Thursday, October 12, 2006

French Kissing in the USA

Last night I had a date with Jim (as I will call him). It was a cold, rainy night and we met at a tapas place on the East Side. Very nice – exposed brick wall/ceiling beams, lots of chandeliers. It made me think of a sort of fin de siecle Monmartre bar. I mean, what I imagine a fin de siecle Monmatre bar to be like.

He was a bit late. Very polite, what with holding doors and whatnot. He didn’t really resemble his photo, though my memory may not serve me too well on this point. Anyway: shaved head, with a slightly receding hairline. Skinny, in sort of geeky casual clothes – baggy trousers and zipped hoodie – a look I don’t mind at all.

We ordered some cheese and drinks and started chatting. After a glass or two of cava I felt pretty cheerful and when his hand started “accidentally” brushing against mine I returned the pressure.

I found it hard to categorize Jim, like I automatically categorize others. Like, he had an mild Jersey accent, but he also had this sort of nervous geekiness I don’t associate with his accent. He works as a software engineer but didn’t go to college, etc. What I guess I mean is that Jim sort of confounded my expectations by not being a cliché.

He told me about his ex, then chastized himself for doing so, and I told him about my abortive "date" with Laurent. Jim laughed: "He had a band emergency? What, the tuba was broken?"

Anyway, we had a nice time and when walked out into the rain he put his arm around me. My umbrella was up – it was a romantic scene. When we reached the R station at 23rd Jim kind of kissed me but I (me! Blame the wine) kissed him, or rather sort of encouraged his mouth to really kiss me. So we made out at the entrance to the station for a few minutes.

It was nice to kiss someone. I realize that’s not the most enthusiastic of endorsements. After he left my chin felt all raw from his unshaven face – a sensation I haven’t felt in months.

This morning there was an email from him, very nice, saying he’d broken dating etiquette by mentioning his ex and getting in touch with me so quickly, etc. This is the text:

“I'm sure there is [a] dating rule I'm breaking by not waiting to write. I just wanted to say I had a great time with you and a better time walking you to the train. I'm looking forward to doing it again. …”

According to all my dating guides, it’s good for a guy to show interest, it’s just the woman who has to play it cool. I wrote him back a brief note, saying I’d had a nice time, too. But reading that note I felt a little guilty, cause, what with Alejandro and my latest (and possibly quite successful) post on Craig’s List, I hope to restart my slutty behavior sooner rather than later. I don’t think he’s the type to embrace non-monogamous behavior. How am I going to mention this to him? On the date I kind of referred to the fact that I was “doing things I’d never done before,” as an aside when we discussed growing older and regrets (he’s 29, so: younger!)

Hmm. But, you know, thank God this is my dilemma. After last week’s festival of self-loathing, this is a nice problem to have.

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