Practice Makes Not Quite perfect

Operating under the assumption that it is better to “go out” than to mope around the house wringing my hands about a boy who weeks ago washed his hands of me, yet who is still wreaking havoc with my heart, I accepted two vastly different invitations this week. The first was from my dancing partner of a few weeks ago. The second was from the attorney I met on the same evening.

I would love to say I was thrilled by these invitations. I would love to say both nights resulted in giddy fun and hopeful promise. I can say that these training-wheel dates were not terrible. They were actually okay—one up to a point, the other up to when it ended. And as the general heaping on of advice from well-intentioned friends seems to indicate, I “need” to go out with guys I am not thrilled about so that I can get it right when I date the next one who makes my heart turn cartwheels.

Yeah. Whatever.

Date One: Drinks on the water. Drinks on an unexpected boat ride. Drinks on the water where we tie up the boat and I beg for a lesson on helping to tie up a boat, because I am absolutely not a boat person, and how funny would it be if I learn this skill. As much as my boat date said I did a great job tying up the boat, he went behind me and re-did each of my sloppy knots. He laughed as he did so, saying, “Really, you did great. But just in case, I need to check this.” Ha!

Date One Continued: Too much wine on the water. Thankfully, I am out with a gentleman. He knows I am not looking for romance AT ALL. He says he is fine with that, “For ten years, okay?” Because he has had a kind of heartbreak I hope to never know, and mine is nothing in comparison. Thus, the ten-year plan is good, as is a second boat ride we plan for Friday, this time with my real camera in tow.

Date Two: The attorney is smart and savvy and someone with whom I can keep up a conversation on first amendment rights and any other host of legal topics because, well, I grew up in D.C., and I am not stupid. I decline after-dinner drinks because I am beat to death from the unexpected boat ride the night before. Besides, I have to run down to the beach bar and deliver a carton of cigarettes to the older gentleman who is leaving to be with his kids for two months. I am pretty sure I have bummed that many from him, so it is an appropriate gift in this case.

After Date Two: At the beach bar, I engage in conversation with a former pro hockey player down here on business who is my age and a very happily married fellow. First, he counsels me to never forget my love of hockey, “Because most girls don’t get it like you do.” Then speaks to me in French even as I answer in English, and he marvels (as do I) that I understand everything he says. He says he can tell I “have issues” but that I have a special something about me that someday some guy will see and embrace. I am taken aback as much as I feel warm and encouraged by this fleeting contact. As he leaves, however, the boy, who was supposed to be away for two weeks on his own business, shows up. And I deflate so rapidly it is scary. I have to ask myself as I want to sob but can’t because I have to appear happy and very cool, how far have I really come in “getting over it.” I hate to admit it, but apparently not so very far at all. Which annoys me and makes me want to scream, because I thought I had it all under control. All together. Done. Movin’ on. Yeah. Crap.

After Work Tonight: I find out my crazy friend is insanely jealous of the time I have spent on my own apart from her seeing mutual friends she is not romantically involved with. This includes my dance partner and a host of others. I had no clue about this until she bit my head off during a phone conversation and announced “I am done.” But I thought she had introduced me to this circle so that the members could be my circle, too. I hear on this night, instead, that I am clearly in 7th grade again, and I learn that the wrath of a girlfriend who feels she has been done wrong is bitter, indeed. As I reel from this, I find I am also reeling all over again from all that is far more serious in my life that has nothing to do with her. Funny how one confrontation can lead to an avalanche of hurt feelings. I break my Friday date with my dancing partner in hopes of diffusing this latest mess and not dragging him into it. But he has already been yelled at by our mutual friend, and he says, “You and I are friends, remember? No reason not to go out, just because our friend doesn’t get that.” And I so agree to getting together, but I find the whole situation just a little scary, because in the blink of an eye, I realize how quickly I could be friendless again. I am just so done with being scared, however, that I decide not to care. Friday boat ride it is.

Just now: I read my email and discover that Metromix South Florida has highlighted my blog along with three others, as a well-written treatise on dating and being single in SoFla. Okay, and it’s sexy. Ha ha. However, I am floored and honored by the way she describes my writing. I remain incredulous to this second.

Thus, in a very short span of time, I find out that I am now known for writing about my brave new world that has nothing to do with my restaurant, just as much as I practice this dating ritual that is certain to lead to nothing more than one evening, one dinner, one boat ride at a time.

My God, everything is still so not perfect. But I am holding out hope that there is meaning in the practice.






