The post you’ve been waiting for…THE Date!
As promised, I'm back with the long awaited details of last night's date. I hope it's just as exciting for you to read as it was for me to experience, but I doubt that will be the case. There's no way you could feel what I felt without being there and being me, but I'm gonna do my best to take you on the trip. Now, we all should know by now that I can get a little “wordy.” I apologize in advance for that. I just can't help it; I like writing, I type fast, and I try to tell the story as completely and accurately as I can. No unnecessary detail goes
unspoken unwritten. I'll try my best to break this up into appropriate sections. I'm considering you, dear reader, and your time by doing this. Read a section, go take a break (have a little popcorn or a good stiff drink, whichever is more appropriate for you) and come back. We'll get through this, or you'll get bored and give up. Either way, buckle up now, 'cause here we go...
I woke up yesterday morning excited and nervous. What's this I'm feeling? Cramps?!?! You've got to be kidding me!!!!! After not even a two week respite, shark week is returning?!?!? (Editorial Note: I called my period shark week back then in order to avoid freaking/grossing out my male readers at the time. Better to let them think of sharks tearing into internal organs than to think about or imagine a woman's menstrual cycle.) Oh, this so cannot be a good sign. Not at all. I tell myself to calm down--it's probably just nervous jitters. I wear "protection" just in case, take a hot shower, pop some extra strength Tylenol, and head off to work.
I was a nervous wreck all day. It doesn't help that I got practically no sleep the night before, because my brain just wouldn't shut off. I kept playing all sorts of different scenarios over and over in my head. It was horrendous. I truly am my own worst enemy. All day, I alternated between being extremely excited to wanting to vomit. I keep praying that it wasn't going to rain. In my head, I'm yelling, "OHMYGOD WHAT IF IT RAINS?!?!? THE WHOLE DAY WILL BE RUINED!!!!!!!"
BFF does her best to keep me in check. Bless her heart!!! Damn, this girl loves me—she must—I really don't know how she puts up with me sometimes. I love her too. I don't know how I got lucky enough to meet her, and to become her friend, but I'm keeping her. At one point yesterday, she told me I'm worse than a child. She was totally right. I needed to hear that. I love that she just says those things that I need to hear, whether I want to hear them or not. She assured me that I was going to have a great time and that she'd be doing her "I told you so" dance on Thursday, because as usual, I'm getting all upset over nothing and she's going to end up being right. It was one of those times in my life where I was actually hoping I was wrong. I wanted so badly for her to be right!
She made the best analogy in the middle of the afternoon, when I was once again whining about how nervous I was, she said, "You know people pay thousands of dollars to feel what you're feeling right now!!! It's called skydiving!" Perfect! The girl is infinite in her wisdom sometimes. I mean that was seriously the best analogy ever. I realized that, unlike skydiving, this date more than likely wouldn't kill me. I'd like to say I was significantly calmer the rest of the afternoon, but that would be an outright lie.
I obsessively checked both my cell phone and email all day--waiting for Music Man to cancel. (Suppose I don't need to tell ya that's his name, huh? Yeah, now that the date has come and gone, I no longer have to superstitiously hide his name in fear that it will somehow "jinx" things to reveal it. I've found out this past week that I'm apparently quite superstitious. I suppose you'll see that here and there in this blog. Make it a game: Spot Elle's weirdo superstitions. Maybe it will help you get all the way through.) Yeah I know it was paranoid and utterly ridiculous to think he'd cancel, but I've never done this whole dating thing before, 'k???? Cut me some slack!
(If you can't cut me any slack, you may want to quit reading, because you're going to need to cut me some serious slack if you're going to get through reading this. My ridiculousness yesterday knew no bounds. Example to follow right now...)
Somehow, I managed to convince myself that the reason that Music Man had chosen the location he did for our date was that it shares a parking lot with the police station, which was important because he obviously thought I was a psycho. I was sure he was simply going out on this date to placate me, to keep my psychotic tendencies at bay long enough for him to go into hiding, but really he was terrified of me so he was taking steps to feel as safe as he possibly could. Why would he think I'm a psycho?
