Friday, July 24, 2015

My First First Date in 15 Years

An excerpt from my yet unpublished ebook, Dating, Relationships, and Sex the Second Time Around: The Single Father's Guide. The passage chronicles my 2005 first first date that I'd had after almost 15 years.

I connected with Anita through one of the most popular dating sites. As a late thirty-something who hadn’t been at least a decade and a half since I’d last been on a first date, I wanted to take time just try to decipher the world of single women.

So, Anita and I communicated for a few days through the dating site and by phone before we agreed to meet. On a warm Saturday evening, I arranged for a sitter and sailed away into uncharted waters.

In spite of the fact that Anita was about ten years younger than me, she was clearly a more accomplished swimmer than I was. Anita called the shots. She suggested that we meet at a Barnes & Noble cafe, which was about twenty miles from my house, have a cup of coffee and talk for a while, and then get some dinner. It all sounded fine to me, but I wouldn’t have really known anything else.

I walked through the front door of the Barnes & Noble and straight back to the café. I looked around for a few moments, but didn’t see Anita anywhere. Thinking that I was early or may have missed her, I started back toward the front of the store. She met me before I reached the door, and we returned to the café where I bought the two of us coffee.

Anita wasn’t shy, but wasn’t really forthcoming either. Our conversation didn’t get personal, or even comfortable. It seemed much more like a business meeting. She told me where she wanted to have dinner, a restaurant which was about a forty-five minute trip, she wanted to take her car, and she wanted me to drive. (Ironically, the restaurant, which specialized in Indian cuisine, had been a client during my previous professional life.) I just went with the flow and agreed.

In spite of my attempts to make conversation during the ride and during dinner, Anita didn’t engage. She wasn’t rude, but she was guarded. Eventually, we arrived to the restaurant.

In truth, I don’t know if it was my nerves, the strong coffee, the curry, the (absence of) conversation, or a combination of everything, but I began to feel a little nauseous about three-quarters through the meal. I told Anita, and I thought I observed a hint of disappointment on her face.

There was even less conversation during the ride back to the Barnes & Noble parking lot than there had been on the outbound trip or during dinner. When we got back, we got out of her car, met at the trunk, and said goodbye with neither physical contact nor the promise of, “I’ll call you.”

My first date wasn’t a disaster, although it could have been considering the tempest in my tummy, but it didn’t bear any resemblance a success, either. It was, however, my first lesson swimming with the sharks. I drove home quite a bit earlier than I expected and surprised the sitter and the kids just before their bed time.