A Sarcastic Appetite

A Sarcastic Appetite Dates: Tennis at McCarren Park
May 24, 2014, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Dating


When I first started online dating many moons ago, I set the bar pretty low: I just wanted to date someone nice. This led to a date with a guy named Robert, who was indeed nice but had the personality of semi-firm tofu. I quickly realized I was going to have to change my parameters.


The next logical move seemed to be shared interests: find a guy who likes what you like, so you can enjoy doing those things together. What are my interests? I thought to myself as I perused potential suitors. What does my typical weekend involve? White wine, brunch, sparkling wine, tapas, tennis…tennis! Perfect! Now all I had to do was find a guy who also liked tennis, and we could play together. It would be the perfect first date.


Soon enough I came across a potential match – let’s call him Boris. Boris was 30ish, cute, and was only ever photographed wearing hats or bandanas. I’m no idiot, but I was still curious. We chatted back and forth for a bit before agreeing to meet to play tennis at 10am on a Sunday in McCarren Park (yes, I go to Brooklyn), to be followed by brunch nearby. Getting a little workout and a lot of mimosas in sounded like a pretty ideal situation. That morning, I hoofed it out to the tennis courts and waited.


Shortly thereafter Boris rode up – on a fixed gear bike, since this is Brooklyn – wearing a red shirt and a matching red bandana. I was still no idiot, but was still curious.


“Do you live nearby?” I asked, as we chatted while waiting for the courts to change over. “In Greenpoint,” he responded. “I actually learned to play tennis on these courts when I was a teenager,” he added.


We walked onto the court, and I suddenly realized why no one plays tennis on a first date: you can’t actually talk to someone who’s standing 78 feet away from you (I looked it up). We started to hit and I realized the other reason no one plays tennis on a first date: you have no idea if the other person’s going to be any good. He was horrendous – and I wasn’t playing much better. By 10:10 I was ready for a drink.

After chasing his fifth fly ball into the next court, I walked to the net. “What do you say we cut it short and just grab brunch?” I asked. “We have to stay!” he said. “We have the court for an hour. We have to stay!”


It was brutal. Even though it was a cool morning, I was sweating. (Reason #75 not to play tennis on a first date. Seriously, what was I thinking?) Peculiarly, Boris appeared cool as a cucumber, his red shirt not showing even the slightest hint of perspiration. This was embarrassing, and it was only 10:30.


We didn’t even attempt to play a match – a near impossibility anyway, since rallies weren’t lasting much longer than a shot or two. I chased down mishit after mishit and finally, gloriously, the clock hit 11. It was time to go. We walked off the court and headed to a restaurant across the street. Boris looked like he’d spent the last hour in an ice bar, while I looked like I’d just come out of a sauna. However, I wisely packed a change of clothes, so I told Boris I was just going to “freshen up” and made a beeline for the bathroom downstairs.


Except…I couldn’t find the bathroom, because the lower level of the restaurant was pitch black. Some kind of horrible “nsk nsk” dance music was blaring and a  tiny disco ball provided the only light. I blindly felt my way along the wall before I found what appeared to be the bathroom. Sweaty and disoriented, I tried to turn on the light. There was no light. So I changed and attempted to put on makeup in the dark (Reason #86 not to play tennis on a first date).


Back upstairs, I joined Boris for $5 mimosas and eggs benedict, hoping my makeup didn’t make me look like some kind of sad clown. At least now we could actually get to know each other. An only child, he told me about his “crazy” mother, and how “insane” she was.


“Why is she so crazy?” I asked.


“My mother, she had my father and I rip out a window in the side of her house,” he explained. “We did all the work ourselves.”


Ok, that did sound a little nuts.


“She wanted to replace it with French doors going out to the deck.”


I debated going into detail about what that could do for the resale value of their house (I watch enough House Hunters to know what I’m talking about) before opting just to nod silently, as if in commiseration. This lady really sounded awfully canny.


“She’s really crazy,” he lamented.


It suddenly occurred to me that on that day a year earlier, I watched a dog receive communion at my father’s funeral in Florida before catching a plane to New York to go to a wedding that same night. This guy had no idea about crazy. It was time to go home – and maybe rethink this whole “shared interests” thing.


We finished brunch and he nicely paid before insisting on walking me back through McCarren Park, all the way to the Bedford L stop. It was a long walk. Despite the 86 (and counting) reasons not to play tennis on a first date, poor Boris appeared to be smitten. But it was not to be. At the subway stop we said our goodbyes and I hightailed it out of there. Game, set, match.


1 Comment so far
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That was so funny – I thought I’d split!

Comment by Karen

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