Because in our two-hour phone conversation, we had at one point talked about TV shows we watch. I mentioned that I love Forensic Files and all those types of shows. Then, for reasons I'm completely not sure of, I said something along the lines of, "I know I've watched too many of those shows when I start thinking about, and planning for, the evidence I need to leave behind if I'm ever being raped or murdered. You know; skin under the fingernails and that kind of thing, for DNA purposes." What the hell?!??! Even as I was saying it, I wondered what in the hell I was saying. Why'd this guy have to be so damn easy to talk to, huh?!??!?! (I'd come to find out later that this did not make him think I was a psycho. In fact, he didn't remember it at first, but then he said he thought it was funny.)
I checked my cell phone one more time at around 3. No voicemails. Okay. So, the date was obviously happening. I was definitely going to the mini golf place at 7 p.m. Okay. Breathe. Just BREATHE.
I left work at 4, which is about an hour earlier than usual. I wanted to go home and shower. I wanted to start with a "clean slate" to prepare for the date. Yes, that meant doing the work of showering, hair, and make up all over again, but I knew I'd feel better if I did it all fresh and new. Besides, getting ready all over again would take time, which meant less time sitting around just being a nervous wreck.
I realized on the way home that I should stop at the cash machine. I went to the drive through ATM at the bank closest to my apartment. It was out of order. I freaked. What a horribly bad sign! I'm not at all ashamed to admit that I almost cried, which seemed like a perfectly normal reaction at the time. I pulled around to the bank parking lot and went inside to make a withdrawal. It took way longer than I'd have preferred. I felt the minutes ticking away and my anxiety level increasing tenfold with each stupid second that ticked by. "Do these bank people want to see me die right here?!??! Would a massive coronary be entertaining for them?!??! I hope so, because they're about to get one if this godforsaken line doesn't start to move!!!!" I thought, not so calmly. Oh, my date fate was so totally sealed. This whole thing was just going to be a miserable debacle; I was sure of it. I was in trouble. What on Earth was I thinking getting myself into this?!?!? (Me? Dramatic? Maybe just a tiny, little, eensy weensy, bit.)
I got home at around quarter to five and began stripping immediately after walking into my apartment. I had to jump in the shower!!! I mean, thanks to all the slow motion jerkoffs at the bank, I only had about TWO HOURS to get ready!! Keep in mind that it typically takes me only an hour, if that, to get ready to go anywhere on any given day. So yeah, two hours was plenty of time, but I had to worry that it wasn't; logic and reason had left me long ago. I was able to confirm that shark week still seemed to be threatening to unleash it's fury again all too soon. Great. Just great! I wasn't gonna let it ruin my day. I was doing a good job of that all on my own, thankyouverymuch. I popped some Midol and hopped into the shower. I'd like to be all poetic and tell you that it was a totally zen experience as I let the water wash away my nerves. That would sound really cool, calm, and collected. The truth, however, is that I was nowhere near zen. I was whatever the opposite of zen is, and then some, multiplied by about a million.
After my shower, I decided I should try to eat a little something. My body was hungry, in that my stomach was growling, but I so didn't want to eat. I wasn't hungry. I was nervous. I felt like I was going to vomit. I decided Cup of Soup would probably be the safest bet. Good thing I keep that damn dreadful stuff around! So, I slapped that in the microwave and headed to the balcony to have a nerve-calming cigarette; making sure, of course, that I didn't shut the patio door all the way. (Editorial Note: I’d been locked out on the balcony of my second story apartment before as a result of the patio door locking itself after I’d shut it.) I still don't trust it, and with all the bad signs I'd already gotten it, I wasn't taking any risks.
I was happy, and relieved, that Music Man is a smoker. That meant I didn't have to freak out too much about smelling like smoke. Very nice. If you think the cigarette worked to calm me down, you don't truly understanding what a wreck I was. (Maybe that's a good thing. That means I'm not painting myself as a complete and total psycho-lunatic.) I cursed myself for wasting time smoking instead of actually trying to use the moment to calm myself. When I got inside, I went to retrieve my soup from the microwave only to find that it had boiled over.
How in the hell did that happen?!?! I did everything right the way I was supposed to! DAMMIT!!! Bad sign number --- well, I lose count, but you get my point. So, I carefully lifted the glass spinning tray outta the microwave and dumped the whole mess into the sink to be dealt with later. (Note to self: Go clean kitchen sink.) I reheated another cup of soup. I drank maybe half of it while I "watched" TV. By watched, I mean incoherently stared at while I sipped my soup.
