Dateline: "This is for you. I got it in Dubai. I was thinking of you."
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6:05 p.m. – It's one of those exceptionally swampy, nearly 100-degree days in June. I meet up with my buddy Matt for some derby pie at a superb local pie shop. I tell him I have a date tonight with someone who asked for my number a few weeks ago at a bar. I don't remember much about him, and I don't go out with strangers often. I'm pretty nervous. I'm wearing a red floral skirt and a t-shirt. He assures me I look fine.
7:30 –Matt walks me home. I skip dinner, put on some music, and chug a beer. I'm supposed to meet this guy at nine.
7:49 – I get nervous and for the hell of it text him, "I am running late. Can I meet you at the bar at 9:30?" He agrees.
8:12 – I chug another beer while taking a quick ice-cold body shower. Being outside for a minute on a day like today makes you smell like rancid burrito.
9:05 –I hop on the F train and head toward a bar he suggested that I'm fond of. I still have butterflies in my tummy, but the two beers and the pie tell me, "Fuck it."
9:31 – I think I remember what the guy I'm supposed to meet looks like — longish hair and glasses. He's nowhere to be found. I sit down at the bar and order myself a nice whiskey cocktail.
9:32 – The bartender seems oddly familiar. We realize through conversation that he used to work with my sister. During this talk, my date taps me on the shoulder. He awkwardly swoops in and gives me a curt kiss on the cheek that I wasn't expecting. He's wearing tight jeans and Converse sneakers, and holding a mysterious paper bag with him that he puts down next to our feet. He sits down next to me. I sort of avoid eye contact because I'm feeling awkward.
9:40 – The conversation takes off with surprising ease. We complain about the heat, talk about our crazy weekends (he went to a coworker's wedding) and his recent business trip, and then talk about why we both live in Brooklyn. He's already showing me pictures of his dog on his phone.
10:00 – We discover we've both met Larry David. Our bar stools become a little bit closer.
10:10 – He asks me what I do for a living. I go into a silly tirade about how I sort of hate that question because careers shouldn't define who a person is. "You're exactly right! This is so refreshing!" He grins at me.
10:12 – I find out he works for his father's company, advertising and distributing women's belts. The proclamations from two minutes ago seem so much more interesting. I think I might be getting a little drunk.
10:30 –I order a Manhattan, which the bartender doesn't charge my date for, because of our initial connection early in the night. I get a sense that this goes a long way for him, and my date smiles hugely at me. I realize I know the barback, too, and get up to talk to him. As I am hugging the short, Mexican barback, who I merely recognize from another bar, I realize I am very drunk.
10:35 – I go to the bathroom and call my sister. She asks how the date is going. I make the assessment that, "He's fine, but it's not a love match or anything." I begin to laugh on the phone with her about the shape of the soap dish. My sister says, "I don't want you to be offended when I say this, but I know from the tone of your voice that you need to drink some water."
11:00 – I stumble back to the bar and drink water. My date suggests we go out to the backyard for some air and a cigarette. I agree, thinking this means making out. I notice he brings the paper bag with him. I feel pretty puzzled.
11:02 – We're holding hands on the deck. "You're pretty cute," he says. "I asked for your number a few weeks ago because it seemed like you didn't try too hard around guys." I wonder if that's a compliment.
11:06 – He talks about his recent business trip to Dubai. My mind starts to wander, until I see the paper bag emerge.
11:20 – "This is for you. I got it in Dubai. I was thinking of you." He hands me the package.
11:21 – He got me a genie lamp. He got me a fucking genie lamp.
11:22 – After my initial awe wears off, I hug him and thank him. Then I start to feel creeped out that he got me a present before our first date.
11:25 – He leans in to kiss me. He is cute enough and I am very intoxicated. Forgetting about the genie lamp, I let him.
11:56 – We're out on the street, making out. "I live close by," he suggests. I am going to definitely vomit soon. The heat in the air is making me feel all the more nauseated. I don't want to risk going home with him. "You know what, I really have to go home. I have to wake up early," I lie.
12:00 – We say goodbye at the subway entrance. "I'd like to see you again this weekend. Is that cool?" he asks. Before I can answer, I vomit profusely against the outside of a nearby building. I quickly say goodbye without making eye contact and head down into the subway.
12:45 – I get a text: "Don't think it's going to work out, but hope you got home okay." I never see Aladdin again.