I don’t usually go to brunch but he was rather insistent, We were both in the city for the weekend and the weather was still warm. I had plans that evening but my day was free. I let him twist my arm. I don’t like brunch for a number of reasons: I prefer my own eggs made the way I like them, I don’t put milk in my tea so its always too hot to sip, I don’t drink during the day and worst of all, some men think since they take you to brunch you will spend the ENTIRE day together. I like men but I like my free time more than most. 90 minutes of my time on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is all you’re getting unless I love you.
He texted me in the morning:
Does 12:30 work? I’ll make a reservation
Can we say 12:45? I’m running a little late.
just as I was on my way out the door. Grrrr… I decided rather than go back inside and catch up on emails I’d use the time to tackle a few errands. I bought a fresh Snob lipstick at MAC and was on my way to the post office when I got a third text.
I’m here. Just come now.
It was 12:35. I generally try to be pleasant on a first date so I forgave him but at the same time my brain was telling me :this guy seems controlling and will make you jump through hoops for him. I told myself to relax. I was constantly talking myself out of men even before I met them. I wasn’t going to do that today. I would be kind and forgiving. And just go with the flow
I met him outside of Isabella’s, a Mediterranean style restaurant know for brunch on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He was tall with a boyish grin. He was also a Brit – did I mention that? He was wearing a sports jacket, turtle neck and a fine plaid scarf. He rode his bike from the east side – I liked that! So far so good.
The hostess directed us to a table outside. He asked “Can we sit there instead?” pointing to a corner table. “My legs.” he explained. He was very tall. When the server came over with water he said, “This table is too noisy. I feel like we’re eating in the kitchen. Can we move?”
We were directed to the other side of the outdoor cafe. I sat down in the new location.”Actually can we sit over there?” I got up and moved to the now third table.The table was wobbly. I was hoping he wouldn’t notice but he did. I leaned down and fixed it with my newspaper. Mission accomplished. I popped back up and he said, I kid you not,”Can you sit here? I like to sit at a 45 degree angle.” Thinking he was joking I didn’t move. He said, “Here just come sit here in the corner.” I was not enjoying this. Then he said,
“I like your earrings. Who bought them for you?” When I looked at him in disbelief he said, “You heard me. Who bought them for you? Husband? Lover? Boyfriend?”
“I bought them for myself.”
“You did not.”
“I most certainly did and why would I bother to lie about such a thing?”
He shut up just as the server placed my meal in front of me.”You’re not going to eat all of that, I bet. I’ll just wait until you’re done and then I’ll finish it up.”
I was furious. I asked myself, do I make an excuse and leave? Do I go to the bathroom and disappear?Just say I don’t think this is going to work and take off. No. Stupid, ever so polite, me stayed.
I didn’t want to make a scene and leave. I didn’t want to be as rude. I sat there barely able to eat because I was so disgusted. I picked at the goat cheese on my salad and ate a few candied walnuts. I did not ask him one single question. He bombarded me with questions that I answered as though I were jumping rope. He asked me three times where I went to school. I pointed this out the second time he asked. He said, “Maybe I’m running out of questions.” I just smiled and said “Maybe.” When he asked me a third time, I just started making up shit. Lots of shit.
I think he realized it. He began to talk about his children. “Do you know what a ‘grin fucker’ is? That’s what my daughter is.”
He explained, “she will smile to your face and say she wants to be your best friend and then she will fuck you behind your back. My daughter is a bitch. Just like her mother and her grandmother. She runs Princeton. I don’t mean she runs it but she has everyone running around for her.”
Next he was on to his son,”My son is a basket case. A real fuck up but he’s a hell of a nice kid. Everyone loves him. He’s a mess.”
I finally did speak up, “I’d rather have a fucked up kid with a good heart than a beautiful bitch for a daughter.”
The waitress came over and asked,
“No thanks,. I’ve got to dash. Cheerio.” I crossed the street and never looked back.
Isabella’s is located at 359 Columbus Avenue (corner of 77th Street) 212-724-2100
It’s a great place to eat, just don’t go with an asshole.