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Archive for December, 2012

12 Dates and Beyond

Kind of like Bed Bath and Beyond, but way sexier…

So here we are at the end of the 12 Dates series AND at the end of the year, so I thought I’d take a moment to look back on both.

First, the numbers:

17 years age range
11 men
10 good dates
9 restaurants
6 kisses
5 pubs
4 dating sites
3 cities
2 shows
1 lost skirt

I’ve done improv comedy,
walked the zoo at night,
2-stepped,
salsa danced,
worked my way through a scavenger hunt,
go kart raced,
bowled,
played darts
and pool

What a ride!!

The 12 Dates of Christmas series was an interesting (and exhausting!) study in human interaction. 
I’ll take some great (and not so great) memories with me, as well as a few lessons about myself and the dating game.  Here are some of my observations:

1.  There are a LOT of boys out there.  But, there are still some men.  This gives me hope. 
Most of the guys I went out with were men of character… men that will be amazing partners.  How nice is it to know that they’re out there?

2.  Profiles can be deceiving – both for good and bad.
A couple of these guys, I may not have said yes to SOLELY based on their profiles, but because of the series, I agreed…and I’m glad I did – they were more handsome and charming in reality than their profiles let on.  I realize I’m a huge spelling/grammar nazi, so I often dismiss men who may just not be the best at representing themselves in writing, but are still very intelligent/talented/creative.

3.  I can broaden my physical parameters a bit.  I’ve had these ‘rules’ in my mind about age, height, race, hair…
I didn’t want to date anyone younger than 30 or older than 42, shorter than me in heels, a different race (read the post on that before assuming I’m a horrible person), or bald/balding.  And yet, I went out with ALL of those during this series, and had a fantastic time! 
The youngest and oldest dates were two of the most fun. 
I discovered a black man that kisses the way I like,
had a blast with men who were my height or shorter,
thoroughly enjoyed 3 men who were bald or balding
and basically all-around had to eat my own words.

I’ve gotten a lot of judgement for having too many first dates, very few second dates and being too picky. 
But, the more I’m in this game and learning about myself and the people I spend time with, the more confident I am that I CAN hold out for what I really want.  Not perfection… but perfect for me.

I’m going to keep being picky.
I’m going to keep eliminating quickly – being decisive and honest, so that no one gets unnecessarily hurt.
I’m going to continue expecting the best.  Because, not only am I worth finding an amazing man, but I have a big, passionate and authentic love to GIVE.

So, there you have it. 
The last year has run the gamut for me.  Almost exactly a year ago, I had my heart broken so badly – I didn’t think I’d survive. 
And, in some ways I’m NOT the same…that experience is still with me…it shaped me… but I’m good.  REALLY good.  And after the initial pain subsided, and I ventured back into the world of dating, I gained SO much!   What exactly did I gain from all this, you ask?

  • I’ve learned more about myself, my expectations and desires in a relationship.  The things I used to think were at the top of the list aren’t, and other things have become priorities.
  • I’ve grown more comfortable on dates, so that – as I walk into a bar/wine bar/restaurant/coffee shop, I’m not nervous or anxious… I just have an excitement and anticipation about what THIS date will bring.  I’m not worried that I’ll run out of things to say or that I’ll make a fool of myself… because I’ve learned now that I probably WILL and it’s ok!   I’m at ease in my own skin.
  • I’ve made some AMAZING friends.  A year ago, there was no Tyler, Brian G., Alan, Doug, Derek, Jenny, Denise, Jason, James or Brian K. in my life.  ALL of these people have been added into my circle of friends because of online dating/blogging, …and I couldn’t be more grateful. 

So, when we’re laughing (or wincing) at all the horrible messages, terrible texts and unthinkably awful profiles, remember that there is a huge GOOD side to this world.  I’m glad I’m in it.  Of course I hope that my search for love doesn’t last too much longer… but while it continues, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy the ride.

See you in 2013!  And see you on my website – launching TOMORROW!

www.sarahmariestone.com

-Sarah-


#12 – Twelve Hearts A-Racing

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
Sca-ven-ger Huuuunk…
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent,
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!”

Brian - CityCentre night

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.

Brian - karaoke night

Blazer and a straw hat… not a bad combo.

