Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Chivalry Isn't Dead, But It May Be Unrecognizable

Zafirian single father, Zorn, and Son of Zorn is, for all intents and
purposes, the extent of my interest in television.
A while back, I posted an Elite Daily article on The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking and Baseball Facebook Page written by John Picciuto, “Why Chivalry Is Dead, From A Man’s Perspective.” In the article, Picciuto laments, “. . . it’s pretty obvious that chivalry is completely dead.” He continues, “It’s all about hooking up, grabbing a drink and getting down. I think I’m the only single guy I know that actually takes a girl out to a restaurant on a first date.”

Well, John, there may actually be two of us.

So, look, I’m no choirboy. Never pretended to be. If I’m attracted to a woman and if she wants to be intimate after a first date, I’ve been known to oblige. (See, "First Date Sex and The Single Father.") Regardless, I do actually start out with a real date, you know, coffee, lunch, drinks, dinner, conversation, gentlemanly behavior, and such. On the other hand, if I believe there is a chance for an authentic connection and a long-term, committed relationship, then I tend not to sleep with a woman on the first date. Why? Well, frankly, I’m not worried about physical intimacy in the short-run. For me, it’s not all about “closing the deal.” When I am genuinely attracted to a woman emotionally, intellectually, and physically, (which doesn’t happen very often), I want to give that initial connection a chance to evolve. I’ve noticed that having sex on the first date isn’t always conducive to creating intimacy in other areas of a relationship.

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Some time ago, I connected a beautiful, intelligent woman through one of the more exclusive on-line match-making site. Let’s call the woman, "Fia." (That’s not her name, by the way.) Fia and I talked on the phone and it became clear that the two of us shared a mutual attraction. It turned out Fia was (is) Ivy League educated and a working actor. 

SAG actor and handyman,
Robert Vincent Smith, who
actually is a pretty big deal.
It’s not terribly unusual to meet actors from time to time given the fact that I live about 40 miles from Manhattan. Heck, I’ve seen my friend, handyman, and Screen Actors Guild member, Robert Smith, on Law & Order and in small role in a feature film from time to time. In other words, I’ve known a few actors and, for the most part, it’s not a big deal.

After talking on the phone several times with Fia during a period of couple of weeks, the stars and our schedules aligned. The two of us planned to meet at a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.

Given that I’m the only one of my close circle who isn’t married, I occasionally talk about the women I date with my friends who vicariously enjoy the stories. I mentioned to a friend, Joe, (that is his real name), who lives in Chicago that I had met a woman, Fia, and that she and I planned to have dinner. Joe asked with some incredulity, “Don’t tell me you mean Fia _______ who plays ________ on (television show)?” I answered, “Well, yes, that’s Fia’s last name, but I had no idea she was on (television show).” Frankly, other than a few shows that includes animated series The Simpsons and Son of Zorn, Zach Galifinakis' Baskets, and now Brockmire, I don’t watch a lot of television. I had never seen Fia on the big or small screen, but turned out that Fia had had a regular gig on a somewhat popular, long-running television series. The show had very recently been cancelled, but Joe had apparently been a fan.

Fia was waiting at the Saturday night-crowded restaurant bar. A more accurate description may have been that Fia was hiding at the crowded restaurant bar. I’d walked through the bar from end to end, but didn’t see her. Since there wasn’t a spot at the bar, I decided to walk back to the door in case she hadn’t yet arrived. I’d hoped she hadn’t stood me up or, worse, saw me from her spot and decided not to come out of hiding. Then, suddenly, Fia caught me at the front door just before I walked back outside. Apparently, I’d passed the first test. And, wow, so had Fia. She was more attractive than her dating profile pictures had suggested.

The two of us were seated at a table on the second floor, made small talk, and ordered. Fia wore a form fitting, ankle length summer dress with spaghetti straps and open heels and, I was fairly certain, nothing else. The best word I can imagine to describe her, from her deep, dark eyes to the bottom of her long, lovely legs, was “graceful.”

Fia ordered a small steak and vegetables, which she explained in spite of the low carbohydrates, were more calories than she’d normally eat in three days. Suddenly, next to us, a gentleman at a table of six men asked Fia if he could have his picture taken with her. It turned out that the table of six were extremely entertaining gay men who were celebrating a birthday and at least a couple of them were among Fia’s devoted fans.

Fia and I spend the rest of dinner talking and laughing together with our new friends. I even bought a drink for the birthday boy, with whom I'm still a (Facebook) friend. A bystander might have thought I’d found the cure for cancer by the guy’s extravagant but unpretentious appreciation. After dinner, Fia asked me if I’d drive her to her apartment Uptown. Apparently, I passed the second test.

We walked hand-in-hand the couple of blocks from the restaurant to the lot where I parked my car. I opened the car door as Fia elegantly slid the hem of her dress to her knees, revealing just a little of her toned, honey-colored legs, while sliding into the passenger seat. When we reached her apartment located on a tree-lined city street, I parked and the two of us spend the next twenty minutes or so in a somewhat, (ahem), passionate embrace. In other words, we snogged like teenagers.

It was pretty clear that Fia wanted more and, let me tell you, I was torn. I wanted more, too, but I wanted more than more. I really liked Fia and thought she and I just might have potential for something meaningful. There was clearly a mutual physical attraction. Although we'd only spent two or three hours together, it appeared we also got along in other ways, as well. I wanted her to know that I wanted her. I wanted her in a way that would include not just sex, but something that would include intimacy on all levels and for more than just a night. I walked Fia to the door and, with a plan to see one another again and after recognizing a bewildered look on her face, watched her walk into her building.

Sometimes, a guy wants more than
a perfect stranger.
Our schedules prevented us from connecting at any time sooner than two weeks. Once again, I found myself on the tree-lined street in front of her building, this time to see one of my favorite, small venue musicians at one of my favorite small venues. We had dinner on the veranda of a restaurant closer to my home before we continued to the concert.

Our seats were near enough to the stage that, after the encore, I thanked the performer for a great show and he nodded to me and replied genuinely, "Thanks." It was clear after the curtain closed, though, the magic between Fia and me was gone. I didn’t press for anything more after Fia made a not-so-veiled reference to “men who lack confidence.” Apparently, Fia confused chivalry and respect with timidity. I have to assume she hadn’t experienced many instances of a man who postpones gratification or just wasn’t familiar with a gentleman when she met one.

When I saw my friend Joe and some other of my best friends a few weeks later in Chicago and told them the story about Fia and I was roundly chastised for not, well, closing the deal. I don't know. Had I been intimate with Fia that first night, she likely have always been "a perfect stranger" to me anyway. Besides I think I'm in the "been-there-done that" category in terms of putting a notch on my bedpost. Frankly, I want something more substantial and I'd still rather make my best effort to have a loving, committed partner in lieu of a fleeting tryst.

Chivalry may not be dead, as John Picciuto suggests in his Elite Daily article, but it is apparently rare enough that some women, even an intelligent and educated woman, don’t recognize it when they see it.

So, it goes.

I can’t say that I haven’t looked Fia up on IMDB.com. She's had another recurring role in a new television series. Not surprisingly, I haven’t watched the show, but I hope she’s breaking one of those long, beautiful, graceful legs. (Sigh.)