I arrived first, on time even, which is a rarity for me. I sat by the fireplace reading the NY Times Arts section as I waited. The bartender, a youngish musician type, made me a surprise rum cocktail because they were out of the usual cider I mixed it with. I heard someone come in and ask where the bar was before he realized that it was right in front of him. I looked up and smiled, greeted him warmly and started to hear voices in my head. Hmmm. He grabbed himself a Hendrick’s and tonic to start and we sat at the bench by the fireplace finishing our first drinks while we waited for a spot at the bar.
Usually when you meet someone online and they seem familiar, it’s in an abstract sense, not an real sense. I made the date with the Peruvian’s Doppelganger on Saturday night for the next evening. We agreed to meet at the bar of a small bistro in a quaint historic neighborhood halfway between our homes. Online, he is approachable. It’s easy to talk with him. In person he is a little awkward, a little stiff. The Peruvian was so smooth, warm, and attentive. Curious and interested. The Doppelganger seemed distracted and slightly disinterested. I soon learned though, as I watched him interact with his surroundings, that it isn’t for lack of interest but general social anxiety. The Peruvian is so good with people because he has taken years of classes in public speaking and presentation. His presence is DYNAMIC. The room notices when he walks into it. The Doppelganger, not so much.
We finally get some seats at the bar when a nice Hungarian man and his companion get up to leave. I chat the older man up for a moment, because flirting with older foreign men is so fun at times, and we proceed to sit down and drink some more. 4 drinks in, we are still chatting, chemistry is minimal. He is interested, he mentions wanting to go to other establishments with me in the future. He discusses future dates, yet he doesn’t rest a hand on my arm or knee once. Okay. Lukewarm reception. But he is at least leaning towards interest in his comments. We chat up the bartender, the Hungarian man who has decided to sit on the other side of the bar, and with the couple he is speaking with, the woman looking similar to Maggie Gyllenhall; a night of doppelgangers everywhere. Even Facebook is rocking a doppelganger theme. In case you are now wondering, mine is Jeri Ryan.
We order more drinks and we chat and chat. He tells me about his business, he asks about my time in NYC and tells me about when he would visit his younger brother who used to live there. It seems he comes from a semi close family and everyone lives in the same town. Apparently, he and his younger brother also own competing businesses, yet are going into business with each other on inventions. Hmm, my brain is chattering about little keywords. Inventions. IT consulting. NYC. Weird.
I ask how Mr Doppelganger’s time with online dating has been thus far. He tells me that it’s been mostly uneventful, he was pushed into it by a friend. He tells me that his brother had tried Match for a couple months but met someone through Volleyball in December that he has been dating. Hmm, Volleyball, Match. The fire alarms suddenly go off and we are ushered out of the door rudely by some fireman who are yelling at the manager of the bistro and making her cry with they way they are treating her. Doppelganger and I walk into the market next door to pass a few minutes while the firemen double-check the bistro and give everyone clearance to enter the building. Walking through the aisles we point out bizarre foods and strong flavors we like and things we don’t and he mentions someone having issues with Indian food. A name he hadn’t used before. I asked who? On our way to the exit he then said,” oh, sorry, that’s my little brother”. Hmm.
Back outside we notice that the fireman are allowing entrance back into the building. Doppelganger has relaxed a bit more at this time and is friendlier, yet still not comfortable expressing it physically. Ok, socially awkward man. We order and finish our 4th and last cocktail and say goodnight to the manager and bartender on our way out. Amazing how 4 cocktails makes the night air in January feel so much warmer. I walk him to his car, which is on the way to the train, and he thanks me for the fun time before asking for my number. He bends down and gives me a brief peck on the lips goodnight, but instead of pulling away from it when it was over, I leaned in. I hate pecks. Either commit to the kiss or don’t even go there. So, we kiss for a few minutes. Nice, it didn’t send me running but it also didn’t curl my toes like the Peruvi… HOLY SHIT. We stop kissing and say goodnight and as I walk away, all the earlier hmm’s and chatter form a complete story. The Doppelganger is NOT a doppelganger. He is the Peruvian’s older brother. Oh. shit. This is going to be an interesting one to explain.