12 Hearts A-Racing,
11 Hats A-Rockin’,
10 Rauls A-Mystery-ing
9 Friends A-Tempting,
8 Cradles A-Robbing
7 Smoke’s A-Blowing
6 Skirts A-Dropping
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad.
Before you read that title and go thinking I’ve lost my mind and broken all my rules and am falling madly in love with someone who doesn’t believe what I do… settle… the racing is in reference to Go Karts… mostly.
So, we left off with plans for date two with the Matthew McConaughey sound-a-like, and knowing that the “what do you believe” convo was on the table. No pressure, right?
(let me interject here… that I didn’t think I’d be using this as #12, so I didn’t take pictures. Ugh! But, I’ll put in a couple of us from other hang-outs so you see how totes adorbs he is…)
Brian was SUCH a gentleman. He showed up at my house with a blazer and the ever-ready cowboy hat… and a bouquet of flowers.
A bouquet of FLOWERS.
Now, I’m gonna venture out and say (and I don’t think I’m revising history here…) that no man has EVER showed up on my doorstep before taking me out on a date …with flowers in hand. And they were pretty too – Christmasy.
While I was putting them in a vase, he asked how I’d feel about going Go-Kart racing. (He had told me earlier that we’d be doing something “active” for the first part of the date – and that I’d have full-veto power about that part, and then could come back to my place so I could change for the rest of the date… I LOVE that he thought it all out.) I quickly responded, “Sure!”
Only later, as we were walking into the racing place did I realize I was REALLY nervous!
First of all, Brian used to race. Like – really race. As in – if you type his full name into Google, the world “Racing” automatically fills in. Yeah.
Oh…I google people. More on that in a later blog post…
Secondly, I’ve never done this before! And it’s PRACTICALLY his first impression of me. Minus a quick round of drinks on our mini first date…
And lastly, I’m relatively certain I’m gonna suck. I mean – I like to drive quickly (and it’s gotten me into my fair share of speeding tickets), but I’m also conservative and not a huge risk-taker, so driving some car I don’t know at super fast speeds around a track I don’t know, all while wearing a helmet which I’m not used to, and having to pay attention to this entire series of signs and flags I was just briefed on by a junior in high school…. Can you feel your pulse racing? <—racing…. see what I did there?
So, we were sitting in our cars waiting for our turn and I was SO anxious…I KNEW Brian would win. I knew I would lose. My only prayer was that I didn’t screw up so badly they’d have to stop the race and come pull me out of the crumpled guardrail I’d just demolished with my terrible turning radius…
And as I was sitting there in the car, my heartrate quickly speeding up to match the pace of the cars zooming past us, I started calming myself down by saying (to myself…don’t worry, I didn’t talk out loud like a crazy person), “Sarah – you write a blog about dating,….you ask men out all the time… you are always telling other women to be bolder and initiate the first move with men of interest… and you can’t drive a toy car? Pull it TOGETHER woman! What’s the worst that could happen? (don’t interrupt my self-talk with ideas of public humiliation in front of an experienced and dashing race car driver… this is MY pep talk, darnnit!)
And with my newfound sense of confidence, we began the race.
What a high! I was right about finishing last, but I didn’t ever have to stop the race and publicly embarrass myself because of some idiotic mistake, so that’s something.
It was a lot of fun. And yes… Brian was in first place. And yes… I was in last place. But, that was expected. And him winning, was pretty rock star.
We drove back to my place where I quickly changed, refluffed my hair from having some sort of cat burglar mask smooshed onto it (a head sock for the helmet… Brian called it some fancy name that sounded like Baklava, but I dunno…), and when I walked back down the stairs, he caught his breath and told me I looked great. Does this man have any flaws?? (oh yeah…there’s that whole “might not be a big fan of Jesus thing…”)
He had made dinner reservations at Benjy’s (which, as I’ve mentioned, is one of my favorite spots in Houston. Brian didn’t know that… he just chose well. Much like his choice in company). 😉
We had the nicest meal. He was completely on board to split two entrees so we could each experience two meals (not a lot of people agree to that… I’m not sure why?!). We flirted with our waiter (who MAY have been high…), we laughed and talked and every time I got up to go use the restroom, he would stand. And every time I returned to get into my seat, he stood. I have never had a date do that. And, while it sounds old-fashioned as I sit here and type about it, when I was THERE, it made me feel like royalty.
