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.
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.