Alrighty then. So I messaged a guy, he messaged back.
Blah blah blah a few messages exchanged back and forth, he seems cool and seems to have a sense of humour and he asks if I'd like to meet or am more comfortable messaging a bit longer.
I tell him I'm still sort of in message mode, but I give him an email address. (It's easier than having to log in and use the site's message system.)
We chat a few more times and then he gives me his cell. This reminds me of last summer with Chad. (Well, apparently it wasn't last summer. Apparently it was two summers ago? Really?) And that's somehow reassuring because I know I'm a different person than I was, more solid, happier, more sure of who I am than I was with him and when things didn't work with us I got over it, clearly. And while Chad was super hot, if things had worked with him, I'd have never been with Jay etc. etc. Where was I? Oh, yeah. So we text for a few days, nothing major (and now I suddenly remember doing this with Jay too before he got sent overseas) and then he asks if I'm ready to meet yet?
I say sure. I figure why not?
That whole idea that if I never do the things I don't like doing, I'll never do them, or I'll never feel less horrified about doing them. You know, kind of a systematic desensitization. If I'm tired of being stuck in my box of fear/anxiety/whatever, I just have to start making my way out of it, and all that.
So we set a day to meet for a stroll and coffee, Jay being the only guy I've met online that didn't have this kind of initial meeting.
And the initial meeting is weird. It's a blind date, let's not pretend otherwise. And you know you're going to be judged, and in the same breath you're sort of going to be judging them too.
But it's hard to remember that, at least for me, because of course we all want to be liked and so I have to try to not think too hard about will he think I'm attractive, or will he find me interesting or will we be uncomfortable around each other. And on top of all that I have to not think too hard about what all this might mean. What if we do like each other? What if we start to date? What if it turns into something? What if it doesn't?
And the thoughts just spin through my head and that makes me feel nervous. Or I already feel nervous and the thoughts just make it worse, it's hard to know.
So I do what I can on the morning of to not think about it. Watch some tv, flit around the internet. Do my makeup a couple of hours before so I'm not rushed. And then all of a sudden I realize I'm leaving in half an hour and I should get dressed and ready and I sort of don't care, like it's not as if I feel like I NEED to be in a relationship, but I also am nervous that this stranger won't like me, because that's not a nice feeling and I'd rather avoid it.
I head out to meet him and honestly, all I'm thinking is I don't want to do this. I really really don't want to do this. And in that moment I understand why maybe some people get stood up. It maybe has nothing to do with them and everything to do with the person freaking the heck out and not wanting to go through with it all.
But I go, and I'm pretty sure I'll know what he looks like, but really you never quite do, and so I grab a tea and wait outside for him, sort of trying to not look like I'm looking at people while still looking at people and eventually he gets there and we sort of nod at each other and say hi and shake hands.
He goes inside to grab a coffee and we decide to head down to the beach.
I feel like he's nervous too, and that we're both sort of this kind of not comfortable nervous energy sort of thing and I think, well, hey, I guess it's just natural.
My brain doesn't work for the first little while. (I may have, well, ok, I did take an Ativan that I dug out of the back of my closet, from a gazillion years ago a few hours before.) He asks me seemingly simple questions "what did you do this morning?" And I swear I come up with "uh... uh... I.. did... stuff." And I'm cursing the damn Ativan, but I also might not have made it out of the house without it so double edged sword, really. And hopefully not something I have to do if I have another first meet and greet.
But I guess the caffeine kicked in, or maybe I just relaxed, but we chat and walk and sit on a log for a while and walk back and I keep thinking that it's sort of hard to really know what he looks like.
I mean, he was cute in his pictures, but he's somehow more solid in person. (Maybe compared to Jay, who was thin... compact, but not small.) But you can't see someone's face when you're walking or sitting beside them, and we both have sunglasses on and so it's hard to know if I feel any attraction, but that's not really the point of a first meeting I don't think.
I think this kind of breaking the ice is more to just get a read on the person, and I've certainly, unfortunately, had some first meetings where I just didn't feel I'd gel well with the person or vise versa but I guess we got along well.
When we headed our separate ways he said I was funny, that he'd enjoyed this and we should do it again. I said, sure, but that if he didn't want to, he should just feel free to say so. (It's one of the things we'd talked about, how sometimes people from online dating just... disappear and don't flat out tell you they don't want a repeat.)
I didn't hold my breath, wasn't going to be upset if we didn't go out again. It had been fine, I was relieved to survive, my friends were proud of me for going, all good.
He texted me the next day, said the same again. That he'd enjoyed himself and would like to do it again.
I said sure, and so we're going to hang out again. (Yes, we've set a day, don't worry.)
There's a mild feeling of panic when I think about actually, legitimately dating someone because I don't have those skills. Dating is not something I've done. Well, I mean sure maybe a bit, but not the whole way I have it in my head. I haven't done the thing where you meet a guy at a pub for a drink. And then a few days or a week later you meet him somewhere else for another activity. And then you do it again somewhere else. And somewhere in there you hold hands, or kiss.
Maybe I'm selling myself short. I mean Chad and I must have "dated', no? And DD and I? The guys who didn't come from out of town to visit. Sure, Jay and I didn't, but nothing was normal with Jay and I. So maybe I just don't like the label of dating. Maybe I just like the idea of casually hanging out with someone until you see if you like each other enough to want to hold hands, or kiss, or whatever, or if there's not a spark... or what.
So I'm kind of not looking forward to a "date", so I'll just have to figure out a way to not "date" this guy, to see if I like him.
And there's a mental mind shift I like, eh? To see if I like him. Not to "hopefully find out that he likes me."
I'll keep you posted.