Over the years in my quest for the Mr. Right in my life I’ve shared a few disastrous evenings with people who were, for me, a bad fit. Not bad human beings, just not right for me. I learned after a few of these seemingly endless evenings not to accept a dinner date as a first date. Much easier to meet for a quick cocktail so if it just wasn’t right you didn’t spend an entire evening trying to think of excuses to leave, have a friend call with a fake emergency, or eyeing your watch as though it contained the answers to how the universe had been formed.

I’m sure I’ve left a less than favorable impression on a few of these men myself. On one such first date, an outside consultant for the engineering company I was employed with asked me out to dinner. He was charming, available, and the pheromones seemed to be flowing in both directions, so I accepted. After a mid-week phone conversation, we settled on a Saturday night dinner in San Francisco at a popular Italian restaurant we both liked.

He arrived at the door at 8:00, and after giving the babysitter last-minute instructions and phone numbers we were on our way. It was a beautiful summer night, and the conversation flowed easily between the two of us during the forty minute drive into the City. As usual, finding a parking space in San Francisco was about as easy as finding an unattached straight man, so we circled the block several times. We had the windows rolled down, as it was pleasantly cool, when an enormous bee flew in uninvited. Now, I’m not afraid of many things, but if you were trying to force national secrets out of me, just put me in a room full of bees I’d confess to being the Unibomber.

Naturally, Neil, not knowing me well, wasn’t up to speed on this particular facet of my personality, so when we pulled up to a corner to make a right hand turn no one was more surprised than he, when he looked back after making the turn, to find his date was no longer sitting in the car, and furthermore upon looking in the rear view mirror was standing waving her arms on the street corner behind him.

God bless him, he did come back for me. Some might not have. A half an hour later after being stuck in traffic and traversing San Francisco’s noted maze of one-way streets, he pulled up next to me. At this point, he was not wearing his “happy to see you” face. After grudgingly searching the car for the offending bee, and finding none, I got back in the car. Now late for our hard to get reservations at the busy restaurant, no parking spot forthcoming, and a less than happy vibe floating through the air, we decided to just skip the Italian restaurant and head down to Fisherman’s Wharf for crab. After parking and walking a mile and a half, me in heels, we managed to find a restaurant and after a two-hour wait in the bar, ate an unbearably quiet dinner and headed home. Amazingly, Neil was never to be seen at my front door again. No sense of humor that man.

My other half has stuck with me through endless “bee encounters”, where I have jumped off of moving boats, beaten my own head with a ping-pong paddle, and dived into a friend’s pool fully clothed with drink and dinner in hand. Still, he’s hung in there, to quote him “if only for the entertainment factor”.

Stay cool, and have a bee free day.

This recipe came from my other half. Good cold or hot with pita bread.

Zucchini with Onions Appetizer

2 lbs. zucchini cut in large pieces
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 large onions, chopped
4 Tbsp. EV olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. chopped mint leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut in wedges
1 pint of Greek yogurt

Boil the zucchini in stock for about 15 mins. Drain, mash, and chop the zucchini in a colander to remove excess liquid.

In large skillet fry onions in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil until golden brown. Add garlic and stir until it begins to color. Add zucchini, mint, salt and pepper. Continue to cook 5 mins. longer, stirring and mixing well.

Stir in remaining oil and serve hot or cold with lemon wedges and pita bread.

These columns are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without written permission of the author.