Archives for category: Big Surprises

My dear readers know that I’ve been on a lot of dates. And a lot of really bad dates. But this was, perhaps, the worst date I’ve ever been on. Not because he was mean or anything, but because, from the second I said hi, I wanted to leave.

Instead, I stayed. For two hours.

Let’s back up, here.

This guy messaged me on OKCupid. He was very tall (yes), bearded (yes), and kind of chunky (yes), so obviously I replied.

There were some red flags. He was 49, and I’ve learned that, at that age, there’s usually a reason men are still single. He had never been married, which was good, for me, but also – had to be a reason. But he had no kids, and he owned a brownstone, so he was basically landed gentry in Brooklyn. If we fell in love and got married, I’d basically be a marchioness.

Also, he had three pictures up online. In two of them, he looked attractive, chunky, bearded, normal. In the third he looked really, really awkward, leaning slouchily against a bridge in a pair of sweatpants and an ill-fitting t-shirt. But the other two looked fine, and we were hitting it off so well, that I ignored that flag, too.

We had amazing nonsense banter. I love to be silly and talk about nothing, and we talked about such silly nothingness. Over text, I thought he seemed smart and interesting and down with a kind of bossy woman, so I was really looking forward to our date.

Almost immediately, we connected on how we both liked black licorice. That’s a special connection to share, because not many people understand the nuanced beauty that is a black licorice wheel. It’s one of my favorite things. Licorice is even made with wheat flour, and I love it so much that I pretend it isn’t. And it never makes me sick. Licorice is so magical, that, unlike anything else with flour in it, it doesn’t make me vomit. One bite of crusty bread? Vom-town. Pizza? Puke city. But, out of the power of love and sheer force of will, licorice doesn’t make me sick. I flat out refuse to be allergic to licorice.

But I digress.

I mentioned how hard it was to find good licorice anywhere, and he told me about Economy Candy, an old-fashioned candy store on the Lower East Side. And, of course. If anyone was gonna sell black licorice and cheap candy, obviously it was gonna be a store on the Lower East Side. He suggested we go there on our date, and I immediately agreed.

I was thrilled. What makes for a better first date than a trip to a candy store? Answer: nothing, except for an evening of champagne and oysters, because that trumps everything. He suggested we get breakfast first, in my neighborhood. Lovely. And, because we were going to the LES, I looked up my favorite pickle place, The Pickle Guys, on Grand Street (side note: I discovered The Pickle Guys because they were next door to the Judaica shop where I bought my tallis for my bat mitzvah. That’s how good these pickles are. I’ve remembered and drooled over them since I was twelve). A plan was in place that I felt good about. Breakfast. Then candy. Then good, old-fashioned, kosher full-sours.

I woke up the morning of our date bright and eager to meet the guy I had been texting with. He seemed so smart. So interesting. So, at 9:00, when I realized I wasn’t falling back asleep, I suggested we meet up earlier than planned. He agreed, and we set a revised brunch time of 10:30.

The diner is only a few blocks away from me, but they’re long blocks, and it was chilly and drizzling. I was cranky, but still hopeful. I had a good podcast to listen to. I was meeting a tall, chunky, bearded man. I approached the diner, feeling good.

And then I saw him. And I knew this date was not going to go well.

The guy was wearing a too-tight, pallid yellow polo shirt, and olive green cargo pants made out of windbreaker material. They were also too tight, and about two or three inches too short. What I thought had been lumberjack-scruffy in his profile pictures was really just unkempt.

I had made a mistake I’ve made before: mistaking super awkward and maybe a little autistic for smart and quirky. There’s a thin line that divides the two. It can be hard to determine which side someone stands on, through text and the internet. But it was clear that, this time, I had judged wrong.

I walked up to him with a smile on my face, already dreading what was to come. He went in for a hug, which I hate from even the most attractive, charming stranger. Don’t touch me. You don’t know me. From this gross guy, it was even less palatable.

We walked into the diner and the host led me toward a booth.

“Um,” the guy said to the host, with a really fucking irritating smirk on his face. “Come on!”

