I sensed during my short drive to a Sunday afternoon coffee “first date” that I wasn’t overly excited. I didn’t bother to put on earrings. Accessories mean a lot.
We met online (who doesn’t anymore) and chatted on the phone a few nights last week. Eight years younger and he already had a sweeping, sad story of young love lost to illness and the strange pull of possibly, perhaps, I think maybe, trying to connect with someone new. He was adamant and repetitive that we meet as friends. With potential. I didn’t sense a serious mutual attraction. I'm still not certain if he was super nervous, guarded, disinterested or a combination of all three. Given I had no butterflies, nervous knots or jewelry on during this smelling each other out, I don’t know if either of us will pursue something in some form, or if so when. However, lovely man.
“Singles” sometimes bemoan the solo moments, the times no one is there to make the morning coffee or clear snow from the steps; when you’re sick and in need of a drugstore run. The major holidays. I hedge a bet most “marrieds” or otherwise seriously committed enjoy the companionship and some of the comfortable feel of the known. Myself happily “single” - stone alone, dating, having sex casually, out “there” and driving myself home at night - judgment is a constant, my own and others. I ask to be looked over and run up the flag pole to see who salutes. Should nothing spark it’s inevitable to first think, “Was it me?” I remind myself you have to try on people, see what fits and which ones make you itch. But it’s judging all the same. I wouldn’t dare fart.
Imagine purposefully and knowingly placing yourself square in the line of judgment; an actor at an audition, during a job interview, at a cocktail party, perhaps even in a posh restaurant or retail store (think Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”). Now imagine that scenario as a regularly scheduled part of life.
I enjoy dating and flirting and kissing and rolling about and being out more than in, and the flip side of dealing with judgment is better defined confidence and self-esteem (no, a teenager did not write that last line, far from it). A good deal of it is bravado, baby, masking the knots and insecurities. I know I’ll get you first with wit and charm. Girls like me who don’t believe in their beauty learn to rely on funny and smart. It’s a better whole package, I know. I’m looking forward to the moment wit and wild, personality and passion meet. Scary, exciting, elusive, worth it.
But then I couldn’t make out with random boys on my couch anymore, could I?
Update: "Sunday coffee" just called. We chatted for over an hour. He said, yes, he was "super nervous" and somewhat "guarded" but definitely not “disinterested”. Never know. He may be more than couch-worthy.