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!
www.sarahmariestone.com

I’ll post to both places for January and then it’ll be exclusively the new site.
S
o – 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.  


#11 – Eleven Hats A-Rockin’

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

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
Sca-ven-ger Huuuunt…
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent,
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Alright…I’m gonna cheat just a little here.  I’m going to use Brian as my number 11 AND my number 12 (and I’ll use the 12th post to review all the dates!)…because we had THAT much fun together, and have been out a few times now.

Brian Convo

(Now, before you go getting all excited… wait to hear the “catch”… sigh…)

First of all, I just texted Brian (real name) to ask him if he had any requests for his psuedonym, to which he replied, “how about Ali Benizir Kamal?”…. what a NUT!  This guy is so silly…and adorable… and… well – I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me start from the beginning.

I met Brian on Zoosk.  He messaged me first and we got a little banter going… (to the left)

Somehow, in all the flurry of discussion, and me doing my cursory check of his profile to see what he looked like, if all the you’res had apostrophes, and make sure there weren’t any “alot”s, I jumped in, and missed an important piece of information.  A piece I ALWAYS check, but for some reason…didn’t.  We’ll get back to that later…

So, Brian and I met up at Sullivan’s near the Galleria.

We had the BEST bartender who made all sorts of suggestions and conversation about food and wine and scotch, and even took our picture for us.  Brian was easy to talk to from the beginning – very real, down-to-earth, funny, and all with the smooth voice of Matthew McConaughey.  No lie.  If I close my eyes, it sounds just like him.  MMMmmmm…

Brian & Matthew

I’m just sayin’…

At one point, I dropped my earring as he bent down to get it for me (sweet), I remarked about how I have a problem with losing earrings.  He replied, “well, at least this time you didn’t dance it off.”  And I knew that he’d been keeping up with my blog (where I’d mentioned that in one of the recent posts).  I said so and he replied, “Well, it wouldn’t be good sense to go on a date without doing my RESEARCH, now would it?”  So cute.

So we chatted.  We talked about our children, our jobs, the dating scene… and it was really nice.  Brian has this twinkle in his eyes when he’s listening to you – the kind where I kept finding myself pausing mid-sentence, distracted by this light in his eyes and face.  For me, there was definitely a spark.

Brian 1

So cute.

Oh… at one point, he even told me that I had a bit of spinach in my teeth.  Now that’s a good guy right there.  I mean – sure, it was a moment of embarrassment – but how much MORE embarrassed would I have been to discover later that it had been there the whole time?  Points, Brian.

We only had about an hour and a half because I was meeting up with a friend to go to a concert.  Toward the end of our time, I made a comment about really looking forward to this concert and Brian, very tenderly, put his hand on my knee and said, “Oh man.. it’s too bad you’re really looking forward to it… that means there’s no chance of convincing you to skip it.”
(enter stomach butterflies here… handsome man in a cowboy hat and blazer, with his hand on my knee, letting me know he obviously likes me enough to want to spend more time with me… sigh…)

He took care of the bill, despite my offer to split it (such a gentleman), and stood up to hug me as I left.  No kiss.  And, though part of me was disappointed, another part respected the fact that, (as he texted me the next day), “an hour of time together didn’t seem like enough to make a kiss ok.”  Indeed, Brian.  Indeed.

So,… I knew I wanted to hang out with him again.  But… here comes the catch.

I went back to Brian’s profile page, to check it out again (not sure exactly why), and there it was – jumping out at me as if to say, “Stupid GIRL!  How could you have MISSED this??”

Brian - the catch

……..the catch

Yup – Brian’s agnostic.

NOOOoooooo!!!!

He’s SO great!  But, as you all know – the faith thing is a big deal for me.  Many other potential suitors have fallen by the wayside for this reason, and I’m sure many more will.  But, man… it never stops being so disappointing.

In my optimism, I decided to ask him about it, in the middle of our making plans to hang out again… thinking maybe he’ll say, “Oh, yeah – I put that on my profile, but really I love Jesus.”  You know… cause THAT happens all the time…

Here’s a bit of our text conversation on the matter…

texts 1

texts 2

texts 3

I felt like I’d spent so little time with Brian on our first date, and I could tell he’s a person of thoughtfulness and depth, so – at the very least – I should hear him out and see what it is he really believes… and go from there.  So we made plans to go out on date #2 (or #12 for this series’ purposes)… and…
You’ll have to read #12 to hear about it.

