Finding the Spark

Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts. -A merchant discussing the hidden power of the Genie’s lamp in Aladdin

For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting an update of my dates with Jock With a Heart and Albany Activist, today is your lucky day. I apologize for the wait, but it’s been a busy and emotional past week. I just spent the last hour or so uploading more than 60 photos, and now I can share with you the adventures of last weekend.

Src: morningswithnpr.blogspot.com

The Thursday before last was my date with Jock With a Heart. Thursday is one of the days he gets out of work early, so he was anticipating arriving at my house around 3:30 p.m. He underestimated how long it would take him to get here, so he didn’t show up until about 4 (with text updates along the way).

We decided to enjoy the beautiful Indian summer weather and head out for a hike. Several friends are big fans of an area the next town over that I’d never been before, and in fact had never heard of until maybe two years ago, despite all the years I’ve lived in the area. So I decided we should see what all the hype was about, though I had low expectations.

Jock With a Heart was a cutie, though I wasn’t as blown away by him in person as I was by his photos. No matter, he acted like a gentleman getting out of the car to walk to the door. I met him halfway, and once in the car, I teasingly told him to turn off the GPS that had gotten him lost on the way to my house—I would get us there the old fashioned way.

I was surprised by the pretty view that greeted us as we pulled up to the park. Conversation had been light and breezy, but we were both impressed by the view as we hit the trails. Completely covered by trees, we hiked up and down paths completely littered with tree roots, as we started to get to know one another.

I found out he had been previously married. At age 41, that didn’t come as too much a surprise. That’s one thing eHarmony really should change though—they have an option for saying if you have children, but not if you’ve been divorced or are separated or anything, unlike some of the other online dating sites.

Anyway, he told me he had been working in a remote town in Vermont, set up with this girl, and since it was a certain time in his life, he thought he should get married. So he did, despite the fact that he and his wife not having too much in common. He also said she wasn’t a very nice person, but he didn’t go into detail except to say he learned to let go of anger because, as I have always said, it hurts the bearer more than the target.

Src: AskMen

He was nice and courteous and interesting, but he was upfront that he wasn’t looking to get serious too soon. He wanted to date around a bit to find a girl he really clicks with before picking a girlfriend to start a relationship. He clarified he was not a player, and that was not his motive. He just didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of his past. I told him that was fine, I agreed with that point of view. Yet I wasn’t looking to date 12 different men—I was looking for a meaningful relationship.

So the date was okay. I didn’t feel any butterflies. Apparently, neither did he. Except for one text reply to me, we have not corresponded since the date. And I’m fine with that because…

The next day, Albany Activist came all the way to my town to go on our date. It was strange because I immediately felt myself putting him in the “friend” category, despite our hours of conversation about everything you could imagine before this day. We went to my latest favorite Indian restaurant for a lunch buffet and easily talked throughout the meal.

Then we headed out to this state forest that I’d also never been to. I thought I knew generally where it was, and I did. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the best way to get to the trails. While we didn’t get lost exactly, there were a couple of hesitant, thus missed, turns and we ended up along this bumpy dirt path that tried to pass itself off as a road. We got out at this parking area, which was really just a dead end circle, but fortunately there was another car there so we weren’t the only lost souls. There were trees, which I took as a good sign, so we headed off into the woods.

After a muddy and surprisingly physically taxing hike, we returned to my house. Now a couple days before our date, Albany Activist made the following suggestion: if we got along as well as we seemed to be doing already, I was invited to come back with him to Albany for the weekend, since he had Friday and Monday off for Yom Kippur and Columbus Day. This wasn’t as shady as it might sound; he has several other friends living in his house, he was meeting my parents and we had shared more in our conversations than some people do after dating IRL for quite some time.

However, when the time came to think about heading back, I panicked. As I mentioned previously, Albany wasn’t whom I’d normally pick out for myself physically. Though he was at a better fitness level than I, he didn’t look it. But besides that, we were both emotionally distancing ourselves in person, so I was very surprised when he brought up the invitation in person. He told me one of his housemates was cooking dinner, and friends were coming for 7—our drive would be around two hours.

