In the summer of 2010, I met CircleGlasses at The Princeton Club’s weekly live rooftop music program in mid-town Manhattan. I arrived early to snag a high top table in the center of the patio. It was the perfect anchor location for people to drop by, mix, mingle, and move on. While I was seat-dancing / shoulder-bopping to a little jazz, CircleGlasses came over. He briefly chatted us and then got my number before leaving. He was what I call “old world adorable” because he was wearing a dinner jacket and circular glasses at a casual evening event – in any other season we can safely assume an ascot would be fashioned around this neck. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was no longer the 18th century.
THE FIRST DATE
CircleGlasses and I texted over the weekend and set a date for Monday. But there was just one thing I had missed…
You see, my physical dimensions make me the human equivalent of an IKEA flatpack: 6′ long, 20″ wide, 6″ deep. Combine my natural height with the extra inches from my requisite heels and I stand no less than 6’3″ on any given day. Basically, I dwarf the Williams sisters. I have had a number of life experiences that made me feel like extreme height was normal. In my elementary school I was in a combined 4th-6th grade classroom, so the inches I had over my fellow 4th graders were not noticeable in comparison to the 6th graders. In my very Scandinavian Minnesota high school, my Viking-descended classmates were all fairly tall, so I fit in just fine. After high school, I walked the runway a few times and everyone around also was a lanky slyph. Even now, with my Danish/Swedish family, I look squat at the Thanksgiving gathering since the shortest of my three cousins is 6’5″. When I met CircleGlasses while sitting down, I forget that I missed out on comparing the compatibility of our heights.
We had arranged to meet in the Flat Iron district for cocktails and dinner. As I approached him on the sidewalk, I noticed for the first time that CircleGlasses stood a diminutive 5’6″. When we met, it was like the scene when Glinda the Good Witch presents the lolli-pop guild. I was hovering far above the ground and in a herky jerky motion he stuck out his arm for a strong handshake. It was awkward… We needed to get to a seated situation STAT. It’s just too bad that the gods were having a laugh that day. The place where we scheduled cocktails was closed for a private party; the backup location was closed on Mondays; the bar at our dinner locale was standing room only.
For 30 minutes I contorted my back into scoliosis-inducing curves, bent my knees like I was doing wall sits, and rocked sideways off my heels trying to lose some inches. When a person feels self-conscious because of appearance there’s usually a fix. Got a zit bubbling up? Slap on some concealer, you’ll be fine. B.O. wafting away? put those ‘pits on lock down. Weird cowlick happening in your bangs? Work those angles, girl. I can usually use my surroundings for an advantage, but in this case there was no help for the shoulder-hunching. Finally, we sat for dinner at one of the restaurant’s elevated tables. I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure his feet were swinging from the high chairs.
CircleGlasses didn’t seem phased, so I decided to channel my inner Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, and go with it. The only problem was I couldn’t stop making stupid puns: “It’s wasn’t top of mind…” “”I overlooked…” “It was definitely the high point of the week when..” “That team was part of the project’s overhead….” Someone please stop me. Thank goodness over dinner I confirmed that he was a both extremely intelligent and a wonderful conversationalist, so I was definitely into this date. Then, he revealed that a hedge fund recently hired him as an automotive sector analyst, and he would depart for a six-week listening tour of key industrial cities. We were short on time (ouch – another pun, seriously?). In terms of a first kiss scenario we were on do or die alert, as there could be no second date until he returned.
Mutually looking for a way to extend the evening, we agreed to have a night cap. Once parked at the bounce bar, the conversation continued to flow. Tick tock. After the drink, CircleGlasses pulled a clever move. Instead of paying for my cab home (pretty standard NYC dating decorum), he said that he would ride with me to drop me at home. Downtown. Over the Williamsburg Bridge. Into Brooklyn.
In front of my building he got that kiss good night on a level playing field: sitting down in the cab. Well played, sir. And next time I’ll leave my Pricilla Queen of the Desert heels at home.