Someday I’ll be the kind of woman who never leaves make-up application for the car, but last night was not that night. I finally finished my hair at 4:50pm. I was supposed to meet Joe in Lincoln Park at 5pm. It takes a half and hour to get there. I made sure my make-up was in my purse, I put my snow boots on with my black on white polka dot dress and grabbed my new black peep-toe patent-leather heels to change into once I arrived. I called Joe to tell him I was late. I was so late that we had to meet at the restaurant in order to keep our reservation.
It was date night. A few months ago we started having date night every week. We take turns planning it, and whoever plans pays.
I don’t like to drive at night, to places I don’t know. Especially not for a date. Meeting at the restaurant is for first blind dates not for us. I made two wrong turns, but arrived a few minutes before our reservation, paid the marking meter, and opened the passenger side door of the car to switch into my cute high heels. There was one shoe. I looked under the seat, behind the seat. I emptied my whole purse. Still, there was one high heel. I had to keep the snow boots on. I felt like a fashion nightmare walking into Gajas, a romantic fondue restaurant. I arrived before Joe and was escorted to the bar. I quickly excused myself to the powder room to apply my lipstick and call Liz, my roommate. “Is there a black high heel shoe in the living room?” “No, I don’t see it.” I was almost crying. At least I found my red clinique lipstick. I had to go sit at the bar for minute like a girl about to be stood up. I called Joe and told him about the shoes. “Don’t say anything, I insisted.” I started porousing the wine list until Joe arrived. The first thing he did was look at my outfit up and down. “You brought attention to it,” he said. “Actually we’re supposed to meet a couple at a fancier place later, so the boots might be a problem.” Now, I was upset and embarrassed all over again. The hostess tried to check his coat. He insisted on keeping it with him, saying you could have things stolen in coat rooms and sometimes they can’t find the right coat at the end of the night. I shrugged.
We were escorted into the main room of the restaurant past curtained booths and to the worst couple table in the place. It was in the middle of the room in a row of “date” tables. As we sat down, I was so surprised that I didn’t say anything. As soon as the maitre d’ left I scouted the room for a better table that was open. I asked Joe if he wanted to move to the table on the wall. He agreed, we asked if we could move and we sat down. He ordered the Italian wine on special that I suggested.
Wine, Cheese, fruit, and bread. Scallops, beef tenderloin, lobster, shrimp, chicken, vegetables all fried over a flame in a pot on your table. Marshmallows roasted on a chocolate flame dipped and rolled in graham cracker crumbs, strawberries, cherries, and pine apple dipped in chocolate. Genius.
Suddenly it was 7:30, we had been there two hours. I needed to go pay the parking meeter again, before I overstayed. “We’re about to go,” my Love insisted. So, we fumbled to pull up our groupon.Then I realized I had to go out to meter. I added two more hours, we would take a cab to our next destination and leave the car there. Then I saw it. No, not my black peep-toe high heel…a parking ticket. I was so mad.
We got in a cab and Joe directed him to Chicago and Michigan.
“We’ll go in Nordstrom Rack, you’ll by $15 dollar heels and it will be fine.”
“Yeah,” I said.
We look ed at the designer shoes, we looked at the regular shoes. There was one pair of black high heel sandals with straps that looked like they would rub your feet raw in 2 hours for $35. Nothing cheaper, nothing better. I was whining. One of my new years revolutions was not to buy uncomfortable shoes, and I did not want to waste $35. I babysit for a living. I was having a meltdown. Joe called our friend who was waiting at the bar and asked if my boots would be a problem. They insisted they would not be a problem.
As we were walking, Joe asked me if I knew where we were going. I asked if we had been there before. He said, “Yes, and no.”
Spiaggia. It was the place of our first date, and we recently had a friend who started hosting there. Knowing the how classy this place is, I again felt ridiculous. Why didn’t I just drop the $35? Joe would have bought them for me. To make maters worse I had been crying.
“Do I look like I was crying?” Joe looked at me up and down to tease and made a face. That was it, I was in tears again. I turned away from him in the lobby and tried to make myself stop. Then I powdered my nose, applied lipstick and said, “Ok.” As soon as we walked in, I was happy. Spiaggia is amazingly beautiful. Kate was happy to see us. She took my coat, and offered to take Joe’s, but he was still insisting on keeping his coat with him. I knew he was being strange, but still didn’t suspect.
Then Kate led us to a private window-view table in bar. Suddenly I had a goofy grin on my face. We weren’t meeting anyone. We recounted our first date and how overboard Joe had gone to impress me. I wasn’t sure about him at the time. I liked him, but I didn’t trust him. I didn’t know he was for real. He was happy to see that I was smiling, but asked me what changed. Ten minutes before I had been in tears. I didn’t say. I didn’t know for sure what was going on and I did not want to ruin it either way.We ordered cocktails and mid conversation, Joe fumbled open a ring box on the table. “You got it!” I exclaimed. At that point I should have shut up and let him do his thing, but we were both nervous I guess and I was afraid that setting the ring on the table was the closest I was going to get to a proposal so I said, “Aren’t you going to ask me something?” I must have asked that three-times before Joe got on his knee, asked me to marry him and put the ring on my figure. The ring, by the way is amazing. It is so beautiful. It is just how I wanted it, and he picked it out. It has a round center diamond, inlaid diamonds on the danty-band with filigree along the back. It is white gold and the center stone is much bigger than necessary but exactly what I anticipated Joseph Negussie would give me.
Our friend’s Brian Pederson, Matt Donavan, and Kate came from around the corner. Brian showered us with flashes of photos snapped, Matt was almost in tears, and the waiter poured champagne on the house. I was so happy.
Outside, snow started fallinng lightly and a horse and buggy was waiting for us. There were two-toned pink and wine roses and a bottle of champange. We drove along Lakeshore’s inside drive and through downtown.
I never did find that missing shoe, but I’m not waiting for Prince Charming to find me and return it. I was proposed to in my shoe-boots.