Oh yes.  Yes I did.


#10 – Ten Rauls A-Mystery-ing

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

10 Rauls A-Mystery-ing
9 Friends A-Tempting,
8 Cradles A-Robbing
7 Smoke’s A-Blowing
6 Skirts A-Dropping
Sca-ven-ger Huuuunt…
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent,
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Raul returns!

I told you that I’d feature different SORTS of dates in this series, and this was, as Raul kept calling it, a “Mystery Non-Date Date.”

For those of you just joining us, Raul is a friend of mine (who’s name is nothing remotely close to Raul, but chose that Nom de Guerre as a condition of me writing about him) who inspired a post about breaking things off, and later guest posted with advice on what to wear on a date.

Raul and I have become good friends, and we hang out quite often now.  So, when he said he wanted to take me out on a “mystery non-date date,” I knew I wanted to use that as one of my 12 – in part, to show how this whole online dating thing has a sweet secondary advantage while you wait for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect (for you) to come along… it’s a great vehicle for meeting/making new friends.  In fact, in just a couple of hours, I’ll be hosting a Christmas party for over 20 people, most of which I’ve become great friends with through online dating and the ripple effect/connections that’s afforded me!  So, if you’re feeling discouraged about not yet having found your prince/princess – at least you can enjoy the happy byproduct of the search…new friendships.

So, Raul didn’t want to tell me what we’d be doing or where we’d be going.  He just told me what HE would be wearing.

Then, a day or so before the non-date-date, he texted me to talk about dinner options – and he remembered me telling him the story of having gone out on a date with a guy I really liked, who honestly did leave his wallet at home (we’d worked all this out before the date, so it wasn’t some trick – he was a good guy) and I offered to pay for the date… which meant that when the time came to choose the spot to eat, I had this newfound sense of total freedom in deciding..because I was paying!  This is something guys don’t often consider, but as a woman, if we think there’s even the slightest chance that the man will offer to pay, then we have to be careful about the restaurants we choose… don’t choose something so expensive it makes you come across as greedy or a gold-digger, but also don’t go so cheap that it’s a place you won’t enjoy…

Anyway, Raul remembered me telling him that and so he told me to choose a restaurant that I would choose if I knew I’D be paying (even though I wouldn’t be.  Raul is a very generous and traditional man when it comes to taking care of the bill).
I just thought this was so sweet – mostly because it proved that he had been listening when I mentioned that story and he’d tucked it away.  That sort of thoughtfulness and attention to another person, is something Raul has in spades.

So, I threw out a few options, and we settled on Haven, the new culinary darling of the Houston scene (Raul’s words).
Traffic en route to the restaurant was crazy – Christmas season in Houston, I suppose.  So, we got there late and Raul was a little stressed about the time because we had SOMETHING to get to at 7:30.  But, the long ride to the restaurant also afforded us time to talk…and we had a great conversation about family traditions, holidays, …we even got into our parents’/grandparents’ love stories – which was a lot of fun.

Raul at Haven

Dinner at Haven was so yummy and our server was a total hoot – taking our picture, bantering about food and our evening schedule, and even at the end, running out to grab the car to give us an edge, timewise.

IMG_4388

Crabcake Appetizer

IMG_4390

Raul’s Quail

IMG_4389

My Wild Shrimp with Butternut Squash Puree

 

 

 

Then, we drove like a bat out of Hades through downtown Houston to the Alley Theater, to see a delightfully funny and even briefly poignant show, “The SantaLand Diaries.”  This is a one-man show (a hilarious one man, I might add) about a man taking a job as one of Santa’s elves at Macy’s in NY.  It’s based on the work by David Sedaris, so you know it was hilarious.SantaLand Diaries 1

The reason why this was such a good choice, is that Raul chose something which matched my personality/interests perfectly – it’s Christmasy (and I am a total sucker for all things Christmas… I’m that girl who actually LIKES hearing “Jingle Bell Rock” playing over the mall speakers… because it means we’re in the Christmas season!!), AND it’s comedy (and I absolutely LOVE comedy… stand-up, improv, you name it).

santaland - the elf himself

We squeaked in JUST in time before they closed the doors and then proceeded to laugh our tooshies off for the duration of the show.

