"I think it'll be fine," he said, with the air of someone who had been many times. Our first power struggle. Fine, get kicked out of your fancy bar, hotshot, I thought. Sometimes I am competitive.
We walked over and sure enough, there was a line, and the snippy guy with the clipboard told us that they were "at capacity." I willed my face not to look smug; the look on his face suggested that I did not quite succeed. And so we were left with a slightly strained silence and the awkwardness of finding somewhere else to go. First dates should never include travel time.
But travel we did, hailing a cab downtown, trying to drum up a destination. We finally settled on Fez (my suggestion), a flickery, middle-eastern lounge with low couches and swingy, beaded curtains. We sat down, ordered drinks, and, finally, started hitting it off—especially since he'd arranged to have food put in front of me and I'd pointed out that the girl at the bar was totally showing her thong.
More drinks were ordered. My smile became a tad goofy. Hi Morty! You're fun! He was smiling too. I got a little chatty. Did he know that I'd written a book during law school? That I'd recorded a pop song while I was in Sweden? That my sister was visiting because it was my birthday? It was my birthday! It's true, I had turned twenty-eight somewhere between the thong and the third drink, and I proudly informed Morty that the real party was tomorrow at some bar in Soho. Our names were on a list. Morty, that denizen of the Hudson, seemed suitably impressed. Then he whipped out his phone and found my book on Amazon, showing off his pre-Blackberry technology. It was the year 2000, and now I was impressed. Morty was cool! And cute. Hi Morty!
Suddenly, the waitress appeared—with cake, and a candle. I looked at Morty. "Happy twenty-eighth, birthday girl," he said, grinning, as my heart did a little flip.