Src: opkansas.org

I kept hesitating, thinking of numerous reasons, some health-related, some work-related. Then I had several episodes. Instead of just looking at me, Albany reached over and began massaging the muscles that were involuntarily convulsing. He began scratching my scalp, and it felt so good…and so intimate.

When I was back to my normal me, I looked at him surprised. “Wow, you didn’t freak out.”

“It takes a hell of a lot more than that to freak me out,” he said with a smile, confidently pulling me toward him in a hug.

There, in that comforting embrace, I found that spark I had been looking for.

It wasn’t drop-dead looks. It wasn’t schmoozy charm. It wasn’t generic teasing or sexual banter. It was someone who had taken the time to find out why I loved the things I loved. It was someone who knew some of my still tender spots from relationships past. It was someone who was turned on by my creative ideas and my future career plans that involved helping people in a very real and far-reaching way—just like he had.

He didn’t care that I was a confused Christian while he was a former Orthodox Jew. He didn’t care that my skin was a honey brown while his was almost ruddy. He didn’t even stress over the fact that I couldn’t drive, lived with my parents and had a chronic illness not only without a cure but with multiple failed attempts at treatment plans. He saw me. Me. And he really liked the person inside and out.

That’s who I’ve been looking for, and I suddenly realized he was sitting next to me on the couch. I smiled at him and told him I was going to pack the rest of my stuff. He went to play with the cat and talk with my mom.

Thacher Park

It is hard to write about this because I really don’t want to ineptly describe what turned out to be an amazing weekend, in spite of Albany getting sick enough to have to take me home Sunday night. I will say we saw some amazing sights, shared some incredible moments just the two of us, as well as had a great time with several of his friends. And yes, there is definitely that spark. I’m so happy I had both my eyes and heart open wide.

I don’t have to say I don’t know what’s next because he’s coming to the Berkshires to stay with me for a couple of days while we’re there on vacation for the week. Yet of course who knows beyond that, right? He lives two hours away, and he leads a full, complex life separate from my own. Yet we both are really happy today. That’s good enough for me right now.

Becoming Unstuck

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my memories. They are frequently comforting, or at least familiar. There are no surprises—they have already happened. Though it seems new insights can be (re) learned with each visit down memory lane.

It’s easy to get stuck in the past. You don’t have to worry how new people will perceive that person who is still slightly unfamiliar when you glance in the mirror. In the past, there is a shorthand. He already knows you. The real you. From before.
You don’t have to give your health history (again) to every potential boyfriend, in addition to the really cool things about yourself. Trying to exude that confidence, while secretly worrying that the health stuff is a scarlet letter, or alphabet really, branding you UNDATEABLE.

Or at least, it may seem as if the ones who still want to date you are the guys who normally wouldn’t be your first or second choice. They are really nice, but… Or they aren’t so nice. They might just be horny freaks who only care that they might get the chance to see you naked. As if.

Src: thechampionsheart.com

So I put my earbuds in and turn the iTouch up loud, listening to my lectures for school, getting excited about my potential future. Trying not to let fears about being good enough in a new career hold me back there as well. Watching other classmates zoom ahead of schedule, and wondering what’s keeping me from sprinting along with the rest of the pack.

But then a chance conversation leads to a friend spending an hour and half with me, treating me as if I really know what I am doing, like I know something useful, like I really can help her. She eagerly asks me when we can next meet to follow up on some of the things she wants to work some more on together. I don’t have the heart to tell her this isn’t how things are generally supposed to go because while I am helping her, she’s helping me. Giving me a dose of that rocket fuel that pushes me forward instead of keeping me stuck.