It was now time for hair and make up, which thankfully was uneventful. I moved on to brushing my teeth. I had no idea that little task could go as badly as it did. Apparently, my stomach decided it didn't want to accompany me on this date, so it decided to try to escape, quite dramatically and quite violently, if I do say so myself. In case you're not catching my drift, I'll spell it out: In the middle of brushing my teeth, I ended up vomiting in the bathroom sink. How ridiculous is that?!?! It totally came out of nowhere, as these things tend to do I suppose.
I was quite thankful I'd only had that measly cup of soup, and only half of it at that. I tried blaming it on the weird, horrible, ill-timed arrival of shark week part two and the amazingly harsh cramps it was ambushing me with, but I know that my nerves were definitely a major factor. Way to go me! What kind of rational adult gets so nervous about a date that they vomit?!?!? Answer = none. Remember, rational was totally gone. I rinsed my mouth with half a gallon of Listerine mouthwash, gently brushed my teeth again, and rinsed with more Listerine. I checked my breath a few times, and finally satisfied that there were no telltale signs of the horrible betrayal my stomach had pulled, I went to finish getting dressed.
All dressed up and ready to go, I only had about fifteen minutes to wait before leaving the apartment. I felt as though I looked good, which really helped. I talked to myself out loud as I listened to some of my favorite tunes. "This is gonna be fun. I'm excited. This is different and different can be good. It's gonna be great! Seriously. We've talked on the phone and we have a lot in common, there’s no way this can go badly." I left the house at quarter to seven...
The ten-minute drive to the mini golf course was the longest drive of my life. I hit every red light that I possibly could. Nice; that's a sign, and in case you haven't caught on by now, not a good one. When I got there, I was a bit surprised to see that the parking lot was quite empty. "Well, this will help make him easier to find," I thought as I parked in the middle of a completely empty row. A row or two in front of me and off to the right I noticed a red truck. A hand holding a cigarette was sticking out the window. I was sure it was him. I busied myself with freshening up my lip-gloss and checking my hair in the rearview mirror.
I saw the truck window roll up. I forced myself to open my car door. As I got out of the car, I was sure I was going to pass out. My legs were wobbly, my hands were trembling, and my stomach was doing fantastic acrobatics. I paused for what seemed like an eternity, but really had to only have been a couple seconds, to give my legs a minute to stabilize. I looked over and noticed the truck door opening. I watched the guy I assumed to be Music Man get out as I walked towards the truck, hoping I wasn't wrong because I'd look really dumb if I was. He walked towards me, smiling as he pulled up the legs of his jeans to expose the yellow argyle socks he'd said he was going to wear. I couldn't help but to smile. "This guy is cool and has a great sense of humor," I thought.
First impressions: I was pleasantly surprised! He was cute in a boyish sorta way. He's about my height, which is good because I don't like shorter men. His hair was lighter than in his pictures. He's a bigger guy, which I knew and expected based on his initial ad and the picture he'd sent, but not obese or grossly fat by any means. I'll call it "cutely cuddly chubby." (Yes, I am blushing. I feel like a complete dork, but that's really the best description I can come up with at the moment. ) I like my men to have meat on their bones, and in my opinion, he was nicely proportioned. Okay, analysis over. I feel skeevy for even analyzing another human being in such a way, but I know you all were wondering.
He didn't look shocked or disappointed at seeing me, which I took to be a good sign. As I got closer, I noticed that he was wearing one of those "Hello my name is" nametags on the pocket of his shirt, with "Music Man" written on it in big blue letters. Brilliant! This guy was just too cute and too funny. What a thoughtful, entertaining, and original idea! We said our hellos. I noticed, and pointed out, that we were both wearing blue as we walked to the mini golf entrance together. So far so good. I could feel the nervous tension drifting away (FINALLY) as we walked.
I dug my wallet out of my purse, taking out a twenty-dollar bill to pay. The girl hit some buttons on the cash register, and when she realized Music Man had his wallet out too she said, "Oh, are you paying separately?" Not wanting an awkward moment, and not wanting to rudely say that we were definitely paying separately, I said, "No, I'll just pay for both of us!" It was six dollars. I think I can handle that. "Are you sure?!?!" Music Man asked. I told him that it was totally fine; she'd already rung us up, so it would just be easier. He said okay and thanked me. I silently cursed myself for possibly calling his manhood into question, or belittling him, or something horrible like that, as the girl handed him two golf clubs.