When it was done, as we were climbing into Raul’s car, he remarked on what a beautiful night it was and asked if I’d like to take a walk.  I, of course, agreed and he said he’d drive us to someplace suitable.  As we were driving, I kept thinking, “why doesn’t he just pull over here?  Or here?  Downtown is beautiful!?”
After a few minutes of driving, I finally asked, “Where are you going?”  He laughed and said, “I was wondering when you were gonna ask!  I thought we’d go check out the lights at the zoo.”

Now, for those of you who live in H-town, you already know this, but the Houston zoo puts up a million lights each year at Christmastime – “Zoo Lights” – and you can buy tickets to walk through the zoo at night while looking at the different themes and listening to the music they have playing… it’s quite beautiful.  So, that’s what we did!

ZooLights

In addition to the traditional lights, they also had several displays of neon-tubing that were quite mesmerizing

ZooLights

ZooLights3

The main thoroughfare of the zoo – a canopy of lights

So, we walked around, talking, laughing and enjoying the beauty of the lights.  It was really nice.  I highly recommend this as part of a date in the winter, as it affords you space to talk, as well as something to look at or “do.”

http://youtu.be/_KTERvxAIjA

Most of the animals were tucked back into their sleeping nooks, but we DID get to see the giraffes up close and personal, and we probably stood there for 10 minutes, just watching them, imagining what they were thinking, naming them (I wonder if between the two of us, we could remember all the names we gave them… I seem to remember Janet, Larry, Leslie, Barkley, Farkley and Markely (the triplets), …and there were more.  Fantastic creatures.

We finally left when the zoo closed down for the night and headed home.

The night was lovely – as I KNEW it would be – because I’ve come to know Raul pretty well and he’s always fun to spend time with.

But, not only do we enjoy each others’ company, he is an expert listener – always tucking away stories and thoughts I’ve said or told him about, that come up weeks later in conversation or – in this case – a date.  He knew how much I love Christmas and Christmas lights… and he chose the course of the date based on knowing me.  And it was perfect.

So, let this be a lesson – my testamonial, if you will – that the online dating thing has its privileges and perks, even if you haven’t yet found your great love story.  I would never have met or befriended Raul if it weren’t for being online, …and what  a loss that would’ve been, because he’s one of my best friends now.

So – if you’re wary about getting your profile out there – think of Janet and the triplets, think of lights and one-man shows, think of car-rides with great conversation – and go for it.  Maybe you’ll find a Raul too.


#9 – Nine Friends A-Tempting

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

9 Friends A-Tempting,
8 Cradles A-Robbing
7 Smoke’s A-Blowing
6 Skirts A-Dropping
Sca-ven-ger Huuuunt…
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent,
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

I feel I should tell you that this AND the next date are platonic.

Thud.  <—the sounds of thousands of readers dropping their smartphones/ipads/etc. out of indignant disappointment.

But hold on… just because the dates weren’t filled with smooches and declarations of future love, doesn’t mean they weren’t fantastic.

Let’s start with Andrew (oooooooohhh….using his real name and EVERYthing.  Scandal.  Well…as much scandal as is possible when the person tells you it’s ok…).

Remember WAY back on date #3 (Taco Bob… bowling…frozen yogurt…ringing any bells?), when I posted a coupon for Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in the Heights?  Well…. when I wrote to the corporate office to ask them if they’d consider providing a coupon for me to post on my blog, I got THIS reply:

andrew e-mail

To which I responded… “How old are you?  Can I see a picture?”  Ok, so maybe I said it a little more diplomatically than that, but c’mon – I knew nothing about this guy, except that he co-owns a Frozen Yogurt shop.  Hmmm… now that I think about it – that’s really all I need to know.

He promptly replied with some number where there was a 3 in the front, and a photo of a very handsome man.  I was in.

We started making plans, and in our back and forth e-mails, I could tell he was an intelligent guy, and witty.  So, of course, he crushed my growing anticipation by clarifying that this was just a friend date, because he is dating someone else and wanting to be honorable in pursuing her.  Y’all, he used the word pursuing – no lie.  Sigh…

So – here I am with a date set up with a guy who’s handsome, runs a business (not to mention, one that could keep me knee deep in mint FroYo), is funny, smart, aaaaaaaaaaaaand……….unavailable.  Awesome.

