Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Ten years ago yesterday, I stood outside the Lincoln Plaza Theater waiting for the Kiwi guy from my Spanish language class to show up. We were going to see Italian for Beginners - an Italian movie made from a Maeve Binchy book - one I had read and loved. She's a great Irish writer - her most popular book was made into the movie Circle of Friends (another favourite).
I remember exactly what I was wearing: my good, tightish black pencil skirt that just skimmed my knee, a gorgeous blue Thomas Pink fitted shirt with cufflinks, tight-knit fish nets with my high black fancy boots with the pointy toes I bought in Paris along with a beautiful powder blue 3/4 length coat I also bought in Paris. I was freezing, but I looked good and I knew it. I was really, really excited to see him. I had no idea if it was a date or not. I saw him coming up Columbus Avenue and was thrilled that after a month we were finally going out - whether is was a date or not.
He smiled a hello and we went off to Rosa Mexicana for dinner. I insisted we try the guacamole which they make at the table and it's truly divine. He agreed. We had a nice dinner and the cheque arrived. I offered to pay half - wasn't sure if it was a date. Fen, being from New Zealand, thought that was fine so we split the bill. I paid up and excused myself to powder my nose.
Upstairs I called my friend Sarah to tell her I still wasn't sure if we were on a date or not. She immediately said, 'He didn't pay? Screw him. Get rid of him. He should pay.' Sarah, being high maintenance, would never have offered. I love her, still do, but I disagreed. I liked Fen and paying for my own meal on what may or may not be a date was not an issue for me. I wasn't looking for a free meal - I saw something in him that I was just drawn to - so this was not a deal breaker.
I'm glad I didn't listen to her. We went to our movie, enjoyed it and then when it came time for me to go home and Fen to go to work (he was a doing a midnight shift at his journalism job) we just said goodnight. Afterward I still didn't know if it was a date or not.
He called again the following week to ask me to another movie: The Panic Room. This time we skipped dinner and went right to the movie, we split some popcorn and then afterward went to play pool. I'm a decent player but I don't really care about it. I, once again, remember exactly what I was wearing - a nice fitted, black shirt dress with great white stitching down the front of it. Very flattering. I wore a different pair of knee high black books and patterned tights with a warmer, full length black wool coat this time so I wasn't freezing. But I still looked good and knew it! He still comments about that dress.
Again, no good night kiss, nothing. Still not sure if we were dating or not. But I had a plan. Of course, I had a plan! My sister Tracy was coming into town. I gathered my good friends including Sarah, as well and their husbands or boyfriends. It was time to trot Fen out and see what they thought. We went to the bar at the Washington Square Hotel. When he got up to use the facilities I got a round of thumbs up - even from Sarah.
When he got back I leaned in close and asked, 'I just need to know, and your answer is fine, but I have to know. Are you interested in me or are we becoming just friends?'
He blushed and said, 'Yeah, I'm interested in you.'
'You're not good at this are you?' I asked. he shook his head. 'Not really,' he replied.
I smiled and said, 'Don't worry - I'll take it from here. We're dating now.' He just nodded and grinned.
That was it. We've been together ever since. And after ten years and one day - I'm his longest relationship. I win. But I already won. He married me, he fathered two children with me, we have a great life together. I've been the winner all along.
PS: I have not played pool since that day. And Fen recently rented Italian For Beginners for us to watch again. As you can see - he's getting really good at this!