We take a break from this week’s furor du jour to actually discuss something good that happened to me. Amazing, even.
I met someone.
Not just anyone; SOMEONE… And I’m just over the moon about it.
It all started on Sunday, January 15th, the day the Steelers played the Chiefs in the NFL playoffs. I was at my local sports bar late that afternoon, watching the Cowboys/Packers game which preceded the Steelers. Unbeknownst to me, there was a woman at the other end of the bar who liked what she saw. (There’s no accounting for taste, I know.)
I didn’t know this until later, but she actually texted a friend of hers, another “regular,” to see if he knew my name. He did, but it was the wrong name. He thought my name was “Brian.”
It didn’t matter because eventually, she came up to the waitress station to order a drink (right beside my usual seat) and commented on my Steelers jersey. We struck up a conversation from there. Judging from my mug, she saw that I was a regular and asked when I usually come in.
I said “Fridays for happy hour and Sunday afternoons for football.”
There was no question that she was interested. I was getting the full-on googly eyes.
She said, “Well, I hope I get to see you here again,” and began to walk toward the door.
Knowing that there were only two “football Sundays” left in the year (including the Super Bowl), I decided not to leave it to chance, so I did something bold.
I took her hand and said, “Look, why don’t we just go out?”
She was like, “OK!” and asked for my phone number, which I wrote on a napkin.
She asked me a few direct questions… Was I married? Where did I work? Stuff like that. I was impressed. I like “direct.” I do not like hinting around. And it also gave me the chance to get the same information from her.
After talking for a few more minutes, she left, leaving me sitting on my barstool going, “WTF just happened here?” I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I sat there grinning like a monkey. I told the bartender, (who has been tending to my bar needs for as long as I’ve been going there), “I think I just got a date!” She was very happy for me.
I couldn’t believe I didn’t let her get away. Asking her out like that is just not something I would have done ten years ago. I chalk it up to being over 50; I don’t have the time or patience to do the dance anymore. The last thing I wanted to do was to keep showing up there, wondering if I’d ever run into her again. Later on, she told me she really liked that I didn’t let her go.
So, you probably want to know what she’s like. Now she’s very private and doesn’t quite understand why people like me put their lives out here on a blog, so I promised I wouldn’t give away too much. But here are a few things…
She’s a couple years younger than me. She has brown eyes, long black hair, and is tiny! Without heels, she only comes up to mid-sternum on me. She’s a teacher who has taught from kindergarten through 2nd grade. She has her own house and a 4-year old yellow lab. Never married, no kids.
For purposes of this blog, I will call her Sweetpea. (Remember, peas are one of the few vegetables I like.)
She started texting me a little bit later, so I could capture her phone number and engage in a little more Q and A. She asked my last name, which I provided, and told her I was Italian. She gave me hers and said she was of German descent. She said she was raised Catholic and asked if I was.
[Gulp.] I said “Yes, but I’m much better now. I usually call myself a ‘Recovering Catholic.’ Or a heathen.”
Then about three minutes of radio silence ensued. I was sure I’d just blown it. But I gotta tell it like it is, don’t I?
She finally texted back, saying, “Ha! Perfect.”
Phew… Calamity avoided.
We decided to meet the next afternoon; we were both off for MLK Day. We ended up coming back to the sports bar, where we had a nice three-hour lunch and began rolling through our stories. (And as you may know, I have a LOT of story.)
The only downside was that I had intended to bring my nephew’s birthday present out to his house on Monday, but that got scrubbed. I told him the news via text and then said, “I figured you have a birthday every year… but how often do I have a DATE?” Lucky for me, the boy was understanding. (Happy birthday, Daniel!) I probably ought to stop calling him “boy.” Young man just turned 18.
Daniel was the first person I told and only because it was necessary. I think new dating prospects are like pregnancies. You don’t want to tell anyone until you know it’s going to “take.” No sense suffering a loss in front of any more people than need be if things end too soon. So only a very few people knew what was going on.
