Breaking All The Rules

“Hey, I’m glad to catch you.   I had such a great time last night.”


This was Tom, of the amazing first date last night.  I couldn’t believe he was calling me, already, the very next day.  This was definitely unexpected.  The rules of the causal dating experience clearly stated that you don’t call the girl the very next day; otherwise the man looks too eager.   I couldn’t set that one straight in my head:  Tom was eager to speak with me again, already.

The date had been amazing.  After Frank and Michelle left us, we went inside his parents’ house for something to drink.  His parents were upstairs, asleep.  We watched Saturday Night Live, sitting next to each other on the sofa, punctuating the skits with commentary.  He was smart, and funny, and we fed off of each other’s conversation with ease.  Before long we were kissing breathlessly on the sofa.

But I’d figured the date couldn’t have possibly gone this well if Tom was aware of my single parent status.  No twenty year old man was going to willingly date a girl with a two year old kid, especially not one this bright with such promise laying ahead of him.  So as we turned the corners on that chilly March evening, I told him that I’d had a great time and all, but I wanted to be one hundred percent honest with him about having a two year old son.

“I know that,” he had responded.  “Does that mean you don’t want to go out with me again?  Because I’d love to get your number and go out again sometime soon.  I had a lot of fun tonight, didn’t you?”

And so as he dropped me off at my front door late that evening, I handed him a slip of paper with my phone number on it,.  Perhaps he was good at covering up in the moment, not wanting to make me feel badly.  Or then again, since this was supposed to be a short term, casual, no strings attached kind of thing, maybe the kid thing really didn’t matter.   Either way, I didn’t expect to hear from him again any time soon.

“Tom?” I asked incredulously into the phone.

“Yeah,” he said, drawing out the word.  “Wait, did you have two dates last night?  Are you waiting for a phone call from someone else?”

I laughed.  He was funny, too.

“No, no,” I laughed, my cheeks burning red as I saw my mother look up at me, clearly listening to my end of the conversation.  She was glad I’d gone on the date last night.  She wanted me to be happy, and she had seen too many nights of me sitting at home, looking out the windows with sadness in my eyes.  “I had a great time too.  Which is kind of amazing considering we spent the evening bowling, since I’m so terrible at it.”

“Could I see you tonight?  Would you be interested in a solo date?”

This guy was breaking all the rules of my low expectations.  People who were causally seeing each other did not see each other two nights in a row.  “Tonight?” I asked.  It was already six pm, on a Sunday evening.  I had to work in the morning.  I usually spent my Sundays getting my teaching bag together, packing Zachary his lunch and bag for daycare and just mentally preparing for the week.  I never went out on Sunday nights.

“Yeah, tonight.  Nothing big, I just thought it is such a nice night out that maybe we could drive down by the water in Grosse Pointe and look at the lake.”

“I don’t know, Tom.  It sounds really nice, and all, but it’s Sunday night and there’s so much to do before tomorrow,” I told him.  My mother was shaking her head and giving me hand motions towards the door, pantomiming that I should take him up on his offer.  “Maybe later this week would be better.”

“I don’t know if I can wait till later this week to see you again,” he responded.  “Come on, we won’t be out all night, I promise.  I’d just really love to see you again.”

If this guy was trying to make sure I kept calm and cool about this whole thing, he was playing all the wrong cards.  My mother was sitting at the table next to me, still making it clear that she was up for babysitting.

“Well,” I said slowly.  “When you put it like that, how can I possibly say no?  When were you thinking?”

“How about in half an hour or so?  I’ll pick you up.”

There it was.  That roller coaster feeling again.


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