Sunday, April 02, 2006

My Saturday date

I don't think I've had a Saturday date in a year and a half... until now... and, boy, I don't miss the stress, but I also had a fun time.

I was 5:30pm so I figured I had plenty of time since KT had said we'd aim for 7pm. But as I looked into my closet, paralysis set in. I flipped through every piece of hanging clothing and concluded that I have incredibly boring, non-date clothing.

My friend, Nvy, called just in time to walk me through my crisis. Thank God! I have good clothes it's just that there more work-appropriate, i.e. solid colors. At least most of my clothes are clingy which is what she suggested I wear to show off my body. She suggested I wear a rich color and pair it with a scarf for contrast. We chose my dark purple silk knit top and a burn-out velvet scarf. On the bottom I wore my dark blue, sexy boot cut jeans. Since there was a chance of rain, I chose some patent leather pumps that had strappy heals. Besides the usual touch of eyeliner and neutral eye makeup, I wore some beautiful silver chandelier earrings. In the future, she recommends I go shopping for some long sleeve, cute, date tops... help?

In the midst of my call with Nvy, KT called to confirm. The movie we were aiming to watch was showing at 9:10pm. He hadn't considered buying ticket ahead and preferred to play it by easy. He asked how early I felt comfortable meeting for dinner. I hesitated saying I still needed time to make my hair "normal." KT was sweet to say that he was sure my hair looked fine. Both of us still needed time to get ready so we agreed to have dinner at 6:45pm. As we said goodbye, I reverified whether I was meeting him at the restaurant. (Sigh... is he afraid to drive the extra two miles to pick me up?)

Both of us got lucky with parking. KT literally passed me as I got out of my car. I stood looking at a white banner across the street draped across the window of the cafe that read, "Coming Soon: Starbucks," in green lettering. At first I was a gasp, but then reason set in and I realized that it was an April Fool's Joke. Good one. I pointed it out to Ken as he came around the corner.

This was probably the most dressed down I've ever seen him. He wore pale khaki pants with a white shirt that had thin, dark stripes. It was untucked. His hair seemed freshly washed or something because it seemed less groomed, a bit pointy. I can't help looking more closely at his features because the pictures I've seen of him vary a bit. I think his glasses somehow disguise the finer details. He's perhaps not as handsome as I idealized, but I still like him.

The conversation always flows easily between us. I did try and let pauses run a little longer than last time. We kept getting sidetracked and the waiter had to come by four times before we could give him our order. One of the first things he did was apologize to me for his earlier e-mail. He realized it was a bit too much information and felt bad. I assured him it was fine. KT continued to explain that how being medically minded, it's easy to be too clinical. I told him I figured that was the case and said I understood. It's funny and dear that he's thinking about what he's saying to me.

As usual we were all over the place with the conversation. We laughed a little bit about the "Yellow Fever" short movie. It actually would have been interesting to spend a little more time talking about that. Then we talked a little about learning and speaking mandarin. He speaks Fuj at home but tries to practice mandarin with his mom sometimes and listens to Chinese radio during the drive to and from work sometimes. I'd like to hear him speak some more sometime.

That lead to talking about his work. He told me about the challenges he has with speaking to his Spanish and Chinese patients. Only in areas like this are people challenged with such a diverse population. He seems like a conscientious individual. Once while I was explaining something, he apologized for being distracted because he thought the child at the next table might be choking, but it turned out the boys were just playing.

Not only did he obviously learn piano, he can play violin. KT says he doesn't find violin that interesting because it's not a solo instrument. That's why he took up guitar more recently. He doesn't like the high pitch of violin. My response was that I don't mind listening to my dad when he's practicing violin and wish I had learned.

I mentioned the conversation I had with my cousin about California Asians. My cousin admits he has many stereotypes about people here based on growing up in NY. He's very skeptical that he will make many friends here because he says we're too laid back and cliquish. I've heard from multiple East Coast folks that they don't consider West Coast people very intellectual. It was an very interesting accusation to discuss. KT seemed rather passive about it. The first thing he asked was whether my cousin is aware of the difference between Northern and Southern Califonia. He did mention that his med school from who was from Long Island was very unhappy in Sdo. He thinks the cliquish nature didn't develop until more recently. I have to admit that I do spend most of my free time with other Asian with more than half my main social group being Chinese. KT thinks my cousin will change his mind after he's been here awhile.

Sometimes I think I bring up stupid topics just to impress him. I mentioned that I had been working on a project at work on internists for the annual physicians' meeting. He asked where it was this year, and I added that it will be in Sdo next year. That caught his attention and he thought aloud that he should go next year. We talked a little about pharmaceutical reps and he mentioned that while he's not supposed to accept samples, he was left cases of Pediasure that he should probably donate to a local food bank.

At the end of the meal, we were given two orange slices and two fortune cookies. (Rats, I left the fortunes on the table.) As we sucked down the oranges I mentioned how my mother had me spend last weekend picking oranges. She insisted on taking some 5-10 pounds of them on the airplane even though a good number of them were probably too tart to eat. That's an Asian mother for you, can't pass up free food. KT had actually brought that up earlier commenting that in Asia, there's no such thing as doggie bags and how it's rude to run out of food. I told him stories about how my friend Sh will even go as far as take other people's leftovers home if a group of us goes out to dinner. It's going to an extreme.

My fortune was about showing a smile to bring about good things. KT agreed that he always finds a smiling patient leads to a good appointment. A frown sets a tough mood for the visit.

