The meet was nothing spectacular. It was December 2007 and I was living in Chicago. I met MrManners, a parter from a law firm down in the loop, who was exactly 10 years old than I was. He asked, I agreed, and we set a drinks date: 29 Dec 2007.
THE FIRST DATE
MrManners came to pick me up at my graystone in Lincoln Park. He walked right to the front door, escorted me by the elbow down the snowy stairs to his car, where he opened the passenger door. What a gentleman. Once inside he commented that he had already taken the liberty of putting the seat warmer on in his giant black BMW. That’s when I panicked.
Let’s back up about an hour. At home, I had taken a steamy bubble bath, blow-dried my hair, and drunk a “warm-up” whiskey with soda as I got ready for our date. My internal thermometer was already running an easy 99 or 100 degrees by the time he arrived. Once in the car, I was baking like a sheet of sugar cookies from the seat warmers underneath and like a rotisserie chicken from the heating vents above. My coifed hair was wilting and my thoughts were becoming manic.
I heard my voice talking and realized I was telling him about my internet password. (Yes, like the password I use for everything and how I came up with it.) I reached my icy fingers around to the back of my neck to try to cool off the boiling blood that was clearing making its way to my brain. A few minutes later, we arrived at a speakeasy cocktail lounge with no discernible entrance on the outside. MrManners knocked on a blank wall and we were soon escorted inside. The host walked us through one room that was filled with furniture straight out of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. As we entered the back room, I saw a roaring fire and held my breath as we were seated directly in front of it.
After drink #1: I shot up as the first drop of sweat ran down the center of my spine.
After drink #2: I borrow a pen from the waiter and use it to tie my hair in a bun on top of my head.
After drink #3: I’m in the ladies’ room with balls of toilet paper in my armpits trying to soak up the extreme perspiration.
After drink #4: I say that I’m “feeling a bit flushed.” Are you warm, MrManners? No? Oh ok.
But we decide that we’ve had plenty of cocktails and should head home. Despite the fact that I’m stinking up the car like a lacrosse locker room, he asks me out for the following weekend. Suffering from heat stroke, I shrug my shoulders and say, “Sorry, I’m busy in January.”