Thursday, September 6, 2012
First Impressions Last
I decide to talk to the bartender. Being left to my own mental devices will surely put me over the edge. He’s nice enough and I contemplate sharing with him that I’m waiting for an online date. Instead, we talk about the wine list and Brooklyn. The conversation is easy enough to take my mind off the awful waiting game that feels like it’s gone into overtime. The good news is that we previously agreed to meet from 5p-8p because of other engagements, so if he sucks, at least I know I’ve got only an hour and a half of torture.
At 6:45p, Bill walks through the door. He’s tall and lanky; very lanky. We greet each other awkwardly as he seems breathless by the turn of events, shaking his head in disbelief about the madness of it all as he settles onto a bar stool next to me. I’m not totally listening – I’m checking him out. He’s not as cute as his picture. In fact, he looks kind of tired. He’s got long eyelashes, nice lips and an angular face. His hair is very short, shaved, but not completely and he’s got some sort of jewelry on – bracelets – leather ones. Definitely no attraction at first glance, but let’s give his personality a chance.
Bill’s not really into wine and I’m grateful they have an eclectic list of beer from which to choose. After some more chatter about the dead deer and the PATH train, we begin the get-to-know-you portion of the evening. He’s attentive and proactive about asking questions which is nice. We trade our background stories and family situations. His parents divorced when he as six and his mother raised him on her own. Though he keeps referring to his “parents” and correcting himself by saying, “Oh, sorry. I mean my mom.” The guy’s 35 years old, you’d think by now he’d be used to the fact that his parents are no longer together.
The conversation flows easily on a level slightly more relaxed than talking to a colleague. He tells me about his work which is architecture. It sounds pretty interesting until he launches into a 15 minute description of the architectural software he uses at work. My eyes are starting to glaze over I’m sure when he finally switches the conversation back to me. He’s very interested in my singing and musical background and tells me about his short stint playing the saxophone as a kid and how he wishes he kept up with it.
Here’s where meeting men as a self-aware, intelligent, 39 year old woman gets tricky. Though I haven’t traditionally dated a lot, I’ve still met a lot of people over the years. Through my own self-exploration and experience, I’m pretty good at recognizing people’s issues fairly quickly. Past experiences especially can be a double-edged sword. My ex mentioned his mother 7 times on our first date. Looking back, I now know it was a sign that he, at 35, hadn’t quite cut that umbilical just yet. Sure enough, it manifested in his inability to fully commit to our relationship and tell his mother to stop doing his laundry. Since then, I’ve met other men with Mommy issues, however, I’m hip to it right off-the-bat and as a result, I make my escape.
Does it make me jaded to notice that this guy’s talked a lot about his mother already? Is this why I’m still single, because there’s nobody out there – save for an ex-convict – well, no I dated one of those too – who can surprise me? And why is it so hard for people to be mature and in a healthy relationship with their parents?
We order another round and talk some more. It occurs to me as I’m almost finished with my second glass of wine that this guy is boring. I haven’t laughed once in the 90 minutes we’ve been chatting. My conscience reminds me that, perhaps he’s nervous. My conscience is the reason why I’m doing this Match thing! I need to be more clear-cut and not doubt my instincts. If the guy doesn’t make me laugh on the first date, he’s probably not funny. Still, I waiver and contemplate giving it a second date to see. That is, of course, if he’s even interested. I decide to get back in the moment and cross that bridge when and if I come to it.
We both realize the time and wrap the evening up. He pays most of the bill which is nice and I leave a generous tip for my new friend, the bartender.
Once outside, we walk a bit and there is no mention of another date. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself with a response just in case he asks. I really want to tell him that it’s not a great fit. He’s very nice and I mean that. A genuinely nice guy. But there’s no attraction, no spark. Why can’t I just be okay with knowing that and not feel like there’s something wrong with me? The hecklers in my head tell me that I’m too picky and I’ll never find a man. “What’s the big deal? So, he didn’t make you laugh? You’re asking for too much.” Yep. Hecklers are in full force.
He hails a cab, we hug good-bye and he says, “Yeah, this was great. We’ll have to do it again sometime.” I offer a casual, enthusiastic, “Sure. Great!” As he pulls away in the cab, I know that I won’t be seeing Bill again.