Key Takeaways: Having a first date on Valentine’s Day is risky and may, or may not, pay off.
Name: Ricky [Bobby], which is not his real name, but he drove a sports car and Talladega Nights is one of my favorite movies.
Length of date: 2 hours
How the date was obtained: “The League” dating website.
Where: Plancha Tacos in Venice
This date was on Valentine’s Day. You want all the details? Well, my date was one of the best looking I’ve had so far, he works as a bodyguard, and he drove a Lexus convertible, so there’s a lot to take in on this one.
First, a few words about the Hallmark holiday: Valentine’s Day (V-day). It’s like New Year’s Eve (NYE), usually a bit of a letdown. I’m sure someone out there is like, “Isabel, I had the best V-day and NYE this year! SO. MUCH. FUN. All my expectations were not only met but exceeded!” To you, I say, “Please take your positive attitude and expectations elsewhere.”
But this February 14th, I was trying to have reasonable expectations. I knew if I wanted to have a good V-day, I was going to have to create that for myself. So, I did things that I enjoy: I took a yoga class, splurged on a Java Chip Frappaccino and re-watched some of my favorite Parks and Rec episodes. I had a great day until it was time for my date, which is when my unrealistic expectations started to set in.
Foolishly I wondered, would he bring me a bouquet of flowers or my favorite Ghirardelli 72% dark chocolate squares? Maybe we’d walk on the beach and watch the sunset, our hands might touch and my heart might flutter. Maybe we would look back on that day and think how crazy it was that we met on Valentine’s Day – coincidence, I think not!
I got to Plancha Tacos 5 minutes early. He rolled up in white Lexus convertible, hopped out empty-handed, to say hello and added, “I can’t afford my car.” You know what, I liked his honesty. Little did Ricky know that I would have been even more attracted if he’d shown up in a Prius. Nothing makes me steamier than a guy who cares about his eco-footprint.
Inside I ordered a shrimp bowl and then asked what kind of milk the Horchata was made with (remember: lactose intolerant) and then before the kind worker could say anything, Ricky answered: “Rice Milk. It’s always rice milk.” Although he was right, the way he answered with condescending certainty was wrong.
While waiting for our food, he asked what I did for work and I said, “I’m an actor.” And then he said, “Theatre people are so weird.” This befuddled me. There is nothing weird about acting. It’s perfectly normal to pretend you’re someone completely different in front of a paying audience. So... although he was right, the way he responded didn’t endear Ricky to me.
After dinner, he suggested a walk on the beach. Maybe some of my V-day dreams would come true! But, if you’ve been to Venice Beach recently, you know some streets can be sketchy after dark. I did feel a little better knowing that he is a trained bodyguard, so at least he could do some jiu-jitsu moves if anyone got too close.
Then the unthinkable happened. No, it wasn’t a kiss. A rat ran right in front of us. A RAT. I’ve heard about black cats crossing your path. But what if a rat crosses your path? That has to be the worst omen of them all.
Shortly after the rat incident or what I am now calling the rat-cident, we walked back to our respective cars. Then right on the spot, he asked me to go out again next week! Had he felt a spark? I guess maybe this lactose intolerant theatre geek wasn’t so bad after all. I checked my calendar and told him I had an Improv class on the night he suggested – working on my craft. So, we’ll see if our paths cross again.
I drove home with mixed feelings. I was happy that I actively tried to make my Valentine’s Day a positive experience. But, when it came time for the date, even though I didn’t want to, I fell into the trap of expecting romance. I expected the “if you’re a bird, I’m a bird,” or “I’ll never let go, Jack” kind of love. Sigh.
But ironically, movie love isn’t real. Those are actors pretending to be madly in love with each other. In fact, they’re also theater geeks and those scenes were probably shot dozens of times until, unlike life, they were perfection. So, that’s a wrap.
The future for us… I don’t think we’ll see each other again – which I think is the most realistic expectation I have of Ricky.
Next Week: I’m going on a date with a fellow actor. Will he be my leading man? Stay tuned to find out.
PS In case you missed the mid-week post where I let my totally biased mom chime in, there’s a link here. And also, in the reader’s poll, you voted 97% to let her pick a date for me, so that’s happening. Thanks a lot everyone.