The Mile High Club

“Come on, get your mind out of the gutter! It only happened once and it was his girlfriend on the flight,” Eric said, his warm eyes laughing at me.

“But how did you know?” I asked, fascinated by all the tidbits of his exciting lifestyle.

“A pilot says he needs 15 minutes alone in the cockpit, well, not alone. Anyway, it’s a small enough company, so the reputation stays with him.”

“What about you? Have you ever…?” I asked.

“Of course not!” He told me as he winked and took a bite of his extra crispy bacon.

We both laughed. Eric was about the fifth guy I had taken to my favorite brunch restaurant in the past couple months. I don’t even care to know what the hostess might be thinking, but over the eggs benedict and freshly pressed juice, I was beginning to like the view from the top. This is how I developed my 20:1 rule. For every 20 guys you meet who are completely wrong, there will be one who just might be right.

Eric was a pilot on long haul routes, which, I learnt, meant that his flights averaged 10 hours in duration and that he mainly flew to paradise beach destinations. Long haul is the most coveted route, so it meant he was great at his job but that he was also away from home two weeks a month.

Now in my previous post, I explain my aversion to dating lawyers. I feel the opposite way about scientists, so when I found out that Eric was also an aeronautical and spatial engineer who taught flight theory to new pilots, if I had been a man, I would not have been able to stand up right away without knocking over our basket of croissants!

It had been a long time since I had such a great first date. It was a sunny autumn day and we stayed out for hours. Walking in the park, sitting in the park, kissing in the park, I got to know everything about him. I couldn’t wait to book my ticket to Punta Cana on one of his flights.

On this park bench, as he told me about trajectories and how the airlines throw dead chickens into the engines for testing, I was staring down his checkered shirt, admiring his ample and masculine chest hair (a fetish of mine I never share with hairless men), wondering what it would it would feel like under my fingers. When I wasn’t staring at his chest, I was staring at his mouth as he spoke, subconsciously licking my own lips whenever he would pronounce a long “u” like in “prune.” When he would stop speaking, I would look into his deep blue eyes that reflected into mine a joyful admiration.

One of the reasons I love scientists is because I myself love science. I love to understand things, like why vinegar dissolves calcium deposits in the bathroom or how to hybrid my orchids (I’m still working on this). As I listened intently to every interesting word he said, I knew I was starting to like him.

“What about you? Did you always want to work in marketing?” He inquired.

“Actually, don’t laugh, but I have always wanted to be a plastic surgeon. If I could do it over again, I would have gone to medical school.” I revealed something I share with few people.

Now this is a true story and while some of my posts poke fun at guys, it is not my intention to do so here. The following is what happened and in writing about it, I do not in any way mean to make light of the situation.

With his next remarks, Eric effectively made me wonder: how much information is too much to provide on a first date?

“Plastic surgery huh?” he said. “That’s interesting because…” He went on to tell me about the different genetic disorders he has inherited from both parents, one of which required multiple plastic surgeries. It is not important to list the specific conditions but, needless to say, this is something I have not before heard on a first date.

Then he went on to tell me, “And also, the occupation of airline personnel reduces their life expectancy by 8 years.”

With all the tact and grace of a drunken hobo, I said, “I had no idea. You should ask for more money.” Like a true gentleman does in a situation where a woman says something stupid, he pretended not to hear it and we moved on to a lighter topic.

Now, I will definitely see Eric again. First of all, while my flaws are not genetic per se, they are enough to place me firmly within the most fragile of glass houses.

Still I cannot understand what transpired on this first date. Was he already thinking about having babies with me? Had we gotten so close that we passed the attraction phase into being chums? Was he trying to turn me off? Was he just nervous? Is this something he just discusses openly with near strangers?

I will give him a free pass and assume that something I said on the date was equally inopportune and that we are at par. He has messaged since and expressed a desire to meet again. Now I have to wait two weeks; I just hope he brings me something nice from Thailand!