The host smiled and redirected us to what I soon learned was the guy’s usual booth. Turned out my guy was a “regular” at the diner. And he basked in the imagined glory of that status. He was performatively chummy with the waitstaff, and made a big show of them already knowing his order, and knowing what table he sat at, blah blah fucking ugh.

“They might bring some weird stuff over for us,” he said, smiling a weird, playful, irritating smile.

Sure enough, the waiter brought him a few assorted things – seltzer water with cranberry juice and a lime, and a plate of wheat toast with honey and cinnamon? Each time, he looked at me smugly, as if expecting me to be impressed.

The waiter came back to take our orders. The guy was still kvelling (I wish I could show you how obnoxious that smile was) and said, “the usual,” followed by some apparently special insider code words to clarify his order. The waiter then turned to me, looked back at him, said “She’s so pretty!” and then took my order. I wanted to die. Literal death seemed better than the prospect of sitting through a meal with this man.

I’ve developed a rule that I don’t laugh or smile if I’m not truly amused by something a man says. Just because I’m out with someone doesn’t mean I need play stupid girl and smile and laugh at anything a guy says. Especially if it’s not funny, or just fucking irritating. So I sat through our entire meal barely talking, miserable, trying not to flip the fuck out and be mean to this sad, irritating, awkward man.

After what felt like an eternity, I had picked at my scrambled eggs, he had eaten his broccoli-cheddar omelette and short stack of blueberry-ricotta pancakes (I heard all about them, apparently they were called “Danish” style). He paid. We left.

But the date wasn’t even close to over. We walked to the subway, and I tried to make awkward small talk. Then we got on the subway. I sat next to a man wearing horrible cologne, so I had to get up and move to the other end of the car. That provided a little bit of conversation. For the entire trip, I sat with my arms crossed across my chest, as closed off as possible. When we got to our stop and stepped outside, it was raining.

I am a baby about bad weather. I hate being cold. I hate being wet. And it was wet, and cold. I had to go into a drugstore and buy a $13 shitty umbrella. Then we had to walk ten blocks, in the cold, nasty rain, to the candy store. In near-silence.

And then, one, bright, shining moment, in a cold, rainy, dark, dark day.

Economy Candy.

It. Was. Amazing. A magical Mecca of candy, packed into a little crowded storefront. The owners were not Jewish, as I had expected them to be, but the candy exceeded expectations. I bought four pounds of black licorice wheels, a quarter-pound of Dutch salted licorice, a half-pound of chocolate-covered apricots, a half-pound of mixed loose candies (Mary Janes, Tootsie Rolls, Bit-o-Honey), and a pound of red licorice shoelaces. All in all, I blew $30 on candy. I do not regret it. It was beautiful and inspiring and an experience that I will not forget, for the opposite reason of why the rest of the date is something I will never forget.

We left the store. I knew I couldn’t sustain any more time with him, so I told the guy that I had promised to call my friend after we left the candy store.

“How’s the date going?” my friend asked, when he answered the phone.

“Not well,” I said.

“You ok?”

“No,” I said. “Can I come over?”

He laughed and said yes. I told the guy that I had to go meet my friend. He insisted on walking me to the subway.

I was still basking in the glow of all the black licorice I had just bought. I actually considered going to get pickles. No, I didn’t want one more second of this man’s company, but – I mean, those are some damn good pickles. Ultimately, I decided against it and cut my losses. When we got to the subway, he gave me a hug. I returned the saddest, most anemic hug ever, and pretty much ran away. Over my shoulder, I heard him say, “I hope the debrief with your friend goes well!”

I was free. I ran down the subway stairs in my rainboots in a state of shock and relief.

Ultimately, the day ended well. I met my friend and got out of the rain into a cafe. I had a Perrier with lemon. Then some very good bone broth. My friend and I sat in a park and watched pigeons for an hour. I met a very short old lady who told me all about her labradoodles, Bert and Ernie. Ernie jumped on me and got mud all over my sweater, but he also gave me some kisses, so that was ok. Around 4:30, I headed back to Brooklyn, with six pounds of candy in my tote bag. The day had been salvaged.

