It was Taco Tuesday.
Erik Marty was hungry for company with his chips and salsa.
Marty, a Lake Stevens divorced dad, turned to social media for help.
“Anyone want to go on a date with me 7:30 at Sol Food in Everett?” he wrote in a post.
He didn’t publish it on a dating site. He wrote it on “Restaurant Raves and Rants of Snohomish County,” a Facebook group where people scout for meals, not mates.
Still, it worked.
A woman joined him and brought along her 7-year-old son.
What’s up with that?
Becca Selin, a 34-year-old single mom from Everett, saw the post around 6 p.m. on that Taco Tuesday, May 22.
Like others, she chimed in. Her excuse was that she had plans with her son.
“He was like, bring him along,” she said. “All these scenarios ran through my head and I thought, ‘Is it safe, what if he’s a creep, what if he’s a murderer? And I’m bringing my child,’ ” she said.
It meant she had some explaining to do to her son, Brody.
“As a 7-year-old he is very trusting and so I am always telling him, ‘Strangers can be dangerous.’ And then I completely turned around and told him we were going to be meeting a complete stranger for dinner,” she said.
“I thought what the heck, we’ll throw caution to the wind. If we turn up missing, people would know who did it. People were commenting.”
Were they ever. The post got 78 comments.
“Awesome way to score a date lol never thought of doing it this way lol,” someone said.
Another urged: “Come on Ladies, someone should take him up on his offer! Ballsy and funny.”
Marty’s post impressed Selin.
“It was refreshing, very bold,” she said. “I liked that he just put it out there. There was an element of fun and I was nervous and it was exciting.”
She checked out Marty’s personal Facebook page and he passed the test: “He’s cute and he has kids. He’s a dad.”
Selin, an Everett dental hygienist, said she was at a “why not?” point in her life.
“My motto for this year was, ‘You only live once,’ ” she said. “I don’t do a lot of fun stuff. Before I was a mom I was a lot more exciting and spontaneous.”
The Restaurant Raves and Rants of Snohomish County group has 7,348 members. It’s a casual place for people to share their favorite spots, ask for recommendations and leave reviews, good and bad. Anita Flickinger, a Monroe mom who worked in marketing before starting a family, created the page to give exposure to hole-in-the-wall places she enjoys.
“Get to know the eateries in your neighborhood. Everyone wants to know where’s the best place to go, and the whole point is finding it in your back yard,” she said.
Finding food, that is. Not romance. Flickinger didn’t know of any other posts soliciting dinner dates.
In the end, Taco Tuesday led to a friendship.
For Marty, 38, the restaurant review group didn’t carry stress or expectations.
“I’ve paid for dating sites and it’s not easy to get dates,” he said. “You can write the most perfect message and then nothing, nothing, nothing, and then write something stupid and get a response.”
Selin joined the group about a year ago. “We eat out a lot because I’m too tired to cook,” she said.
Marty, divorced with two daughters, 11 and 13, owns an online real estate training school.
“I’m at home all the time,” he said. “I just get lonely sometimes. I just wanted to share the evening with someone and enjoy tacos, so I just threw it out there. I didn’t care if it turned out to be a guy.”
Having a woman and her little guy join him was a pleasant surprise.
“Brody became the hit of the night,” Marty said. “Brody asked me to go home with him that night.”
He told Marty, “Leave your car here and my mom can bring you back to your car later.”
That’s not all the kid said.
“He announced in the middle of the meal, ‘You two have crushes on each other,’ ” Selin said.
No, they didn’t. It’s more like the two buds bonded.
As the dad of two girls, Marty said he enjoyed having someone to talk to about muscles and “Star Wars.” He also knew something about boys without a father figure.
“I was raised by a single mom,” he said.
Selin later got friendly ribbing from co-workers, who are members of the rants and raves Facebook group. “The next day at work a couple of girls were like, ‘Uh, so, did you do anything interesting last night?’ ”
She said she hadn’t been out in a long time and forgot how fun it was.
“My lesson to my son and myself is sometimes it pays to just put yourself out there and take a safely calculated risk,” she said. “You might find a new friend or might just have a good time and make a human connection. I was shocked at what a pleasant experience it was.”
“Otherwise it would have been just another boring evening,” Marty said.
He picked up the tab, and let Brody figure the tip and sign the check.
As a commenter put it: “This wins the internet, tonight!”
When contacted for this story, the trio returned last week for another Taco Tuesday for a photo.
“It was another chest-puffing, muscle-comparing, fish storytelling night of fun. Of course, Brody one upped me when he said he caught sharks after I showed him pictures of trout,” Marty said.
“To sum up the evening, it was a combination of intrigue, not taking life too seriously, fun and YOLO!”
Cheers to spontaneity and putting yourself out there.
You only live once.
But Taco Tuesday is weekly.
Coming soon to What’s Up With That?
Do firefighters still slide down poles?