I was late. I hate being late to a date. For some reason this only happens when I’m seeing something at Lincoln Center. Mind you, I wasn’t late by any stretch of time, maybe three minutes or so after she arrived (what, you try getting from the east side to the west side during rush hour). I can tell you it wasn’t intentional, but given the choice, I’d be late again.
I was dressed in a light grey suit, white shirt, crisp black tie, I looked good. Isabella (let’s just call her Isabella for now) made me look like a fucking hobo. To be fair, she made everyone look like a vagrant. I know that every guy says that “you are the most beautiful woman in the room,” that’s a fucking line, I get it. But my god, her standing by the bar in a dark violet jumpsuit, white heels, and pearls—when she turned to look at me, it took literally everything in my power not to utter that objective truth, ‘you are the most beautiful woman in the room.’ There’s a sort of grace that dancers have, where it’s as if each movement of their body was deliberate yet also effortless. It felt as if Isabella glided across the room to greet me. I caught my breath and picked my jaw off the floor. However, the words, “wow, you look incredible” came out of my mouth. Real smooth there Casanova.
After composing myself and getting most of the stupid out of my head, we got to dinner. Most people tend to associate with people who have similar life experiences. That makes sense, you have things to talk about, you have basis for a connection, and you some shared foundation to build upon. I pretty much bypass that entirely, especially when it comes to dating. I must’ve been incredibly annoying, picking her brain constantly about her life as a dancer, about her absolute dedication to her craft, and this didn’t stop once the ballet started. I can’t tell you how illuminating it was to have someone trained in that world teach you about the nuance and detail that goes into every performance. To understand more for me is almost always to marvel more at whatever I was just educated on, and seeing the ballet with a ballerina is certainly one of those instances.
After curtain finally dropped, we made our way out to Lincoln Center, and on a midsummer’s night when the air is just right, there is perhaps no other place as stunning. We took an obligatory selfie at the fountain, and then we kind of wandered aimlessly for a bit. We both didn’t want the night to end, but we couldn’t decide on a place. There was a comedic bit where Isabella and I literally walked the same block three times because we had no idea where we wanted to go. We finally decided to go to a rooftop bar.
The view from a rooftop bar is stunning in New York. The problem is everybody knows that, and the given population of a rooftop bar can be incredibly pleasant, or packed with tourists and douchebags. We made our way to the Gansevoort Park and when we got to the roof, I had to slip away to the restroom. I hadn’t been gone for more than a minute and by the time I got back, Isabella was swarmed with men. Remember when I said she was the most beautiful woman in the room? Well, now every guy at the bar was telling her that. I made my way to her and leaned in to give her a peck on the cheek and she whispered back, “thank god, I had to pull the boyfriend card.” We joked about going from date to “boyfriend” in the span of a few hours, necessitated by the presence of bros going through their mid-life crisis.
After giving her a quick escort away from the bar and finding our way to a couch, we could finally relax. The wind is always a bit stronger twenty stories up, so my suit jacket ended up around her shoulders. We lamented about the lack of stargazing potential, but marveled at the view. She was kind to the waitress, which is always a big sticking point for me. Isabella memorized the drink order, a jalapeño margarita, ginger ale, and two waters. I forget how many rounds we went through, but it was one of those evenings where your memory gets a bit hazy and everything just seemed to flow into one another. We went from talking about our hometowns, to tattoos, to simply being blessed enough to be curled up atop the world at this given moment.
I can date a girl for a while and never have one great date. For me, I need that one great date, that date where she makes a lasting impression, where she makes a memory that brings you back to a specific moment in time. For Isabella, each instance we drew close was an overload for the senses. The wind was just enough so it tousled our hair, but didn’t wreak havoc. Her perfume was subtle, just the right amount where it was intoxicating when she leaned in. The jalapeños in her drink made it so every kiss was fire, and the air between us lingered with a spicy sweetness that I can’t get out of my head. One great date.
I’d love to tell you that the one great date is a guarantee of a second great date, but if there’s anything I’ve learned while chronicling my adventures and misadventures it’s that I have the incredible capacity to foul things up. On the other hand, it’s one great date, and that’s a hell of a lot more than most people have. To have six hours blend into a blur and be left wanting more is so rare, and that’s a feeling worth chasing.
That, and I have a ton more ballet puns ready to go.