But I really cannot recall a worse date, ever, in all my history of bad dates. It was just so painful. So excruciating. It felt kind of like when I did a sleep study and had to try to sleep with a tube up my nose and electrodes on my head. I was so uncomfortable, but I knew that I couldn’t leave. Up until today, that was the most trapped I had ever felt. This date was, at the very least, a close second.

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I am endlessly fascinated by religion and religious people. Religious orthodoxy of any kind is something I obsess over and research online and watch documentaries about all the time. Heaven’s Gate. Scientology. People who really, really love Jesus.

So, when someone on OKCupid messaged me whose profile said he had spent 6 years living in Israel as an Orthodox Jew before he recently became an atheist, I was fascinated. I obviously had to meet him.

We messaged back and forth for a while. I asked him a thousand questions, all about his life and religion. He was raised secular, and converted to Chasidism in his early 20s. WHAT. AMAZING. When he was in Israel, he had done some sort of Orthodox Jewish matchmaking, in which you basically go on three dates with someone and then decide whether you want to marry them or not. MORE. I asked him why he stopped believing in God. I asked him all sorts of stuff about the nuances of Jewish law that I always wondered about. Everything was going well.

And then I realized that, while I knew all sorts of interesting things about his past, he had never taken a moment of lull in the conversation to ask me a single thing about myself. He didn’t ask me what I did for a living, didn’t ask me what books I liked to read – nothing.

I mentioned that to him.

“You haven’t asked me a single question about myself,” I said.

He didn’t understand why that was relevant. Like, apparently caring one tiny bit about another person wasn’t important, even in a dating setting.

Anyway, it was soon obvious that I wasn’t interested in dating him, but I was still so intrigued by his past that when he asked me out, I told him I’d be happy to hang out as friends. He accepted, and for the next several days we texted intermittently.

One night, we hung out. We talked for a while – more religion, mostly. I asked whether he thought that men raised in Orthodox Judaism were conditioned with such a toxic view of male-female relationships that they could never have healthy relationships with women. Our conversation was pretty insightful and interesting. He seemed thoughtful. Again, he asked me nothing about myself, but I expected it, by that point. He went home, and everything seemed fine.

The next day, he called me at 3 am, obviously drunk. He told me I was fucked up, and no one would ever love me, and all sorts of other nasty shit that I don’t remember. I was horrified and hung up on him. He called back three times and left me a message, which I listened to a few seconds of and then promptly deleted.

Over the course of the next few days, he called me several more times in the middle of the night and left abusive messages. I didn’t listen to them. He sent me dozens of mean messages on OKCupid.

“Did you go on that date? When he finds out who you really are, he’ll run away screaming.”

“You’re too fucked up for anyone to ever love.”

And a few more great gems like that.

Finally, I blocked him.

Not sure what the moral is, here. Don’t trust extremists of any stripe? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just that some men are abusive assholes, no matter how interesting they may seem.

On Tuesday night, I went to see Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in Oh Hello on Broadway. I had bought tickets intending to go with my dad, but he was busy. Then I invited my best friend Boh, but Boh had to go to LA for work. I tried inviting several more people, but none of them could come.

So I found myself on the 2 train headed toward Times Square, all by myself. At Atlantic Avenue, a bearded man sat down next to me. I didn’t pay much attention beyond just noticing his presence. I was exhausted, so I dozed for most of the trip. Around 14th street, the bearded man turned to me.

“Would you like a mint?” he asked, offering me a box of Altoids.

“No, thanks,” I said. For the record, I don’t really like mints.

“Ok,” he said, with a smile. “If you change your mind, you know where to find me.”

I wasn’t interested in him romantically, but I did want company to that play. Why not invite a friendly stranger from the train? What a fun, quirky adventure, right? To spend the night with a potentially unbearable stranger?

“Hey,” I said. “Where are you headed?”

“To dinner,” he said. “At 73rd street. My friend just moved here from Boston, and he’s cooking for me.”

“Bummer,” I said. “I have an extra ticket to this show.”

I told him about Oh Hello. He had heard of Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, and we talked about them a little bit.

“I’ve been trying to get out more,” I told him. “I tend to get stuck sitting at home.”

“I know, me too,” he said, smiling. “Man. What time is the show? Maybe I can eat dinner really quickly and then come meet you?”

