First Date

I should be more nervous, I thought.  But then, I was meeting this guy in a public place, with lots of people around.  I had my new “cell phone”, a Motorola flip that I bought for use at school, in my purse just in case.   What could go wrong?  It couldn’t possibly be worse than the one single time I’d answered a personals ad, only to discover a motorcycle driving, marijuana smelling, not quite possessing all of his teeth wonder sitting in front of me at a Chinese restaurant on the East side.

I’d been talking to R on the phone for two weeks now, after having met him in the “Michigan” chat room on America Online.   We’d typed back and forth to each other in the midst of the twenty or so other users in the room, on a few different occasions.  Then one evening as I logged on, a window popped up unbidden on my computer screen:  an “instant message” that only he and I could see.   We began emailing and instant messaging nearly daily.  I discovered that he lived in a large city nearby, had what sounded like a good job with a future.   We both enjoyed concerts, music, and good food.   He wasn’t a teacher but his parents both were, so he knew the profession and its challenges.  It wasn’t long before he’d asked to call me on the phone, and after he sent me a photograph of himself (after my previous encounter I wasn’t going to chance it), I agreed to share it.

He seemed nice, educated, kind, funny on the phone and in his typed words.  A grown up.  I was looking for a grown up.  Not too grown up, like my married boyfriend from a year and a half ago.   Someone honorable enough to not be two timing me with someone else either.  I was realizing, walking into the Olive Garden, that my list of must haves for a potential date was starting get pretty long.  I made myself take a deep breath, smooth down my pantsuit, and looked around the lobby.

R was waiting for me, in a polo shirt and khaki pants.  Even though I’d seen his photo, I still immediately recognized that he was nothing like any of the men I’d dated before.  I normally dated taller, thinner men; R was still handsome but heavier than I was used to.  He looked more “corporate” than I was used to as well; most men I knew would have that polo shirt casually untucked, but R had his tucked carefully in, a belt snug underneath the rise of his belly.  Still, his smile was genuine and friendly, and I pushed back my momentary discomfort.  After all, my previous relationships hadn’t gone so well, so maybe it was a good thing that this guy wasn’t like the rest of the men I’d dated.

“It’s great to finally meet you,” he enthused as we were seated in a noisy corner of the restaurant.

“You too,” I responded, wondering how the evening would go.

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