Everyone is the age of their heart. ~Guatemalan Proverb
My regular readers know that I haven’t been too shy about trying out various dating sites with varying degrees of success. Though I’ve had my share of horror stories and hilarity, I also met the V-Man and Mr. Etiquette through Match.com, and more recently, my heart and mind became entangled with The European off OkCupid, which prior to I had mostly referred to fondly as OkStupid.
Then I started hearing some fellow dating bloggers talk about this site HowAboutWe. What set this site apart from the rest, as far as I could tell, was that its aim seemed to really be focused on getting people right off their computers and meeting in real life. One could suggest a date:
How about we….check out a Poetry Slam on Great Poetry Reading Day
How about we…pack a lunch and hike to the peak of Talcott Mountain
How about we…grab a beer and watch the NCAA Basketball Finals together
Whatever floats your boat, you can throw it out there, and see if anyone else is intrigued enough by your date proposal or your profile alone, and you can go from there. It seemed like a pretty interesting idea, so I put up a profile but refused to pay money for a membership.
A few weeks ago, I received an email for a 72-hour free access to the site, meaning I could exchange emails and do all the things a regular member could do. Honestly, there were only about three or four people who were even vaguely interesting, but one profile in particular caught my attention. One guy, whose proposed date was a fun and active one, had done a mountain bike race through EMS in Nepal, of all places!
Nepal—the country that had mystified and bewitched me more than 10 years earlier when I accompanied my college boyfriend on an organized study trek there at nearly the last minute. With the breathtaking sights, the myriad of sounds, the vibrant colors, the tantalizing smells, the warm and friendly people, the completely unfamiliar yet intriguing culture, the spectacular geography, it was love at first sight.
The couple of times I had met someone who had also been to Nepal, it was as if we immediately became members of a society with our own secret language and shorthand. So here was another person from Connecticut who had actually been to the country in an intense way. I didn’t even care if there was a romantic connection, but I knew I wanted to meet him.
We exchanged an email or two on the site before he disappeared for a couple of weeks. In my email back to him, I told him I only had free access for the weekend so gave him my personal email address. Not hearing from him, I was a bit disappointed, but life goes on.
Then I got an email from an unfamiliar address, and it was the man of Nepal, telling me he had been in a work bootcamp for the last couple weeks. He didn’t pull any punches, asking for my number if I was willing and suggesting that maybe we could meet sometime. How about we, indeed?
To abbreviate, we had a nice phone conversation and quickly set up a date for a few days later. The plan was to go this restaurant in the city, where we’d grab dinner before heading downstairs to their comedy club. I arrived to the place a little late, fortunately at the same time as he was coming in, and I was surprised by his appearance. He seems quite a bit older-looking than I thought he’d be, I thought to myself, but I returned his very warm smile and we went in to dinner.
We had great conversation over our meal, finding out that we shared many things in common. Not only did we have very similar impressions and spiritual takeaways from our respective trips to Nepal, but we shared a lust for travel in general, a passion for health and wellness, music, foreign and independent film and, more importantly, we seemed to have similar philosophies on many aspects of life.
In the course of our talking, he also told me how he had previously been married for 26 years, that he had met his wife as a late teen. He had a son and daughter, the latter graduating with a five-year degree this year, and I sat there me trying to do the math in my head. Okay, technically he could still be 45 or so, right? Not that it mattered.
The night progressed to the comedy club, where we were fortunate enough to actually see three humorous comedians. None of them made me want to cringe or throw tomatoes from my seat. Renaissance Man, as I have dubbed him for having a plethora of talents and interests in an array of fields, who laughed at all the appropriate times too, told me, “You have the greatest laugh!”
With his hand on my back, we made our way back up to the restaurant where a two-man band was playing. Again, fortune was on our side as these guys made up a phenomenal act. In addition to enjoying the music and our conversation with each other, I was also noticing how personable Renaissance Man was with everyone—male or female, young or old, waitress or performer, it didn’t matter. He praised them, asked them interested questions and you could tell made them feel good about themselves.
I told him I noticed this later in the car, after he’d paused in the middle of a surprisingly heated kissing session to say, “You are incredibly beautiful. Here,” pointing to the bare skin at my neckline, indicating my heart. “Here,” tenderly caressing my face. “And here,” he said pointing to the side of my head, making reference to my mind.
So, it seemed, was he.
After he dropped me off at home, with ideas percolating for future dates, curiosity got the better of me, and I logged into the site to see if I could still see his profile. That milestone birthday he recently celebrated certainly was a big one, I thought, laughing with surprise. But other than a few signs of enjoying the weather on his handsome face, one would hardly guess.
Ironically, I had just had a long conversation that week with a classmate of mine who was married to a man 20 years older than she (there’s less of an age difference between me and Renaissance Man, btw). “He looks so much better than a lot of men 10 years younger than he is,” she told me. “He is so full of energy, and we don’t even notice the age difference. He takes such great care of me, and we just are a great team.”
That, I thought, is what really matters.
I remembered how once Mr. Etiquette was around his kids, the 10 years of age difference between us that sometimes became apparent in his old-fashioned thoughts and occasional parental way of behaving, melted away instantly. While he was more mature than all the previous guys I’d dated before, he was also one of the most playful, and we had so much fun in the happy periods of our relationship together.
So I look forward to my second date with Renaissance Man tomorrow, and our third date on Saturday, and we’ll just take it day by day. If there’s one thing my years of dating has taught me, romance can sometimes come in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected forms.
Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. ~Leroy “Satchel” Paige