-Albany Eden

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My First Bar Kiss

cat cornerThe first time I ever kissed a man in a bar also coincided with my first time in a bar (growing up law-abiding in the US, I was making up for lost time!)

When you’re 17, you feel like it’s an accomplishment to get an older man to converse with and want to kiss you (in retrospect, I realize how creepy this sounds) but on that, my third evening in France, I was looking to move on from my ex and first boyfriend who broke my heart for a leggy henna-tattooed piece of white trash (see The Making of Albany Eden); what better day than his birthday to dance on the grave of the relationship he killed? But I wasn’t thinking of Jackson that winter evening at the Cat Corner nightclub off La Croisette in Cannes.

My friend Linda was 23 and she knew men. She was beautiful, Swedish, with perfectly flipped natural blond hair. I hoped that being in her company would help me fool guys into thinking I too was a natural blond.

“If I don’t want to talk to a guy, I’ll say I’m from Nebraska because every time I say ‘California’ it leads to more questions,” I explained to her.
“No, say you’re from Finland and your English is not so good. As long as you don’t say this to a Finnish guy, no one else speaks this language….40km from Helsinki, end of conversation.” Linda was wise beyond her years.

I noticed a pair of eyes from the other end of the bar. I was sure he was looking at Linda. I turned my head from her to me and his eyes smiled, as if almost to say “yes you!”

Before I knew how I felt about this, he and his friend were on their way to our table.

Dammit, I thought to myself because I wanted to shoot a few guys down before committing to one for the whole evening, but he was awfully cute.
“Hi ladies” he said. “I’m James and this is Don” James was the more handsome of the two.

James barely looked at Linda and cozied up next to me. Oh my God, I finally got to try out my material on a live one! He’s quite attractive, but I needed practice.

“So where are you from?” He asked, looking intently at me.
“Nebraska” I said, suppressing my proud grin at my coy cleverness.
“Oh yeah? I’ve never been! What’s the capital of Nebraska?”

Note to self: review fifth grade notes of state capitals and remember that not all guys are stupid and trying to get into your pants. Some are clever and genuinely interested. I liked him immediately.

“Actually, I’m from LA,” I admitted.
“Wow, I’m sorry to hear that,” his grin made me uneasy: on the one hand we just met and, on the other, I wanted to bite him lovingly.
“So what are you ladies drinking?”

Linda was having white wine but I was determined to finally try all those drinks I heard about in the movie Cocktail but didn’t yet know what they were. It was this evening that I initiated my ritual: new guy, new cocktail.

“I’ll have a flying squirrel,” I said with confidence that was sure to impress even the Sultan of Brunei. Swoosh. He’ll think I come to bars all the time in France, I thought to myself.

Don and Linda stopped their conversation and all three looked at me. I must have impressed them. After all, I knew about sophisticated cocktails and was decked out in my best Gothic skirt and motorcycle boots with my platinum hair and dark roots. I had the Gwen Stefani style while she herself was Just a Girl. My confidence was soaring.

“Right love. And why don’t you take a look at the menu and tell me what you’ll have if they don’t know how to do a flying squirrel.”

I perused the cocktail menu. “Kir Royal,” that sounded sophisticated, “that’s what I’ll have.”

When he came back with the drinks, I realized I’m not a huge fan of Kir Royal. I would later discover the Tequila Sunrise (thanks to the move, Desperately Seeking Susan), which would become my signature nightclub drink for the next five years.

Two sugary cocktails later, I had learned that James was from Down Under, surfed, and had his own business in England. Prior to this evening, I had only had those intense conversations with Jackson and was pleased to learn that other guys could be as engaging and passionate.

Our lips were locked by midnight and we stayed until the barman turned the lights back on. After that, we parted ways (I was 17!). Linda and I grabbed a taxi back to our dorm and the boys walked back to their hotel.

James and I ended up being sexy pen pals for ten years to follow. He would call it “the kiss that lasted a lifetime” and although we tried several times to meet again, it would take us twelve years to reunite. But that’s another story…

-Albany Eden