When I broke up with the Boy, I told him that on some level we both knew we weren't right for each other in the long term. And by breaking things off, we were each giving the right person the opportunity to find us. At the time it was just something I said to soften the blow. I never actually believed it would happen.
On the contrary, I was convinced that I would be spending the next 20-30 years alone. Which would still be better than being with the Boy. So imagine my surprise this past week when I went on a great first date with someone who appears to be a wonderful guy. All courtesy of Match.com.
It began about two weeks ago. It was a Saturday evening and I was checking out the "who's viewed me" section of Match.com. This is basically a list of all the guys that have viewed your profile recently. Usually my list includes a series of creepy guys, older guys and guys with no photo, who are most likely both creepy and older. Whenever I see someone who appears to be a normal guy, I click on their profile to find out more.
After reading his profile, I was actually compelled to send him a note. It felt like I knew him already. The tone of his profile was so friendly, humorous and engaging that I just couldn't resist. He wrote me back the very next day and said that after viewing my profile, he had been planning to send me a note as well.
From then on, we were hot and heavy on the e-mails for about a week. We found that we had a lot in common, including the fact that we were both aspiring writers. Last weekend, he called me on the phone. After we spoke, we decided to plan a night when he would be working in the area so we could meet for a drink. Unfortunately, he lives about an hour and a half away. Not exactly convenient for dating, but at least he doesn't live in another state.
We met up at a restaurant on Thursday night after work. I arrived first and perched myself on a stool in the bar with a clear view of the front door. After what seemed like an hour, but was more likely the equivalent of about seven minutes, he arrived. He looked exactly like his profile photos. I stood up as he approached the table and he extended his arms and gave me a warm hug. He had a quiet, yet confident demeanor. By the time the waiter came to take our drink order I already knew that I liked this new guy.
After a drink, some appetizers and about two hours of easy flowing conversation, it was time to go. I continue to abide by my online dating rule that it's always better to keep the first date short and leave something for the next date. Plus he had a long drive back home and we both had to work the next day. Before we left the table, he paused and looked uncomfortable for the first time during the evening.
"So, this was nice." He began with the obligatory end of the date ritual. "Would you like to get together again sometime?"
I tried to play it cool with my response. "Sure, I would like that," I said, knowing that my beaming smile was probably giving too much away.
He walked me out to my car in the cold rain/snow mix that was beginning to fall. After getting some clarifications on which route to take to get to the freeway, he once again extended his arms for a hug. This time as I pulled away, I felt a sweet little kiss on my cheek.
The full impact of the kiss didn't hit me until I got into my car and drove away. I cannot remember the last time anyone kissed me on the cheek, at least not in a romantic way. It was a good move. Not too forward, but just enough to let me know he was interested and to encourage me to start thinking about what a real kiss would be like on our second date. Well played, New Guy. You got my attention.
And now I am deep into the waiting game. This is the hardest part about meeting someone new. Constantly watching my blackberry to see if he sends me a message or calls me out of the blue just to say hello. I survived Friday alright, mostly because I was busy at work and then I went to visit my nieces and nephews. Plus, I was pretty sure he wouldn't call the very next day.
Saturday was little tougher. It was conceivable that he could drop me a quick note to see how my weekend was going. Every time the message light started blinking on my blackberry, I would grab it, only to find that it was from someone else. One of the messages was actually from another guy on Match.com who lives right in my area. We had exchanged e-mails earlier in the week, before my big date and he wanted to know if we should get together for a drink to see if there is a spark.
I thought about how to respond to his invitation. Worst case scenario, he would be a welcome distraction to stop me from waiting on the New Guy. And best case, he might be interesting and then I would have two great guys to choose from. So I decided to accept his invitation. We are going out on Tuesday night.
But that was not enough to keep my mind off the New Guy for the rest of the day. So I called my sister and told her that we were going out on Saturday night. I refused to spend the entire weekend sitting home and watching my Blackberry for any signs of intelligent life.
I got dressed and picked up my sister for our big night out. Neither of us really felt like driving all the way out to Royal Oak where the good bars are, so we decided to see what was going on in our neighborhood. The last time we were both single and hanging out in Dearborn it was 2001. So needless to say, a few things had changed.
We parked the car and started wandering in and out of the various bars, trying to find something that looked promising. After three tries, we realized that the night life in Dearborn just wasn't what it used to be.
"Well, at least if he asks you what you did this weekend, you can say you went bar hopping!" My sister laughed as we trudged through the parking lot with the brisk wind in our faces. After all that, we decided to stop into my favorite dive bar in town. There is never anyone there, but they have pool tables in the back and a great jukebox.
The owner of the bar even stopped by and flirted with us for awhile, which was enough to feed our egos and for me to accurately say that I was hit on that night. Not that I am keeping score. But if I was, it would be one point for me.
So here I am on Sunday afternoon. Also known as Day 3 of the waiting game. I have cleaned my entire house, gone to the gym, bought food to cook for dinner for the next few nights and now I am writing this blog. I really hope that the New Guy liked me as much as I liked him. And I really hope that he asks me out again.
As much as I hate the waiting game, it is a part of life. If it is truly meant to be, then when we look back years from now it won't matter if he called on Day 2 or Day 3. And if it is not meant to be, then someday I will read this blog and laugh at how wrapped up I was in some random guy who only took me on one date.
It would be comforting to think that the guys are stuck in this waiting game too. Not wanting to call or e-mail too soon, for fear of appearing over-anxious. But I am pretty sure they are just hanging out with their friends, watching basketball and not really giving us a second thought.
No matter how strong, independent or confident we are as women, at some point we all end up waiting. I just hope he's worth waiting for.