I went on a really great date the other night. Of course I say that completely biasedly because 1) I had fun and 2) I've never been on an actual date before. I know, shock. People use the term 'dating' to mean that two people are in a relationship, not going on dates. So that being said, 'dating' is not part of the college thing. At least my college thing. It's kind of just not done. So to finally experience the pants-shitting clusterfuck of nerves that is going on a real date, I had to move outside the college sphere. I was super nervous. I'm surprised because clearly I'm the essense of cool. Not really, no, not even at all but I don't get nervous to meet people. I don't really think about it or worry about interactions with other human beings. Normally that's something that I feel pretty much at ease with. This was the first time in my whole life that I can remember being genuinely out-of-control nervous. I ended up eating about 40 pounds worth of Necco Conversation Sweethearts (which really only spiked my blood pressure I'm sure) and chain smoking like a fiend before I realized that unless some kind of fortunous natural disaster struck within the next few hours, I was going on this date. I was going. So I laid my choices out for myself (it's pretty desolate when MK's not home) since no one else was going to do it: I could either prove myself to be a legitimate fucktard and let my nerves get the best of me or I could swallow it (no pun intended...no wait pun fully intended) and just act natch. I ended up acting natch and we had a really excellent time. I have no idea why I was so nervous other than I guess I was stressing about making a good impression. That's such a moronic way to handle being worried about making a good impression: to work yourself up until you're disfunctioning like a car running on ginger ale. But it worked out for me in the end.
We went to this really cute restaurant in Little Italy and I realized that it was going to be fun when I noticed he kind of picked up on my sense of humor. We walked into a place neither of us had been before and put out name on the waiting list (it was 15 minutes, he was impatient) and then left. He joked that we should just put our name on every waitlist in Little Italy and then go eat at Taco Bell but that didn't happen because the second place we went to just sat us right away. He was totally smooth about the whole thing and ordered a bottle of wine (sparkling red) and then proceeded to be only mildly pretenious but fully charming as he swirled and sniffed the tester-amount of wine. He laughed when I asked if I could have a straw with mine but the waitress did not, which led to my surprise when she completely ignored my request. Whatever, I was only half serious anyway. He did most of the talking only because I was trying really hard not to spill anything on myself and also totally distracted by the upbeat 60's jams that were playing in this place. He seemed pretty interested in everything I had to say which I must admit was flattering. We talked about nothing really but somehow it felt like we were getting to know each other. I guess that would be the point of going on a date but what the hell do I know about dating? It was kind of nice. Okay, it was really nice.
This is where I would usually stop myself because I feel like I'm going into mush-mode and no one really likes to hear about that unless it's happening to them. Well, this being my blog I think I can go ahead and carry on. We left the restaurant and he held my hand like it was totally natch (it kind of was) and opened my car door and everything. I feel like this kind of stuff is not fair to me because I've never seen even this sort of basic chivalry. I have to admit I was a little taken with the grandiosity of being picked up by a man older than me in a car that doesn't make any kind of suspicious sounds, treated to dinner, and then treated ...nicely? Is that how I put it? I don't really know. But it became more and more apparent as the night went on that he did actually appreciate a sense of humor and uniqueness, which is what he said I had. He liked that I couldn't help but make fun of him when he tripped over the curb (definitely not a big trip, just a stutter) and he dished it back at me, which was funny.
This is where things got confusing to me. We were having a really good time, and it felt like hanging out with a friend but there was obviously more to it than friends. It was only ten o clock when we were done with dinner so we went to my apartment. We had a few beers and he asked me if I had the movie Anchorman which put him on my "hell yes" list indefinitely. We watched it and even though I've seen that movie at least 75 times (not an exaggeration) I laughed out loud at all my favorite parts and he laughed when I laughed and I was thinking to myself the whole time, "Is it supposed to be this easy?" Where were all the awkward conversation stalls and feeble joke attempts that got lost in translation? Where was the saying something that I didn't know was going to offend him and the deal-breaker revelation? There wasn't one, and I was being myself to the fullest and I can only hope he was too. Then things got really interesting, and I'm sorry in advance if you're still reading this.
So we're watching the movie and drinking for no real reason when we start discussing the fact that he misses college (he's a few years out). I'm going on about how it's nothing that special and of course the discussion turned to beer pong. I really have no idea why that happened since it's really not a romantic or especially becoming topic or activity but that's where it went. I mentioned in jest that we had a beer pong table and he gave me a sideways look that said "no way....no way is this girl going to bust out her beer pong table right now.." but I did. He was totally on board for reasons I may never know and we played one-on-one beer pong in the middle of my living room to make this possibly the most bizzare/unorthodox/casually unique first date in the history of dates. We talked to shit to each other and I kicked his ass. It was more fun than it should have been but we just went with it.
We got to talking and he asked me questions about myself and pretty much made it his life's work to compliment me in a way that didn't make me blush (he was unfathomably successful) but also didn't make me feel like he was just saying it. That, my friends, is where I get nervous. I like being told nice things about myself just as much as everybody, but when I really start believing them I get kind of freaked out. This was our first date, for God's sake! Why was he looking at my books (clearly surprised to find out I could read) and asking if he could read some of the stuff I've written and going through my high school yearbook like it was interesting?! If this was all a ploy to get me to sleep with him it really would have just taken another bottle of wine. That's when I got nervous, when I started believing the things he was saying. I don't really feel it's neccessary to go out of my way to blow smoke up someone's ass and pad their ego, so I never really expect people to do that to me. But someone has done that to me, and it really fucking sucked when I found out it was all talk. Now I'm all paranoid that this was just a big scam and I'm torn between being self-defensive and calling it out and being unfair to him because he really meant everything he said.
He also made it very, very clear that our date was far and away the best first date he's ever been on. I didn't hesitate to tell him that 'hey! this is the best first date I've ever been on too!' because it was the only one. But he's quite a bit older than me and he claims it's the best of many. I know that I use humor for a myriad of things and defense mechanism is certainly on the list. So if this mutally incredible first date turns into nothing you can be sure I'll be the first to make a joke connecting the sudden lack of interest in me to the ever-failing economy, but I'll be honest and say that I'll be disappointed.
So I guess what this comes down to is that probably I put way too much on the table on this first date. He did too, we kind of got to talking about a lot of stuff. It's not like I was trying to be mysterious or secretive at all, but I realized that when I'm not holding back as much as I normally do, I become really vulnerable. I know this is probably sparking a ton of "duhs" but letting my personality go completely uninhibited isn't something I do with someone I just met. What's more bewildering is the fact that this Tessa-unhinged-and-unfettered approach to getting to know someone was received very well. I know it must sound like I'm shocked that someone is apparently geniunely interested in "the real me" (gag, did I just say that?) but I'm not being like that to be self-deprecating. I'm just surprisedly pleasantly and impressed thoroughly. So we're going out again this week, and I guess I'll have to play it off the cuff. I would say 'and take it slow' but sorry people, it's way too late for that.