering the house special apple-cinnamon powdered donuts for dessert. When they didn’t arrive until 7.20pm, I began to panic. Stuffing a donut in my mouth, I stood up in a flap and told my parents, who were fully aware of my predicament, that I’d run ahead and meet them there.
I heaved a sigh of relief as I walked down the street, happy to have dodged a tricky situation. It was then that I looked up and noticed two men strolling towards me, one of whom was unmistakably Mr Happn. Cue adrenaline rush.
I thought about bolting, but decided to own it. I called his name, went over and kissed him on the cheek. His companion, who turned out to be his brother, clearly had no idea what was going on. Luckily, Mr Happn was pretty sexy; tall, rough-and-ready looking, and well dressed.
I texted him from the concert and told him he looked just like his picture. He replied, and said that I did too, only better. The pre-date reveal paid off.
FEELING THE HEAT
We agreed to meet for Sunday evening drinks in Del Ray; a buzzing strip of bars, restaurants and shops (well, as buzzing as you can get in Jewsville retirement land). Because we already knew we were attracted to each other, I didn’t suffer the usual first date nerves; I was excited.
We sat outside at a bar in the balmy heat, side by side. I wore smart red shorts and a black sleeveless top; he wore a checked shirt, jeans, and boat shoes with no socks.
There was plenty to talk about. Unlike some of the American men I’d met recently, he wasn’t try-hard, cocky or fake; there was no bravado. As suspected, spear fishing was a serious hobby. He’d also just bought, and was doing up, an apartment in trendy Greenpoint (serious green light).
We took a stroll down the avenue, and he pulled me into Popbar ice cream shop, where we shared amazing pistachio dipped in chocolate sauce. Sweet move.
After a stint in a fun dive bar, we took a night stroll along the beach, which was pretty darn romantic. I was curious to see if he’d kiss me, but he did not. Mr Happn wasn’t an overtly forward type, which was refreshing.
FINAL SCENE OF THE NIGHT
He had his car, and had only had 2 drinks, so offered me a ride home. It felt like being in a real life movie; an all-American date night ending with a drop-off at my door. I was riding high on life.
We pulled up to the apartment block, and I knew I didn’t have the patience to wait to see if he was a good kisser. When he went for the goodnight cheek peck, I made the move and turned it into a full-blown french kiss. It was great.
Florida definitely delivered the heat that I ordered, and I couldn’t wait to play out the next Mr Happn scene in my all-American movie. I hoped it was going to be a scorcher. Stay tuned…