It was January 3, 2017 and it was surprising, but I had a date.
I had kind of fallen out of my "seeing what's out there," phase after so many promising young men just didn't work out for one reason or another. Plus, work got super busy and I couldn't really focus my attention on keeping my job AND finding a boyfriend. 2017 had to be different, though. My sister had made fun of me while I was home and when she called me a "spinster in training," I really didn't have a comeback.
I know there's nothing wrong with being single, but I still owed it to myself to at least have some fun. At least, that's what I told myself, even though my version of fun is staying at home with a bag of pita chips and watching HGTV. I will say, my tiny apartment looks absolutely amazing, since my weeknights and weekends in the fall were basically consumed with working out or decorating.
But to get back to the point, I was making good on my resolution only 3 days into the New Year. I made arrangements with a nice young man through an app. I decided not to go with WebMatch because even though my membership was free, it made me feel a little better to not be indirectly supporting Mr. Larson.
My new suitor, Tom, suggested a wine bar that I had actually been to. I got to the restaurant five minutes early, parked my car, and began fixing my make up when I heard my phone beep. He was waiting in front of the restaurant for me.
I don't know about anyone else, but first meetings still make me overly anxious. I don't know how people can be so calm about meeting someone for a first date. I can rationalize it, but it still makes me incredibly uneasy. It's probably why I'm so picky about who I actually let take me out.
The first thing I noticed about Tom was that he looked shorter than his pictures. I was wearing heels and ended up being almost his height. I'm not a height snob or anything, but it threw me off. I also noticed that he really didn't look like his pictures. I mean, I found him extremely attractive, but it didn't feel like I was meeting the Tom from online. He had short brown hair, brown eyes, and a great smile.
I didn't take this as a bad sign or anything, even though I've had friends who would completely discredit a guy who didn't fit their expectations, but it's something I often wonder about my own pictures. I know I post my best ones, but do they actually look like me? I don't think I'll ever know.
We sat down at a high top table right in front of the bar and a waiter came over relatively quick. We both ordered wine before getting into the typical, interview like questions you ask on a first date. What do you do? Where did you go to school? What side of the bed do you like? (Obviously kidding on that last one).
Conversation flowed pretty well and when it came time to order another round, he turned to me and said, "it's up to her."
"Sure, I could have another glass."
Tom told me about his job as a conservative biologist. He worked for the government and it all sounded very interesting. It was really nice being out with someone who not only did something he was passionate about, but he was also making a difference. The more he spoke about it, the more I could see the passion in his eyes. After I was about halfway through with the second glass, I started feeling a little buzzed, but it only made the date better.
"Well, I think I should be heading home," I finally said after my second glass was done. "We both have work in the morning."
Tom looked at me and smiled. "Yeah, I'll have to take you out again on a weekend."
I felt my cheeks getting red as I tried to keep myself from smiling too wide. "I'd like that."
After he paid the check, Tom walked me to my car. I had butterflies when we were a few feet away from my car, wondering if he'd kiss me or not. I'd be okay if he didn't, since he already told me he'd like to take me out again, but I was really hoping he went for it.
And he did. He kissed me softly as he wrapped his arm around me and placed his hand on my lower back. I didn't even care that we were standing there, making out, in a public parking lot. I didn't want to stop kissing him.
I was excited for our second date. This time, we went out to dinner. Our conversational topics broadened and I felt like we were moving at a good pace. About halfway through dinner, though, I started to feel lightheaded. He was talking about something that happened with his friends and I kept telling myself to just nod. I thought it would pass, but it didn't.
I don't know what happened next, but it felt like I blinked a few times and then Tom was in my face, on my side of the booth, looking terrified, with a huge glass of water in his slightly shaky hand. A concerned bus boy was scratching his head behind Tom.
"Caroline, are you okay?" He asked.
"Um, yeah, I think so," I replied as I weakly reached up for the glass. It just then occurred to me that I really hadn't drank any water that day.
"We were talking and you just fainted," Tom replied.
The only thing worse than how I physically felt was how I psychologically felt. What a way to make an impression on a new guy?
So I was glad when he still texted me the next day.