I am SUPER indecisive. My friends know this fact very well and when it comes time to make a decision – Chinese or Mexican, red wine or white, heels or flats, stay in or go out – they know better by now than to ask me. I think it comes from having one of those laid-back and affable personalities. If I really feel strongly about something I’ll pipe up, but I’m a go-with-the-flow kinda girl..and mostly I’m just happy if other people are happy. I have to wonder sometimes though, if a part of it comes from fear. Fear of chosing the wrong thing. Now recently I’ve become indecisive about my relationships with the men in my life.. if I’m being honest with you (and myself) I think this comes from feeling as though I had chosen the wrong person in my last relationship. You know…the BIG one..the one that crashed and burned so epically. Looking back, I think I chose to stay with Jeff because it was easier than going out into the unknown. I knew deep down that he wasn’t a perfect fit..but to be clear, it wasn’t all bad..it was like a puzzle that you have had for so long that some of the pieces are lost or have torn corners. You end up trying to smoosh them into place and can mostly see the picture in front of you, but it won’t ever be exactly right. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared to mess up again. To pick a puzzle that was missing pieces just because I didn’t want to be alone on a rainy day.
Now let’s get to the good part. The men. 🙂
First, Guy #1…hmmm let’s call him Mark.
THE BACKGROUND: Mark is my age (ok maybe a few months younger…I don’t think I quite hit cougar status yet), has dark brown hair, is tall and is a pretty sharp dresser. Weird thing to say I guess, but the boy sure can put an outfit together….and he owns some nice shoes. Now at this point you might be thinking “uh oh…could this be a repeat of the ‘winter white’ guy who thought he liked women but probably actually liked men?” Let me ease your fears friends.. Mark has plenty of manliness to go around. I like that he is into sports and guy stuff, but he also likes going to plays and even told me he loves going to see the Nutcracker ballet every Christmas. He has a great job, graduated from a well-respected university and seems to have a big group of fun and interesting friends. Was this guy too good to be true? His mom is a elementary school teacher (so he has some major respect for teachers…more points for him), his dad passed away a few years ago so he and his mom are super close. He told me that takes her out to dinner every week for a mother/son date night. I definitely think that is sweet and thoughtful..though I am slightly nervous about him being an only child and know that he has the potential to be a mama’s boy..but I decided to reserve judgement until I’d spent more time with him. After all, my own mom was an only child and she is one of the most awesome people I know!
THE FIRST DATE: We met at a place called Bellytimber which is one of my favorite local spots with it’s wood fired pizza, exposed brick and use of fresh local produce. It has a great happy hour, warm..romantic lighting and it’s a fun place to be on a Friday or Sat when they bring in a DJ.
So Mark and I were scheduled to meet up for dinner at 7 and I was a little concerned when he still hadn’t shown up by 7:30. My dad once told me that after 30 minutes of waiting, I should bail on the tardy date. I see the sense in this, but also know that well…shit happens..I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and so I texted Mark to get his ETA. I knew he was coming from across town and that traffic could be rough but I would have thought he might have factored that in. He texted me to let me know he was trying to find a place to park and I fidgeted with my dress nervously and kept my eye on the door. Over 15 minutes later, he still hadn’t shown. Right at the moment I was seriously considering the fact that he might be standing me up..he walked through the door. And boy was he handsome! He gave me a hug, apologized for being late and then we proceeded to have one awesome date! There was definite chemistry and things felt easy between us right from the start. We stayed there talking until the restaurant closed and I went home thinking that this might just be the beginning of something..I was pulling that slot machine lever and crossing my fingers.
Now, on to Guy Number #2…and hmmm…he shall be called Nate!
THE BACKGROUND: Nate is my age (ok ok FINE..6 months younger..I’m still a galaxy away from cougar status) and originally from Illinois. He moved to Norfolk about three months ago and is a rescue swimmer for the Navy. Remember this movie with the very sexy Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner? Yeah…Nate does that. 🙂 Hot.
