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Top Ramen

As you know, I’m back to online dating.

It’s not that I love the idea of meeting someone online, because I definitely don’t. But in my everyday life (at my advanced age), I just don’t have enough opportunities to meet new people.

I guess it’s not really “people” I’m looking to meet. It’s guys. Ok, ok, single guys. Alright, STRAIGHT single guys.

Anyway, I’ve recently been toying with the idea of taking golf or sailing lessons at Chelsea Piers or cooking classes at the Institute for Culinary Education. It would be so nice to meet someone in real life instead of on a computer, where you have no idea if the guy you think is normal is actually a 300lb hoarder who’s 6’ tall ONLY when he stands on a giant pile of empty Steak-Umm boxes.

You just can’t tell.

Anyway, about a month and a half ago, I was in the grocery store across the street from my apt. I was in the mood to learn to make soup, and was buying the fixings for French Onion. I wasn’t really following a recipe, exactly, but I’ve eaten it a 100x over the years. So I was just going from aisle to aisle picking up ingredients that seemed to make sense.

Immediately after the produce aisle (where I grabbed Spanish onions, red onions, a head of garlic, and a shallot), and the cookie aisle (where I picked up some Nutter Butters, which have nothing at all to do with the soup, but are simply the most awesomely delicious cookie ever), I found myself in the soup aisle.

You’d think I would have skipped this aisle, since I was making soup from scratch. It might have made sense to avoid the temptation to scrap my whole plan, buy a can of Campbell’s, kick back on the couch and chow down on sweet, sweet Nutter Butters.

But I didn’t.

I got to the middle of the aisle when I realized I needed a broth of some kind. So I was standing there, debating whether I should go with beef stock or vegetable stock. Veggie was in a green box. Would the broth be greenish too? I couldn’t take the chance. I knew beef was brown. 

Just then, a tall, glasses-wearing guy in a very nice gray pinstripe suit reached over my head to grab 2 packages of Nissin Top Ramen. Chicken flavor. “I lived on this stuff in college,” he said to me as he dropped the packages into his basket. I nodded. He nodded. And he went on his way up the aisle.

I grabbed the beef stock and continued down the aisle. I turned the corner to the frozen food section, which also happens to have pre-packaged deli items, and smells vaguely of vomit. I was deliberating over buying Gruyere (at $24 a wedge!) or Swiss (at a mere $8).

Ramen Noodle walked by again. “Try the fontina,” he said. I smiled. He smiled. And he went on his way up the aisle.

I grabbed the fontina, since it was also white and melty, and a fraction of the cost of the Gruyere.  I also picked up a bag of Nathan’s Famous frozen potato pancakes (because they are tasty), and continued down the aisle. I skipped the next few aisles because I didn’t need any beverages, cleaning products, pet food, or cereal.

I was in the last aisle to grab some butter to saute the onions in.  This is FRENCH onion soup after all.  The tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter that I already had in my fridge probably wouldn't cut it.

Well, guess who walked by?

Clearly we were on the same grocery path. “Got the fontina, huh?” he asked. I laughed. He laughed. And we both went up the aisle toward the checkout. We picked different lanes, which meant we were done roughly at the same time. I know this because I walked out of the store right behind him.

“Are you following me?” he flirted. “It won’t be a long walk, I live just across the street.” He proceeded to point right at my building.

“You don’t say?” I replied. “Me too.”

He introduced himself, and I did the same. We chatted while waiting for the light to change. And while walking across the street. And in the lobby of our building. And by the mailboxes. And by the elevators. We got in, and I hit my floor, 28. He hit his floor, 17. Then he asked me out for a drink.

(Not that night, of course. I would be too busy eating cookies while figuring out how to make soup.)

We met in the lobby the following night around 8pm. That is precisely when this cute story of 2 people meeting in the soup aisle at Gristedes turned rotten.

The drinks lasted all of 20 minutes. In this time:
  • I noticed he was much heavier than I remembered. Maybe it was all the sodium from the ramen, but the buttons on his shirt (and probably his pants) were undoubtedly the most hard-working buttons in the room.
  • He barely said 10 words, all he did was gesture.  It was like being on a date with a mime.
  • The few words he did use were directed towards our server, and involved ordering, re-ordering, and re-re-ordering himself a glass of port. He showed no visible signs of remorse for his openly assholey behavior or for his bad taste in drinks.
Interrupting my silent prayers for someone to pull the fire alarm, he stepped away. I assumed it was to pay the bill at the bar. I was at least grateful that he realized this was going nowhere.  Plus, I made a mental note that 99 cent noodles are a HORRIBLE foundation for a first date. The only guys who still eat that crap are wasted and/or broke.

He returned a few minutes later reeking of cigarettes. Revolting.

“Can you tell I just had a smoke?” he asked as he waved his arms in the air and shook out his suit jacket. Ah!  Words!  How nice.  Too bad he stunk.  So I replied, “Um, could you tell if a bum just took a dump his pants?” 

He looked at me strangely. Needless to say, the date ended there. We walked back, awkwardly, to our apt building.

And I learned a valuable lesson – don’t date anyone who lives in your apt building! Because I ran into him like 6 more times after that horrible date. In typical New York fashion, though, we pretended like we didn’t know one another. Which was fine by me.

Now, you might be wondering why I decided to write about him today if this date happened a while back. Well, my typical policy with writing about my bad dates is that I don’t do it until I'm positive I’m never going to see the guy again. And I will NEVER see Ooodles of Noodles again, as the doorman told me he moved out today. Hooray!

I just might celebrate. With some port. Oh, wait!  That’s a pretentious drink that tastes like oven cleaner.

Maybe I’ll just have a Nutter Butter.

So, would you ever date someone from your same apartment or office building?  Share below...

tags: city life, dating, food


Anonymous said...

yeah! Glad to see a new post and always love your bad date stories but more impotantly how was the Soup? Post the recipe if it was good ;)

chris said...

Oh how I love your dating stories! It sounds like the guy in the market and the guy on the date weren't the same person. So do'nt get to comfortable in your building because maybe he was a Twin!!!

Kevin said...

Did you say NO SOUP FOR YOU?

I dated a girl at work at 3 different jobs. It's never a good idea and I am guessing the same thing applies for dating someone in your apartment complex.

Anonymous said...

I dated my neighbor once then we moved in together then we broke up and I wished I had my old appt back and he wasn't my neighbor any more.

Jenny From The 'Brook said...

Anon #1: The soup was actually really good! I'll post the recipe sometime.

Chris: It certainly would explain things if he was a twin. But I think he was actually just a jerk.

Kev & Anon #2: Thanks. Never dated anyone from work, and now will never date anyone from home again!