After I got into what I thought to be the ugliest car, ever…
I resumed nervous first date girlitude. I’d only once been alone in a car with a guy on the first date. I didn’t even know what to do or say. So I just sat there with my hands clutching my tiny purse, wishing I had taken a shot of vodka before jetting out the door.
The Grown Up (<—start the story here) was quite curious about my impression of his car, and I just laughed a little and told him I never thought I’d sit in a Mini Cooper. See? I could be tactful. We made polite conversation (small talk, really) during the twenty-five minutes it took to get to the restaurant.
TGU: Have you ever had Indian food?
Me: No. Well, sort of? Does chicken tikka masala from a fast food joint in London count?
Honestly, even with my near-idydic memory, I think I blocked out most of the car ride because I was so nervous. But I know conversation was relatively easy. We shared the floor, switching back and forth with questions and answers that were simple, but not entirely trite.
When we arrived at the restaurant, I stepped out of the car into the winter chill without a coat on, and The Grown Up commented on my insanity. I proudly professed my hatred of coats, and that I was a Chicago girl through and through. I strutted to the restaurant quickly in my heels, showing off my graceful stride and praying to all the things that I didn’t trip and fall. We stepped inside, hit with the aroma of curry and other spices.
I had previously browsed the menu for a good 45 minutes to get an idea of what I would order, and there was a spicy prawns in sauce dish with my name on it. I couldn’t let him see what a terrible decision maker I was on the first date!
We were seated at the farthest booth, directly next to the kitchen, which can sometimes be detrimental to conversation. Fortunately, this was not the case. The booths were secluded, closed off with ornately decorated, gold dividers. The seats were round benches that wrapped entirely around three sides of the table. Very romantic.
Basically, it was really fancy for a first date. Thoughtful. Classic. Elegant. Exciting. Everything that the boys I previously went out with were not. Things were looking up for the Mini-Cooper-driving Grown Up.
We slid into our respective sides of the booth, both sitting near the corners of the table, unsure whether to sit across from each other or next to each other. The hostess handed The Grown Up a wine menu and placed two dinner menus in front of us.
I was all set to take drink cues from The Grown Up, and he suggested wine. I was down. I told him I was a red girl, and he was a white guy (ba dum bum bump), so we opted for glasses of wine instead of a bottle. I chose a Pinot Noir and he opted for a Riesling. When the bartender arrived with our drinks, he stereotypically handed me the white wine and The Grown Up the red. We had a good laugh and switched glasses.
We ordered a giant platter of deep-fried…stuff…mystery vegetables and meats that were absolutely delicious. As we noshed on appetizers, we chatted about very-non-first-date topics. We talked about people and perception and personalities. The Grown Up got REALLY excited about these things, and spent more than a few minutes explaining one of his theories on how we perceive people.
The Grown Up’s theory: When we look at a person, we think “You’re like me, only different,” and so each person’s perception of another stems from their similarities to themselves…even if that’s not really the case. So someone like me, who is an introverted extrovert, sees people as equal parts social and shy and evaluates the differences from there.
His theories resonated with me. They were provocative, but real. I was fascinated and energized by his ideas and the stimulating conversation. This was so much more than a boring date in which we discuss favorites and musical tastes and our jobs. As his previous chat messages had suggested…he was INTERESTING.
We each had another glass of wine, and the conversation, like the vino, flowed so easily. I hate to be so cliche, but it was as if I had known him forever. He actually apologized for his rant. (Wait? Rant? Apparently that’s what he called his long-winded discussion about people and psychology or sociology…one of the ologies. I thought it was wonderful.) I spoke of the horrors of student teaching, and we even talked about dating. There was plenty of laughter and with each giggle, we scooted closer to each other in the booth.
By the end of the dinner, we were practically touching. I didn’t want the date to end.
Apparently, neither did The Grown Up. He had previously determined a second location should the evening be going well, so we made our way to a nearby Irish pub for another round of drinks. It was here that he asked my most-despised question.
“Why are you single?”
Why, oh why, do people ask this? It’s like a fucking interrogation. Luckily I had prepared myself for this inquiry because I was sick to death of it. Dating is a lot like interviewing. So I was ready with answers to commonly asked questions. I pulled from my beloved Bridget Jones.
“Well, aside from the fact that underneath my clothes, my body is covered in scales…”
“I just really hate that question. But mostly it’s because I’m super fucking picky. I’m not going to jump in a relationship just to be in a relationship. That’s stupid. I just haven’t found the right guy yet. Why are YOU single?”
Whoops. I think I made shit awkward. Whatever. He’ll get over it. Or not.
From there, the conversation slowly returned to the gentle flow that we had for most of the night. The Grown Up was a genuine good guy. I was crushing HARD. I think he was too. It just seemed so…easy. The night was winding down, and he had to work the next morning, so we paid the bill and left the bar around 11. I still didn’t want the night to end…but did he?
You’ll have to wait until next week to find out!
What’s the best first date that you’ve ever been on? Or the worst first date? I’m easy and obviously love a good story.
The story continues below…Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!