“8 PM,” I said. “I don’t think that will work. Too bad.”

Then the train stopped at 42nd Street.

“It was nice to meet you,” I said.

“I’m Jake,” he said.

“Eliza.”

“Listen,” he said. “I work at [redacted] in Clinton Hill. You should come by sometime.”

“Great,” I said, and then I got off the train.

I had no intention of visiting this guy. I didn’t even pay attention to what the bar was called. But as soon as the train door closed, the woman who had been sitting across from us called out to me.

“You know you have to go to that bar he works at,” she said. “That was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“Really?” I said.

“Yeah.”

I hadn’t even been interested. But she was so interested, on my behalf. And when I thought about it, from her perspective – of course he was flirting, right? And he wasn’t bad looking. Maybe I really had to find this guy. Maybe this was the meet-cute that would lead to my most fulfilling, joyful future.

The woman remembered some rough estimation of the bar’s name. Later that night, I looked it up on my phone, and stalked the right bar (after a lot of work). After the show, I called the bar.

“Do you have a bartender named Jake who works there?” I asked.

“Yeah,” the guy said. He told me he worked weekends.

“Thanks,” I said. And I decided to show up.

The day I had decided to go, I got three hours of sleep. I woke up at 4:44 am, and, by noon, decided it was time to have a martini. I was really, really nervous about what felt like stalking this guy and showing up at his workplace. But the woman had convinced me! I had to go.

By 7 pm, I had a few more martinis. Yes, I was pretty drunk. I hopped in a cab and went to the bar in Clinton Hill.

The guy was behind the bar. I smiled and sat down.

“Hey,” I said.

“Hey,” he said. “What’s your name again?”

He didn’t remember my name. After all that build up, and all the encouragement from the stranger on the train. Clearly, he was not interested. And I was mad.

I ordered a Manhattan, to feel out the situation and see if maybe I was wrong. We chatted a little bit. I drank some. It was too sweet.

The conversation was so, so awkward. I didn’t even want to finish any drink, let alone a too-sweet Manhattan. So I asked for my check.

“You’re not even halfway done with your drink!” he said.

Now, for this next part – let’s remember that I was drunk, and had just been rejected by someone I wasn’t even interested in in the first place. And let’s anticipate, as avid readers of this blog, how drunk me would handle this situation.

Now that we’ve made that clear.

“Yeah, this is fucking awkward.” I said, over my drink. “You didn’t even remember my name. You were the one who told me to come by.”

He looked at me and smiled an awkward, self-conscious, horrified smile.

“And this Manhattan is too sweet.” I said. I dropped $15 on the bar (the bad Manhattan had cost $13) and got up and left.

And then the night turned magical.

By which I mean, I was miserable. I called my friend in LA and complained about my disaster of an evening. I wandered around in the rain, trying to find a bar where someone would flirt with me and make me feel better, but there is nothing going on in Clinton Hill. So I hopped in a cab, went home, made myself a martini, and passed out by 10 pm, feeling insecure and rejected.

All over a guy I hadn’t even been interested in, in the first place.

Every now and then, I swipe right for someone on Tinder and pray desperately that we match.

This gentleman and I matched, and I was so excited. He was so cute. Just my type. We started messaging back and forth, and then exchanging texts. The banter was great. He seemed smart and funny and interesting. And then he sent me a message that hit all of my ego points.

 

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It’s like he was singing a beautiful love song to my soul. And not, like, some bullshit original song. A really good sexy love song (I can’t think of any right now, so you’re gonna have to use your imagination here).

I suggested we get a drink.

His response was less than what I wanted. He told me that he was “in a time of transition,” which, when I inquired, turned out to mean that he was “in the process” of breaking up with a long-term girlfriend. As in, not broken up yet. And they’d been together for three years – so homeboy really needed at least six months before he could hit me up.

Which led to problem number two. He was also planning on moving to Montana in the fall, to teach at some university in Missoula. You might think the issue was one of character, as in, I can’t respect anyone who chooses to live in Montana. But that was secondary to the issue of, well, he won’t be here in a few months.

He apologized. With this perfect text.