But, I figured, how can I pass it up?  I know we’ll enjoy each others’ company – I could tell that much from the back and forth e-mails.  And I DID say I was going to have all sorts of dates showcased in this series, so… yeah.

We decided a daytime walk/bite-to-eat in the Heights was in order (and since I knew there was no chance of a mug-down session, I didn’t need to cleverly suggest somewhere that we could nestle into a smoochy nook).  I had to change our plans a couple of times because of kiddo’s schedules and he was quite gracious about it, playfully teasing me about being “back burnered.”

We met for lunch at Liberty Kitchen, an Oyster bar in the Heights, and it was smooth sailing almost from the first hello.

IMG_4362

Sorry for the blurry shot…

Now – THIS is the kind of date that I don’t think anyone really wants to read about… because it was just …nice!  Bad dates are entertaining, but a guy who’s polite, kind, funny, intelligent and handsome, while a fantastic lunch partner, doesn’t exactly make for stem-winding reading.

But, I promised you honest accounts of my 12 dates, so – splash some water on your face and let’s do this.

Andrew was great.  Too great, actually.  I’ll explain in a minute.  He was friendly – quick with a smile and a laugh, did a great job of keeping that balance of talking about himself and asking me questions about me, had a great sense of humor, and was all around pleasant company.  And so handsome.  And did I mention that he’s a Christian (some of you may remember that’s a thing for me… to find someone who lines up with me in what we believe)?  Yeah – when I cyber-stalked…er… did some preliminary research on him before we met (which, of course, I NEVER usually do……ahem…), I saw some things on his FB page that made me think he MIGHT be, but at lunch I got to ask him about his church, and was pleasantly surprised to find a guy who not only believes what I do, but can articulate the motivation behind choosing his church…which speaks to his character and level of engagement with his faith.

IMG_4365

So – really – the only thing wrong with this guy, that I can tell… is that he’s someone else’s guy.

Honestly, this date was funny for me because it left me with two opposing emotional reactions.

On the one hand, I felt this sense of sadness that I finally found a great guy – the kind of guy I could totally fall for… and he’s taken.  AAaaargh!!!  Frustrating.
On the other hand, I felt a renewed sense of encouragement that I CAN be picky and hold out for the kind of man I want – because there ARE still some out there.  I haven’t had that feeling in a while… I mean – I’ve met some AMAZING men in this journey, but only once in a while do I encounter someone who really meets that ‘can’t put your finger on it’ “THING” I’m looking for.  And, while Andrew may not be the one for me, he represents the fact that the pool isn’t completely dry.  And, the very thing that was most discouraging (his being already committed to another woman) is also a piece of what makes him so attractive (that commitment to that other woman… shows his character and his heart).

IMG_4368

So… the search continues.

Sigh with me, will you?
Sigh…

But, the date wasn’t completely in vain… I think I may have convinced him to bring the mint Frozen Yogurt back.  I mean, c’mon… who even eats Taro?  It’s just a food-snob’s coconut.  But, I digress.

Take away:
Andrew- good guy.
Date- refreshing.
Menchie’s- the place to go for a sweet treat.
Sarah’s love life – soldiering on.


 

A note about this series…

Just because today is Christmas doesn’t mean I’m tapping out at 9.  I’ve completed my 12 dates – but I just didn’t have the time to GO on all of those dates AND write them up, while living a (relatively) normal life with jobs and children and the holidays demanding my time!  So… stay tuned.  They’ll be posted before Epiphany <–(that’s for the church-calendar nerds out there).

And while I’m adding postscripts – let me also remind you that in mere days, “AndAllThatSass” will be moving to my very own website!!  Keep reading for more information…


#8 – Eight Cradles A-Robbing

On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

8 Cradles A-Robbing
7 Smoke’s A-Blowing
6 Skirts A-Dropping
Sca-ven-ger Huuuunk…
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent, and
A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Welcome to my cougar date.

Sigh… Sadly, I’m not even kidding.

I’ve been jokingly called a cougar, because I seem to be attracted to men SLIGHTLY younger than myself, but I never go out with any that are significantly younger – on principle. But, this series is supposed to feature all different KINDS of dates, so…. I decided to take a young man (a very young man) up on his offer to go out.