12 responses to “Practice Makes Not Quite perfect”

  1. retired restuarant manager Avatar
    retired restuarant manager

    to think we all waited this long to call ourselves grown-ups…only to realize some of us havent left the payground…I stand behind my last comment, with time you will find a group of people that are looking forward, and not trying to re-live the past, they will excite you, enlighten you, and push you mentally and emotionally, but for a change only good things will come from it.

  2. Julie Avatar

    Well, I have to say that Metromix has it right. I don’t think I have ever not read every single word. Though, I may not always comment.

    Getting “out there” and dating is all trial and error. I went on some dates with some really promising guys, but was sadly disappointed. I met my husband through one of those online dating sites and was very skeptical before we finally met. I found that frog that would become a prince — the rest were all toads.

    Even though nothing else became of the other guys, I’m really happy that I went out with the losers rather than being home and moping.

  3. Karen Avatar

    Hi RG, regular reader but never commented before. I so know how you feel at the moment, I really do. And although I wish you didn’t feel so bad it helps me not feel so alone. Hugs to you

  4. Kim Ayres Avatar

    If your life was perfect, your writing would be boring.

    Hmmm, not much compensation for you now I come to think of it…

  5. Tere Avatar

    Congrats on the recognition from City Link. I love reading your blog!

  6. Mike Avatar

    RG, I just realized after reading your last comment how true it was that you have so successfully made the transition from not only writing about your restaurant job, but your personal dating life as well. For the last few posts I almost forgot you were working at a restaurant still… That really goes to show how interesting and captivating your writing is to the reader, we enjoy hearing your stories where ever you may be!

  7. namaste Avatar

    RG–I am not completely convinced by the old adage myself, but I am sure of one thing this year: For some of us, it may be necessary to get to the bottom of the heap before we discover the one we’ve been waiting for. Patience can be a pain, but I believe the wise folks who say that it’s worth it. And about your friend–tell her to chill. You’re never alone, and you certainly won’t be friendless. Sometimes fewer friends are better than many ones who pull stunts like that. Don’t internalize too much.

    And ps: You’re awesome.

  8. Scott Avatar

    RG, I was going to suggest letting me photograph you to sex the blog up, but in the words of Barry Manilow, looks like we made it. (Quoting Barry Manilow is sexy.)

  9. Restaurant Gal Avatar
    Restaurant Gal

    Retired RM–New friends are definitely in order. I NEVER want to re-live middle school!

    Julie–I know you read everything, and I so appreciate the supportive comments you give. As for this dating thing–oh good Lord. Calgon take me away!

    Kim–Hey, I’ll take any positive spin. 😉

    Tere–Thanks! And I just figured out (because I am that out of it) that this was in City Link paper as well. Grabbed a couple of copies at the beach for the fans back home–meaning for my aunt who is like my mom who loves my writing even “when it makes me blush.”

    Mike–Turns out, I am enjoying this stretch with my writing. One can only yammer on about guests and co-workers for so long before nothing is original and it all sounds like I’ve written it three times before. Hmm, come to think of it, these dating stories are starting to sound…oh, never mind!

    Namaste–I know you get this. All kidding aside, patience is necessary and something one cannot fight. As for the so-called friend, please tell me I am not tumbling into some adolescent rabbit hole! PS–So are you!

    Scott–What you don’t think my fine self portrait that I posted after I won my March Madness pool did me justice ( Congrats to you on being as sexy as I am ;). In all seriousness, you wrote a recent post that was incredibly heartfelt and as good as it gets.

  10. Tinker Avatar

    Just checking in, to see how you are doing. Fried two computers at and one computer TWICE, so its an adventure trying to put the important links back together, and ressurect my email addresses. Of course, you are my most favorite remote friend and blogger. I have missed you, and the little details of your life that you make such “gotta hear the end” stories out of. Things sound normal there. But you are unhappy? Have I missed something important, or is this thing so sad, so sad ,making, that you can’t gather words to say it?

    Things will get better soon…This, too shall pass.

  11. Lex Avatar

    In so many ways, I admire you. I have yet to date anyone who wasn’t introduced to me by a mutual friend. I don’t know what the deal is with me, but I can’t bring myself to set alone at a bar and hope someone says hi.

    You are stronger than you know.

  12. Kim Ayres Avatar

    I just read that article – I see MenSuck got a mention – she needs to get her own blog going.

    I also saw you get comments from “guys who claim they are there to listen”, which sounds rather sceptical about our intentions