Tuesday night was a very special night and different in many ways. Last night was my first date with Cute Neighbour Boy, let’s call him Mark and it was a first for me in many ways. First time dating a neighbour, first time dating an Italian and first time that a guy has cooked for me, in my kitchen on the first date. Ill let you soak all of that in for a minute, because it certainly took me a while to do so.
I landed in Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon from my amazing Brazil trip (yes there is a gigantic post of biblical size waiting in the wings, be patient) and within minutes of arriving at my apartment, I received a text from Mark and then another and then another; in short he asked me out, I agreed and then he dropped a bomb saying we would eat at my place since I had a dining table, and he didnt, and he would cook (fair trade). I was excited at this pretty original first date idea but then again I was also nervous because who goes on a first date inside their own apartment? isn’t that asking for trouble? Also, isn’t it stingy? I spent hours with Jin and Elvish Pixie analysing and over analysing the possibilities.
I went to his place at 730, wore a nice navy/pink dress (incidentally, it’s a prada reject)…kinda summery, not too dressy, no cleavage, but short on length. He opened the door; his place was messy with boxes and stuff and he was on the phone so I waited. Then this girl came out into the living room and I was a bit shocked – turns out he has a flatmate until April. He then mimed (while still talking to his boss) “we are cooking at your place”.. I instantly froze, I had not planned for this. But then again he seemed really chilled out so I tried to relax. He was in cropped pants and looked cute and approachable (as opposed to tall and hot, the way I remembered him from our first encounter).
I had already cleaned my apartment the night before so there was nothing to be ashamed of and let’s face it, my kitchen is more well-equipped than those of some chefs, I’m sure.
Needless to say Mark was impressed with my apartment and my impressive collection of kitchen tools. We got started, chopping up onions and carrots, crushing garlic, boiling the broth – risotto with zucchini. He cooked with purpose and technique – risotto, one of my favourite Italian staples, is a dish that needs patience to be cooked perfectly and patient he was. He later told me it was his first time making risotto and I was suitably impressed. Not surprisingly, Mark had assumed that I was Brazilian and was truly shocked when I told him I was Indian (I do hope this supposed Brazilian identity was not the reason for the date, and that my being Indian doesn’t lead him to change how he feels about me!)
The hard work and patience paid off – the risotto tasted lovely (and I am not easy to please gastronomically). We drank a bottle of good French red with yummy hard Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. We talked and talked and talked. We finished dinner with limoncello. And then we talked and talked and talked some more. Until 130 am. On a Tuesday, no less.
I don’t mean to brag, because I am being completely truthful here – my accent in latin languages is exceptionally good, despite my limited knowledge/vocabulary; I knew this was true of French, Spanish and Portuguese but last night I added Italian to the list. Mark wrote down random words and tested my pronunciation and apparently I passed with flying colours. And then we got to talking about Bologna where he hails from and about the university and you know what I said “Yeah I know about it, that university is renowned for engineers and scientific minds. Marconi went there didnt he?” He was shocked and impressed that I knew this (then again most engineers know this, I think?) I feel very uneasy when guys get overly impressed with me, be it about my job, my apartment, my taste in things or my knowledge – I don’t know, alarm bells go off. No one wants to date a superwoman, I think?
It was late and we both had to go to work. He kissed me on the cheek twice (as Europeans do) and then at the door we started talking again and I agreed that I would cook Indian food the next time. Another hug and two more pecks on the cheek later, he left.
I am not an expert on dating and I haven’t had that many dates but all in all, it was a really pleasant evening (especially considering the million and one ways in which it could have gone wrong) and Mark seems like a really nice guy. It was not the most romantic night, he didn’t really complement me nor did he kiss me but he cooked for me, in my kitchen and that’s kind of a big deal.
Oh and did I mention he rides a sweet motorbike and loves going to the beach? Mark’s stock is hereby rated a “hold” with the possibility of surprise on the upside.