Before we ended lunch, we made plans for dinner the following Saturday and had another multi-hour conversation. Sadly, she had a bit of a cold that night, so no kiss goodnight.
The next Tuesday, she invited me to her place for dinner and the meeting of the dog. (aka The Beast.) She’d already told me that he didn’t much like men and barked at them whenever they addressed him. As a solution, she taped a baggie of dog treats to give to him upon my arrival.
It worked out well; the beast likes me just fine. I thought it might have been the treats, but then she later said that she’d told him all about me before I got there. Never underestimate what a dog understands.
Anyway, I got my goodnight kiss… lasted about two and a half hours.
She had me over for dinner again the next Friday, where I met a neighbor of hers and her dog.
By this time, I knew it was time for a night on my turf, so I had her over for dinner at my place on Saturday night. I was up early, though, and poised to leap into action to straighten up a little, do some shopping, and create a pot of my fabulous bowtie pasta and sauce.
First, though, I saw she accepted my Facebook friend request, so (with prior permission) changed my relationship status to “In a Relationship.” I thought I’d be able to keep it just as a piece of personal data, but apparently, relationship statuses have to come out as a post. I thought there was a privacy setting to prevent that (I know there used to be) but it’s not there now, so I was a bit alarmed when the post appeared in the news feed and began drawing “likes.”
But first I wanted to check my own timeline, to see what kind of stuff my new girlfriend was going to see from me.
Two hours later I managed to claw my way out of the rabbit hole when I thought, “Shit, I guess I better call the parents and let them know, so they don’t hear about this when Dad logs onto Facebook.” (Luckily he hadn’t seen it yet, so I got to give them the good news personally. But that was another hour gone.)
While we were talking, they asked if I’d done a house cleaning. I said no because the place looked to be in pretty good shape. But then I looked up at the bird ornaments hanging on my dining room chandelier and thought, “Hmm, I should probably dust those.”
As I gave them a quick once-over with my Swiffer duster, I remembered that there was some dust on my dark wood bookshelves too. Next thing you know, I’m dusting every vertical and horizontal surface in the apartment, like a Swiffing tornado. For a place I thought looked pretty good, the duster looked like I’d just cleaned the inside of a coal mine.
Right as I was finishing with that, she texted me, wanting to know how the sauce was coming.
Gah! Now I really had to start that leaping. I cut off my plans to go all the way out to the Wegman’s (20 minutes away) and went to my local grocery store (five minutes away) instead. I zipped through the aisles, then zipped through the adjacent deli/liquor store for some wine. Then I bee-lined back home, stowed the groceries and hopped in the shower.
Newly freshened, I made for the kitchen to start browning the ground beef for the sauce. Before I can even flip on the burner, the phone rang… it’s my buddy the VP of Hell No, wanting to know about my new squeeze. Understandable. And I wanted to tell him all about it, but I had to limit it to the Reader’s Digest version.
From there, the sauce went together perfectly and the bowties were al dente.
There was still plenty of time for the sauce and pasta to simmer, while I gave Sweetpea the Grand Tour around the premises. (As you may recall, I have a lot of things to see in there, from music business trophies to great works of art. (Snicker.)
She was sufficiently impressed, which is to say, she didn’t hate it. The Hat Wall amused her. The only negative of the night was when she softly told me, “I like everything in here, but I don’t think I can look at that Terrible Towel all the time.”
Sigh… yes, she is a Ravens fan, but she doesn’t seem too rabid about it. But it was a good thing I didn’t have all my Championship Towels up on display. I did have some Orioles stuff up, so I hope that bought me some good will.
When the tour hit the kitchen, I showed her my cyclamen. Seems a small bud formed right about the time we met and just began blooming the day before.
A good sign.
I went back to her place Sunday afternoon and killed the rest of the day there. That made six dates in two weeks. I have a pretty good feeling that this one is going to “take.” At least I’m going to do my best to make it so.
Wish me luck!