Sometimes in life, opportunities come along that seem way too good to be true: a promising job offer that allows you to work from home with unlimited sick days, winning an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Bermuda, and in my case, meeting a man online who goes by the handle HoopTR46.
I opened his message on Wednesday morning, and immediately noticed how drop dead gorgeous he was. I’m talking tall, dark and handsome, straight-off-the-pages-of-GQ gorgeous. He had thick, well-shaped eyebrows and mesmerizing, forest green eyes. After checking out his profile, I learned that he was my age, has a prestigious role at a well-known advertising company (which happens to be only one block from my office), that he’s very well-traveled, has a great education, is witty, athletic, spontaneous and overall too good to be true. But what did I have to lose?
With healthy skepticism, I replied to his message, certain that I would discover what the catch was within a few exchanges. But there was no catch that I could discern. In fact, the conversation continued effortlessly for the remainder of the day. Before I knew it, I was agreeing to dinner and drinks the following night. I usually don’t accept dates so quickly, especially with a guy that seems so out of my league, so once I did, I started to worry that I may have just made a date with the Craigslist Killer. These days, I always expect the worst until proven otherwise. So, just in case I went missing, I jotted down his profile information on my desk notepad so authorities would know where to look.
When I arrived at the low-key lounge of his choosing, I was relieved to see that the GQ model I saw in photos, was, in fact, the same guy who greeted me with open arms and a kiss on the cheek. At this point, I was so surprised that he wasn’t a Catfish that I was fully preparing myself to be let down over the course of the night. Someone this good-looking must have some sort of major character flaw, and it was only a matter of time until it reared its ugly head. We sat down at the bar and started talking about our upcoming weekend plans. I told him how I planned to visit family and get some errands done. I asked him what he had in the works.
“I’m actually going to Europe for the weekend. I have some friends and family in Italy that I’ve been meaning to see, so I’ll fly out tomorrow morning and come back Sunday night,” he told me, as if he were telling me he would be grocery shopping and doing laundry all weekend.
WHAT?! He was just going to jet off to Italy for the weekend? The filter between my brain and my mouth was nonexistent, and “playing it cool” was off the table after that. He smiled, unfazed by my surprise.
He went on to tell me how he tries to travel as much as possible to escape the city and experience other cultures. And how Europe is a frequent destination because he played professional basketball there for a while. Oh and also, he has an apartment in Italy that he needs to sell soon, since it’s just been sitting there.
You have GOT to be fucking kidding me, I thought. This guy has got to be completely full of crap.
I continued to grill him about his travels and his basketball career, hoping to catch him in an obvious lie, but I didn’t. Before long, I forgot all about him possibly being a lying sack of shit and found myself blabbing away about my dream of visiting Bora Bora. He asked me about my work, my family, career goals and dating life, and conversation flowed like we were old friends who were catching up after years apart. A few cocktails, a couple tequila shots, a large vat of crab mac and cheese and five hours later, we found ourselves unable to stop talking, laughing and learning about each other.
Some other fun facts I found out about GQ: he’s trilingual, looking to settle down, has only ever introduced one woman to his “strict” parents, has never had a relationship longer than one year because he doesn’t believe in prolonging something that “doesn’t feel right” and has a strict policy about not dating co-workers. The longer we talked, the more people filtered out of the bar and the closer we found ourselves to each other. He leaned over and kissed me, which turned into a passionate (albeit inappropriate) makeout session that made my head spin, although I’m sure the tequila contributed. As if he wasn’t perfect enough already, his lips were pillowy soft and he held the sides of my face while we kissed, every so often removing one hand, sliding it up the nape of my neck, into my hair and slightly tugging. It was the kind of makeout session that made you want to immediately undress each other, no matter where you were.
I found myself wondering, yet again, how this date could possibly be real!? The perfect guy doesn’t exist, I reminded myself. I’ve never expected any bells and whistles in the men I date. To me, “the perfect guy” is one who has an amazing personality, who I share a genuine connection with, intense chemistry and mutual respect. But if I find all of these redeeming qualities in him and he has some bonuses, who am I to walk away?
The bartender waltzed over to us and I immediately thought we were going to be scolded for the PDA, but instead, he looked at us and smiled. “I hope I’m not interrupting, but you two look SO happy together. What’s your secret?”
We looked at each other and laughed, when suddenly I blurted the first thing that came to my head, “Thank you! We’re celebrating our 8-month anniversary!”
“We’re trying to figure out where we should go to celebrate. I’d love to take her to Paris, but we’re keeping our options open,” GQ added, joining in the game.
“You know where you should go?” said the bartender. “Bora Bora. I heard it’s stunning.”
Suddenly, I was Julia Roberts’ character in some cheesy ’90s rom com, and this was the serendipitous moment where the girl realizes she and the boy are meant to be together. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t envisioning a future with GQ at this point. In that moment, I actually wondered what it would be like if we made it to our 8-month anniversary. Would he remember this moment from our first date and whisk me away on a surprise trip to Bora Bora? And what would our honeymoon be like? I tried not to get ahead of myself, but it all seemed so…perfect.
GQ and I started laughing and he said very matter-of-factly, “Well then, it looks like that’s settled. I guess we’re going to Bora Bora.”
An hour later, we called it a night, though technically it was morning. We sent a few texts back and forth after we parted ways, and upon my arrival home, I immediately fired up my MacBook Pro to Google him, praying that I wouldn’t find out that he wasn’t real. I let out a deep sigh when everything he told me checked out. The next morning, we chatted briefly while he was at the airport before it was time to say ciao. But despite our amazing date, a part of me wondered if it would be the last time I heard from him.
The next day while I was on the elliptical at the gym, I felt my phone vibrating from inside the cup holder. I opened it to find a photo of the Trevi Fountain at night, lit up in all of it’s beautiful glory.
“Thought I’d share,” he wrote. “Next time, maybe you can see it in person with me.”
My heart jumped, but a part of me still couldn’t help but wonder if he was serious. Of course I would want to go Italy with a man who looks like a model, but that’s not a normal thing to propose after only one date. Then again, nothing about him seems normal.
“Ciao bella,” he signed off. “I can’t wait to see you again.”
And he will see me again— because our second date is tonight. I’m still bracing myself to see another side of him; a side I don’t like. It’s common practice to put your best foot forward on the first date, so this time around I can’t assume things will be so ridiculously, incredulously perfect. But to be honest, I’m kind of hoping they are.