Lipgloss? Check. Cute outfit? Check. Breath mints in pocket? Check.
Tonight is the first date with "Herbie64" I'm driving to our meeting place, replaying our phone conversations in my head and thinking of subjects to keep the discussion flowing. What were his kids names again? I know one started with a "J" ... did they both? Maybe I should have worn the red blouse - does this show too much cleavage... or maybe not enough???
Our conversations have been great - a mixture of humor, warmth and sharing. They ranged from our kids, our work, books read and about grieving the loss of our mothers. We had a lot in common and there were no awkward silences between us. I'd asked the obligatory relationship questions, "prequalifying" him for long term material, check.
I get his text that he is there five minutes early waiting for me in a black Honda. I'm circling to stall and collect my thoughts. For me this is always the hardest part of meeting someone new. Am I what they expected? Do I look like my pictures or is he going to be disappointed? Do I have something hanging out of my nose ("bats in the cave" )?
During my drive to the restaurant, I'm wondering if he is checking off a similar mental checklist... almost makes me want to spy on him to see if he is looking up his nose in the rearview mirror too... almost.
As my final minutes are counting down, I get reassurance from Steven Tyler singing "I'm back in the saddle again. I'm baaaaaack!" Hell ya, Steven I AM back, thank you very much! Back from wallowing about "Putter" and ready to meet someone new. (Just because I chose the restaurant that Putter and I always went doesn't mean ANYTHING... or at least I'm trying to convince myself of that.)
I've stalled enough and the song ends as I pull in the spot next to the black Honda. He smiles and we both exchange cheesy waves, opening our doors simultaneously. He hugs me warmly, and says that I'm even more beautiful than in my pictures (Ha, take that, Putter!).
We walk inside the restaurant, choose a table and remove our coats. Our waitress comes over quickly and recognizes me but doesn't make it obvious, which I'm thankful for. We both order beers and they arrive fast, the conversation is already going very smoothly. He is smiling and making a lot of eye contact. The dialogue is a continuation of those we've had on the phone, not missing a beat. We laugh, ask deep questions and talk about adjusting to life without our mothers.
I excuse myself to use the restroom, and he playfully teases me that I'm going to sneak out the back door. I subtly reach for my coat to continue the joke and we both laugh.
When I arrive back to the table we continue talking and dig deeper into past relationships. He shares that he recently broke up with a woman he was with for 9 years, the mother of his youngest son. This was the relationship he alluded to on the phone that was so dysfunctional and dramatic. I didn't realize it had only been a few months since it ended...hmmm. As I'm listening to the current conversation, I'm also recalling our prior conversations. He really did interrogate me about whether or not I was ready for a relationship. The irony of this is certainly not lost on me right now.
The question had to be asked, so of course I ask it, "Are you sure you're ready to move on?" He assures me that he is, he wants only healthy, drama free relationships. The answer satisfies me for the moment. He continued detailing how miserable the relationship was and what kind of relationship he really wants, intentionally describing me and how I match what he wants.
It's getting late and time for me to head home to my boys to review their homework and get them settled in for the night. He picks up on my hints about ending the evening and asks me if we can go out again the following night. I have plans but wouldn't agree to seeing him anyway. I mention that we can do something over the weekend, he accepts this answer and walks me to my car.
He leans in to kiss me and it is a perfect first date kiss, lips open slightly, starting off slowly and then becoming a little more passionate. After several continuous kisses, I pull back and thank him for the beer and that I'm looking forward to seeing him again soon.
On the drive home I'm replaying the evening in my mind and I feel pretty good about how it went. The conversation went well and he seemed really attracted to me. I'm maybe not as much so as him but leaving the door open for him to grow on me. He has most of the qualities that I'm looking for, so that trumps appearance in my book any day.
My mind drifts back to another cold evening and another first kiss - my first date with Putter. That date was definitely higher on the charts: in connection, hilarious banter and passion.
It is this exact moment that I realize how much I loathe getting to know someone new all over again and how much I miss waking up next to Putter and how comfortable it felt ... I'm now rethinking Steven Tyler's empty affirmation.
The lonely feeling was growing more intense as I got closer to home. Fortunately, the boys needed my help with their homework, seeking the favorite pair of jeans for tomorrow, an unsigned permission slip and the messy kitchen was another welcomed distraction.
Before bed, I open Herbie64's "Goodnight, beautiful" text secretly wishing it was from Putter. However reality reappears and I send goodnight wishes back to Herbie64. This was a good way to end the evening and we are definitely off to a good start.
He mentions Saturday night and the jazz club I brought up. He is growing on me a little and I've been doing a pretty decent job of convincing myself that I really am ready and that this could be the right person. I think I'm ready to move forward and talking myself into trusting that he is too.
Ridin' high already
The Single Mom
"Back in the Saddle" Steven Tyler & Joe Perry