KT's mind must have been very focused or very distracted because he completely forgot about the check. Originally, he had suggested we stop for gelato before going to the theatre. But after double-checking the movie time, we knew we had to go directly. Maybe he felt rushed. He began to stand up and put his coat on when I pointed down at the check with a curious look. He looked completely stumped that he had forgotten (and the whole time it sat there I was wondering if he was waiting for me to pay or something). He pulled out a twenty a laid it on top of the bill and made some comment about only having large bills. I looked at the total and calculated in my head that it was not sufficient for the tip. Since my hand was already on my purse, I pulled out my wallet. KT asked if I had a couple small bills. I tossed out two $1 bills and we headed out.

I don't know if it's nerves or cluelessness because, I had to ask him, "are we taking in one car there?"

"I guess we could do that," he said, as if it hadn't occurred to him.

"Why waste the gas..., unless it's easier for you to go home directly from the theatre," I added.

"No, it's fine," he replied.

Movie Time
On the drive to the theatre, KT was mentioning about how Larry sends him e-mails about the lack of single women where they currently live. I guess Larry is considering moving up to the city to meet more people. I had to ask, "how old is Larry?"

I did not expect KT to say, "You know, I've known Larry for almost a year now, and I honestly am not sure. My guess is that he's either 36 or a couple years younger based on what other people have told me."

"We're the same age right?" I was pretty sure but had to ask.

"Yeah, the year of the pig...," is how KT answered. Interesting to use Chinese astrology to categorize.

We arrived with plenty of time to spare. The parking gods had been very kind to us all evening. As we stood in line to buy tickets, I noted some of the other movies on the display. I asked if "Slither" was a horror flick and KT said yes. I mentioned that I was curious because Nathan Fillion from "Firefly" is in it. I asked if he knew of the show and he did. He said he probably should rent the movie "Serenity" sometime. (Earlier I had already offered to loan him "Amelie" so I didn't want to offer a second just yet.) Then we talked about "Buffy" for a bit and I mentioned that Joss Whedon is now writing the screenplay for "Wonder Woman." KT speculated on who might play the lead role and came up with Katie Holmes. I made an ugly, disapproving face and said she wasn't right. When I said it needed to be a stronger, perhaps more athletic actress, he came up with Jennifer Garner. Then he asked about a rumor he'd heard that she was with Ben Affleck... yeah... I had to update him that there were married and just had a little girl, Violet. For the next five minutes I was updating him on various Hollywood gossip like Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston hook up. That's was weird.

About three couples from the window I began to debate whether to offer to buy the movie tickets. We were having a good time and I wondered if it would be a nice gesture.

"I'll get the tickets," I explained.

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"Yeah." I assured him.

"Thanks," with a smile.

"Thanks for dinner," I said as I handed him his ticket.

We had another chance to chat as we waited for the movie to start. One question I distinctly remember is him asking me when the last time was that I went to the movies with my parents. I honestly wasn't sure but thought that it was when I was thirteen. I said I remembered my parents going to a few movies like date nights (he laughed at that concept). I had to explain, that honestly, my parents prefer to watch tv at home. They don't like paying the money, and my brother downloads all the bootlegs for them to watch. KT then told me how he takes his mom to the movies. She likes seeing sci-fi type things like "Lord of the Rings" and "Narnia." He even took her to see the "Star Wars." (My friend, Chi, says this was his way of assessing whether I spend quality time with my parents and if I have a good relationship with them... I might fail on this "test.")

It was interesting to see how KT behaved in the movie. He never tried anything, but we did learn into each other occasionally to ask a question. He laughed rather loudly a couple times. I couldn't help think "dork" a few times because of the sounds he made. That's okay, I don't mind a little dorkiness I suppose.

The one odd thing (maybe I imagined it) happened as we prepared to leave the theatre. KT had already stood up and put his jacket on. I had just risen out of my seat and looked at him. I swear he scanned me head to toe as I put on my jacket. What was that about? Checking me out?

KT opened the car door for me when we left the theatre. I give him stars for opening all the doors we encountered during the date.

End of the Night
Approaching my car, he came around the corner so that he stopped directly behind my car. As we pulled up he noted my alumni license plate frame and commented "a station wagon with EB - Bears, of course it's your car."

I laughed and I said, "yes, and I saw your alumni plate on the back of your car." We both laughed, and I reminisced about how I had once considered a red car but had to get the blue. He laughed as he repeated me.

As he reached to unbuckled his seat belt, he told me that he had a fun night. Then he tried to reach behind his seat to give me the leftovers saying that his parents were having family friends over and were disappointed to learn that he wasn't going to be around for the evening. He reached back so far that I thought his head might end up in my lap. He couldn't reach it so I leaned over and grabbed it from behind his seat.

With the food in my lap, I saw that he was about to put his seat belt back on. Ugh, I couldn't believe that he wasn't going to try to touch me. So I moved to extend my left arm out and said "thanks" as I gave him a hug. I think I felt one of his arms come around me very lightly.

As I pulled my head from the car, I think I heard him say, "see you soon." I said the same with a smile and closed the door.

I'm happy. We had a good time and I'd like to think I could see a smile in his eyes about us spending time together. My sense is that he is a bit dorkier than I first suspected but I also think he's a very thoughtful and considerate person when he tries (or is not nervous). We need some more dates to figure out what's going on before getting into more serious conversations.

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