Dateline: "I'm out with a hot Irish footballer…"
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3:58 a.m. – We’ve been out for about six hours, but this is when things start to feel real or I start to feel drunk. I'm out with a hot Irish footballer, and I'm trying to ignore the fact that he picked me up in a bar.
3:59 – "I don't care where you go," the bouncer says. "But you can't stay here." We finish our drinks, and as we're about to leave, the footballer takes my hand. "Want to go somewhere cool?" he asks. Maybe he's having a good time. I can’t help but wonder if he picks up chicks in bars often.
4:00 – Oh God, I'm following a stranger to a second location. You never go to the second location.
4:00:30 – Correction. I’m following a hot Irish footballer to a second location. You should always go to the second location.
4:01 - Madison Avenue. Not gonna lie, it’s dark. It’s a little creepy. Why won't he tell me where we're going?
4:02 – I'm starting to think he might be luring me to a back alley, or a murder den. Or Queens. I'm also starting to think that I'm going to become a protagonist in one of those "based on a true story" Lifetime movies. If this were the '90s, Candace Cameron or Tiffani Amber Thiessen would be cast to reenact my life.
4:05 – We stop outside of an abandoned apartment building and he keys in an extremely long code. Yup. Definitely a murder den. A murder den off a back alley off Madison Avenue. Are murder dens even a thing?
4:06 – We get buzzed into the building and before I know it we're going through three separate doorways. This is how I'm going to die. I make sure that my cell phone is in my pocket for easy access. My roommate is the first person on my contact list, so at least she'll be able to hear my screams.
4:07 – Ooh. It's an after-hours bar. Scratch the whole murder-den thing. For now. We walk to the end of the bar and he says hello to the bartender… and just about every other person there. Does he take a lot of girls here? Are they all in on the murder plot? Either way, I order a pint of Smithwick's and we cheers.
4:30 – He licks his lips and asks to kiss me. "I've never had a crush on a girl in a bar before. Scout's honor."
4:31 – So it is written, so it must be. We have what I can only call the best first kiss in recorded history.
5:45 – "We are those people," I keep saying. "We are those gross people making out in a bar who everyone hates. I would hate us. I kind of do hate us right now." He tells me to shut up, "and just kiss me," and I do. He tastes like Magner's and whiskey.
5:50 – Sirens are followed by red and blue lights outside and the doorman goes to the window. "Shut up, ya fecking cunts," he whispers. He pulls back the curtains to see the commotion and then disappears out the main entrance.
6:05 – The doorman comes back and gives a thumbs-up to the bartender. Our illegal operation is safe for the night. "Next round's on the house," the bartender says as he pulls a dozen more pints for the bar.
7:00 - I think I can see the sun rising through a crack in the door. Yup. I can totally see the sun, and that's exactly what I tell the footballer. "I have to work at ten and I can't show up to my studio in a kit." He kisses my neck and offers to buy me a new shirt. "There’s an H&M near by," he says. "I'll take care of it."
7:30 – More kissing, this time outside. A grumpy old man in a fourth-floor apartment sees us and yells obscenities out his window. The footballer tells him to go fuck himself and walks me to H&M.
8:00 – I'm roaming the Women's section. With a man. On our first date. This is weird, right?
8:15 – He picks out a red tank top in an extra small. I laugh and go for a black sweater in a medium. I can't decide if he is being funny, flattering, or drunk. Maybe it's all of the above.
8:20 – Either way, he pays.
8:30 – I tell him I need coffee and we immediately veer into the Starbucks on the corner. A double red eye for me, water for him. "I don't need any more energy," he says. "And, I have practice this afternoon."
9:00 – He hails me a cab on Fifth, and I'm pretty sure the driver can smell the alcohol oozing out of my pores. We kiss again, both holding on, making it last. "Hudson and Varick," I tell the driver, my eyes not leaving the window, not leaving the footballer. I drive off, keeping contact with him as long as possible.