Following our epic ‘snow job Sunday’, Mr Happn and I enjoyed a few chirpy, loved up weeks of playing house. He sent me online links to furniture he was considering for his new apartment, ranging from hipster wooden TV stands to bougie Japanese 3-door screens. For such a rough and ready dude, he had surprisingly impeccable homeware taste.
We even met at Home Depot one night, where I endured the horrific fluorescent lights to help him choose door knobs. I made sure we went back to mine after, via whisky cocktails, for knob investigations of a different kind.
He’d been taking me to more killer date spots, like Park Avenue Seasons, The Bowery Hotel Bar and Alameda. We’d had a couple more sleepovers, and I even met his brother properly. Shit was getting real.
I’d be fibbing if I said it was all happy families and furnishings. We’d been dating 2 months, and I really, really liked the guy, but some reddish (or amber) flags were beginning to show.
I find it’s easy to overlook or laugh off someone’s quirks and oddities initially. But, after a couple of months, trends appear and the rose tinted glasses begin to crack. This was no exception.
Here were the flags I’d noticed:
Flag 1: He was un-politically correct
I loved our serious conversations, and he was mature in so many ways… except his sense of humor. Every so often he’d throw out a terrible taboo joke, about the Holocaust, or a certain race, or AIDS. They weren’t usually fully formed; for example, I might ask a question like, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ And he’d reply, ‘AIDS’. I didn’t find it funny, and he knew it.
Flag 2: He kept getting wasted
He told me early on what little respect he had for people who got wrecked on booze and drugs every weekend. He also confessed that he used to be in that scene, but had left it behind. I wasn’t convinced.
On more than one occasion, he binge drank past the state of coherance, and I ended up cradling his passed-out head in a cab. And, although he didn’t smoke weed, he had a penchant for cannabis gummies, and usually carried a stash in his pocket; weird.
It was approaching mid Feb, which meant my birthday was around the corner. Plans included lunch at Santina with my visiting parents, dinners at Feast and Bar Primi with friends, and dancing at Von Bar. I don’t fuck around when it comes to birthdays.
I considered inviting Mr Happn, but my instincts said no. I didn’t want to spend my birthday worrying about what others thought of him. This was linked to the fact that I didn’t yet trust that he’d keep his dodgy jokes under wraps.
He sweetly texted to ask what I was doing on Valentine’s day, and if I would be his Valentine. My parents were in town, but how could I refuse such an adorable offer? My folks understood, and I was excited for my first American Valentines.
The day before, I was buying crap I didn’t need in Duane Read, when I found myself in the red glow of the Valentine’s section. I hadn’t intended to buy Mr Happn a card, but his formal Valentines text made me wonder if he was super into it. I bought one in case, and would make a game-time decision on whether to give it him. I settled on cute and funny – nothing too serious.
Dinner with my parents that night was at Cafe Clover in the West Willage. I loved the complimentary, nutty, seeded crackers with seasonal squash dip, and my beautifully balanced, simple, quinoa tagliatelle.
Post dinner I met Mr Happn at the restaurant bar. It was baltic outside, and I was dressed smartly in black jeans, a black, high-neck sweater and a camel colored vest. Mr Happn arrived looking sexy as hell in dark blue jeans and a plaid shirt. He said he liked my outfit.
Both already a few drinks deep, we decided another couldn’t hurt, so we ordered tequila cocktails and caught up. When we finished, I was ready to head to bed to bring in Valentines with a bang, but he was hungry in a different sense. He took me to V Bar, where he machine-like shoveled a plate of cheese and a load of wine, while I watched on impatiently, sipping water.
By the time I flagged us a cab home, he was drunk and childish, and I was practically sober. He called our driver a dumbass, and when we got back to mine, he passed out while I brushed my teeth. I wasn’t impressed.
Not Your Average Valentine
Valentines morning arrived. I was super horny, wearing red lace underwear, and hoping for a redemptive morning orgasm. Sadly, that was not on the cards; he didn’t feel well, and wasn’t up for fooling around. I felt shocked and rejected in equal measure.
The second surprise followed suit. He was taking a hot shower, and asked me innocently, from behind the white shower curtain, if he could pee in my shower. On one level, I suppose it was nice of him to ask first; but on another level, it was a definite what the fuck.
Turns out my Valentine had no plan for our day, let alone a card. I was left to come up with the agenda. It was the coldest day of the year, so I suggested hot baths, or anywhere hot. He offered up a guest pass for a workout day at his gym, where there was a hot tub. Who says romance isn’t dead?
We went to the gym via his not-en-route apartment to fetch his gym gear (and a bag of weed gummies, no doubt). It was a painful, freezing journey, and my feet stung from the cold. I was miserable.
When we eventually made it to the nondescript, midtown NY Health and Racquet Club, we had a very average gym sess, swim and hot tub. There was minimal talking, and minimal affection. Not quite the steamy experience I’d envisaged; what a waste of hot bubbles.
We had no dinner reso, but knowing how much I loved vegan food, he suggested Angelica Kitchen in the East Village (which has subsequently sadly closed down). Maybe the night was about to accelerate?
The vibe at dinner was flat. He still didn’t feel great. The topic of my birthday came up, and I awkwardly babbled about why he wasn’t invited (you wouldn’t want to meet all my friends and family at once would you?). He didn’t say anything.
We half-heartedly kissed goodbye on the street. The day had been like watching a heart shape balloon slowly deflate. I felt let down, and disappointed. Back at home, I looked at the Valentine’s card I didn’t write. Maybe I could use it next year, with someone else.
Winter Wind Down
He forgot to text on my birthday, until I reminded him. We made dinner plans the following week in a last attempt to get things back on track. He took me to a sexy sake bar, Hi-Collar, followed by Shabu Tatsu, a Japanese restaurant where you cook wafer-thin slices of beef and fresh vegetables in a flavorful broth in front of you; fun and delicious.
Conversation was easy, but there had clearly been an unspoken shift. It was as if we both understood that we weren’t actually too well matched. We shared an unexpectedly passionate kiss goodbye at the subway, and that was that.
It was a standard, mutual, New York fade out; slowly but surely we stopped messaging. He made a meek attempt to meet up 6 months later, but my schedule was rammed, and the moment passed.
We still message a little; mainly about restaurants. When we last checked in he had a girlfriend, and I truly hope he’s happy. He’s a good guy (bar the inappropriate jokes), but we weren’t the right fit.
It didn’t ‘happn’ this time, but I have no regrets. In the short time we dated, I discovered more about myself (I have terrible homeware taste), more about what I want in a partner (someone that doesn’t pee in my shower), and many more of New York’s hottest bars and restaurants.
Our romance may have ignited hotly in Florida, but was extinguished in the icy depths of New York winter.
Roll on spring.