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First Date Re-Visited.

October 11, 2007

He showed up in a truck; a small, red Toyota truck; one that was ornamented with a cracked windshield; a large crevice running the length of the window. This did not bode well.

Two thoughts immediately came to mind:

1. There’s no way this man was a real doctor living in suburbia.

2. He was testing me in case I thought he was Mr. Money Bags and only cared for Lexus’s; he just wanted me to see him for himself and only used the truck for the outdoorsy, adventure, “he-man” kind of stuff. Like log-rolling or log lifting; even jousting.

We had “met” on-line in 2005, when meeting on-line was no longer a stigma. After the prerequisite exchanges of email to decide whether a face to face meeting was even in the picture, we agreed it wouldn’t be a bad idea. The on-line dating experts say that one should meet as soon as possible, so that it doesn’t turn into an email only type of “relationship.” Not that that’s the norm.

As we lived 100 miles apart, we decided on a meeting spot, theoretically, midway between us, in a touristy town on a lake; which as it turns out was quite a bit closer to him. Hmmmm. We barely knew the town and didn’t know where to go for a decent meal; so agreed to meet at the local hotel then scout for a nice restaurant. I’m pretty punctual and that’s a quality I admire in others; I arrived early so had a few minutes to check myself in the bathroom mirror, scan the lobby, head back to the bathroom, then wait. There was enough time for this routine to be repeated more than a couple of times that I was beginning to think I’d been stood up.

I was at the “scanning the lobby part,” of my “modus operandi,” when I saw him walking toward the door. Yellow polo shirt, beige shorts, tennis shoes and socks; I took it all in, yet today have no memory as to what I wore. He says it was a jumpsuit, which is impossible because I don’t, wouldn’t and have never owned one. After introducing ourselves he suggested we go together in his car in search of a restaurant. His truck/car.

The online dating experts also tell you to meet in a public place, just in case he turns out to be an ax murderer (they don’t say it quite like that); then I slid into his truck. A feeling of unease had already settled on me, when he handed me the brown bag on the seat between us; a bag filled with peaches that he had picked from his own trees. (It could have been apples.) A different fantasy started to form in my slightly, warped mind: this man’s into homesteading; digging in the yard, planting and reaping, building and sawing, filling his weekends with physical work around his property after a hectic week healing people. Not quite satisfied with that possibility my mind zipped 180 degrees: he didn’t really grow the peaches, it was just a ruse to make me trust him; he was really a deviant after all, pretending to be a “well rounded” man. I squirmed in my seat.

Five minutes later we found an interesting looking restaurant not too far down the road, which would do just fine. Sitting down by the window facing the lake I was a little more relaxed and tried to act demure. I love meeting people and hearing their stories and don’t usually have a problem with asking questions, sitting back and listening. With this guy it was like pulling teeth. He didn’t seem particularly interested in me, barely spoke and hardly answered what I thought were okay ice-breakers. I couldn’t wait to leave. I played with my knife and fork, twirled the wine glass in my right hand and stared at my plate. I thought of going to the bathroom and not returning, snarfing my food and wine in one gulp, feigning sickness, or all of the above if my car had been parked right outside, but it wasn’t, so had to endure the excruciating hour or so at the table. We shook hands as we parted. Once back in my own car driving home, I was relieved to be alone and chalked the evening down to experience; a not too great one.

Fast forward three months. Obviously we had not seen each other in the interim, when I happened to check out that dating site again and there he was after a few months absence. Without premeditation, I sat down and wrote him an email that said something like, “We didn’t do very well on our first date, perhaps we should try again,” and pressed Send. I wasn’t expecting a reply, his earlier disinterest still reverberated in my mind, so why I did what I did, I have no idea. But I got an immediate response saying, “I can’t believe you wrote again, you seemed so disinterested in me.” Huh?! That was my line, what was he talking about?

Turns out he was so impressed with me that he was dumb struck. I almost laughed; I don’t usually have that effect on men, so was stunned, but a little amused. After airing our respective summations of that fateful evening three months earlier, we agreed to give it another try.

The second time I was late (not on purpose, although the thought had crossed my mind), I was late because I was driving back from Thanksgiving in Ohio in a blinding rainstorm, where the traffic crawled bumper to bumper the last 50 miles. My son had asked when I left his home that morning, why I was leaving at a specific time. “Because I have to be at a restaurant in Illinois at 5pm; I have a date.” He chortled.

Three months later N asked me to move in with him. And I did.

Copyright © 2007

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