I gave up dating for a while. A long while. So long, in fact, that I actually had to do math to figure out when the last date was. It was a little scary to me that I let that much time lapse.
It was even scarier when I was asked out on my first date in that long. But I accepted, despite my bout of nerves. And then I realized that my list of things to worry about had just grown exponentially. Solitude was easy: it was dating that was hard. So the night of the date, my thoughts raced.
* Is my outfit too slutty? Is it slutty enough?
* Do I shave my legs or not? Shaving them might seem eager to show them off...not shaving them is inviting the accidental touch under the table when he feels two days worth of stubble.
* Will he be fun, or should I have an escape plan...just in case?
* I met him when I had a few drinks with the girls. Will he still be cute without dim lighting and a vodka & cranberry?
* Does all the food on this menu have marinara sauce? Because my just-slutty-enough outfit is not red and will show EVERY lost droplet that falls off my noodles.
But once I met him, once he sat across from me at the restaurant, I forgot all those things. He was just one of those nice guys who would probably compliment me if I was wearing a potato sack, who would laugh with me if I spilled pasta down said potato sack, who would never try to play grab ass & could care less if I shaved my legs on the first date, and who acted just as pleasant and looked exactly the same as the night I met him.
I was comfortable taking a walk on a nature trail with him afterwards. He was smart in a quiet way, and once I found that out (and being the knowledge junkie that I am) I urged him to explain the grasses and weeds and flowers that bloomed wild along the trail. He told me about growing up on a farm, about places he traveled for work, about the weirdest kinds of foods he'd ever tried. And I think, perhaps, he was a bit nervous, too.
In an ideal world, we get flawless first dates that lead to a heated makeout session on the bench seat of his pickup...just like when we were teenagers. But I will embrace my nervous butterflies and the victory I feel after eating Italian food without dropping a single bit of marinara on myself. I'll be patient and hope that the hot makeout comes on a second date, the one where I actually do shave my legs and know that I won't want an escape route.