I grew up in Las Vegas and there are certain things one might associate with a desert. Lizards, cacti, tumbleweeds and hot, oh so hot weather, but an ice skating rink? Not a chance. But just like so many contradictory things about my hometown there it was, The International Ice Palace, juxtaposed in a shopping center with a parking lot of black pavement so scorching that on most days could burn the soles off your feet. I was in sixth grade and on Friday afternoons we rode the bus from our school to the indoor rink for a few hours of zipping around in circles with rented white skates.
I was pretty good.
I was also eleven years old.
Have you ever had a skill you acquired in your youth that kicks your ass in adulthood?
How about having that humiliation on national television? That was my biggest fear when the producers of The Steve Harvey Show told me that one of my arranged dates with Rick would include ice-skating. I’m, um, a bit of a klutz. In a post I wrote on www.1yearofonlinedatingat50.com I describe a date where I fell flat on my ass.
In a fancy restaurant.
Packed with the lunchtime crowd.
On a first date.
Here’s what my friends say:
“You glide into a room—head high, shoulders back like you own the place then you eat shit better than anyone.”
Have I mentioned that I have the most charming group of friends?
Alright, enough bellyaching–on to the dates.
I waited on the bench outside of the skating rink for Rick. I had a smile on my face but inside I was a wreck. What if I didn’t feel any attraction towards this man? I’d already had that sort of experience with my last date on the show and was worried that it would begin to look like a pattern. “Is this a pattern?” I asked myself while waiting.
When I saw Rick approaching I turned towards the producer and saw her smiling.
He was good looking,–I was definitely attracted to him physically, and after a few minutes of speaking he seemed like a nice man. We laced our skates, hit the ice and Rick confirmed my initial impression. He was a true gentleman. He extended his arm as soon as he saw my apprehension. I was grateful.
Shit, that ice was slippery.
I can hear you say DUH from here, by the way.
I’d also forgotten just how much ankle strength it requires. Not wanting to be a big whiner, I skated through the pain, but let me tell you if my fifty-one year old ankles could talk they would’ve said,
“Bitch, please. Sit your ass down and drink some hot chocolate and add a shot of whiskey.”
Here’s what I knew by the end of the first date:
1. I was physically attracted to Rick.
2. I liked him as a person.
3. He was a gentleman.
4. I needed to elevate my throbbing ankles and get my hands on some pain meds, pronto.
I believe the second date (salsa dancing) gave me more anxiety than the first and here’s why. I’m not a horrible dancer but no one’s mistaking me for J-Lo either. Sad but true–I’m no Fly Girl. Just think about it the next time you hit the dance floor at a party. Would you want millions of strangers watching you shake your groove thing? Then there was the awkwardness of being so physically close to a man I didn’t know well, but salsa it was.
Rick was a much better dancer than I. I’m not sure if you’ll see that in the video, but he rocked. After a few minutes with our patient (and ridiculously young and beautiful) dance instructor, I forgot the cameras were rolling and began to relax and enjoy the lesson.
PLUS, I had on great shoes. If one’s going to look like a fool it’s best to do it fashionably.
After an hour of those hip moves I’d forgotten my ankles and focused on the icepack I’d be putting on my midsection once I returned to the hotel. I’m reminded of my grandmother—damn you, aging process!
Rick and I didn’t have much time to talk and I looked forward to our third date, which I was glad to know didn’t include zip lining or bungee jumping.
Dinner, just dinner.
Rick looked amazing as he walked towards the table in his suit. It was a perfect fit and I loved the European cut. I was very relaxed and during dinner I got to know him much better. He talked about his adult children and the significance of being a good father. He also talked briefly about his divorce and asked me about mine and that’s when I shared that I was a widow. I know that’s not the sort of information that’s expected and I usually share it on the first date. I think perhaps that’s too soon and I was glad I waited this time. Mr. Harvey gave me that advice the last time I was on the show and he was right.
The food and wine were absolutely amazing at Acadia.
I HIGHLY recommend this glorious restaurant if you’re in Chicago. Here are some photos that Rick asked me to take of the food.
As you can see, they are each a work of art and my compliments to the fabulous chef, our server, Carlos, and the warm and welcoming hostess—what a perfect dining experience from start to finish.
After dinner we shared a cab and Rick walked me into my hotel. He really is such a gentleman. We had a nightcap at the hotel bar, and it was nice to talk without cameras. We were going to try to get together the following evening but Rick had been coughing during dinner and it got worse during our drink. By the following day he was quite ill and we had to postpone our date (sans cameras) but we had a lengthy phone conversation.
The next time we saw each other was during the taping of the show. I thought Rick looked quite dashing in his suit and there wasn’t any awkwardness between us. He suggested we go on a fourth date—a cooking class. We both are foodies.
We’ve exchanged several text messages and talked in the last two weeks. Rick lives in the Chicago area and I’m in New York. Everyone knows that a long distance relationship is difficult, but simply dating long distance seems even tougher. Who knows? Perhaps I’ll visit Chicago or Rick will have a reason to be in NYC. If either happens I have no doubt that we’ll meet up again. It will probably be that cooking class he suggested. After three dates I don’t know everything about him but what I do know is he’s a man of his word.
Handsome, smart and guy who does what he says. I think it’s safe to say that Rick is quite a catch.
I’m the first to laugh at my clumsiness. Check out these outtakes from the show by clicking here.
Click here for our message to Steve.
“I’m the most uncoordinated clumsy, klutzy person. I always had a bruise, I always tripped and fell.” Katherine Heigl