Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Summer of Love

I went on five dates between the weekend I saw Mike and Labor Day weekend. For me, this felt like a ton.

The first one stressed me out. I got to the bar early and while I waited for him to arrive, I texted Anna with complaints.

"Why do I have to do this? Dating is an awkward social construct. I could buy a dog."

All she sent me back was a GIF of Judge Judy rolling her eyes.

Once my date arrived, I felt a bit more comfortable. His online picture was pretty accurate and my initial assessment led me to believe he probably wouldn't try to murder me by the end of the night.

We talked about our jobs, our families, and the activities we liked to do on weekends. Normal first date stuff. He was a nice enough guy, but we didn't seem to really connect. He must have felt that also, because I he didn't text me after that night and I was kind of relieved.

My second date was a disaster. The guy talked way too loud and monopolized the conversation with stories about his trips to Comic Cons all over the country. I didn't even mind this nerdy characteristic, but I was barely able to talk at all. I couldn't wait for it to be over. How did I ever think this guy would be a good fit for me?

At the end of the night, he tried to kiss me and there was an awkward encounter between his lips and my upper cheek. I told him that it was really nice to meet him and I had a good time.

Even though he hadn't picked up on my disinterest before he tried to kiss me, he sure picked up on it then. He scoffed at me before storming off in the opposite direction. I bought myself an ice cream cone for comfort.

I'm kind of happy that I experienced that bad date because it reduced my overall anxiety about the experience of dating. Regardless of what happened, I would be okay.

I guess you could say the third time's a charm, because I was completely swooning over my third guy. The conversation over coffee seemed to flow effortlessly. I felt like he actually understood my weird jokes and I actually felt comfortable telling a few of those weird jokes because he seemed to be my right amount of weird.

The hour we had designated seemed to fly by and before I knew it, we had talked for an hour and a half. He had to head off to work but I walked back to my apartment feeling butterflies.

I felt confident that the universe had rewarded me. I put myself out there and while I expected it to take me longer, things were going to work out for me.

But a couple days passed and I didn't hear from him. I was disappointed, but decided that there was nothing wrong with me checking in with him. Maybe I had done something that made him feel I wasn't interested?

I sent him a silly text about running out of pretzels and needing more. We had bonded over a love of pretzels.

He texted me back surprisingly quick. "Haha, hate when that happens."

Well, all right then. I almost wanted to text him and ask what I had done. You know, just for research purposes. I used to focus on research in my graduate work, after all. Instead, I called Anna.

"That sucks, Caroline," she replied after I told Anna about the date along with my desperate move. "But just think about how many matches you have. You'll forget about him."

So, I went back to online and arranged another date. Summer was almost over and I was determined to make it to a second date with at least one guy.

My fourth date was with a guy named Chris. We made plans to take a walk along the beach.

I still felt like there was something with that other guy, but Chris was nice, cute, successful, and funny.

This fourth date, right at the end of the summer, was where I found true success. "Caroline, I'd love to see you again. Are you free for dinner some time this week?"

He asked me this right at the end of our walk. He didn't leave me guessing. He didn't play any games.

"I'd love to," I replied with a smile. "I had a really good time."

"Me too," Chris replied. Then, I thought he was going to kiss me, but instead he pulled me in for a hug. I reminded myself that, according to research at WebMatch, not kissing on the first date is associated with the relationship going somewhere. I am such a nerd.

Chris and I got dinner on the Wednesday before Labor Day weekend. I was flying home the next morning so I was glad we were able to arrange it. I found out more about Chris, including the exact type of law that he practiced and that he attended improv classes in his spare time. We had another great night together and this time, I got my kiss.

I didn't want to get my hopes up too soon, but I was pretty pumped to be heading home with some sort of success story. Since I already had Labor Day off, I was going home for a week. Moose was having a barbecue and some of my mom's family would be in town for a wedding. There were so many people I hadn't seen in so long.

My sister picked me up from the airport and then I treated her to dinner. She filled me in on all the family gossip. We talked on the phone fairly regularly, but we have a big family so I missed a lot.

The next day, I had Moose's barbecue and I don't think I could have done anything to fully prepare for what was ahead.