Lots of stories didn’t make it into Daring to Date Again, and here’s one of them.
I met Marvin online. He lived on the Upper West Side so, of course, I would go into the city to meet him. Growing up, I had been taught that the man always comes to the woman, that it would be seen as desperate if a woman went to a man. At first it felt odd being the geographical aggressor, but I liked keeping my dating life away from my home, and enjoyed going into the city, so I banished that thought, which is stupid anyway. Besides, everybody knows that people who live in Manhattan will not travel to New Jersey except under the most extreme conditions. If you want to date men who live in New York, you just have to get used to this.
We met at the Guggenheim Museum to see an art exhibit which showed a progression of Spanish art; there would be a Goya portrait of an ugly duchess next to a Picasso portrait of an ugly duchess, and so on — the motifs of Spanish art as interpreted by classic and modern artists. I like viewing art from the ramps of the Guggenheim, and was fascinated by the exhibition. Marvin was pleasant company, but did not intrigue me. He was the sort of native city boy who doesn’t have a driver’s license. He was a tall, polite, intelligent, sort of blah high school teacher.
When we entered the museum Marvin took my coat and checked it along with his. After the exhibit we went to pick them up and he said to the coat check person, “There are two coats. We are together.”
“Like for 35 years?” The coat check person joked, sharing an inside joke as she turned to get the coats.
“No. We just met. This is our first date, ” I said. I was embarrassed and uncomfortable being put in a box by a stranger, and not interested in taking advantage of this opportunity to strike a spark with Marvin. Her remark felt coercive.
She was temporarily discomfited, but then laughed. Laughter was the only way out of this uncomfortable moment.
Funny how we thrive on our assumptions.