Monday, May 12, 2003

Meeting Mr. Right - Part 5

It's Friday at 6:30pm. I run into my house to get ready for my date at 7:30pm. I spent most of the day getting ready - haircut and color, tan, clip some overdue private parts, trim my nails and some unruly nose hairs, and work out. I take a quick shower, gel, deodorize and moisturize, and now it's time to get dressed.

I prepared my wardrobe in advance: black Body Wear jeans, black t-shirt, black cotton ribbed vest with metal zipper, and my new shiny, hip length black/green jacket. I examine myself in the mirror. I look hot, but... too East coast. Too intense, too dramatic and a little dangerous. It doesn't work in Vancouver. Sh*t! What am I going to wear now?

Let me see...I need to look casual, like I'm not trying so hard. I need more neutral tan and gray colors. But I still need to show off my biceps. I try on three different combinations of clothing, and finally decide on my first outfit, except with tan chinos. Except these pants make me look fat. Oh well, I'm out of time.

I arrive at Simply Thai exactly on time. I look around the restaurant, but don't see any handsome guys sitting alone, so I tell the hostess that I'm here for a reservation and give her Steve's name. She suddenly starts treating me very deferentially, and leads me to the restaurant's best table by the window...a foreshadowing of things to come. I was too frantic earlier to feel nervous. I check through the unpronounceable menu and pray that the food won't be too spicy and exotic.

I look up, suddenly, with an amused expression on my face after reading the red hot curry entrée titled "Gang Dang" to see him, striding down the lane of tables as though it's a catwalk. In slow motion, my eyes meet his dazzling blue ones and he gives me a laser-whitened smile. His Brad Pitt blond hair shimmers under the quartz lighting, and everyone in the restaurant turns to look at him as he walks past their table. In milliseconds I scan his wide shoulders, narrow waist and nice bulge, and break into a testosterone enduced flush of attraction. I stand as he gets close and offer a handshake, but he grabs my hand with both of his, pulls me closer, and kisses me on the side of my mouth, and says, "Hello, handsome."

Sorry, folks - that's not what happens. I wish! Steve walks in 10 minutes late. He looks like his picture, except five to ten years older. He must have Photoshopped his wrinkles in the picture Earl sent me, and lost 10 pounds - his face is a bit gaunt. Still, he's a good-looking man.

"I'm sorry I'm a little late - I hope you weren't waiting too long. I had five meetings today with clients, and the last one took longer than it should've, so I'm running a tad late," Steve says, flashing a winning grin.

"Not a problem," I reply warmly.

We spend the next few minutes introducing ourselves and exchanging details about our day. He asks,"How long have you been with the matchmaking service, and have you met other people through it yet?"

I'm surprised by his question - Isn't it a little gauche to be asking that on the first date? I think. Nevertheless, I'm curious about his experience so at least I don't need to appear tactless by bringing up the subject first.

Steve tells me that a few of his friends bought him the "Finding Mr. Right" package for his birthday, because they're tired of seeing him single for the last five years, and that I'm his first "match."

The hostess comes by and asks if want a drink. I haven't had a chance to think about it yet, so I say, "Maybe a little later, thank you."

The pink flowered, silk-saronged hostess in traditional Thai clothing says to Steve with a pretty fuscia smile, "Your usual?" She has a magnificent hair-do, reminiscent of a beehive.

"Yes, thank you," he says and beams at her. To me, Steve explains, "It's Perrier with a splash of freshly squeezed lime and a lime wedge on a bed of ice. I'm an alcoholic, by the way, so I don't drink liquor."

"Oh." I'm not sure what to say. I guess I won't imbibe alcohol tonight, I think.

"I quit drinking five years ago and started attending AA meetings. I wasn't a full-blown, on-yer-face, smashed-up kind of alcoholic though. I was just drinking too much too often, like a lot of lawyers do, and decided to quit." Steve explains.

"Good for you," I say, enthusiastically. "I didn't drink from about age 20 - 28, just because it didn't interest me that much," I say, trying to make him feel comfortable.

Steve suggests that we take a look at the menu and decide what to order. I tell him I'm not familiar with Thai food, and ask him what he recommends. Pleased, he tells me he eats here at least four times a week so he knows the menu well, and wants to take over the ordering for us. In relief, I sit back and watch him take control.

First on the menu is Cho Muang: Beautiful steamed violet coloured flower dumplings stuffed with minced chicken, onion and special Thai spices. It not only looks too good to eat, it's delicious. For the main course we try some curry and chicken dishes, equally fabulous, beautifully presented and not too hot.

I love currie. It puts me in a chemically induced state of euphoria. The only thing that is off-putting is the single track light that shines directly in my face through the whole dinner. I imagine it gives a high contrast appearance to the topography of my face, rendering my few wrinkles in three dimensions. I take a washroom break to check my appearance in the mirror - to reassure myself.

We discuss everything of importance in abstract briefs. His father is a famous Canadian Shakespearean actor; his mother is a successful journalist. He's French Canadian, grew up in Montreal, speaks French fluently and English without a trace of accent. I notice he's wearing a Tommy Hilfiger shirt. He invited 50 of his closest friends to his Christmas party, in his 500,000 dollar Yaletown condominium, which was catered and featured a shirtless bartender/stripper. I'm lucky if I know 50 people, I think. At my Christmas party I had eight people and broke my budget making all the food myself. He speaks glowingly of his rich friends who fly to West Palm Beach every few months; have expensive parties with famous people; spend tens of thousands of dollars on designer clothing (he lists several names I've read of like Versace and Chanel) and do helicopter jaunts to select places for the weekend; plus they hire gorgeous bartenders for costly threesomes.

My curry glow is fading. I don't live a glamorous live. I don't even like the concept.

"My last boyfriend was very good looking, we got along well and had great sex. But after six months, I wondered, 'What am I doing with him?' I don't feel a strong connection. It was nice and everything, but I needed to end it because it felt empty," Steve says.

He's charming and a good conversationalist. But Steve is turning me off. I tell him that each of my ex-boyfriends are very meaningful to me even though it didn't work out between us. We are connected spiritually. I don't think he understands.

"I'm attracted to the arts - especially acting. But I had to make a decision. Either go into acting, with little hope for financial compensation, or go into law. I chose money," he says, sadly. "I chose law for the money. I wonder how my life would've been different, if I'd chosen the arts."

I feel sad for him. He has the charisma, personality and looks to be an actor. But he chose the security of a huge annual salary over personal fulfillment. I didn't do that. I chose the artistic route of self-fulfillment.

I offer to pay for dinner. "No, let's pay separately," he says. That's the first sign he isn't interested in me. With all my ex-boyfriends, they agreed to let me cover the bill, with the unstated understanding that they'd pay the next time. But with Steve, there's no next time.

On our exit of Simply Thai, walking down the Yaletown district, we pass another trendy, A-list restaurant. Steve tells me, "That's a great restaurant. And, it has the hottest waiter I've ever seen, who I've been lusting after ever since I met him."

Thanks for sharing, Steve. I know you're not interested now, I think.

We part ways at the end of the street. He lives in the expensive condominium located there. It's an awkward moment. I can tell he doesn't want to make any commitment to see one another again. Out of politeness, I shake hands, and say, "We should meet again." We don't.

This date cost me $400. I'd rather hire an escort, I think.

I haven't heard from Steve, or Earl, since.