Finally the time came for the faith talk. It was a natural segue… you know – me pounding my fist on the table and saying, “Alright, let’s DO this thing!!” No, it really was pretty organic and honest and he did a good job of talking about his family, how he was raised, and what he’s come to decide/believe. He was gracious and winsome and we even even joked throughout the conversation. But, as delightful as it was… it was also discouraging (for me) because he really is agnostic. I guess I’d hoped that he’d say something like, “Well, I put “agnostic” on my profile because (fill in the blank here…
‘I’ve become so frustrated with the flaws of organized religion’ (I can work with that…)
‘I was so hurt in my church after my divorce’ (I can work with that too)
‘I didn’t like the other options because they weren’t an accurate representation of my true beliefs, which are just to follow Christ’ (who COULDN’T work with that?)”
But, he truly is agnostic. SOOOoooooo…… I knew I would enjoy the rest of the date because he is a FANTASTIC guy. But, my heart sank because I also knew – I can never marry this man…which means it would be stupid to let myself fall in love with him… which means it would also be foolish to continue dating him. I don’t ever think I’ve been so disappointed to anticipate the friend zone.
But, I was right about enjoying the rest of the night.
Brian knew I love to play, so he suggested heading over to an English pub that has darts, and after that, on to a pool hall.
At the pub, he totally schooled me in darts. And not like Taylor, who came up from behind because I was so horrible at the bullseye. No – Brian’s aim was unparalleled and the scores weren’t even CLOSE. On the second game, he worked through the numbers in proper order and let me play slops and I still lost miserably. Haha! Oh well, all hope was not lost because it was in that dimly lit darts hallway where he kissed me.
OK – I know what you’re thinking… why would you kiss him if you know you’re going to have to just be friends? Oh… I wish it was that simple, y’all. He’s SO handsome and kind and smart and funny and…the list just goes on and on…did I mention charming? Sigh… I don’t think I stood a chance at resisting his smooches. And I’m glad I didn’t, because he was an AMAZING kisser. Tender, respectful while also being passionate… perfect.
I don’t feel bad about the kiss – in part because I’d already laid out for him what I want/need in a romantic partner (faith-wise), so he had to have known exactly what I did… that this date would probably be our last, barring future friend-only ones. So, it’s not like he was thinking we were smooth sailing into lovey-dovey land and I was being the Cruella de-Ville of relationships.
We headed over to the pool hall and played a couple of games – I actually WON the second one – yay! And we kissed a little here and there between shots.. .it was really nice.
He drove me home, walked me to my door and we kissed some more. Hey – I’ve already given you my rationale… if you don’t like it…skip ahead to the non-smooching portion of the post. 😉
I don’t regret anything. We were both honest and had a great time.
A couple days later, we decided to meet up to see a movie. I knew I needed to have ‘the talk’ and tell him I don’t see how we could work out, given the huge gap in beliefs… and I did it that night. He knew it was coming and, while he was disappointed (oh…I do hate that part… so much…), he also understood where I was coming from and respected my choice.
I’m not done with Brian, though. He’s WAY too much of a catch to let go of. (Did I just accidentally make a fishing metaphor? Wow…I am SO sporty).
We’ve already hung out again since having ‘the talk’ and it was REALLY nice. We walked around CityCentre one night after playing darts/pool/shuffleboard nearby, and he asked a couple clarifying questions about the faith/religion thing and I got a chance to elucidate my thoughts on it all…which was good.
I also invited him to join my singles group that I’ve mentioned before and he came out with us last night for karaoke and 2-stepping! Of COURSE my friends loved him… because he’s great.
I envision a great friendship here. There will definitely be that low hum of sadness/disappointment for a while as I mourn the potential of something that would’ve been amazing…yet incomplete for me. But, I’m willing to be reminded of that and deal with it, if it means getting to have Brian as one of my friends. He’s worth it.
And now we’ve come to the end of the 12 dates… aaaaahhhh……….. I’m going to go have a bath.
But, stay tuned for a review of the series as well as some pontification over the last year of dating, blogging and the pursuit of love.
In 2 days, I will be moving over to my new website and I would LOVE you to join me there!
I’ll post to both places for January and then it’ll be exclusively the new site.
So – come on over as we take the party to my new digs.
And a special thanks to my sweet friend Tyler, for helping build the website and patiently walking me through learning how to use it, getting the fonts I wanted on there and in general, just being awesome.