I decided to be girly and picked a pink golf ball. Music Man chose yellow. (I'm sure you really care.) We went to tee off. Of course Music Man decided that it should be ladies first. As I dropped my ball onto the green, he asked the cashier, "Is this your favorite part? Watching people tee off?" She laughed and said that it could be pretty funny at times. She informed us that some people apparently get a little over zealous and end up hitting the ball over the fence into the parking lot. I assured her that she wouldn't have to worry about me doing that.
I asked Music Man about his day as I teed off. The conversation flowed from there. Mini golf was really fun! Music Man kept saying, "Gosh, this is really going fast. I didn't think this would go so fast!" He was right. It's not like we were playing extreme speed mini golf by any means, but the course was empty, so we were getting through it quickly. We got a good view of the attached water park at the third hole. I'd never seen it before, so we stood for a moment just taking it in. It's a pretty cool looking place with all sorts of giant water slides and other things.
At around the seventh hole (it was only a nine hole course), Music Man was getting ready to hit for par on the hole. "Ladies and gentlemen, quiet on the course please. Music Man, putting for par." I said in my best golf announcer's voice, thinking I was insane and envisioning him running across the parking lot to the police station as I said it. He looked at me like maybe I was a bit crazy, but smiled and hit his ball. He missed the hole. I was horrified. "OH MY GOD!!! I'm sooooo sorry! I totally broke your concentration!" I screeched, truly horrified. He laughed and hit the ball into the hole.
We finished up mini golf within a half hour. We stopped on the sidewalk by the parking lot and both had a smoke. Music Man started adding up our scores. As he did so, he realized he'd stolen the mini golf pencil. We debated as to whether or not it was really theft and whether or not he should return it. I told him they probably had millions, and that part of our three-dollar fee probably paid for that pencil, so he could probably just keep it as a souvenir. He agreed. When I thought he'd finished adding up our scores, I asked what the verdict was. He said he had to recount. I laughed and playfully asked, "Do I need to audit these scores?!?!" He smiled as he showed me the card. I'd won by a point. We agreed that we were pretty evenly matched in our mini golf skills.
As we finished smoking, Music Man asked the question I was hoping he would, "So, do you want to hang out for a while longer?" I answered in the affirmative, and after a bit of discussion, we decided to head over to a bar/restaurant called Jake's for drinks and conversation. We arrived there at around quarter to eight, and the place was totally packed. We ended up parking at practically opposite ends of the parking lot and meeting at the front door. I let Music Man lead the way to finding seats inside. When the waitress finally asked if we'd like to order drinks, about twenty minutes after we got there, I ordered a Corona with lime.
I thought beer was a cheap and casual choice. Music Man asked about what kind of wine they had, and the waitress said she'd get a wine list, but he told her not to worry about it and ordered a Jack and Coke instead. We settled into conversation. We talked about everything. The conversation flowed incredibly well. We laughed a lot. Jake's is the kind place that lowers the lights as it gets later. I noticed the lights getting dimmer and dimmer as we talked and laughed on and on. We kept finding more and more commonalities between us, which was awesome. One of the most important is that we both have crazy families, with lots of drama, but we both would still do anything for our families. That's just amazingly cool. There are definitely enough differences between us to keep things interesting too.
After we'd finished our drinks, Music Man asked if I'd like another. I told him I'd have another drink if he did, so he asked the waitress to get us another round. We continued talking. I found out that Music Man had developed a back up plan in case of rain. How cool is that?!?!? He'd called Grand Slam, which is at about the halfway point between where we both lived, and found out that they had indoor mini golf. Way to plan ahead! Color me impressed. I thought that was really cool that he'd wanted to be prepared, and that he’d wanted the date to go forward regardless of the weather.
I don't know how the conversation came up, but we ended up talking about just how nervous we both had been. Neither of us has ever done "this kind of thing" before, so it was totally out of character for both of us. We both admitted that we couldn't believe we'd taken the steps we had: Him posting the ad, me emailing him, him asking me to call, me calling, him asking me out, etc. Of course, I didn't reveal that I'd thrown up when getting ready to go out. That was not a picture of me that I wanted in Music Man's head.
