The Monday of Martin Luther King weekend Quan Jock invites me to Indo-Munch in Curry Hill (on Lexington Avenue roughly between 27th to 32nd Streets). What is even MORE exciting than a second date is the opportunity to eat Indo-Chinese in America. I have not have Chicken Manchurian Noodles in two years.
Like most of the desi diners in this area Indo Munch’s décor is nothing exciting --- plastic awning, glass doors and a big storefront window. However inside, I am transported to the New Delhi noodle hut my cousin and I frequent. Just like in India, a haze of garlic lingers under the light fixtures, the scent of ginger hovers above the tables and the air in here has a slight greasy residue to it.
I look around and spot Quan Jock in a zipper sweater sitting by the kitchen reading The Economist. I walk over to his table and sit down. “Have you been waiting long?” I ask. He looks like an emaciated desi Mr. Rogers. “No. The Szechuan Fried Rice here is nice.” Okay. Nice transition, buddy. I am barely seated and his INTENSITY is overpowering and not in the good way.
I open the menu and say, “The chili noodles sound nice.” The average price of an entrée is $10. While I don’t find it annoying that he picked an inexpensive eatery, I do wish he was a touch more romantic. He sighs and in an irritated tone says, “The noodles are fine. The rice is better. We could share. The portions are huge.”
Uhm, we have a problem. I am super HUNGRY and not really up for sharing. Then it strikes me that he might be that CHEAP. If so, now I am really ANNOYED because I spend a lot of money primping. Regular girl grooming and maintenance for me involves, waxing, haircuts, mani-pedis and hair products. You don’t see me suggesting that he fund half my upper lip or arm wax because I assure you he doesn’t want to date a hairy monkey-armed, mustached mama. In one form or another, we all pay for dates. It just manifests in dinners for men and sculpted eyebrows for women. “The shrimp chili noodles sound perfect to me,” I say. “Oh,” Quan Jock says. “I don’t eat meat.” What kind of Punjabi man does eat meat or drink Johnny Walker?
I take my first sip of soda and Quan Jock says, “Who was the last guy you dated?” I see the personal information sharing portion of the date has arrived, so I reply, “Reindeer.”“What did he do?” “Consulting.”“For how long did you date him?” “Four months,” I reply. Maybe it was three, I don’t remember right now.
“And then what happened?” Quan Jock asks. “He disappeared,” I reply. “I know why he disappeared,” Quan Jock says. “Oh really?” I ask. “Yes, he started having sex with someone else,” Quan Jock declares. Like a good and self-respecting prude I reply, “Maybe, but I didn’t sleep with him.” “You didn’t?” Quan Jock asks and seems astonished. Good. Hopefully this will silence him for a few minutes. “No man respects a woman who doesn’t respect herself. He will think if he can have her so fast, anyone can, and that makes her less special,” I retort. “Then I don’t know what happened.” Well thanks for clearing that up Quan Jock, now you are on the same page of the Reindeer mystery as the rest of us. Sidebar: I plan on lying about my “number”. Whether I have slept with 3 guys or 33, I will reply with “5”.
When the food arrives Quan Jock begins eating, which is more like shoveling vegetarian fried rice into his mouth. Even his ingestion has intensity to it. Between forkfuls of rice, he deftly fires a new battery of questions at me:
How long was your longest relationship? 3.5 years
Why did you break up? He slept with someone else.
How many times have you been in love? Don’t know.
How many men have you met on Shaadi? Lots.
Why didn’t it work with them? It just didn’t.
What are you looking for? Someone who is emotionally, physically and intellectually available. And wears fantastic cologne.
“I can’t stand cologne. Or smokers. Some of my co-workers smoke and I want to send them to the bathroom and wash their mouths out,” Quan Jock snarls. I don’t what is worse his rigid superiority complex or the way he guns questions at me interrogation style. He better not ask for my cholesterol count because I don’t know it. And I won’t be sharing my weight or the fact that I sometimes I self-medicate with large quantities of cheap wine.
Our date ends and we make no plans to meet again, which is perfectly fine with me. Next …