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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Scratching the surface

Since I wrote recently about an upcoming first date, I'm ethically obligated to tell you a little something about how it went. 

In the past three years I've done very little dating. (The whole marriage thing got in the way for a while, there.)  Since getting divorced I’d gone on a few outings of an ambiguous nature but this excursion with “Ryan” was a legitimate first date.  

We had some information about each other so it wasn't so much "blind" as "somewhat visually impaired."  

Ryan and I had spoken twice before we met up this past Sunday.  The first call was to set up a date for last Wednesday.  The second was to cancel it (he was under the weather, I’d just had oral surgery) and plan a new one.  During the brief rescheduling call we chatted about weekend plans.  That snippet of conversation gave me moderate to high expectations for the date.

So did the improvement in my gums, as a result of which I upgraded myself from  “Frankengums” to “Gumzilla.”  A full wattage smile still wasn’t advisable but a hearty grin was within reach.

When I got to the restaurant, Ryan was at the bar.  A good sign, I thought. He looked like the person in the one photo the service had sent me.  Also a good sign.  When he stood, he was a little taller than I am.  I don't care much about height but know some men do, so this was a third good sign. 

Though it had been a while since I went on a date, I didn't feel nervous nor did I stress over topics of conversation. (After the oral surgery, I was less worried about topics than mechanics.)   

Our short exchanges on the phone had given me plenty of subjects to explore so the conversation never lagged, nor did we want for subtext.  The latter is important because, as everyone knows, there’s the date that’s visible to the world at large and then the date as experienced in the minds of the daters.  Sometimes the two events bear no resemblance to each other whatsoever.  Here’s an excerpt from Sunday.

Me: “So you'd mentioned a wine tasting you were supposed to go to yesterday—how was it?”
Subtext: I like wine, in a non-twelve step kind of way, and you’d better, too.

Him: “I really liked the first three vineyards we went to. The fourth and fifth? Not so much.”
Subtext:  After the third place, you could’ve dragged my tongue across tree bark and I’d have enjoyed the finish.

Me: “Where did you go?”
Subtext: I got married at a vineyard. If it’s one of the places you went to, I’m about to fake a salmonella outbreak. 

The conversation inevitably turned to work.

Me: “So do you travel much for your job?
Subtext: I can’t miss you if you won’t go away.

Him: “Hardly ever, though I do have a trip to [city of moderate size in a red state] this week.”
Subtext:  Unless you’ve always wanted to check out the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas, don’t count on me for a boondoggle.

Over a ninety minute period the two conversations got along well enough to warrant a second outing.  I was heartened by this, and by the fact that I’m still fluent in subtext.    


  1. Love it! Very artfully described. (Subtext: I kinda miss first dates!)

    1. They really can be fun! (Subtext: Though they can be, they often aren't. But even when that happens it's still usually a great story!)