A Sundae Kind Of Love

I say my “guilty pleasure” is chocolate peanut butter chip ice cream, but really, it’s bigger than that — it’s my desperate need to hold on to my discount at the local ice cream store.

While I worked at the ice cream store in high school, I’m pretty sure my discount still exists because, let’s call him Fred, my ice cream man, thinks I’m cute — and of course, I milk it for all it’s worth.

I get ice cream for my family, friends, cat, you name it. I call Fred when there are bugs in my apartment I’m too afraid to kill, and he always comes in 5 minutes or less (you can’t even get an ambulance that fast — you know, for when you faint in fear of being so close to a New York City roach).

I’ve even called Fred because sometimes birds fly into my apartment through the hole in my 100-year-old wall. For years he was the only person who’d come over when I called to take care of the birds, Tupperware in one hand and gloves in the other. But I digress, my point is, Fred does everything for me, and while he’s never said anything about having a crush, I’ve done everything in my power to keep that going. Let me explain.

For the last few years, I’ve been actively dating. And while being single has its highs and lows — there’s always chocolate chip peanut butter chip ice cream, and of course, Fred.

Now, I’ve taken dates to the ice cream store — but I recognize that while a person may last an hour or two, and if I’m lucky, a few months… I know the truth. Men come and go, but Fred and ice cream are forever — and I make sure the men I date know it.

I’ve made men wait outside the ice cream store. I’ve made men wait around the corner while I go inside. I had one guy, who ended up buying me Hamilton tickets for a second date (more on that later) give me money in advance so I could buy ice cream while he waited outside. I had one male friend yell, “WE’RE NOT DATING” when we walked in to the store to ensure that no one got the wrong idea about where my heart really lies... at the bottom of a cold, vast tub of chocolate ice cream.

My favorite, though, was the following: I had been dating a guy for a few months. I forget his name now, but he was nerdy, had a beard, and was from New Jersey, which for me, a native New Yorker, was unbelievably exotic. Nothing gets me quite like the smell of garden state toxicity.

Anyway, we were parked in his car on my block, making out, as 23 year olds who still live with their mothers tend to do. Things were going well, again, nothing gets me more than a foreigner from New Jersey, when suddenly I look up and I see it: Fred, my beloved ice cream man, walking directly toward us. Most people wouldn’t care. I am not most people.

I immediately push No-Name New Jersey Man off of me and yell, “DUCK!!!”

He complies quickly. I follow suit. While huddled on the floor of his car, he whispers, “What? What is it!”

I don’t answer, and follow Fred with my eyes until I’m sure he’s gone. Only then do I respond, “My ice cream man walked by. I can’t have him see me like this”

Mr. Make Out Man replies, “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Fair question. I wish I knew, but I do my best to answer him anyway, “Listen, things are going really well between us, and I like you, but it’s only been two months. Fred has been giving me ice cream for years, and I can’t do anything to jeopardize that. I hope you understand.”

He sighs, “You’re really weird…”

I respond, “But do you understand?”

He hesitates, “I guess so…”

I smile, “Maybe this will work out after all.”

It ended with Mr. New Jersey 2016 a week later. Fred and I, however, are still going strong.