I have often been told that I am skilled at the art of conversation. In my sorority in college, I was known as the girl who could be counted on to ease the nerves of potential new members, get them laughing and opening up. Once, one of my sorority sisters said to me, “Julia, you could talk to a brick wall and it would probably talk back!” I don’t do anything special. I am myself. People genuinely interest me and I like hearing their stories…finding out what makes them tick..what they care about.
It was during my next date that these skills were put to the ultimate test. I had been casually talking to a guy named Graham for about a week. Now Graham worked as a sports conditioning coach for high school athletes in the area and seemed really passionate about helping kids. Big double chocolate Ghirardelli brownie points! One night as we texted, he mentioned that he was starting a new book and was reading it with a glass of wine. My curiosity was peaked. So, he liked sports, loved kids, was attractive, read actual books and liked to drink wine? Something had to be wrong with him..Graham seemed too good to be true! While that initial reaction may come across as slightly jaded…let us remember the last few dates I had been on..Ok, maybe all of them.
One weekend, Graham asked if I would like to grab some coffee and get to know each other better. I was nursing a little bit of a hangover from hanging out with the girls the night before and so coffee sounded positively magical. I don’t know what it is, but ever since I hit 27, wine nights are not as easy to bounce back from the next morning. Ah the joys of getting older..just add that to paying for car insurance and having to worry about which dental plan to choose. This whole “being a grown-up” thing aint all it’s cracked up to be sometimes. Anyway, Graham and I were to meet at Starbucks at 5:30. When I called him to let him know I was on the way, I was greeted with a cute, slow southern drawl (what is it with all these southern boys? Oh yea..I live in Richmond..the capital of the South..duh) and he casually mentioned having dinner plans at 6:30 that evening. That gave us one hour for our little meet and greet. I knew what he was doing..mostly because I have pulled this particular move myself before. When you tell someone you have plans after your date, you give yourself an out, just in case things go sour. For example: Just going out on a limb here..but maybe if your date describes an unnatural preference for applesauce or I dunno…spandex bodysuits. I also had dinner plans later that night so it didn’t bother me.
When I walked into the Starbucks, I saw him sitting at a small table in the back. He waited for me to get there before ordering his coffee and I thought that was sweet..which is why I was extremely thrown when he walked up to the counter, ordered his drink, paid and walked away. Huh….I stood there for a second, unsure of what to do. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big girl. I have a big girl job. I can buy my own damn coffee and actually make it a habit to do just that on a fairly regular basis. I just had never had someone ask me out on a coffee “date” and not pay for my drink before. At first I was a little hmm…miffed..perplexed even.. However, after spending the rest of the hour with Graham, I realized, the poor thing probably never even realized what he had done or in this case..not done.
I have never checked the clock so often in such a short amount of time. For the next 50 minutes, Graham mentioned the following:
1. He uhh liked football
2. He liked to play football
3. He loved his dog
4. His uhhh dog was pretty cool
5. His dog could do tricks..like…he could sit..and lay down..really good.
6. He also worked out
7. He liked working out…working out was pretty cool
8. His mom had convinced him to join the dating site.
9. He loved his mom..she was cool too.
Oh…my…..goodness. I have never had to work so hard to keep a conversation going in my entire LIFE. Where was the funny guy I had exchanged texts with? The one who liked to read..and drink wine..and was able to string multiple sentences together at a time? I don’t know if he was nervous or what, but that night, I felt like I could have probaby had a more stimulating conversation with that brick wall I mentioned earlier. He texted me later and said how much he had enjoyed getting to know each other and hoped we could get together again. Needless to say, we did not have that second date. He seemed like a really sweet guy, but I find wit and intelligence incredibly attractive. I need someone who can challenge me. Little did I know my next date would do just that, and in the most unexpected ways…