Brandon Harnish @bkharnish: how long did you know Claudia before hugging? kissing?
I said to her, “you have teeth like a vampire. Did you know you have vampire fangs?” One tooth on either side were pointy, like she could bite into my neck and rip my flesh out. Maybe that’s what they did down in South America. You hear all sorts of things. Who knows?
She was taken a bit off guard and maybe blushed. And I was peering in as if to look at the vampire fangs and I kissed her and I got that feeling you get when you kiss someone and they return the kiss. She re-gifted the kiss straight back at me.
In other words, I was a weirdo. Why did I feel the need to put her off guard like that. Why was I such an idiot?
Not only that, we had been walking for about three miles. I had put her through a forced march before subjecting her to my insults about the shape of her incisors.
We had met for lunch. I had invited her to meet me in the lobby of my building. The lobby was artificially impressive. Because it was 2009, nobody wanted to live on Wall Street. So rents plunged in every building while amenities went up. Plus, you couldn’t get more impressive. Right outside my building was the New York Stock Exchange. There were armed guards everywhere, as if they were protecting my compound and in the lobby itself was a fake chandelier so big it was about 50 feet wide and rested on the floor so everyone had to walk around it. Amidst this sea of flickering electric lights, she would have to meet me.
Then we took a walk. First we went to South Street Seaport. We were overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge, the weather was great, I pointed out a restaurant on the other side that was known for being a romantic restaurant and I said we would have to try it some time and she agreed. So clearly it was ALL SYSTEMS GO. Second date and I was in!
But NO, I was shy. I don’t know why. I wasn’t shy other times. Just then. So we kept walking. I said, lets go to Battery Park, which is like a mile away. And we started at one end and went to the other, passing ground zero, the statue of liberty, ellis island, people juggling fire while on stilts, until finally we were at the end of the park, at the river, staring out at Brooklyn. Again. There was us and about a dozen homeless people.
Finally, I said, “you know your teeth look like vampire fangs”.
Second date and we kissed. Then she said, “I think all of those people are looking at us.” I said, “Maybe they are rooting us on. Maybe they want to see more.”
She said, “In NYC dating people seem to think, ‘third date and bed’, but I don’t like that.”
“Don’t worry,” I said and then proceeded to lie, “I have a ninety day rule.”
So it was the second date. This was both fast and slow. When it’s faster than that sometimes I don’t like that. It means the girl can kiss anyone the first time. When it’s slower than that I don’t know. I don’t like to be kept in the dark for so long. A girl and a guy know after the first ten minutes whether they like each other enough to kiss. Maybe even in the first minute. Or the first few seconds. After that its theater. But you still can’t rush or it becomes bad theater.
But it’s good to have a philosophy of ‘Slow’, a philosophy of patience. Life is too short for fast bad decisions.
Nevertheless, I stretched out the climactic scene too much. I didn’t need to insult her to kiss her. I didn’t need to tire her out by walking three miles. I was afraid and scared and shy and nervous. All of those things get in the way of a good kiss. People either know or they don’t. An extra three miles of walking won’t change things.
When I kissed her we were about 50 feet from a subway stop. It’s good when you seal the deal to end things right there. It’s done. Mission accomplished. You got the password, you unlocked the safe, you got the top secret documents inside. Time to go. No need to hang out and read the gossip column. So I walked her to the subway and we agreed on a next date.
After I dropped her off I called Dan. “How’d it go?” he said. “Good,” I said. “I think the search is over.” And it was.