Yesterday was like a gift. New York winters are miserable to the point you find yourself wondering if the sun is really out there somewhere in those long, dark, cold and windy days working its way back around. Winter in New York is harsh enough to make you forget how miserable August is. That is why days like yesterday are so amazing. Sixty plus degrees after weeks of teens and twentys and on a Saturday when I get to enjoy it.
I started the day at the Avon Salon in the Trump building - you know the one of The Apprentice fame. I was so happy with my new cut and style I decided to stop at the Mac counter at Henry Bendell's on Fifth Avenue to pick out some new eye shadow since the last 3-4 months has been about making due by digging what I can out of samples, some of which are probably years old. I've never ventured into Henry Bendell's beyond the Mac counter because it feels intimidatingly expensive - but the Mac counter feels like an affordable indulgence that I only recently discovered. I explained to the makeup artist who helped me that I needed something new but not heavy that I can wear every day. She went to town. My eyes shone with colors I never would have chose for myself and after probably 50 strokes of mascara per eye lash which I will never replicate but somehow didn't look overdone when she did it. So when she asked if I would like to try blush I let her go for it. And I again conceded when she pushed lip gloss on me. The effect . . . when I left I felt like I had just had a makeover. I felt beautiful. New York was beautiful with the sun shining and I had accomplished all this before noon on a Saturday!
With my make0ver confidence I went to Rue 57 to meet my visiting teaching companion and the girls we teach for our monthly brunch. Here is my confession - I rarely to never actually teach the Ensign message. As I explained to one of the girls I teach - I'm just not like your mother's visiting teacher. I love Saturday brunch in NYC so that is how I accomplish visiting teaching. It feels more like what it is supposed to be - building friendships - than something I am obligated to do.
When four of the six of us were at the restaurant I decided to go in and see how long it would be before we got a table. New York restaurants will never seat you before your full party has arrived - most places strictly enforce this rule. So I was ready to tell the host that we would all be there shortly and see how long the wait was for 6. The other girls waited on the sidewalk as I pushed through the crowd of people in the entry waiting to be seated. I told the host six and he told me to follow someone. I was shocked! No questions asked? I gave the credit to my new makeover and ran back out to grab my crew and not only were we seated immediately we had a fantastic table! Rue 57, as the name implies, is a French bistro-type restaurant that but for the fact that some chairs have their backs turned to the street, could have been picked up off a Paris street corner and onto 57th and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. In honor of the spring preview, all the doors were open to the sidewalk and we had the benefit of being seated indoors but open to the sidewalk. It was beautiful! I was torn between the country omellete and my favorite brunch temptation - French toast. So I split both with someone else.
After brunch I had another rendez vous with the boy. Once again we met at Columbus Circle where he bought sparkling Martinellis and picked up a couple of paper cups and we made our way into Central Park. Who does that on a Saturday afternoon? Apparently the bulk of Manhattan because the Park was jammed. People were rollerblading, biking, jogging, strolling, walking dogs, walking kids, playing soccer, throwing frisbees, lounging on rocks and in places where grass once was and there are signs there might be grass once more. Everyone was happy to shed a few layers and enjoy the gift - knowing it was fleeting. We staked out a sunny patch of dirt and soon-to-be grass and drank our Martinellis. I couldn't get over what a great day it was.
But it wasn't over - we walked through more of the Park at one point he looked at me and said "WOW! Your eyes are bright!" Thanks again to my Mac makeup artist - I should stop by there before every date. Then we went to MoMA - my favorite museum in the City. Unfortunately it did not turn out to be his but he made an effort. The date was supposed to end soon but it kept going. We decided to get some food and he was excited to introduce me to the "best hamburger in NYC" when I had to break it to him that I don't eat hamburgers. By his reaction you would have thought I had just told him I'm actually from another planet. He quickly asked "you aren't a vegetarian are you?" He tried his best to convince me and we went to the famous hamburger spot tucked in a corner of Le Parker Meridian hotel lobby. It is a no-name, tiny, cramped, greasy burger spot with no name and a handwritten menu with a sign stating "If you don't know what you want, go to the back of the line." All the tables were full with others waiting to swoop in at any sign of departure. The smell of grease and burgers was a bit overpowering for me but he endured MoMA so I endured this and was grateful to see they offered a grilled cheese alternative.
Waiting for our food in the cramped space between the tables and the line, I ran into someone I know. I am both surprised when I run into people I know in the City and surprised that it doesn't happen more often. Since they were also Mormon singles I wondered if my date knew them and whether he was uncomfortable with being spotted - with his arm around me and possibly my head on his shoulder. We haven't discussed whether we are "stealth dating" as I call it or whether we are open. Not having dated in the NYC Mormon community I don't know how to deal with it. I have watched others take different approaches. You see, the community is so small that if you are open and others know you are dating then you are automatically a couple and then the questions start and people try to involve themselves. But I have known others who took the stealth thing to ridiculous extremes trying to hide a budding romance the way they would guard an illicit affair. I don't know what path we are on. I like keeping it private while it is uncertain but I'm not sure I want to hide.
His name was called so he collected our food while I talked, when he returned I introduced them all and not seeing a table and needing an exit from the run-in, we decided to take our food back to my place. We didn't discuss the encounter.
The evening ended with a bus ride to my apartment with the greasy bag of hamburger, dinner and a movie. The original intention was to go to a stake singles thing but we both blew that off in favor of staying put and enjoying each other in solitude.