Src: beyondrice.com

Suddenly, my dating life is moving forward again as well. Tomorrow I have a date with a handsome nurse practitioner with a lot of energy, great attitude and a seemingly good heart. We have a lot in common, we agree. But I dread the conversation where I have to fill in the blanks with this triathlon athlete who runs daily, kayaks and does all the great things outdoors my old body would jump up to do in a heartbeat.

Surprisingly, the Jock With a Heart brings it up first to find out what we should we do on our date. “I don’t want you to have to talk about it if you’re not comfortable,” he says. “I just want to know what you can do, so I can plan our date.”

So, I hesitantly share some details. He sounds curious, jokes that he’ll look it up tonight and have a cure for me by tomorrow. I ask if I’m scared him off yet. He says not at all, adding that if I am going to go hiking with anyone, he’d be the best person to be with if anything went wrong.

He was reluctant to get off the phone. I’m trying not to let me insecurities ruin this before we even meet. Obviously he sees something in me he likes enough to go on his first date in a long time. So I will remember my awesome me-ness and just be my self.

Src: jweekly.com

The next day a teacher from Albany is driving down to spend the day with me. We’ve been talking for several weeks and are building a nice friendship. He’s very passionate about education, community activism, and bringing people together. He previously formed a kibbutz in Israel for two years, and he’s been running a non-profit in Uganda, and he’s starting a school in upstate New York.

Albany Activist is extremely intelligent, a great conversationalist, has great compassion and empathy—and he has great taste in music and seems to enjoy every aspect of getting to know me, even why certain books or albums are my favorites. Sounds wonderful, right?

It is. And he is. Though he comes with some complications of his own that may or may not be of concern. And while I wouldn’t say I have a type—Jock With a Heart, for instance, doesn’t really look like any other guy I’ve liked—I would still say Albany Activist’s look isn’t usually what I tend to be attracted to. But he looks like a lot of fun and very kind. Everything he’s said over the last few weeks reveal a great guy, and I’m really looking forward to spending time with him too.

So life is moving forward, just as it should. And I am looking to the future, while learning to enjoy the present. The past? Been there, done that. Thanks for the memories, but it’s time to start making some new ones.

It’s the Eye of the Cougar

I haven’t written here since the amusing goodbye to Mr. BFD, he who is obsessed with Brazilian women. My absence is not because of Mr BFD because he is long out of sight, out of mind. It’s just that my dating life had become rather stale, taking a back-burner to a new one-year program I’ve recently begun, writing about topics not involving relationships and dating, and enjoying the fact that my body is behaving better than it has been in a long time.

Source: Damian Dovarganes/ AP

This does not mean I have stopped looking at my online dating options. I’ve been ready to take down my profile on Match for a couple weeks now. The only person of interest who has emailed me lately is a divorced man with five children, three of whom are adopted, with the two biological children under the age of 5. I say he’s of interest because I’m wondering how the heck a couple ends a marriage after investing so much into their relationship as to adopt three kids. He’s not the first divorced man I know who has young children, but the writer in me also is curious how a couple divorces when they have a 2-year-old child.

These are things an inquiring mind really wants to know—I might want to write a fictional piece that includes a similar scenario one day, after all. But other than that, there are guys who email me who don’t particularly interest me, guys I’m interested in who never respond, or guys I’m interested in who respond enthusiastically for a while before one of us drops the ball.

But then two guys from OkCupid surfaced. In one corner: The Kid. Five years my junior, The Kid is a fellow musician and composer, loves be in the outdoors, travel, does volunteer work, is a self-described nerd, has a very successful career in computers, and he independently found my health and wellness blog and sincerely enjoyed reading it, as he also has an interest in nutrition and related stuff, which earned him brownie points.

In the other corner, we have BBoy, who is only a year or two younger than me, but still I’ll throw him in the “Younger Guy” category since, with one exception, the men I’ve been in relationships with in the last 10 years have all been at least five years older than me. BBoy works in IT from home, is very athletic (softball, disc golf, ultimate Frisbee, hiking, and yes, break-dancing.) He has a garden and apparent makes killer cheesecake and fudge (yes!)

