July brought somewhat a sense of relief in terms of my dating life—it was a new month, a new quarter, and there were no charity auctions or remnants of last month’s “roadkill” looming on the horizon. I could get back to bar hopping and number collecting while enjoying the ninety-seven degree horrendously humid, disgustingly sticky, putrid smelling days of summer on the Upper East Side, with the city’s pleasant soundtrack of incessant jack hammering, construction worker catcalling, and horn-honking along Second Avenue playing in the background. Life was good.
So when Tiny invited me to her boss’s Fourth of July party at his swanky Westside apartment with perfect views of the Hudson River, I gladly accepted. Tiny’s boss ran a luxury magazine and the party was intended for clients and friends to rub shoulders, network, and most importantly, have an amazing view of the fireworks in an air conditioned, Zabars’ catered locale with endless amounts of alcohol.
But when the lights dimmed and the fireworks began to light up the Hudson, people suddenly began coupling off. Twosomes were hand-holding in the name of John Hancock, French kissing in the name of freedom, and suddenly my love for the Constitution was overshadowed by the fact that Independence Day had abruptly turned into a romantic holiday. Hell, even the short, slightly pudgy man in a hideous Paul Smith shirt with pesto encrusted in his teeth had found a companion to lock lips with. I finished off the last of the champagne and headed home, confused and disappointed as to where my pyrotechnics were for this unexpectedly amorous holiday. I would have even been satisfied with just a few firecrackers of some sort, but instead, I went home to a snack of turkey bacon and an episode of Law & Order from 1993.
The next weekend I headed home to Ohio for my college roommate Paige’s wedding. She was one of my dearest friends in the world and was marrying a friend of mine from high school who had spotted her across the bar during my twenty-first birthday celebration oh-so-many years ago. I was quite proud to say that I had been the reason for their meeting, considering it was the one positive, lasting relationship that came out of my college dating career, even if I was a third-party in the matter.
It ended up I was the only singleton in the wedding party and the only single gal left in our group of seven girlfriends from college. Three were now married, one with a baby on the way, and the other three had serious, long-term boyfriends—all top-notch men, at that. I clearly had taken a different fork in the road after college and that fork then took me straight to the reception hall’s bar.
After the wedding festivities ended, I headed up to Northern Michigan with my family for a few days of rest and relaxation at our lake house. As I soaked up the sun with a few Coronas and some Tim McGraw, I came to the realization that I needed to stop feeling sorry for my single self. No more “woe is me, I’m all alone.” I was ready to come back to the city and enjoy the last half of my summer with my girlfriends, a few good books, and multiple bottles of vodka.
So my first night back in New York, I met a few girlfriends for some always-needed after-work drinks at Capital Grille. As I sipped (ok, slugged) my first martini, a tall, dark, handsome man at the end of the bar caught my eye. I heard him speaking in what sounded like Russian to the man he was with, but I quickly refocused on my girls and my gossip—I couldn’t be sidetracked after my proclamation to be proud, single, and okay with going home to bacon and reruns instead of random men only a short forty-eight hours earlier.
As the dashing foreigner caught me staring down the bar at him for the third time, he held my gaze and smiled.
“How’s your margarita?” he asked in a British accent.
The accent instantly melted me and before I could slide off my chair at the sound of an Englishman, I regained my composure and sat up straight in my barstool. I looked down at my pineapple vodka martini and then reverted back to his green eyes.
“It’s delicious.” I smiled.
And all proclamations of independence and singledom went out the door and straight up Third Avenue…