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.

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Steamin’ It Up, Old-School Style

“How do you always get mascara all over your face?” my mom asked coming out of her bedroom when I came in tonight from my third date with The Brit. “Maybe you should stop wearing any mascara at all.”

“It’s raining out,” I said. She gave me a look that told me she wasn’t buying it. “And I’m always rubbing my face,” I added, which is true. It might also be because I just spent the last half hour making out in The Brit’s car in our driveway, I thought, but I knew to keep that one to myself.

“This is a bit dodgy, isn’t it?” The Brit commented, as we paused for breath, in the close quarters of his VW Bug. “D’ya think your parents are going to get upset that we’re basically parking in their driveway?” It was a good question. But his car wasn’t too big, it was dark and raining, and we were safely tucked under the cover of some lush tree branches in the side driveway. “Your dad’s not the type to come out here with a bat or anythin’, is he?”

I responded by leaning in for another kiss. (No, Jaysey818, it turns out we didn’t need a lesson at all this time.) And no, Dad wasn’t home. Otherwise, he’d have the binoculars and flashlight out the window, recon-style.

After a lovely dinner at an Indian restaurant that The Brit likes–my stomach was totally fine, thank you very much, you guys–we didn’t want the date to end quite yet, but we didn’t know where to go. it was raining, otherwise we could go for a walk. Neither of us felt like doing any drinking. The Brit thought of taking me to his place, and I could meet his cat, but he said it was embarrassingly messy right now. Most of the stores would be closing soon, but we decided we’d pop into the nearby Marshall’s just for something to do.

The Brit looked at a few shirts, asked my opinion, and then the store announced it was closing. Not wanting to be pressured by time into a sale, The Brit left without any new clothes. We shrugged, restless but lacking too much imagination, so he ended up taking me home. I did notice he parked the car in the side driveway instead of just pulling up idle behind my unused car, so I smiled as he came in to kiss me. I wasn’t prepared for how much we were going to steam up the windows.

“Perhaps we should have gone to the park for a proper parking after all,” he mused later.

This of course reminds me of Bridget Jones’ Diary, where Bridget tells Mark Darcy: “Wait a minute…nice boys don’t kiss like that.” His reply, “Oh, yes, they fucking do.”

The only unfortunate incident of the night is that I started talking about blogging. I wasn’t even drinking, I tell you. I was talking about my health blog, which covers a range of health topics, from unusual disorders to alternative medicine to nutrition transformations in schools to traveling while disabled. This was all well and good until I started babbling about my other blog; yes, this very one.

“Am I in it?” he asks. Then throughout the rest of dinner, he tries to throw in, so you talk about x in this blog, which is called y? Fishing for the name, which I refused to give. I told him there is nothing negative to report about The Brit. However, it’s too soon for him to see this side of me, or to hear way too many details about my messy dating life. If he ever earns that right, or if I ever get up the cajones to share this blog with anyone in my personal circle…that’s because I will have reached the stability in my romantic life where I feel free to be completely open about my past because it is…in my past.

I did say that I may copy my personal guide to having great sex and email it to him, however. Though I do personally (through pseudonyms) mention previous lovers, which is not a good thing. But that can be easily edited.

Speaking of previous lovers, Harlequin Hero of course informed last night that he’s coming back up here at the end of the month. Don’t know how long he’s staying but he said of course he wants to see me. And it should surprise no one that Mr. Etiquette called me while I was on my date. I ignored the numerous buzzes I received from various people during the date, but I just knew one of them was from him. He surprisingly didn’t leave a message, which only leads me to conclude he knew I was on a date. T must have told him I was “out.” Screw him and his jealousy. He only calls when things are bleak with Sara, which of course is frequent lately, especially now that we’re talking again. Might need to cut off this “friendship” deal completely.

The Brit brought up a wedding in Michigan he was invited to go to this summer. He is friends with the groom, met the bride once, but knows no one else at the wedding. He feels terrible if he says no to it, though. I was wondering if he wanted my opinion, or if he was putting out feelers if I might want to go so he’d know someone else at the wedding. Seems a bit early for him to ask, since he’s a laid-back, average-paced guy. He brought up getting there via a road trip, asked my opinion on whether I thought it’d be a decent ride, etc.  Probably was just asking since I know this part of the U.S. better than he does. The groom’s not a best friend, so I honestly think it could be fun if we were still seeing each other, but whatever. I won’t ponder it further unless he specifically asks me.

Up to Bat with The Brit

Thursday night was my first date with The Brit. Those of you who read my Twitter account may remember I was dragging my heels in the final moments. The thought of actually having to go out there and have another first date with someone new depressed me. Thinking how just last week, I was still in the arms of Mr. Etiquette, as confused as he was, I still had hope that he might be the one I could spend endless days with into the future, some day at least. But nope, here I was back out on the dating blocks less than a week after feeling as if I’d figuratively had open-heart surgery.

I gave myself the pep talk: Mr. Etiquette is moving forward with Sara. You have to move forward too. Oddly enough, this made me even more reluctant to leave the house. I just wanted to cry into a pillow, perhaps watch Bridget Jones for 947th time. I tried again: Awesome things are happening in your life. You deserve to have fun for a night, meet someone new, swoon over that British accent. Yes, this started to perk my spirits up a bit.

