Undateables: Eliza & The Fish Man From Shape Of Water
Each week, Time Out New York takes two people who swear they’re undateable, and we put our matchmaking skills to the test. Afterward, we find out what went well on their date and what was a dumpster fire disaster.
This week: Eliza Esposito & The Fish Man from Guillermo Del Toro’s Best Picture-winning The Shape Of Water.
Eliza Esposito (vague 30’s): janitor at a top secret, high-security government science laboratory
Fish Man (age unknown but probably older): test subject at top secret, high-security government science laboratory
Why they’re single:
Eliza: She’s a hopeless romantic who was abandoned as a child, and found in a river with gill-like wounds on her neck. She has trouble talking to boys, or anyone for that matter, as she communicates via sign language and spends most of her time watching silent films in her one-bedroom apartment above a decrypted movie theater.
Fish Man: He’s never been in love and still adjusting to life on land. He doesn’t get out much because he was captured by the American government and is currently being held in a watery prison.
Eliza: “Running the water in my bathtub, taking off my clothes and embracing my date while we ignore the sound of my landlord beating down the front door.”
Fish Man: “Honestly any interaction that doesn’t end with me being tasered would be a win at this point.”
Eliza: “He was…mysterious. Easily unlike anyone I’ve ever seen, but also exactly my type. He was a little late to the restaurant, but in his defense, he had to escape from a prison. At first I was a little startled by the fact that he was soaking wet and dripping onto the table, but as the night went on I found it to be charming. I really hope I didn’t weird him out by bringing my own eggs from home. When I offered him one he almost fell out of his chair, he was so excited. I didn’t mean to be so forward.“
Fish Man: “She was sitting alone at the bar eating a soft-boiled egg. When I joked about it, she pulled out a ziplock bag full of boiled eggs and gestured for me to try one. I didn’t even realize she was my date at first, I just approached her because of the egg smell, but once she pointed at me I was like “OK wow, I’m an idiot.”
Eliza: “We found out we both worked at the same top-secret sketchy government laboratory— only mine’s more of a day job, and his seems more like a life sentence. We were both on the quiet side, but that was a welcome change of pace because I am usually the one doing all the listening.
Fish Man: “I was really nervous at first. Not to generalize, but most humans I’ve had contact with have not been very patient with me in the past. But Eliza immediately put me at ease. I felt like I could immediately trust her, even though I’ve never interacted with the outside world, western culture, or anything really since I’m an amphibian.”
Eliza:“He didn’t order any food, which made me feel self-conscious. I guess he was uncomfortable with the mostly seafood menu.When the waiter came over he got a little intimidated and accidentally slashed the guy’s arm open with his teeth. It was so awkward because the blood was everywhere. But I pretended like I didn’t notice and ordered another coffee because I hate awkward silences. At the same time, there’re just some things you can’t unsee.“
Fish Man: “I didn’t mean to be rude, but I just couldn’t order anything from a seafood restaurant because I’m a fish. While she ate there were a lot of awkward silences, but she seemed to be okay with them. At one point, I freaked out when the waiter snuck up on me, and I tore into his arm, but I don’t think she noticed.”
Eliza: “He walked me to the bus, which was very gentlefishman of him. I got so caught up in how gorgeous his scales were in the moonlight, I started to ramble about who knows what. Then I just couldn’t stop thinking: wait, how is he going to get home?”
Fish Man: “As we were walking to the subway she brought up plans to break me out of my cell at the lab one night. She said she knows people who could help. It felt like one of those plans you make that never ends up happening like “oh let’s do this again sometime,” but with her it could be different.”
Eliza: ♥♥♥ “Despite us not exchanging a single word through the course of the night, I felt like there was definitely a spark. I’m not one to move fast with these things, but I’d definitely see him again as a friend, and given time who knows.”
Fish Man: ♥♥♥ “She’s a lovely girl, and I look forward to seeing her around the lab. I think we’d have to go out a few more times to see if there’s something there, but on the plus side it wasn’t like ‘Oh god, get away from me, or I’ll eat your cat’ or anything.“