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And he was a class-A stalker, which I respect:

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Ugh, be still my heart.

So, a potential great love was thwarted. And I call him a “great love” because motherfucker appreciated all the things I appreciate about me. An all-you-can-eat buffet for my ego.

Too bad I’ll never move to Montana.

I’ve been trying, for a while now, to find some serious scum.

I feel like the blog has been suffering – I’ve just been on too many dates lately with perfectly pleasant, decent men. So I decided it was time for someone awful.

I found the musician on Tinder. His profile was basically just references to his band and links to his music. The more I dug in, I found out that he played guitar – and guitarists are always the worst. I didn’t even think he was that cute. I was sure that I had found my scum.

“I hope he mansplains music to me,” I told my friend.

We came up with some leading questions for me to ask; questions that could only be answered in an obnoxious way.

On the night we were supposed to go on our first date, he texted me to reschedule. He had to work late, he said, could we do tomorrow? I agreed. Then, the next day, he told me that he was running late. An hour and a half later, we finally met up.

“This bodes well for an awful date,” I texted my friend. “He’s already an hour and a half late.”

When I got to the bar, he was standing outside. As I walked up, he turned out to be good looking, with a sweet, gentle face. He smiled and apologized for being late. We walked into the bar, he bought me a drink, and we sat down.

Immediately, he started asking me about myself, entirely earnestly. He asked me about what I liked to read, wanted to hear why I loved cults, and clearly just liked listening to me. I even tried to turn the conversation around; to allow him to be an asshole.

“So, you’re in a band,” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“Who were your influences?”

That was one of my planned questions intended to trap him into being pretentious. Instead, he turned the conversation right back to me.

“I mean, who doesn’t cite Jimi Hendrix?” he said. “Have you ever seen him play live?”

The musician looked me earnestly in the eye, waiting to hear what I had to say about the man he said had shaped his understanding of music.

The whole night, he just asked me questions – about books, about politics, about my life. All he wanted was to listen to me talk. He was enthralled. Which is something I experience, from time to time – men wanting to hear a smart girl talk about things.

So, he was a disappointment. Not an asshole at all. Just a nice guy who wanted to hear my thoughts on life.

I leave New York twice a year: once, in the summer, to go to the Jersey Shore with my family, and once to go to DC for Thanksgiving.

But this past weekend, I took an adventure up to Kingston, New York. A friend of mine from high school (!!) has a house up there, and I’d been meaning to visit him for ages. So the dog and I hopped on Metro North and left NYC.

I was talking to my friend about how I recently got Tinder, and realized – you know what would be great for the blog? A vacation post. I’d find someone cute upstate, and write a blog post about how awful he was. An Upstate Asshole.

So I matched with a few cute men. One of them worked as an electrician for Metro North. I like a good blue collar man, and he had a beard, so I suggested we get a drink.

That night, after a fabulous dinner with my friend and his boyfriend, we all met up with the railroad man and his friend. Not only were they not assholes, they were actually kind of awesome.

My friend has an amazing blog where he writes about renovating his house. The house was built in 1865, and it’s gorgeous (but needs a lot of work). My friend has done tons of impressive projects on it, including tiling his kitchen and building a mantle, and he also has impeccable taste – so the house is pretty fantastic.

Turns out, the railroad man had heard of my friend. They both lived in Kingston, and really loved and cared about the town. The railroad man had also bought a 19th century house, it turned out, and he was also restoring it to its former glory.

The five of us spent all night together hanging out, and then, a couple days later, I met up with the railroad man again for lunch. He was awesome. He took me on a tour of Kingston, showed me a gorgeous view of the Hudson, and introduced me to a fantastic diner a few towns away. It was entirely unexpected – this Kingston townie turned out to be incredibly passionate, smart, and a truly decent guy.

So, I never found my upstate asshole. Instead, I met someone really great. If this is the kind of man who lives in the Hudson River Valley? Maybe I need to consider moving to Kingston, myself.

Shortly after I broke up with the ex-Human (like, literally four days later), I met a guy at a bar.

“Are you a straight man?” I asked him.

He said yes.

“Are you married?”

He hesitated, and then said no.