I had Googled The Brit. He was brilliant, accomplished, cuter and funnier than I had remembered. His obvious intelligence (yes, I shamelessly read his CV in fine detail) actually turned me on quite a bit. I hopped in the car and said, “Drive, Jeeves, drive.” Well, that obviously would have been much cooler than “Drive, Dad”–unfortunately I couldn’t drive myself with certain medical restrictions and all…

I was a little early, so I sat at a table in the corner of the bar until The Brit arrived. I watched him walk in and look around anxiously for me. He turned and immediately smiled when he recognized me. Damn, he had a cute smile. We talked about his fascinating journey from Newcastle, England to Washington state to Indiana and finally to Connecticut. He told me about his intriguing focus of research in the psychology of politicians. We, of course , talked about football (soccer). He was self-deprecating, hilarious, very open, and the accent..*swoon*.

I told him about my journey from Connecticut to California to Connecticut to Las Vegas back to Connecticut. I told him about my various changes in careers. I told him what was next for me, in the most immediate future and what stood even further ahead. He looked at me with sparkling eyes and an encouraging smile as if he was just as fascinated with me as I with him. He was only a little apologetic for being nosy and asking probing questions about former relationships and dating, and I told him i was an open book, as long as he didn’t mind me being the nosy journalist right back at him.

Before I knew it, two hours had passed, and the bar was beginning Trivia Night. My parents had already been by an hour ago, and I had forgotten to even check my cell. The Brit asked if I was up for playing, and I said sure. We decided we’d give ourselves a clever but silly moniker that the guy running the show could not pronounce for the life of him. Every other round, we changed it slightly to mock his butchering of the name. We lost every round. Instead of getting frustrated and upset that he wasn’t winning, The Brit thought it was hilarious that he, a PhD, and I, a Stanford grad, were doing so miserably on so many of these ridiculous questions. It was so freakin’ fun.

I gave him a nice hug at the end. He said he had a really nice time. He was so glad I came out.  And I couldn’t help thinking I might really like to see this guy again.

The next morning, my first official day of summer vacation, I decided to be spontaneous. All day long, there were World Cup games I had to watch, and I knew The Brit, off from classes for the summer to do research, would be watching them too. So I left him a message asking if he wanted to watch the England vs. Algeria game with me. He called back a half hour later and asked, “When should I show up?”

I nervously rushed to shower, get the downstairs a little cleaned up and threw some chili cheese dip in the oven. He arrived shortly with some German beer and as he stood there in the foyer grinning at me, something came over me as I went into hug him, I looked up at him, and he lay a big, hungry kiss on me. Wow, I totally wasn’t expecting that.

Afterward, I grinned as I showed him the first floor of the house. He was eager to see my cat, so I did. They very much approved of one another. Then we went to the kitchen, and The Brit apologetically informed me he was a vegetarian as I took the chili dip out of the oven. Argh, whoops. Fortunately, I had French onion dip he could eat.

We went to the living room, where we sat down to cheer on England. It was awesome to watch the game with The Brit. He had the skinny on all the gossip of the players, including the fact that one player had an affair with his best friend’s, another player, wife. He knew every player on the team and could give brilliant analysis on their performance. Everything he said was later repeated by the commentators.

At half time, he faced me with a big grin, and leaned over to kiss me. Who knew football was such a turn-on, but suddenly we were in full make-out mode. During the game, we sat touching, sometimes holding hands. It was sweet, but I wasn’t expecting the passion ahead. I began to laugh as the game started again. “Hey,” I said breathlessly, “I thought we were watching the game.”

It was fun and unexpected. He was sweet and tender. Best of all, he makes me laugh.

On a side note, I never know if it’s possible to train a man to be the kisser you most prefer. I think it might be possible, with compassionate coaching, what do you guys think?

Remember to Play Nice in the Game of Dating

Well, I feel terrible, but with my long vacation where I very much bonded with a new guy, plus the emotional turmoil of last week’s wakes (yes, that’s plural, I’ll tell you about that one tomorrow) and funeral, plus the strange night with HH, I’ve been neglecting anyone I’d previously been in contact with on PlentyOfFish or on Match. Every day, I think about all the emails I owe, even if it’s to say, “Sorry I’ve been incognito, lot of shit’s been going on, but I’ll get back to you when I can,” but I just see them pile up, and I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I should just write a big ol’ apology to everyone in my profile saying, “sorry I thought I was ready for this, but it turns out I so don’t need any more help in this area right now.”

Remember the Nice Guy with Potential for Friendship? We shared many common interests, but he admitted he may not be ready to move into anything romantic after a relatively recent breakup. Well, he hasn’t forgotten me. I just saw an email from him in my inbox that made me say I definitely need to at least reply to him.

Hey, kind of surprised I haven’t heard from you. Did you meet somebody? If you did, congratulatations, that’s awesome. But, if not, I wanted to tell you that I was probably too hasty in saying I wasn’t ready for any romantic expectation. I mean, you never know what’s going to happen. I just didn’t want to get in a situation where we wouldn’t ever talk talk again or be friends if we went out and didn’t click on the dating-level instantly.

So, yeah, I’m still interested in getting to know you. However, there’s a chance I may have to return home to PA. I got laid off last week, and unemployment is not going to cover my bills. I’m substitute-teaching in the meantime while there’s still school, but that won’t exactly get it done either. I had an interview on Monday, so I’m hoping that’s going to come through….

J

He is cute. He is sweet. We do have a lot in common. I feel like we at least owe it to each other to meet once sooner rather than later, especially if he might have to move back home. I will always welcome a new friend who brings something good to the table.

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