Apparently some time ago, I initially contacted BBoy on Match, but due to some credit card mishap, he no longer had an account, and he found me on OkCupid. He was very pleased to because he was eager to write me back and get to know me. Honestly, I didn’t even remember the guy, but earlier that same day, I had found his profile and thought to myself, I should write this guy sometime..

So I am going out with The Kid tonight to some “casual” restaurant in the middle of a rose garden that serves fancy food, but I was told to wear jeans. Not likely, but we’ll see. Tomorrow, BBoy and I are meeting at a park on the water, where he had break-dancing practice this past week.

BBoy and I had a really nice, easy conversation yesterday. The Kid and I talked on the phone a couple days ago, and I found myself going on too long and he had to go to sleep, so he kept saying, “We can talk more about it when we see each other on Friday.”

One of my closest friends predicts The Kid will be a better match, but who knows? It might very well turn out that neither of them makes it to a second date.

My German friend, T, will be coming back to the U.S. in early September to visit her friend in Maryland who is having a baby, and she wants all of her favorite people (minus those in Germany) to be there for her birthday party. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is bringing his girlfriend. I refuse to go if I don’t have someone to go with, even if it’s just a friend. There’s only so much humiliation a girl can take.

I haven’t seen Berkeley PhD in a while because we both have been very busy. I think we’ve settled into the “friends” category, which is fine as I always welcome new, interesting friends.

Sometimes When It Feels Just Right

Sometimes everything just feels wrong. He shows up looking like he’s come straight from the gym, though you know he hasn’t. With his long, baggy shorts, tank top and bandana around his head, you wonder why you made the effort to get out of your similar-looking pjs to take a shower and pick out an outfit to try to look cute for him.

You ask him about the big project in his life, the one that you found so fascinating and made you especially eager to get to know him in the first place, and he informs you that it’s on indefinite hiatus. Instead, he talks about his ex-wife, her lack of intelligence and poor mothering skills. He’s watching the clock as he tells you about his three daughters.

After reading a text message that comes in, he tells you about his truck that broke down in front of a friend’s and is going to be towed away if he can’t sell it on Craigslist. He doesn’t bother to ask much about you, and you don’t bother to reveal a lot about yourself because it’s obvious he wouldn’t really be listening.

The meal is done. Check please. He pays the bill. You leave the tip. There’s no, “I’ll call you later” or “Let’s get together again.” This is perfectly fine with you.

Sometimes everything just feels right. The moment you see each other for the evening, he flashes a smile that knocks you a little off your center. It’s been a while since someone’s had that effect on you. He looks comfortable in his jeans and dress shirt even while you know he’s made some effort to look nice. The heels you traded the flip-flops for were totally worth it.

At dinner, he asks you to select two of the four choices for tapas. He won’t let you get away with, “I’ll eat anything – you choose.” You find yourself thinking there’s just something too darn cute about how he puts on his reading glasses to look at the menu.

Even when the servers and waiters come, you and he are talking away about your respective lives up until now – discussing relationships, religion, politics and anything else that springs to mind. There are no awkward pauses, and in fact, the only silences are when you are in the midst of chewing.

After a stop for dessert, you decide to take a stroll with no destination, except to find a comfortable bench on which you can sit. Every now and then, your bodies brush against one another. After a while, you can’t tell if it’s by accident or on purpose, until the touch on the arm becomes more pronounced and lingers.

You find a rocking bench. You talk about your dreams and goals. You talk about where you came from, going beyond the surface and shedding light on some of the darker shadows of the family portrait. You head to a bookstore where you confirm you have even more in common in literary tastes (Wow, someone else who actually reads!!), but most of all, he starts sharing jokes that make you laugh from the belly.

On the way back to the car, you are suddenly holding hands. “Is this okay?” he asks. Yes, yes, yes,

You ride home listening to jazz and holding hands. You share sweet kisses and words in the car before realizing sleep has to come sometime, and he has more than an hour drive to get back to his home.

