March 18, 2007

Just when I thought there couldn't possibly be anything new left to write about dating in New York, I read a piece about a young woman who went on a first date and was hit by a truck. That's got to be awkward.

If you're the guy in that situation, when's the appropriate time to say good night? Before the ambulance arrives? If you're polite you accompany her to A&E and wait for the family.

If I were hit by a truck on a first date, the guy would be in over his head. Because when he asked who he should call I'd say: "No one. It's just you. And don't leave." Then I'd grab his hand and whisper: "Promise?"

But, given the guys I date, one of two things would happen. Either he'd let go of my hand, place it back on the trolley and say, "Sorry, you're on your own," or the instant that I was wheeled into surgery he'd bolt.

Of course, if he was the one hit, that would be much better - tragedy bonds people. I could see us walking along, laughing, making plans for the weekend and then suddenly - boom - I'm in the hospital with him, making plans for his physical therapy and he's thinking how lucky he was to have met me.

Plus he might be in traction, which would be ideal. I'd have his undivided attention. Unless he was medicated, in which case I'd have to repeat everything when the sedatives wore off just to make sure he heard me.

This got me thinking about some of the first dates I've been on in the past. All of the best ones were with guys that I never heard from again.

For instance, one of the most romantic first dates I've ever been on was with a man I'd met at a friend's party. He chose the restaurant, booked the table and was waiting for me when I arrived. Over dinner he said a lot of "we should" and "we could" and talked about the second date. Then he walked me home and we kissed outside my building, then I said good night and floated upstairs. The next day he called. To let me know he was getting back together with his girlfriend.

The most vivid memories I have of first dates are the arguments. There was the capital-punishment guy - we got into a fight about the death penalty. And there was the Marquis de Sade guy - we fought over the pronunciation of Sade. There was also the Brooklyn guy? I told him I grew up in the city and he became defensive and said, "Brooklyn is the city," and I said, "No, Manhattan is the city - Brooklyn is Brooklyn" - and then he called me a snob and I called him a pig. That was fun.

I'm not sure what my perfect first date would be. Maybe a glass of seltzer with lime and a night researching medical symptoms on the internet? Then he could move some of my furniture around and fix my computer. Or, even better: I'd be invited over to a man's house for a game of Scrabble. We'd get into an argument over whether or not a word was legal and then we'd look it up together in the dictionary and he'd see I was right. I'd win. He'd take my hand, stare into my eyes and tell me how impressed he was. But then I'd screw it up. Because just when he was expecting it to turn smoochy, I'd wonder if he let me win on purpose to get the game over with so that I'd ask for a rematch.