He is tall, has strawberry blonde hair, cute freckles and a great silly smile. The kind that makes you grin back when you see it. Oh…and he has some seriously nice muscles (sorry for the shallow moment). He also loves to read (YAY FOR READING!!! – says the English teacher) and has some seriously awesome taste in music. He is definitely more low key than Mark..more of a calming energy and being around him makes me feel…hmm..quiet I guess..peaceful. He has one sister who lives in Chicago and his mom still lives in the little town he grew up in. I'll tell you about his dad in a minute.
THE FIRST DATE: So one of my favorite couples in the whole wide world had a gorgeous baby girl a few months ago and I was in Suffolk visiting them for the weekend. Nate and I had been talking for a few weeks and when I mentioned being so close to Norfolk (only about 20-30 min away) he suggested meeting up! At first I thought I would be able to fit in a trip to Norfolk (one of my other best friends…who also had a super adorable baby recently…lives there and I thought I could squeeze in a quick trip to see her. Alas, time flies when you're snuggling cute babies and a trip to Norfolk would have made a long (but awesome) day even longer. I'm pretty used to being the one to make the majority of the effort in dating relationships and so when I suggested to Nate that he meet me in Suffolk, I was more than a little surprised when he quickly agreed. He didn't even bat an eyelash at the idea of driving a half an hour to meet some girl he had only talked to on the phone. I mean, what if I was terrible?!? He would have made that drive for nothing. But as I have said before, sometimes you just gotta take some chances in the hope that they could pay off. After one last hug and a kiss for the baby, I was off to meet Nate at a local restaurant in downtown Suffolk called Harper's Table. First of all..another amazing find. This place was totally unexpected..completely charming in a classy deep south kind of way. Lots of warm wood, creative lighting and at the end of the night, our check came in a mason jar! Sold.
When I walked in, Nate had beaten me there (points for not being late!) and was seated up at the bar. My first thought as he stood up to give me a big hug was, "oh…oh..my." We sat down and ordered drinks (white wine for me/local beer for him). He was a little quiet to start off..I could tell he was a little nervous..but I was too and when I'm nervous, I talk. And so I probaably did enough talking for the both of us. He told me later that he really liked that about me. He can be shy at first and many a first date of his were spent in awkward silence as he and his date both tried to figure out what to say to one another. I clearly do not have that problem and after the first beer, he was telling me all about his job and his family. I wondered about what happened to his dad. In texts he had only told me that he passed away recently. It was amazing to me that these two men both lost their fathers within the last 4 years. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose a parent at a relatively young age. I wasn't sure if I should ask, but I was feeling so comfortable with Nate that when a place opened up to ask about him, I did.
"If you don't mind me asking. What happened with your dad?"
"It's ok, I don't really mind talking about it anymore." He answered softly and gave me a little smile.
He told me the story and without thinking, I reached for his hand next to me and held it in my own. I hurt for this man I barely knew and yet felt like I had known for years. There was something about him that made me want to do that. To hold his hand. I had only planned to stay for an hour. I stayed for 3. 🙂 When we walked out of the restaurant, my car was right out front. We were saying goodbye to one another and he leaned in and gave me another sweet hug. This guy was seriously good at hugging. I'm talking about that whole body hug that just wraps you up..not the ass-out, double-pat-on-the-back hugs that I sometimes get. And then it happened again..I did something without even thinking and I leaned in and kissed him lightly. I surprised myself so much that I did some awkward half wave "ok well talk to you soon…bye!" and ran to the safety of my car. Driving home that night, I thought about what I had just done. I have never EVER done that. Made the first move like that at the end of a date. I don't know what made me do it, but it was like I had been doing it for years..like a habit. Say goodbye..give a kiss. By the time I got home, I had a text from Nate telling me how much he enjoyed our date and that he would really like to see me again. I told him I felt the same way.
With that, another lever was pulled. Was I being the greedy lady at BINGO who tries to have as many cards in front of her as possible..thereby raising her chances of winning? Maybe. I had two great guys in front of me..both so different from one another and I wasn't sure what to do but try and get to know them better. I didn’t know what the outcome would be, but I figured it was worth a shot to find out!