When you walk through the door, your best friend asks, “How was it?”

“It was wonderful,” you giddily sigh, wanting to hold this happiness close to you, capture in a jar like fireflies so it can light your room up every time the world is looking dark and a little hopeless.

But the best part is knowing that you can feel this way again before too long.

Up Next on the Stage…

Last night, I had a date. Or at least, I was supposed to go on one.

It wasn’t with the V-Man who I’d basically written off weeks earlier—after all this time together, I was looking for a boyfriend at least every weekend, not every other weekend if I was lucky. When he suggested getting together last weekend, saying he’d take me out since I hadn’t left the house since my last chemo treatment, I was having major problems with walking. Hearing that, he said, “Well let me know when you have your legs back.”

Nice. Meanwhile, an ex, the Rocker, contacts me out of the blue and willingly comes over to my house, spends time with me there. We chat, we play music and sing, we start watching a movie with my family, and he holds my hair back when I get sick to my stomach. Somehow this really doesn’t seem right, that he who I haven’t talked to in many months is there for me, but V Man is not. Ridiculously, I hadn’t seen him in four weeks. So I made it very clear that he really is not going to be in my life romantically any more. I am done nursing that along.

Last night’s date also wasn’t with the Cop. The week after our sexy martial arts grappling was his birthday. I made a YouTube video of me singing Happy Birthday to him because he was crazy about my music and loved playing it over and over again. He told me it was the best part of his birthday. The next day, he tells me he and his ex are “in negotiations” about getting back together.

Never mind the business lingo, his ex left him in a foreign country when they were on vacation together, she’s still technically married and she lied to The Cop during their two year relationship about how often she still spent time with her husband. I said good luck to them—they’ll need it. Hope their therapy helps. He still calls, which I guess is nice, but I think I am more his sounding board than anything else.

So no, the date was supposed to be with someone new. Well, he’s not really. We’ve been following each other across free dating sites since the fall of 2009, I think. I thought he was cute, and he was looking to get more into writing professionally, so we exchanged emails but then the Rocker and I started dating. So I was really surprised to get an email a couple weeks ago from Karaoke Crooner, we’ll call him, asking if I remembered him. I told him I did, and he eagerly told me about the new writing gig he has reviewing karaoke venues.

Yes, I rolled my eyes too when I first heard about it. But then I read his columns, which were really well written and truly captured that karaoke sub-culture. We started talking on the phone. I was rather straightforward about my illness, so he wouldn’t think I could just go out on a date at the drop of the hat. At the time, I was struggling with even walking from my bedroom to the bathroom next door. But the delay was actually a good thing.

I had him pegged as one thing, but the more we talked, the more I realized we had in common, from our sheltered upbringing to our more recent, wilder present. I realized some of his hesitancy from our first communication a couple years ago was for a very legitimate reason…he was still trying to pick up the pieces of his life after having lost a baby the day before he was set to get married. I can’t even imagine.

Anyway, yesterday was a rough pain day and I was rather lethargic, and the thought of having to get all pretty and try to control my uncontrollable body for several hours seemed ridiculous. So I postponed our scheduled date. I did some spring cleaning from the bed, perused grad schools again, did some research on a series of articles I am working on and rested.

At night, when the rain got heavy, I watched the excruciatingly painful The Passion of the Christ with my parents, followed up with a much cheerier Sleepless in Seattle with my mom. Though this week I felt the pang of loneliness so acutely, for some reason the movie didn’t leave me aching as much as it may have at other points of my life in the past. I didn’t think to wonder why.

Then Karaoke Crooner called. We talked about our days. We talked about religion, music, relationships—you name it, and suddenly it was five hours later. I reluctantly had to give into my heavy eyelids, and we said goodnight. Ever the optimist, I said that today would be better health-wise if he wanted to get together today. He did.

