Midas and I were set up by a glamorous English professor, and we met each other’s basic criteria: cute enough, smart enough, tall enough, and Jew-ish. Heck, with so much in common we were probably related.
We went to the same college at different times. Midas had dated my ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, so we shared a disease vector. We occupied the same shtetl and it was destiny, bashert.
Our blind date was scheduled for a wine tasting at the Palace Hotel. Or so I thought. It was actually a swanky time-share presentation, for those who would rather buy a slice of a hotel suite for $2 million instead of an apartment for $2 million. Chef Mario Batali supplied the booze. Midas knew the saleswoman from the Harvard Club, where he hosts meetings for his consulting business and where he is so much better than you are.
Together we chatted, drank, and schmoozed with the real customers just like a real couple. We were the Ivy window dressing, though the curtains cost more than I earn in a year. And we hadn’t really yet met or spent any time alone ever. It was peculiar, but first dates are.
A lush and velvety Montepulciano later, the sales staff took us on a tour of the suites, and Midas suggested we lag behind while the group explored the Italianate marble bathrooms. They moved on toward the penthouse and we were left alone in a private suite at the Palace, slightly drunk; Eloise on a blind date.
The room was generously appointed with chintz sofas and high thread-count sheets. We lay on the bed and admired Baccarat chandeliers. Midas told me about his hopes, his dreams, his $60,000-a-year psychoanalysis bill. He was audited by the IRS after claiming therapy as a business expense and emerged victorious. He was beaten to a pulp by a famous boy band once, long ago, and with the settlement money he bought an apartment facing Central Park. The boy band disbanded. He did nothing but win, win, win — and said so.
He was anxious about the market and so took a substantial position in gold.
Me: You and everyone else in New York.
Midas: No, I took a position in physical gold.
Me: Like, coins? Krugerrands?
Midas: About $100,000.
Me: You’ve got $100,000 in change sitting around your house?
Midas: I might need the money to leave the country when the banks fail.
Me: You’re going to pay for passage to the next host country with gold coins. How are you going to buy bananas when you get there?
Midas: It’s not a perfect strategy.
Me: You can’t make change for a Krugerrand, you know that, right?
Why didn’t I leave right then? Because I was worried about his feelings? Because it might have been rude? Because of the English professor’s recommendation? Or because I was horizontal? Any of those might have been good enough reasons to stay. But that’s not what happened. At the very moment it occurred to me he was a lunatic and I should probably go, it dawned on him that I thought he was crazy.
He dumped me.
Midas: Look, we could date for six months and then I’d figure out all the ways you drive me nuts, and you could figure out all the ways I drive you nuts. Or we could just end this now.
Me: Wait. What?
Midas: I don’t think we should keep seeing each other.
Me: Am I on Dating Candid Camera?
I hopped off the bed and grabbed my coat and purse.
Midas: You’re going? Now? But I got us a suite at the Palace.