Friday, July 9, 2010

My Lunch Date with Ricky Ricardo

No, I did not actually have a date with Desi Arnaz, but this guy could totally have been his son! He looked like him, talked like him, and behaved in a very similar manner. I kept waiting for him to say, "Lucy, you got some splainin' to do!" Although he talked so much that Lucy would not have had any time to "splain" anything.

I met Ricky online at a site my friend recommended I join. I should mention that this is a FREE online dating site and it is true that you get what you pay for. Ricky immigrated from Costa Rica seven years ago and while he speaks English well, he has a heavy accent and his grammar, particularly the written word, proves beyond any shadow of doubt that English is not his first language. But I didn't have to explain any words to him and he is here legally, both of which are a big step up from El Rancho, the last guy I dated in Atlanta.....jejejejejeje (that's how Rancho indicates that he is laughing in a text message. Makes me laugh every time!)

I agree to meet Ricky for lunch the next day. He lives in New Jersey so he has to take the train into Manhattan, but he says this is no big deal as it's only about 30 minutes and he comes to the city about 3 times a week to visit friends and hang out. I would prefer to date men who actually live in NYC, but as long as he doesn't mind doing the traveling I will keep an open mind.

Monday morning he texts me and tells me he will arrive at Penn Station at 1:48pm and will call me at that time to arrange a meeting location. Upon arrival, he calls and tells me to meet him at the corner of 7th avenue and 34th street, also known as Penn Station. I was expecting to meet him at a restaurant rather than a street corner, but I keep my thoughts to myself and head toward 34th street. He knows I am coming from 9th avenue and 46th street, but he does not offer to come my way. I reason that he has come all the way from New Jersey to meet me, I suppose I can do most of the walking, but I still find this a little strange. Most people here ask where you are then you both start walking toward each other and meet where you meet. So I head over to 7th at 34th in the 100 degree heat wave. He calls twice to find out where I am as if he does not realize that I have to walk more than half a mile to get to him while he just stands there. So I suggest that he walk over to 8th avenue and meet me there. By the way, 1 avenue is about the same distance as 2 or 3 city blocks. He seems uncomfortable with this suggestion and I am about to ask what the problem is when he says, "okay, I will ask someone where that is." He comes to New York City three times a week, always to Penn Station, and has to ask someone how to get from 7th avenue to 8th avenue? Let me just say that New York is the easiest city in America to get around in until you get south of the numbered streets, which we clearly are not. It's easy to figure out which way is north, south, east, and west. And once you've been here one time, you know that 8th avenue is west of 7th avenue. Do you see where I'm going with this? No way this man "hangs out" here three times a week.

Somehow he makes it to 8th avenue. I see him from a distance crossing the street and I immediately know who he is. Remember how I said it is 100 degrees out? He is wearing jeans, a long sleeved black athletic shirt, the really tight ones like the football players wear under their jerseys when it's cold, another long sleeved button down shirt over that, and black loafers. The man is dressed for late fall in 100 degree heat! And I would be remiss if I did not mention the heavy gold link chain he sported around his neck. On a positive note, he did not wear tons of cologne like so many of my Latin friends.

As I cross 34th to approach him, I see that he is talking to a short, older man. The man looks like a bum. I'm pretty sure he is hitting Ricky up for money. Ricky sees me and waves nervously and the man looks over at me. As I get closer, the man apologizes to me and walks off. I ask Ricky what that was all about and he is very agitated. He says the guy kept asking if he liked "mens." I kind of giggled, which was not the correct response as Ricky did not find anything amusing about this situation. He's a very serious sort. He says in a heavy spanish accent, "That man came up to me and starting saying, 'you like mens' and I say, 'no I like womens' but he kept saying, 'no you like mens' and then he picks up his arms like he is going to fight me and I raise my arms because I can fight, you know!" And so he continued this story for the next few minutes until I finally got a word in and asked where he would like to eat. He said he did not know this area very well and could I just pick something. I didn't know that area very well either, but it is a very busy and touristy area so I suggested we go toward 9th avenue to my neighborhood. He is nervous again. He has never been to 9th avenue and I don't think he is big on trying new things. Is anyone sensing that Ricky and I are not a match? Still, he's been on a train for an hour and a half, yes he did say it was a 30 minute ride in our phone conversation, so I don't feel as though I can ditch him just yet, even though he has definitely pulled a bait and switch as many guys online will do to get a date.

Reluctantly, he follows me to 9th avenue where I have walked many times before and thought there were many restaurants. But do you remember what I said about the Chinese food? There were plenty of restaurants, but most were closed. It was Monday, July 5, which probably accounted for a couple of businesses being closed and I had only been past these at night when things are hoppin', so I'm guessing many of these establishments just aren't open for lunch. Ricky keeps asking, "Where you are taking me?" I tell him not to worry, there are lots of good places in my neighborhood.

During our walk, I hear a lot about how much he likes to play soccer, he was semi-professional in Costa Rica, how much he works out, how he runs miles and miles and miles, and I'm looking at him thinking he is not in very good shape at all. In fact, he's overweight and kind of roly poly and soft. As we are walking, I keep having to slow down because he does not seem to be able to keep up with me. I am not generally one to be kept up with. I am usually the one who does the keeping up. I'm definitely getting the feeling that my date does not have the most accurate sense of self and in fact may have a pretty big case of delusions of grandeur.

Over lunch I get to hear about his baby's crazy mother, complete with pictures of his baby who is 9 years old and lives in Costa Rica with her mom. He informs me that he only dates white women because Latin women all lie and cheat and he prefers older women because they are more mature and responsible. Did I mention he is 34? He tells me about the 50 year old woman who lives in the apartment under his who always tries to get him to come in and sleep with her, even though she has a boyfriend who regularly beats her up to the point that the police have to be called. Perhaps my friend Karen will pick this up on her new iphone police scanner app one night! He also tells me about his last girlfriend who left him for one of his friends when all he did was take care of her and treat her well.

When I finally get a chance to speak, there were not many opportunities for me to talk on this date, I ask how he managed to get away from the store on a Monday. He suddenly gets very serious, takes a deep breath and says, "I am very honest person. I no lie to you. I have no work in 3 years." Seriously, 3 years? Didn't he tell me just yesterday that he was a store manager? He continues on to say that he had an accident. Something fell on him at work and to make a very long story short, he hired a lawyer and no longer has to work. He has had 2 operations already and will have 2 more in the next year. Of course these operations put him on complete bed rest and render him unable to move for weeks at a time. He can't work out and keep in shape anymore, and refuses to go to physical therapy because that is for whiners. I have now deduced that what he is actually looking for is a woman who will basically take care of him through all of this. Apparently, the cheating girlfriend left not long after the first operation. I know I should be feeling sorry for him at this point, but 2 hours into this very one sided date which has gotten worse by the minute I am ready to stand up and yell "NEXT" and get the hell out of there! You will be glad to know that my southern manners kicked in and I did not do this.

Finally after 3 very long hours of listening to all of Ricky's self proclaimed attributes, both real and imagined, he paid our waitress, who had brought the check and stopped refilling our glasses about and hour earlier, and we left. He wanted to take me dancing to show me his moves and prove that he does not like "mens" but, by the sheer grace of God it was 5pm on Monday afternoon and the clubs were closed, so I dodged that bullet. Then he suggested we walk for a while. I thanked him for lunch and told him it was nice to have met him, but that I really was not up for another walk in the 100 degree heat. He tried to ask me out again, but I did not give him any encouragement and luckily, he was able to take the hint, stop talking and walk away without my having to be too blunt. I went home as quickly as I could and took a nap.

And so, my NYC dating saga begins....


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