I was super relieved to find out that he was just as nervous as I had been. He said, "I thought for sure that as soon as I got out of the truck I was gonna hear you yell 'NEXT!' as you turned around and walked away." I told him that the thought hadn't even crossed my mind, and he seemed pleased to hear that. Apparently, he too had thought that I might cancel our date. We agreed that it was ridiculous how nervous we both had been; especially considering how good our phone conversations had gone. We laughed at ourselves for being so ridiculous. It felt good to laugh over something that now seemed so incredibly silly.
When the waitress came to ask if we wanted another drink or if we wanted to close our tab, we both just looked at each other. Sensing that it was getting late, and already feeling quite warm from the two beers I'd had, I said that I was okay and didn't need another drink. Music Man asked her to bring the check, confirming my decision. When she walked away, he said, "I wonder what time it is anyway." I pulled my cell phone out of my purse, checked it, and was very surprised when I announced that it was 10:30. Music Man seemed just as surprised, "It's bedtime!" he exclaimed. "I know! It totally is!" I replied. We both expressed our surprise at how quickly the time had passed; we'd completely just lost track of time.
When the waitress returned with the check, Music Man got out his wallet to pay. I started pulling mine out of my purse and he said, "I'll pay for the cocktails." "Are you sure?" I asked in mild protest knowing that I should, and was going to, let him pay. He nodded. We continued to chat as the waitress collected the check and we waited for her to bring back change.
Out in the parking lot, things got a bit awkward as neither of us seemed sure how to end the evening. We continued chatting as we walked to the halfway point between our cars. I didn't know what to say. I started getting nervous again. Music Man rescued me by saying that this had been really fun. I agreed. He asked if I'd like to get together again sometime, and I said that I definitely would. He asked what my weekend looked like. I told him that it was pretty open, so he said, "Well, how about Saturday? We could go to the Science Museum to see the body exhibit?"
We'd discovered in the course of our conversation throughout the night that seeing Body Worlds was on both of our summer "to do" lists. I was pleasantly surprised that he'd come up with such a fantastic idea. We agreed that he'd call me Friday night so that we could set a time and firm up the details. Then, we both stood there awkwardly. Finally, we moved towards each other and hugged. As we did so, we both said again that it had been a good time. As I started to walk to my car, I said, "Okay, I'll talk to you Friday then." "Yay!" He exclaimed as he walked to his truck. I could hear the smile in his voice. What a great way to end the date!!
When I got home, the apartment parking lot was packed as usual. I was forced to park in front of the building and to use the front door, which I don't normally use. How serendipitous that, as I entered the building, I saw a FedEx notice on the door with my apartment number on it. My new contact lenses were here much sooner than I'd thought they would be. Cool! What a good sign. It was a message. I'd gotten the good, fun date that I deserved.
It's far too early to say how things will turn out with Music Man. It's far too early for me to declare any feelings either way. I'll say this: It's new, and that's exciting; not scary. He seems like a really nice guy. I have never met anyone like him before. I like him, and I get the impression that he likes me. We have lots in common, but there are also so many new things he can expose me too like the clubs that he plays at in Minneapolis, for example. I had so much fun! I'm really glad I went on this date, and I'm excited for our date on Saturday. No matter what, I think that worst case I'm going to end up with a really cool friend to have some fun times with. That's not half bad!
One of the most important things I got out of last night was a renewed and profound sense of pride. I'm so proud of myself for stepping so far out of my comfort zone! I learned that it's good to take risks. You may end up quite pleasantly surprised, which I definitely was. I learned that, while neurotic at times, I am strong and confident. I can totally do this dating thing!! Who would've thought?!??! Surely not me.
It was only weeks ago that I was saying that I'd never date and definitely wouldn't search online. I believe I said, "I'm not going to search for a relationship the same way I'd look for a job!" I regret saying that. I am officially announcing, right here and right now, that I was wrong. It can work. You can meet decent, nice people. I'm so glad that I didn't hold myself to that archaic, naive, and scared level of thinking.
Right now, I'm just gonna let the chips fall where they may. No matter what happens, I'm happy, which I know I deserve. I just feel so good—centered, calm, strong, capable, and confident. I've completely surprised myself with my actions and am completely amazed with the results. I went out on an actual date, with a stranger, and had a really good time. There's no way I could ask for much more than that!