I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
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Man #1, The Blues Man
Finally, amongst all of the other online dating activity there came a “wink” that caught my eye. For anyone not accustomed to online dating, the wink is a feature of Match.com, which allows a person to let someone know that he or she is interested without going as far as sending an email. PlentyofFish.com has a similar feature called “Meet Me.”
I am personally not a big fan of the wink or the meet me. To me, they seem sort of non-committal. In my opinion, they are really not much better than the less than 50 character email. I’m a woman who prefers that a man do the pursuing in a relationship, and when I receive one of these winks or meet me’s, I feel like the man is asking me to pursue him without giving me enough information to make that decision. For this reason, I will never email in response to a wink. The most a man who winks at me will get is a wink in return.
So I checked out the winker, and since he liked dogs, liked to dance, and appeared to be musically talented, I winked back. I should also add that he was kind of handsome. He was a tall African American man with what appeared to be nice teeth and dimples. What’s not to like about that?
In response to my wink, he sent an email. It contained more than 140 characters. Now we were getting somewhere. We sent a couple of emails back and forth and before you know it we were making plans for our first date. That’s when my nerves set in. It would be my first date in over five years.
All of the sudden, I was terrified that once we met in person, he would think I was too fat. I’m not comfortable with the extra 80 pounds I’m carrying, so I don’t really expect anyone else to be either. I completely lost sight of the fact that this guy’s chances of being the last man standing in this little project were 1 to 100. If he did blow me off, why should I care? I could just proceed to man number two.
But I did care. I still wanted to put forth an effort, and I still wanted to be seen as attractive. I had to figure out what I was going to wear. Marriage had done my wardrobe no favors. Most of the things I had that were remotely decent looking were really more appropriate for the office than for a date. I did have a pair of gray skinny jeans (an oxymoron in my case) that I could wear. They hugged my thighs and butt and I was hoping Man #1 would be your typical black man with a preference for a large bootay. Large bootay was something I definitely had.
Gray jeans. Check.
Next, I found my gray, high-heeled boots with the criss-crossed straps and peep toes. Check. I painted my toenails silver to pull the whole gray lower body thing together. I had to say I was pretty happy with how the look was coming together.
As I started figuring out what to wear on top, however, I ran into a speed bump. That speed bump is called my belly. I carry my weight primarily in my ass and my stomach. I look like I’m about 7 months pregnant. I had to find something drapey and I needed to find my Spanx. Times like these call for serious compression.
Back to square one. Everything off. Starting over with the Spanx. I got my right leg in and wrestled it up to my knee. Then, carefully tried to balance as I brought my left foot up to insert it into the other leg of the Spanx. Of course, anyone with half a brain knows better than to try this. Be smart. Sit down on a bed or a chair. My foot got caught up in the super-duper elasticized fabric of the left leg opening, and I proceeded to hop around until I toppled over and landed on my right knee.
Imagine explaining THAT in the emergency room.
But, I got up, sat my ass on the bed and finally got both legs into their casings. At this point, of course, my legs felt like they were rubber-banded together, and I still needed to wrestle the Spanx up to my crotch, past my ass, and over my belly. Note to self: ask the therapist how the FUCK this is beneficial for my self esteem.
Deep breath, and “Whoo – ah!” Ah. There we go. I looked like a tick that was about to pop, but at least my smoother/shaper was finally in place.
Gray jeans, check. Drapey mult-colored print blouse, topped with olive green faux leather jacket. Hair. Makeup. Cute boots. All set, and out the door. Whew! I was SO nervous. I didn’t even know if this person was worth all this hassle, but I was freaking out just the same. I silently hoped he wouldn’t be there yet. I wanted to get there first so I could sit down, and avoid having him check me out as I walked in.
I had suggested that we meet at a pub located between our respective residences. It’s a place with a great beer selection, heavy wood beams and columns, and Johnny Cash playing in the background. It’s not popular with twentysomethings, and the noise level is low enough that you can still carry on a conversation without yelling.
When I walked in the door, there he was sitting at the bar watching me walk towards him. Great.
Man #1 seemed to really like the bar. He had never been there before, but it was the kind of place where he could go play a gig. He had explained to me on the phone that he did not look like his profile picture. He was in the process of growing his facial hair as well as his afro out for the cover of an album he was recording.
You see, papa sings The Blues.
Well, he teaches special needs kids during the day, and plays and records music in his off time. (The Blues Man just has a nicer ring to it than The Special Needs Man.)
Although I’m typically more attracted to closely shaven men, I do admire someone who can get into character for their art. And even with all of the facial hair, he was not a bad man to look at. It was not a deal breaker. The dimples still showed through.
We got a table, ordered beers, and talked and joked easily about a lot of different topics. We covered past dating nightmares, favorite hangouts, kids, parents, karaoke, musical instruments, even the usually avoided topics on a first date of religion and politics.
The conversation was flowing naturally when I suddenly realized the beer was quickly flowing to my bladder. I really needed to use the restroom. This brought on anxiety for me for a few reasons. First, I needed to finish my beer. It’s never wise for a woman to leave a drink unattended with a stranger. Ted Bundy was cute too, remember? Second, when I got up it would mean that Blues Man here would be able to watch my fat ass walk to the bathroom, and I was still feeling seriously self-conscious about this. And finally, once I finished using the restroom, I would need to wrestle with my Spanx in the bar’s restroom. None of this was working in my favor.
The surprising thing was the first words Blues Man said upon my return from the bathroom were, “This is going pretty well. I was wondering what I would need to do to ask you to go out with me again.”
In my typical sarcastic fashion, I replied, “Well, first, you would need to ask me out. Then I would have to say yes.”
“Well, you wouldn’t HAVE to say yes.”
“I would if I were to go out with you again.”
He laughed, and shook his head.
“But I probably would say yes.”
It was true. The night felt completely natural, and before we knew it, we looked at the time and realized that five hours had passed like minutes. It had been a completely acceptable first date back in the dating world.
He walked me to my car, gave me a hug, and said we should hang out again. I awkwardly hugged him back. I did note that he didn’t try to kiss me. I’m hoping he was just trying to be respectful, but I thought this might be an indicator that he might not call again. Besides, I actually really hate it when a man assumes that he has any right to kiss me at the end of a first date. Maybe this guy’s mother just raised him right. We’ll see.
If not, Man #2 wants to meet for coffee.
This post is included in the first book from My Dating Prescription, due out in 2013. To receive news about its publication, sign up using the MailChimp Book Release Notice widget in the sidebar.