My parents don’t own a car- they never have during my lifetime. They bike or walk everywhere, maybe take public transportation if it’s raining or a cross-city trip. This would be normal in NYC- more people than not live a car-free in this city. In my sphere of friends and acquaintances, no one owns a car around these parts except my former college professor who lives in NYC but commutes to Massachusetts to teach theatre 3 days per week (talk about a horrible commute!)
I went on a date a couple weeks ago and the guy picked me up, at my door, in a car. He was driving in from New Jersey- it shouldn’t have been that weird, but I was 200% thrown. I’m a city girl with limited experience with cars in general, but absolutely no experience with cars on a date. I didn’t know how to greet my date- the normal hug or handshake I wouldn’t think twice about on the street seemed impossible as I climbed into the vehicle. Perhaps this would have been helped had he gotten out and opened the door for me, though such a gesture would have been ludicrous double-parked on a narrow one way street (and made me feel like I’d stepped out of my apartment and into the 1950s).
The date never fully recovered from this awkward start. Dinner and a movie (well films, technically- the 2009 Academy Award nominated short films) in the village. Classification: OK First Date. An OK First Date usually merits a second in my book- I’ll give the benefit of the nerves/bad hair day/whatever. But as he neared my street in his SUV (circa 2000, so not totally reprehensible but still..) I realized I couldn’t do this again when the thought of a good night kiss crossed my mind. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to kiss him but the thing was: even if I did want to, I’d have to overcome even more obstacles than usual. Not just nerves and fear of bad breath and rejection but how do I lean over and not impale myself on the gear shift? How does this already awkward prone gesture have a prayer on front-facing seats? It doesn’t.
Too many added complications. I didn’t kiss him. Didn’t hug him. Just said good-bye and never saw him again. If I were him, I’d probably have spent hours obsessing wonder as to why I didn’t want a second date. He’d never guess his car was the deal breaker.