Click and Tell: A First Date With a High-Fiver Ends in a… Kiss?


I’m 30 minutes late when I arrive at the unmarked door on a narrow street in Chinatown. I had scribbled down the address from the inbox on my computer screen to a piece of paper stuffed in my purse. I look up and meet the gaze of a large man in a bowtie. He is the gatekeeper, who introduces himself as “Jay, like Leno,” and pulls out a clipboard. I already hate this place.  Reluctant to put my faith in the hands of a bouncer on a power trip, I consider leaving. At that moment my date, let’s call him Canada (a creative alias for, well, a Canadian), peeks his head out of the door and smiles at me. My arms go numb as my worst nightmare about this first date is realized: he’s totally hot.

A high-five can suck the romance and excitement out of a first date. (Photo Illustration By Sara Azoulay/The Observer)

Despite being a pretty social person, I don’t date. I am not at all charming within the contrived setting of a first date. My crude humor doesn’t usually impress at a table with cloth napkins, and my nervous habits are only amplified by overpriced coffee sloshing out of my shaking cup.

Acknowledging my ineptitude in finding a man, I joined a dating website. I am fully aware of the stigma of desperation associated with online dating, but you will soon be able to verify that I have little shame, so I signed myself up. I was surprised to encounter a lot of students and young entrepreneurs with hectic lifestyles, just looking to date new people in the city. Regardless of how comfortable I became, chatting up guys with cheesy, yet descriptive usernames like “niceguyjoe” and “dentalstud,” I braced myself for the worst when it came down to meeting the first of my prospects.

Canada, as I will refer to him in order to maintain the tiniest bit of discretion, is an acting student downtown. Great. If I ever had a type, theater guys would not fall into the category.  His profile picture is a black and white headshot of a scruffy Hayden Christensen look-a-like, which I attribute to strategic lighting and a talented Photoshop artist. We exchange several messages and I appreciate his sense of humor, so I suggest we meet for drinks. He is assertive and makes definite plans, insisting on a particular mixology bar in his neighborhood. His decisiveness is refreshing, but I curb my excitement; if he was a real catch he wouldn’t be on a dating site.

So I’m standing there in shock as the hot Canadian recognizes me and tells Jay-like-Leno, “She’s with me.” I look around for Molly Ringwald, and wait for a Peter Gabriel power ballad to start playing, but the absence of the two affirms that this is actually real life. I walk in and leave every ounce of my composure on the pavement behind me.

We enter the swanky little cocktail lounge and I fumble over my words, apologizing profusely for my lateness in a single breath. The drink menu includes bizarre cocktails with ingredients I either can’t pronounce or wouldn’t expect and he thwarts my attempt to pay for my own drink. Ten points. He pulls out the cushy ottoman seat for me to sit on and it seems chivalry has been resurrected. Three hundred points for the Canadian in the black button-down!

It quickly becomes apparent that we have a ridiculous amount in common. Among other things, we both share a hatred for vegetarianism and a love of obscure progressive rock bands; however the date does not continue as perfectly as it began. I am disappointed to report that Canada is a High-Fiver. Every single time we bonded over a restaurant or I unleashed one of my 5-star anecdotes he would let out a slow and dramatic, “Oh. My. God,” and put up his hand for a high-five. I might have actually cringed at the table, and I thank the dim, date-night lighting for the fact that it went unnoticed. Am I being friend-zoned? A high-five on the first date is the most sterile form of physical contact I can think of and a total boner-kill all around.

As night goes on, he slowly slips into the theater student stereotype I had feared all along. He animates his speech with exaggerated arm gestures and laughs so heartily that he actually startles a couple talking quietly beside us. I only decide that the date is over after sitting through a 10-minute play-by-play of his theater troupe’s remake of Macbeth. Check please.  I try my own hand at acting, forcing a few yawns and the always-handy excuse, “I have to be up early tomorrow.” (I’d like to thank the academy.) He walks me to my subway, we say our goodbyes, and just as I make a mental note to delete his number from my phone, he grabs me for a kiss.

Now I wouldn’t naturally divulge any details about this kiss, but I will suck it up in the name of journalism and tell you it was hot. So freaking hot. The kiss penetrated my face and chased out any thoughts of apathy that had lingered since the high fives started rolling in. After he walked away, I just stood there, as panicked and confused as the moment my date began. End scene.

Total points: 310.

Come to your own conclusions. Should I go on the second date?