First date with B

What a ridiculously fantastic weekend! I’m exhausted from laughing and smiling and good conversation and…fun.

Friday, Ethan tested for his next taekwondo belt. He did great and will be receiving his high purple belt this week. I also met with the school system about transitioning Lauren to a speech program in the fall. She’s been tested and qualifies for a special group two days a week.

But then…

Saturday was the big first date with B. I wasn’t really nervous, but more anxious. I prepared thought starter questions, in case our conversation lulled. I researched the restaurant at which we were meeting to make sure I would be dressed appropriately and to get a sense of the wine list. I checked out a few different routes to get there, since there was a baseball game and traffic was sure to be a mess.

Sporting dressy denim, a black sweater (too low-cut? Major cleavage debates happened in my head before I decided a little peak of one – two? – of my best assets was probably okay), a bright turquoise scarf (he said he favors jewel tones), and black and pewter ballet flats (I suspected he might not be too tall so heels were a no), I set off for the restaurant. In my inability to ever be late, I arrived almost 20 minutes early. I drove around the neighborhood for a while before finding a spot in the small parking lot.

I surfed Facebook for a while. Called my sister to talk about my niece’s prom that night. Listened to empowering music. And tried not to sweat (40 degrees but air conditioning blazing).

About 10 minutes before we were supposed to meet, he called. “Dammit!” I thought as I looked at his name on my phone. “He’s standing me up. I knew it was too good to be true!”

I debated letting the call roll to voicemail, but decided to answer it. His voice was slightly higher than normal. He was obviously uncomfortable.

“You won’t believe this…” he began. “I am so excited to meet you, so looking forward to tonight…” Turns out, he locked himself out of the house. Keys in the kitchen. No way in. I laughed (maybe too much, too long), told him it was okay, and that I’d see him soon. (He finally got into the house by shimmying a window in the sun porch and unlocking the back door.)

I texted with a friend, filling her in on what was happening. “I’m sure he’s dying!” she wrote. Instantly, I realized that he was probably ridiculously embarrassed. It wasn’t long before B called again. He was at the restaurant. I told him that I was parked in the lot across the street and I’d meet him in a minute.

As I walked through the lot, I texted my friend to let her know he arrived. I looked up, and he was walking across the street toward me.

He looked slightly different from his photos, but not too different. His dark curly hair was a little longer. Great smile. Intense but very kind and gentle eyes. He was dressed well – denim, white button down shirt, tan blazer. Exactly the kind of look I find wildly attractive – casual, cool, smart.

He told me there was a bit of a wait for our table and asked if I would mind having a drink at the bar first. Um…no…drink would be great. We went upstairs to the bar and he ordered a couple of glasses of wine. We stood and talked for about 15 minutes. Any initial meeting with someone new, even if it isn’t a “date,” is a little awkward – getting into the conversation groove, sizing up and drinking in the other person, finding the right amount of eye contact, absorbing the new environment.

We talked and laughed and soon the awkwardness was gone. A couple offered us their seats at the bar, and we continued talking until our table was ready. We talked, and laughed, and smiled, and had fun for two hours before we decided we probably should order dinner. We talked about everything – our childhoods, our kids, our careers (very similar career experiences), our interests. He complimented me appropriately (not too much, not too little, very sincere). It was nice. There weren’t many conversation lulls.

When dinner came, we both eyed the other’s dish and agreed to sample each other’s. Sharing food, not something I usually do – especially someone I just met. But it was comfortable and seemed right and the swordfish looked amazing (and it was). Conversation continued. We talked for another two and a half hours before we felt pressured to leave (we were the last ones in the restaurant and lights were starting to turn on, chairs were being moved, tables set for the next day).

B walked me back to my car. We stood in the cool night, awkwardness back between us. It was that part of the night when things could go several different ways, and you don’t know which way it’ll go because you can’t read the other person’s mind, and you kind of know want YOU want to do, and you’re trying to read the other person… He was staring at me, and me at him. I broke eye contact and smiled, looking down. “God, I suck at this,” I thought, smiling.

We talked about how much fun we had, and agreed that we wanted to see each other again. And then he leaned in for a hug. It was nice, the feel of his arms, and a little awkward because it was our first physical contact – how close, how tight, which way to move your head – all awkward that first time. He kissed my cheek. We said good night. I drove home.

He sent me an email about 20 minutes after I got home, thanking me for a great night and reiterated that he wants to see me again. I fell asleep (HOURS later) still smiling.

Side note: I have incredible friends. While many people IRL didn’t know about this date, a few did and the text messages, FB messages, phone calls, and emails I received before, during and after the date were much-needed and very appreciated. Knowing that there are people rooting for you, people who have your back, people who love you so much that they want to just see you happy – it’s truly amazing. XOXO

Coming soon: How I spent my Sunday (another online dating story) and Things were good with B but…

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