I asked again, and again he said no.

Now we’ve gotten that out of the way.

We talked for a while. He was a painter, so we discussed art a bit. I’m sure we talked about dogs. We danced a little bit, and then I left the bar to go somewhere else with new friends I had made. He texted to ask if I wanted to go back to my place. I said no, but he could come join me at the second bar.

“Seems favorable,” he said. “There in ten.”

He kept his word. We had a few drinks. He pawed at me in the way drunk people do when they’re flirting. I asked him to walk me home and then, in a moment of weakness, asked him upstairs. I felt horrible about it immediately after he left, and resolved not to have any more one night stands. Apparently that’s not something that works for me anymore. Maybe this is what not being self-destructive looks like? Regardless, I learned my lesson.

The next morning, the guy texted me to say it had been nice meeting me, but he was going through a divorce, and his head was really messed up.

I’m not stupid. I’ve dated/slept with/whatever enough married men to know that that means, “Actually, I’m married, so…yeah. Can’t do that again.”

At first I played along. And then I just said, “Listen. I know that means you’re married. Whatever, you do you.”

He replied, simply, “Thanks.”

But it made me feel even worse. Like, not only had I had a shitty one night stand, the guy was married. Which I asked him about twice. Point blank, “are you married?” twice.

And it gets better.

He lives in my neighborhood. Crown Heights is a small community. Today he showed up in my newsfeed because he had posted on a friend’s wall. Obviously, I looked to see how long he’d been married.

Not even a year. That’s right, he got married in October of 2014.

So, like, he’s an asshole. No question there. But also – he’s stupid. What if I was insane and wanted to ruin his marriage? We are one degree of separation away on Facebook. I could so easily find his wife and fuck everything up for him.

Is the moral don’t get married? Or don’t get married to an asshole?

A year and a half ago, maybe two, I went on a couple of dates with a guy I met singing karaoke in Queens. The first night we met, we had so much fun. It was completely organic and natural; I took him home with me, and we just laughed and chatted until 5 am. It was really fun. Later that week, we went out and drank wine in some park in Queens (he grew up there, so he knew the borough well). He told hilarious stories about his Italian mother, of whom he did a great impression. He slept over again. More giggling. More fun. We went out to breakfast the next morning at a diner and had a perfectly nice time, but then I cut things off. I just wasn’t that interested, even though he seemed very nice and we’d had a good time together.

A few days ago, he messaged me on Facebook. It was very flirty, with lots of reminiscing about how much fun we had together and how much he liked cuddling with me.

“I wish I could cuddle with you again,” he said. “You’re a great cuddle buddy.”

And then he mentioned a girlfriend.

“Girlfriend might not like the flirting going on in this exchange,” I said.

“Ok, fair point,” he said, and turned off the charm.

But what the fuck. That poor girlfriend! Her man just spent days reminiscing about dates with another girl and telling her that he wished they could stay up all night talking and cuddling again. How inappropriate. Like, super, super inappropriate.

And here’s the moral, kids.

Men are scum. Nah, people in general are scum. But especially when love or sex or romance gets involved. People do ugly shit to each other.

After nine mostly fantastic months, I’ve amicably and mutually broken up with the boyfriend. It’s sad. He and I were incredible together in many ways – we got each others’ sense of humor, we judged people harshly, we laughed a lot. We always had a great time together. But there were some basic relationship and personality incompatibilities that meant that, wisely and maturely, we had to end things. After a healing period, we look forward to being in each others’ lives and dancing at each others’ weddings.

I can hear you now.

“What does this have to do with me?” you ask. “Your feelings are, frankly, not that interesting, and I have needs that are not being met. I’ve been here since the beginning; your virtual sidekick as you’ve navigated the muddy streams and snapping twigs of the deep, dark dating forest. Your news is nice, but what do I get out of it?”

Dear reader, I am ashamed for you. Ashamed that you can’t see this boon for what it is.

I, your intrepid red-haired adventurer, am back on the dating scene.

And I shouldn’t even have to tell you what that means. But I will, just in case you’re dumb.

It means Men That Are Rectangles is back up and running! I need a few weeks to let all the feelings calm down, but I have three dates already planned and on hold until that time comes.

