The official day arrived. Smiles was turning 36. He celebrated his birthday in conjunction with two friends a week earlier, which didn’t go so well for me. I wanted to rectify that situation.
I also wanted to dote on my new man for his birthday. I called him early in the afternoon to wish him a happy birthday and ask if I could take him out to lunch. The Ace Hotel is near my office and has two great restaurants and a bar adjoining it. Normally I’d let him choose, but I couldn’t wander too far from work on my lunch break.
I met him not far from the hotel on the street corner. I greeted him with a big ol’ kiss and a hug to say happy birthday. As we walked, he made comments about how casual my work attire was. He was under the impression people in advertising walked around in Mad Men suits all day. I explained how far off base he actually was.
As we walked, he reached down for my hand. I love it when he does that! We arrived at the first restaurant he chose, and after checking out the menus at John Dory, we decided to leave and hit up the other, The Breslin. I’d been there many times and absolutely love their lamb burger. I knew he’d be happier with the choice as well.
When the waiter asked if we’d like anything to drink, I declined, but encouraged Smiles to order a drink. He requested a dark and stormy. Without looking at the menu, I immediately knew what I wanted, and ironically enough, we both ordered the lamb burger. I also added another dark and stormy to the tab after seeing how refreshing his looked. Afterall, I work in advertising… It’s only natural to have a cocktail lunch, right?
Somehow the topic of conversation turned to religion. My mother was just telling me about a book a majority of my staunchly Catholic family read, Heaven is Real. We discussed the book and how we were brought up with religion. We even got as deep as to discuss our beliefs in a higher being. This is usually a risky subject for discussion, but the conversation remained casual and flowed while we ate. I think it actually brewed a stronger connection between us.
When the check came, I insisted on paying. He was pulling out his credit card, but I forced the server to walk away with just mine. There was no way in hell I was letting the birthday boy pay. “It’s your birthday. I told you I wanted to take you out to lunch for your birthday!” I exclaimed. After saying, “That’s an expensive birthday lunch. You really don’t have to,” he thanked me.
When we finished, he decided he wanted to grab a coffee. Since I met him, he has become addicted to the Starbucks salted caramel latte, or as he likes to call it, “his salty pretzel drink,” which I find adorable! While we waited for our concoctions to be made, he took the opportunity to lean his back against my chest. For me, the little things matter a lot. Those signs of affection really speak volumes. We got our coffees and walked towards my office a bit before saying goodbye. He was out of his downtown comfort zone, so I relished guiding him around to find a subway back home.
We said goodbye with a gentle kiss. I put him on the subway and made my way back to the office. Of course, I had a smile from ear to ear as I walked. It was a short encounter, but I was happy to get to see him. It was his birthday lunch, but I think I got more out of it than he did.Follow @onegayatatime
#1 by Jonathan Hayes on November 16, 2011 - 7:59 AM