I was out with a girlfriend one night and we ended up at a club in the Meatpacking District. Not the kind of place I frequent, but it was the last stop of the night and we were buzzed enough that $17 vodka sodas were only mildly appalling. We were also buzzed enough to dance with strangers, which is exactly what I did when a 6’5” Indian guy approached me. We were dancing and chatting for a bit when I realized my friend was fading fast. I kindly told the guy it was nice meeting him, but I had to leave. He, in turn, asked for my number and I obliged. He was funny and cute, and anyone who likes to dance (whether they should or shouldn’t) is usually a good enough egg in my book.
Fast forward three weeks later. I get a text from a number I don’t recognize and it turns out to be this guy asking me out. In my younger years when I had standards I would have told him to fuck off for waiting three weeks to contact me, but in these tough times we can’t be too principled. Plus, he was a funny texter and funny is half the battle. So, I agreed on a date.
A few nights later, we met at a little hookah bar he suggested, which was perfect because I had just quit cigarettes and was craving something (anything!) to inhale. Right off the bat, things were great. He wasn’t as cute as I remembered (no surprise there) but definitely tall with a nice athletic build. We order wine and I can tell he knows a little bit about wine, which impresses me, and the conversation thereafter is pretty effortless. I learn he has a good job in finance but also goes out a lot, and working in the restaurant/nightlife industry this is a huge plus. I typically can’t date “9 to 5”ers due to our conflicting schedules, but I can tell homeboy here doesn’t mind heading out at midnight on the occasional Tuesday. In fact, he suggests a place for us to go later that “has a really good Wednesday night scene”.
He suggests we go to his place, conveniently located around the corner, for a glass of wine first. I wouldn’t normally go to a guys place on the first date (okay, it’s been done) but seeing as we have a plan in place for later it seems less likely he’s trying to get laid. So we go. If I wasn’t already a little interested in him I was damn near enamored when I saw his place: a gorgeous 1 bedroom duplex with 2 full baths, a walk-in closet and an amazing view (basically my Manhattan dream). He had an adorable bulldog running around, a wine fridge (!) and a DJ booth set up loft-style overlooking his living room. I always kind of laughed about guys who make their living working “normal” jobs but “promote” or “DJ” on the side in an attempt to feel cool or get laid or both, but after some really tasty cabernet and an hour playing with his new mixer, I think it’s kind of cute. We kiss. And then we go back out.
We arrive at the Wednesday hot spot with a pretty decent wine buzz and a lot of chemistry. After another cocktail, date tells me his best friend (we will call him Sam) is going to meet up. I think it’s soon but nonetheless a good sign he’s already introducing me to such a good friend and get a sense he wants to sort of show me off, which is flattering. Sam comes in a few minutes later and I immediately note that Sam is hot. Just incredibly attractive and immaculately dressed. We exchange pleasantries and the date leaves us to order more drinks and go to the bathroom, etc. which leaves Sam and I to chat. I’m subtly flirting which I realize is messed up seeing as I’m on a date with his friend, but when a guy is that hot it just happens.
A few short minutes into our conversation, Sam starts looking at me funny. It’s making me uncomfortable (do I have something in my teeth?) but I just continue blabbing on until he stops me.
“Wait a minute, I knew that I recognized you from somewhere. Did you used to live in Boston?”
“Yes. That’s so weird. Wait, how do I know you?”
“It’s Sam. I lived in Cambridge. We dated? You took me to that party for your work…”
Of course I did. Memories start flashing back of Boston, four years ago, and this guy (who was always cute but damn he aged well) and the few dates we went on. I recalled our first meeting at a bar in Cambridge and the said event for work I invited him too, but seeing as the courtship was brief and it was four years ago, that was about all I could recall. Of course at this very moment, date comes back and Sam heads to the bar, saying something in passing to date as he walks away.
Date: “Wait a minute. You know Sam?”
Me: “Ha, small world, right? We dated briefly in Boston like years and years ago. Too funny. I didn’t even recognize him.”
Date: “You didn’t recognize him? He just told me you guys hooked up.”
Me: “Say what?”
Date: “He just walked passed me and said ‘dude, sorry but I’ve hooked up with your girl.’ I’m confused.”
Me: “We never hooked up.”
Which I was sure we hadn’t. Again, I am racking my brain, remembering those few dates but I’m adamant nothing ever really happened between us. The combination of the shock and the embarrassment and the booze has me all mixed up but pissed off that this asshole would a) say anything at all while I’m still there and b) lie to my date and tell him we hooked up when we never did. I realize I have to go, that this is all too much and too uncomfortable but instead of leaving gracefully and taking any form of a high road, I approach Sam.
“Why the hell would you tell your friend we hooked up? I was actually having a really nice night with him until you started acting like a complete asshole. Look dude, I don’t know if you’re pissed off because I didn’t remember you or what but it was some time ago and in a completely different city so I’m sorry if it was all a little out of context for me, but that is no reason to make shit up. “
“I didn’t make it up. You don’t remember? The night of my birthday?”
It came back to me like it was last Friday.
And with that, I grabbed my coat and bee-lined for the nearest taxi.
I spent the cab ride home contemplating yet another romance gone wrong and asking myself how degenerate a person must be to not recognize someone they’ve slept with. But more than anything I wondered, “how the hell is it that I live in one of the biggest cities in the world and THIS happens?!” I got home and immediately stole a cigarette from my roommate.
Date actually asked me out again. I declined. Can you imagine the best man’s speech at our wedding?