Ever since we hired Nora as an intern (and then made her a permanent fixture here), the new-New Yorker has regaled us with her sometimes sad, sometimes unbelievable, but always hilarious “only in New York Williamsburg” dating stories. We figured you should get to hear them, too. So we’ve asked her to share her trials and tribulations as a single 20-something trying to bag that elusive not-too-hipstery non-asshole–and coordinate the perfect outfit to go with. Taking some inspiration from that other Nora, the legendary Ms. Ephron, we present, “Love, the L Train, and What I Wore.”
I met this guy last spring at a basement dive bar in NoHo. Out one night with some former coworkers, just, like, celebrating the joys of being young and free and whatever else twenty-five year old girls are supposed to spend their Saturday nights celebrating in New York, I spotted him: Blond, deep V, awful shorts, maybe cute, maybe not... too tall to tell.
Who knows who was accidentally bumping into who, but there was definitely a little of that going on. I was already several PBRs deep when he approached me.
(On that note, you're probably starting to notice a theme here. Despite the fact that I'm a salaried college grad living in an apartment completely devoid of closets or a bathtub, under a highway overpass, with a roommate, my drink of choice on most nights is still “whatever's your cheapest beer.” Oftentimes, that's PBR. Or, neighborhood-depending, Yuengling—which I'm still not entirely convinced isn't a fancy Japanese export brew. Oh, never mind.)
It turned out he was a fresh-off-the-theoretical-boat Australian looking for what could most G-ratedly be described as "a good time" in the Big App. Since I consider myself somewhat of an unofficial ambassador for the NYC tourism bureau--catering exclusively to single, attractive, 20-something male foreigners--I took it upon myself to do the right thing for my city's rep. First, I unsuccessfully taught him the Dougie, which naturally led to us making out. A lot. There's just something so simultaneously mortifying yet gratifying about Frenching (damn right I said "Frenching") that rogue Paul Hogan in a bar full of disapproving hipsters. Everyone should try it at least once. We went to another even sleazier spot and carried on until I somehow ended up back at my apartment (alone--excuse you!).
At some point in the night, Croc Dundee apparently came up for air and put his number in my phone because the next morning I awoke to a text from "Matt Aussie" asking me out on Monday after work. "I've got secret plans!!" he wrote, "Its [sic] going to be fun." Well then...
I've never fully understood how to dress on a first date. Like, you don't want to look too sassy, right? And if the date involves any variety of consumable, anything clingy is a no-go. Then again, modesty could be mistaken for prudishness, mild to severe body dysmorphia or worse—lack of any actual bodily shape at all. The verdict is still out. Maybe my dates are doomed from the wardrobe.
So I went for my safest bet: A sheer white sleeveless collared top with eyelet embroidery, buttoned up to the neck (most commonly and accurately referred to as my "Lana del Shirt") over a black longline bra. On top of that was my mom's itchy old cardigan (Hi! I'm down to earth), paired with high waisted black trousers (but still hip). The idea behind the Lana del Shirt is that a man can see you have viable breasts, but they're semi hidden behind a thin veil of white fabric. The breakdown: White allegedly symbolizes purity, while black lingerie means you want to have sex someday. A winning first date combo if ever there was.
Aside from this sartorial second-guessing, my biggest fears were, in this order, that one, I wouldn't recognize him at our Astor Place meeting... place, and two, I would recognize him and he'd be completely disgusting. But the fact that I did and he wasn't wasn't nearly enough to make up for the rest of the date. Our "secret plans" were in fact so secretive, even the not-so-Great and Powerful Aus wasn't sure what they were. We ended up at a 24-hour cafe where I ordered chicken fingers and a beer. The conversation was nearly as painful as the discovery that the cafe didn't serve French fries (it took him over an hour to ask what I do for work. The irony...). The entire bill came to $25--which we split--and when it came time to cheek-kiss adieu, I was outta there.
One would assume that after such a deplorable date, both parties would privately acknowledge it as a failure and carry on with their lives. But Tuesday evening, I received the date-rape-iest of pedo-propositions from Matt Aussie:
Ok, so under different circumstances, I might've replied with a marriage proposal. I should mention, this was at the height of my inexplicable and thankfully short-lived One Direction infection--and in a small way, I was relieved that not everything I'd said the previous night had fallen on deaf ears. But even in my sad singleton state, I saw through M.A. and his dirty, low-Down Under ways--and it was pretty obvi this 1D dream date wasn't actually going to involve a heartfelt discussion about how Zayn deserves more solos than he gets (I mean, he does though. It's so unfair).
I politely declined his offer in the most feigned apologetic response I could muster up, to which he replied with an even slimier sentiment: Initially, he re-invited me up to his roof so we could "talk about things"--maybe he'd assumed it was the One Direction aspect that threw me off? Then two more hours passed, during which he apparently believed he'd discovered the true way to woo a woman of my utter and undeniable status:
Chant with me now: Aussie-Aussie-Aussie! Oy-oy... vey. And one more thing--it's you're. You're welcome.