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Posted: Nov 16, 2017
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By: Lauren Frankfort

The First Date That Almost Didn't Happen


I had been online dating for more than two years when I decided I was really done. I had just signed up for Coffee Meets Bagel, but I knew I was over it before I even finished watching it download. Whatever date I went on, if I went on one, would likely be my last — for a long while, at least.

When my “bagel” for the day popped up, I wasn't too thrilled. He was cute, but he was also everything my parents wanted him to be (so everything I didn't want). But, as I said, he was cute, and I told myself okay, one more, and I swiped right. He instantly messaged me to set up a date...on a Friday. Oh no, Fridays are exclusively for friends I thought. I shut him down and proposed a mid-week, post-work drink date. We set our date for a Thursday and I was mildly enthusiastic about it.

Thursday came and because his flight home from a work trip was delayed, we had to reschedule. But I got strep throat (damn NYC winters!) so I had to push it back another week.

Two weeks later, we still hadn't met.

This is usually the point in the NYC dating story where each party politely parts ways — the texting fizzles and a new slew of matches crops up, eager for a drink date. But Jordan persisted. He kept the conversation flowing, and we finally nailed down a date that would work for both of us. He wouldn't be traveling, my immune system would try its best to keep its shit together, and we'd finally meet. I gave myself an ultimatum: this was either going to be great or I'd resign myself to singlehood for the foreseeable future.

I was starting to feel optimistic until the text heard 'round the world landed in my phone Tuesday night. A text that reaffirmed every reason why I wanted to stop dating, and live my happily ever after in a domestic partnership with my gay best friend. The date spot he suggested? The Thirteenth Step.

the 13th step nyc

Not only is The Thirteenth Step a grimy sports bar, it's where I spent every Tuesday night as an NYU junior and senior guzzling down dollar beers. I scoffed, texted my group chat with all of my NYU friends, and didn't respond to his message. I really, really had to think about this.

I went into work the next day fired up. I told my coworker what happened, indignant at the notion that the Thirteenth Step was a passable place for someone in their mid-twenties to have a date, and was just about ready to cancel...until she told me to get off my high horse and give him a chance.

She brought me back to earth. He was a consultant for a living, he never actually spent much time in NYC even though he lived here, and maybe he thought it was a convenient location: close to the L so I could get back to Williamsburg easily. Well, that’s sweet. I took control of the conversation and offered up a centrally located bar that was charming but chill: Lillie's in Union Square.

lillies union square

When our date arrived, so did a huge snowstorm. It looked like we might have to cancel again, but we both decided to power through. I was not in my usual date attire: I was rocking clunky Sorel boots and what I had previously dubbed my "tomato jacket," a bright red puffer I only dared to wear outside of the house when temps dropped below 20. Despite the sleet and snow we made it. He was cuter and more charming than his profile let on. We ended up eating dinner at one of the high tops towards the front of the bar, near the bay windows. We stayed for 5 hours. He walked me to the L and told me I was amazing.

It turned out I was right — that was my last date. Jordan and I are getting married next September.

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