A mere 49 to go.
I keep asking myself why in the world I decided to try to go on 50 first dates. Besides the obvious reference to the movie title, I really can’t figure out what I was thinking on this one. That’s easily one date a week for a year (if I take Christmas and Thanksgiving weeks off). Of course, there’s always the option of the twofer in a single week, but that’s hard to do unless they are both local and incredibly flexible with my sometimes demanding schedule.
The first first date I scheduled actually fell through due to work schedule misalignment… and my would-be date wound up in St. Maarten (And I thought I had an awesome job).
The next-on-deck, and official first first date had the potential to be a lot of fun.
He was quite persistent with his attempts to convince me to break any number of other plans I had scheduled, constantly informing me that I would “have more fun” with him. I asked him how he felt about something other than the standard dinner date as the first meeting, and he was quite amenable to the idea. He certainly sounded like more fun than a lot things I had going during that time. We talked about the possibility of going go-cart racing, to the shooting range, mini-golf, and a few other activities that I can no longer recall (and am far too lazy to go through my phone history to find). I left the details of planning to him.
He sent a picture of himself at the range holding his Uzi. I wrote back and said, “That looks like fun.” He wrote back and said, “It will b.”
Most of his texts were in text speak and emoticons, which is somewhat irritating to me, but since I am now texting on an old-school device, I can sort of see the appeal of text speak, and I occasionally find emoticons useful. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when I was really good at texting from a number pad. Based solely on his texts, I would have set his age in his late 20s. It turns out he was 41.
SIDE NOTE: Seriously, how did we survive before smart phones? It is so irritating to go back through the inbox and sent folders trying to figure out if I already responded to a message… Spoiler! I probably didn’t, but there is likely a partially composed message in the drafts folder.
Finally, the day of our first date arrived. I sent a request for details and was given the address of a local restaurant. So… all that build up, and he opted for the safe (if boring) dinner date option. I forwarded the details of our meet-up to my friend (to provide the police a starting point for their investigation should it be required), and set off to meet Mr. Most-Fun-You-Can-Have-on-a-Monday-Night-in-Florida.
He arrived at almost the exact moment I did. His first words were, “You drive a Jeep”. I’m not sure if it was a question, a judgment, or merely an incredibly astute observation. He reached out for me and leaned in… I assume for a European peck hello on the cheek, but just to be certain I turned my head as far as it could go so there was no an alternative landing zone.
Okay, so the parking lot meeting was a little on the awkward side, but I chalked it up to first date nerves.
Determined to have a great time getting to know this fellow human being, I sat down and smiled. I guess I met with his approval because he nodded at me a number of times (or maybe just looked me up and down), and asked, “So what do you think?” while he gestured to himself. Considering we’d now known each other an entire forty-five seconds, I suppose it was a fair question. I didn’t really have an answer, though. It was clear to me that he takes care of himself physically, so I think I stumbled through a statement to that effect.
Fortunately, it did not matter that I lacked a decisive answer to his question… He was courteous enough to give me the opportunity to answer it six or seven additional times before the night was over. And just so I could feel comfortable with the depth of the conversation, he was sure to tell me [often] how [superficially] well he liked the look of me.
He immediately made a comment about how busy my dating life is and asked about the possibility of second dates. I said that although I do not discount the idea of a second date with someone who interests me, I am really quite focused on meeting and getting to know as many people as possible right now.
We flitted around a few “getting to know you” topics for about five minutes or so before he informed me that if I want to have children he is happy to volunteer his services as their father someday. Um. Yikes. I really wasn’t sure how to respond graciously to that one as he hadn’t exactly sold me on his qualifications at that point. But hey, the night was young, and there was still plenty of opportunity to talk.
We finally found and settled on a topic that yielded more than a one-word or sentence response from him. I listened while he enthusiastically told me all about his guns and shooting experiences. He showed me pictures and videos of himself at various training events (actually, I think it was just one event, but it was clearly significant to him). He pointed out that his hair was shorter in the pictures than it is now. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to prefer one look over the other as I really couldn’t see the difference.
I like to listen to people when they are enthusiastic about something. I enjoy shooting, and even though it’s not one of my top ten hobbies, I can follow along in conversation and appreciate listening to someone who loves it. That part of the conversation was easily the best part of the entire evening.
After he finished his plate, he excused himself to wash his hands and when he returned he sat himself beside me. Right beside me. He flagged the waiter down and asked him to take a picture of us together. He was not pleased with any of the results (I think there were six) and wanted to bring the waiter back to take more. I talked him out of it. He was keen to set another date immediately, but I (quite honestly) told him that between work, other obligations, and first-dating, I do not have time during the foreseeable future (I left the lack of desire out of it as I don’t think he was listening anyway). He tried to hold my hand (which made me supremely uncomfortable) and again leaned in for a kiss. When I informed him there would be no kissing, he claimed he was just going for the cheek again. He wasn’t. But I let him believe for that moment that I believed him. He made one last-ditch effort in the parking lot (seriously?!), and then I was happily on my way home.
It was a long evening… and yet it wasn’t. I was home in time to watch an entire four-part episode of classic Doctor Who and still get to bed on time.
If all 50 are like that, I won’t have a problem getting through a bunch of firsts. Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately, depending on your perspective), I foresee more than one that I’d like to see again already.
Stay tuned for the next installment…