Rest assured, dear readers – all of the juicy juicy meat left on the discarded bones of male society will be passed from my little mama bird beak straight into your waiting gullets. You’re welcome, and god bless.

I think I met the death of this blog.

Nearly a month ago, a guy messaged me on OKCupid. I had basically stopped using it, but every now and then, my profile still came up in searches, and I got messages. Mostly from illiterates or weirdos, or both.

And then I got a message from this guy. I didn’t think I was interested in him romantically, and I told him so, but he did seem really cool, so we started messaging back and forth.

I was out of town with my family. Traveling makes me insanely anxious, so I liked the distraction of being able to text with this person. And he was just…lovely. Of course, I’ve learned in the past that good text chemistry isn’t necessarily good in-person chemistry, but it still felt good.

When I returned, he and I met up. We shared a bottle of whiskey and talked and laughed until 2 am.

He’s a chef and a bartender. He works in restaurants, in kitchens, behind the bar, and as a consultant. He wants to open up his own 1900s themed bar, and has been hustling up investors and looking at spaces. He’s also smart, creative, funny, and – here’s the biggest thing – entirely unfazed by how nuts I am. Partially because he’s fucked up too, he’s been through his own shit. But partially because he just…gets it.

You know how I always say I’m difficult? He loves that I’m difficult. He loves that I’m too smart for my own good and bossy and that I want what I want when I want it. He weathers my anxiety and neuroses – more than weathers, is totally fine with them. I can get too drunk and start worrying or crying and he doesn’t mind talking me down. And none of this is a push-over kind of thing. He’s not just enthralled by my quirky Jewish girl thing. We totally go toe-to-toe.

“Of course I found a New York Jewish writer,” he said to me. “Of course. I hate you.”

On Wednesday, I made him fried chicken at my apartment. He played Billie Holiday on his phone and we stood in my kitchen, listening to the blues and the sound of lard popping in a cast iron pan. He stayed completely out of my way, helping with things I wanted him to help with (“You can make the salad – slice the cucumbers, but tear the lettuce”), but not interfering with my cooking process in any way. After we ate our fried lunch, we sat in my bathroom and chain-smoked and drank cheap 100-proof whiskey. It was seriously the most romantic day I’ve ever had.

On Friday, we went out to lunch at a fabulous French bistro – he had just gotten his check from the holidays, and wanted to splurge. So we went to Cherche Midi, by the same guy who owns Balthazar. If we hadn’t just had that Wednesday, I would say that was the sexiest date I’ve ever been on – we started our meal with chicken liver pate (sublime) and baby lettuce salad and the most perfect Grey Goose martini I’ve ever had. It tasted like fresh freezing spring rain. Dangerous. Anyway, then we had perfect steak frites and finished with perfect French champagne. Over-the-top amazing lunch. Perfect service, which anyone who knows me knows is my weakness. And perfect company.

So, let’s sum this up. I found a man who both appreciates the finer things (read: can accommodate my Jewish American Princess needs) and slumming it with homemade fried foods and cheap whiskey in the bathroom. He not only can withstand my crazy, but he likes it. He is entirely unfazed by every weird thing I do.

I have no problem writing about bad dates. I don’t mind making myself look like an asshole, or telling stories about a time when I was crazy and scared someone off. I can come clean if I was naive and thought a man liked me when he really just wanted to sleep with me. I can be honest about all sorts of things when it comes to embarrassments and bad luck in love.

But it takes a lot for me to write about something good. I’m ultimately very private, when it comes to my personal life. I don’t like people knowing my business – my happy business, especially.

This time, though, I couldn’t resist. I found someone I adore who seems to be everything I’ve been looking for for the past four years.

Yesterday, we were in bed, watching trash TV on Hulu. Buckley was lying between us, intermittently licking my boy’s arm and chewing on his Nylabone. I had my baby dog, whom I love more than I thought I could ever love anything. And I had my new squeeze, who, so far, makes me the happiest I’ve felt in years.

The last few months of 2014 brought so much excitement – publications, fur coats, Hermes scarves in trash cans. And now? Maybe they brought love, too.