 What will we be doing? Karaoke naturally. He’s got another column to write, and he wants to hear more of me singing—live this time. We probably won’t stay too long because we want to spend time just hanging out as well.

We both have our baggage and wounds, our daily struggles with respective health issues, but at the very least, I have made a great, new friend. And I highly value that now in a way I may have taken for granted in the past. I need present friends in the flesh now more than I ever have before.

I Just Got Pinned

What does a woman do when a man who is one and a half times her weight tells her that he, for the sake of simplicity, wrestles competitively? Well, a sane woman would probably not challenge him to a duel—even jokingly. Unless, she is a former jock who grew up with two older brothers.

And unless, of course, this particular man has piercing blue eyes and that woman has seen photographic evidence of said man’s fitness and wants to experience it for herself.

That’s how I found myself with my back on the floor of the music room pinned between his legs. It was a little hard to concentrate as he told me each sequence of positions for a particular move, particularly when his leg moved between my legs and his arm grazed my chest. Forget the fact that he was focusing on how to flip me over to a position that could easily break my leg with the intent and more force.

I was too distracted by how good it felt to have our bodies, albeit clothed bodies, so close after being politely at a distance over the course of two dates. Ever the gentleman, he had given me simply a hug and flirtatious talk of more at the culmination of the first date.

He called every day of the week until date two, even if it was just for a few minutes on his drive from point A to point B. Oh, did I also mention he lives almost an hour and half away, and he’s driven out here twice to see me?

This particular morning, I was rushing to get my hair nice and fresh as it still smelled like slightly burned popcorn from the other night. I was running late as I tried to eat a late brunch, make some calls for work and send out a creative homework assignment for something I’ll let you in on later. I wasn’t even finished drying my hair under the old-school salon hair dryer and I had yet to take a shower, when he calls to tell me that he is two exits away.

Damn.

He tells me he will take it slow. Still, I know there is no way he can drive slowly enough for me to be ready before he gets here. So by the time I get out of the hairdryer, my mother is helping me to get rollers out of my hair and telling me that he is in the driveway shoveling my car out of more than a foot of snow, which has accumulated over several snowstorms. While more than a foot had already melted, he had expressed serious concerns about the wellbeing of my vehicle the first date, so he has taken it upon himself to help remedy the situation. Is the guy really for real?

I hop into the shower. I change my mind on an outfit. Decide to crank it up a notch. Look at myself from different angles in the mirror, change undershirts. Decide it doesn’t look right today. Change back to the original outfit. Pop in my contacts. Brush my teeth. Fix my do. Grab my computer—there’s work to be done even in our afternoon together. Run downstairs and he and my mom are chatting easily in the living room, while watching television.

There’s no rush to end the conversation. He doesn’t look relieved, like I have rescued him from “tortuous, awkward talk with parent.” They continue chatting, and I listen until we decide what we’re doing.

Our plans for the day are unformed, so when the plan—a science museum—doesn’t look like it’s worth the short time before closing, we decide to walk the city. We talk. We share stories. We sip our drinks.

Did I tell you that the moment we got in the car, he told me how beautiful my hair looked? How it was so full of body and sexy. Yeah, it was so worth being late.

When we got back to my house, he asked me to play him my music. I am ashamed to say that working like a maniac, it has literally been many months since I have picked up the guitar and seriously played. So yes, I forgot lyrics and chord changes here and there, but he didn’t seem to mind. He asked if he could record me on his iPhone, and even though I don’t want him to capture the flubs, I let him because he says he loves my voice.

Then I give him the neck massage I offered him when he was complaining about pain there earlier. Mmm. Muscular boy who smells so good. Somehow that leads to the living room and flipping each other over in play practice of the mixed martial art of jiu-jitsu.

There was something immensely satisfying when I flipped him, even though I knew he was letting me. Because I also knew the monkey in me had the natural ability to block some of his moves when he least expected it.

I sort of knew I would love it.  But I’m not crazy enough to really get into it until I am at a more stable health status.

