As anyone who is single might attest – it sometimes sucks having to date. Although you have to imagine it kind of depends upon what you’re after. If you’re after just one night stands, then maybe it’s not so bad.
If you’re after The One though….that can get kind of tricky. You meet someone and you hope things work out but more often than not:
– she’s suspicious of all men because of her past experiences; or
– she’s desperate and sees you immediately as The Answer To Her Dreams; or
– she wanted a handyman but you have no mad mechanic skills; or
– or she smokes and you don’t; or
You know how it goes. You just never know. And sometimes the problem is you. Maybe:
– you’ve had some bad experiences and are super-vigilant (read: paranoid) about the possibility you might be dating a crazy person; or
– you haven’t been with someone with so long you’re worried you might not know how everything works; or
– you haven’t read up on “The Rules” and this makes you wonder if you’re going to blow it (do I call her tomorrow? Or the next day? What?)
The thing that many of us are looking for is a vague thing. Chemistry. The “IT” factor.
I’ve been out in the dating world for about five years now. The “IT” factor almost seemed mystical. A construct of some teenager’s overactive imagination. Wasn’t sure IT existed at all.
Then I saw her. We saw each other. I swear there was a slight background buzzing to the air. There was enough of a question mark to make me wonder. I mean, all we did was say “hello” to each other as we passed each other, each of us going a different direction. People say “hi” to each other every day. It doesn’t have to mean anything. Sometimes they’re just being polite. Maybe that buzzing sound was just my imagination.
Being so rusty and not wanting to appear foolish, it never occurred to me to, well, you know – stop and chat. Besides, she was with some friends or family and were on their way somewhere. It wasn’t like we were in a coffee shop. (Believe me, being pole-struck and tongue-tied, I found all kinds of reasonable excuses not to move forward).
There’s a problem with meeting someone who affects you like that (and not chatting): you might not ever get the chance again. It’s so important to act impulsively sometimes. To take a chance.
So a year went by and I always wondered about her.
And then, one day I was rushing out somewhere, and was late, when I saw her again. This time, she saw me first. I saw her notice me, look down with a half smile, and then she looked up at me again and said “hi”. I couldn’t believe it was her. She was so pretty. Way too pretty. And I was running late.
“So how are you?”
“I’m fine. You?”
“I’m fine too. Good to see you!”
“Well”, I knew I should say more. Take it further. “See you around!”
We went our separate ways.
It’s at this point you start to bargain with God. “I promise – if You’ll let me see her again, I’ll try my hardest not to blow it. ‘k, God?”
A month went by. I kept hoping to see her but figured I had missed my chance, and that was that.
Then came last night.
I had been out to the drugstore to hunt down a birthday card. Strange how utterly cheesy and stupid so many of those cards are. You have to spend an hour searching through them, sometimes. Often, like last night, you don’t find a single card, and so you leave the store in frustration. I was frustrated. So frustrated I forgot whatever else it was I had to buy.
It wasn’t until I arrived home (and had my boots and coat off) that I remembered that I needed salad for the next day. I could have just left it until the morning but that would have made me late for work. So I went through the winter wrapping routine and piled on my winter gear for another trek out to the grocery store.
Salad in hand, I made my way to the cashier. There were three people in line ahead of me, and one person behind.
She walked by.
I have to admit: I stared. It couldn’t be her.
It was. Definitely. It was her.
I looked at the guy behind me. I said “you go ahead buddy” and I went looking for her in the bakery section.
Finally I caught up to her.
“Yes, we ran into each other before”
“I don’t think we introduced ourselves to each other before. Did we?”
“No. I’m…” and she told me her name. I told her mine. We shook hands.
I couldn’t think what to say next so I said the next thing that popped into my head. Fortunately, it wasn’t stupid.
“Um, would you like to get together for a coffee sometime?”
I looked for microexpressions on her face. “Or are you with someone?”
I mean, that had to be it, right? No one as beautiful as her was alone. She had to have had a mate.
“Sure. I’d like that”
Well this was a surprise. Shock really. What do you say now? Do you blurt out “Ok then. Maybe we’ll do that someday”?
Fortunately the left side of my brain had some measure of control and realized how lame that idea was.
“Great. How about tomorrow?”
She said “sure. Tomorrow’s good.”
And then I remembered I had a doctor’s appointment after work. Face palm time.
She saw this. “Oh it’s ok. Any time is good really.”
I looked at her. I think I was smiling, but I’m not sure. “How about late?” I meant to say “later”, but it came out “late”
“How do you mean ‘late’? Like, ‘late late’?”
I recovered. “I mean, how about 8:00? Maybe over there at Starbucks?”
“Ok 8:00 it is, then. I’ll meet you at Starbucks”
“Great! See you then!”
With that, we left each other. A coffee date established, all was well, right?
Well, except for my pounding heart.
And now….I’m up an hour before I need to be, writing this blog and anticipating the evening. On the first date you just want it to go so well. Especially when that “IT” factor is there. Don’t want to ask too many questions. Don’t want to find out you have nothing in common. You can drive yourself a little crazy.
She’s so beautiful.
Almost as beautiful as me, come to think of it.