This time, I get a kiss good night. It’s chaste enough with my mother in the next room. But there is enough sparkle there that I know PG would turn PG13 or higher if we had the house to ourselves.

This time, I am happy to take things slow. See where things might go. He is showing me that it’s worth finding out where this might possibly lead.

Jumping Head In, Part I

The last time I was on Match for a month was a bust. I wasn’t catching any good fish, and I felt no real desire to do anything with it. By the middle of the month, I was already becoming totally smitten with a wonderful guy, who unfortunately lives in a different time zone, but we were doing what we could to stay connected until we could find some way to see if a future was possible.

Of course the day after I canceled Match, I get the email saying something to the effect of “Anonymous is interested in you and sent you an email. Find out who’s interested.” The next day, I received another email saying a second person emailed me and is interested in getting to know me. By the middle of the week, I had collected six emails, and I thought, what gives? I’m getting more action than I had in my month on there previously.

Yet, when I saw all this anonymous interest, brazen hussy that I am, I was curious. I waited, knowing that a discount price was sure to drop in my inbox any day now. When it did, I signed up just to find out who these goofs who were emailing me now. Several guys were carry-overs from before who I’d left dormant and were nothing to write home about, some probably would make decent friends but wanted more. Then, in the midst of the pile, there was a diamond sparkling.

Mr. Etiquettte, aged 41, divorced dad of 2. Had lived in Germany for the last 19 years. Was previously a professional drummer in very successful band overseas. Now a marriage and family therapist,  psychotherapist, and adjunct professor teaching online classes in psychology. He had written a brief, sweet email, sounding a bit nervous, asking me to check out his profile and hoping I liked what I saw enough to want to start a dialogue.

I waited almost a week because I knew that this guy might actually be promising. I needed time to decide if I should actually pursue this or focus solely on my long-distance lover. How would one email hurt? I bet he had some amazing stories to tell; I’m a writer, and I was curious to hear his life story. And not for nothing, he’s pretty cute.

So I sent him a long email about myself. Talked about my singer/songwriting background. Told him about being a teacher, a journalist, and fiction writer. Mentioned my near future career goal direction into expressive arts therapy. He replied fascinated. He also thought we had a lot in common, with similar sensibilities, and looked forward to hearing from me soon

He shared more about his background: his heartbreak that his children, ages 9 and 10, now live across the seas. He spoke of the divorce—his German wife missed her old life and family when they moved to the States a few years ago.

On a whim, don’t really know why, other than that we kept sending novel emails when he’s an incredibly busy man, I entrusted him with my phone number saying we could probably cover more ground more quickly that way. Surprisingly, he called me in the middle of the next day. After brief niceties, he said, “I have visitor coming in tomorrow, but I would really love to meet you. I’m booked all day. Would you have time for coffee or something tonight?”

For some reason, I said yes. I made myself pretty and begged my mom to drop me off at Border’s. Unfortunately they were closing up the coffee shop section, so we headed across the street to Chili’s. That’s when I had to explain why I didn’t have my car, why I couldn’t drive, and thus explaining “the illness.” He DIDN’T FREAK. Instead, he was incredibly compassionate and supportive, and we just carried on with our date.

We ate, talking about everything for several hours, though he had a long work day again tomorrow and a out-of-town visitor coming over night. “I don’t want this to end,” he kept saying.

Truthfully, I was enjoying it too. We’re both meaningful communicators and pensive. So we shared a lot of deep thoughts and explored heavy emotions for a first date.

Mr. Etiquette mentioned his previous night’s date, where he felt zero chemistry,  but she said, “So you’ll call me?” He said, “um…yes?” trying to be polite. So at the end of our date, he said, “So call me or email me. You know, if you want to.”  It was very cute. I told him to feel free to do the same.

It was such a non-awkward first date, such easy, comfortable conversation. Especially by the end, we were showing our compatible sense of humor as well. I thought I really think I might want to see this man again.