I met Taylor (I’m calling him Taylor because he has one of those adorable last-name-for-a-first-name names, and “Taylor” just SOUNDS young) when he played upright bass in a jazz ensemble with my best friend one night at her gig. He was filling in for her usual guy and we met. He was very flirty and charming. We only exchanged numbers because a group of us were going to head out after that to go salsa dancing and he said he might like to join us. In the end, there was an issue with texts going through and he never got the information about the salsa spot… but the next day, he asked me out for brunch. I was flattered, but had other plans (AND he’s so YOUNG!) – “how young IS he, Sarah?”… well – let’s just say there’s a 2 in the front and leave it at that, shall we? Old enough to drink, young enough to not be marriage material – that we didn’t meet up.

But he read my blog and enjoyed it and we kept in touch with the occasional text here and there.

So, when he texted me one day to check in, I asked if he’d be up for being my baby child boy-toy slightly-younger-than-I-am date for my 12 Dates series. He was, (as I suspected he WOULD be) a great sport about it – even asking for clarification about his role. So cute.

We agreed to meet up at an English pub in the village, and I asked if we could grab something to eat from the restaurant next door and bring it back over (since the bar didn’t have much in the way of food and mama was hungry!). So, headed over to Benjy’s and while we waited for the pizza, we dove straight into what turned out to be a surprisingly lovely evening.

Taylor made me giggle right off the bat when he instituted a policy whereby, if he raised his hand while saying something, that information was inadmissable to the blog. “Off the record,” if you will. Awesome. Of course he didn’t ever end up raising his hand throughout the night, but it started us out in a light-hearted way, which is always good.

Taylor - at Benjys

We brought the pizza back into the pub and ordered a couple of beers. I asked if Taylor wanted to sit at the bar so he could watch the game (there was an important Texans game on…why do I always end up on dates when there’s football to compete with?), but he made this anti-football girl’s heart flutter when he said, “no, I’m not here to watch football!” (swoon…) and we retreated to the side room with the fireplace/bookshelves/sofas – very English parlor-esque.

P 3 - fireplace with beer and pizza

So we sat and talked… and talked… and talked…

Who knew a young thing like Taylor had so many interesting opinions and ideas? They must be teaching that kinda stuff earlier these days…

We talked about music, about children (he wasn’t at all freaked out about me having kiddos…which surprised me), about dating, jobs, and on and on. He was so easy to talk to, and (as you can see in the photos), adorable to look at. And, despite his age, he was so conversationally adept – keeping a balanced cadence of his own thoughts as well as asking me about myself and my world. Color me impressed.

After a while, I mentioned the fact that they had pool and darts in another room and Taylor was totally game – for a game. This is my kinda guy – ready to spring into playful action at a moment’s notice.

So, we played a very flirty but competitive game of darts. To be fair, I totally had him on the ropes all the way through – knocking out my 17s, 18, and such, but got SO stymied by that blasted bullseye, that I gave him ample time to come up from behind and ….(though it pains me to say it) …win.

But he was a great sport, and didn’t do that annoying thing some guys do where they try to correct your stance or act so superior about their form that it feels less like a game and more like a darts clinic. No, Taylor was an absolute blast.

P 6 - Darts

As a side note – and the only purpose of this paragraph is for me to brag – there was a small group of British friends playing pool next to us and we started some friendly banter with them. I, of course, had to sport my English accent, and after a while, I overhead the woman tell the guys, “my gosh, her accent is better than mine!” SUCCESS!!! My crowning moment… I can die happy now.
Ok – toot-my-own-horn rant over.

We then went onto the patio for a few minutes and enjoyed the gorgeous crisp weather. We talked some more, evening opening up about some more serious topics (past flames, family, etc.), and then he kissed me.
Oh boy…did he kiss me. The man can smooch.
It wasn’t anything crass or over-the-top, but it was perfectly sensual and passionate. MMmmmm…. this guy is danger.

We retreated back into the parlor/library room where we talked, laughed, joked some more. I stole his hat and allowed as how I thought I looked WAY cuter in it than he did…

Taylor was free with the compliments too… even saying at one point (I MAY have committed this to memory right after he said it…), “You’re amazing. I mean – you’re beautiful… But your personality is awesome!”
You speak the truth, young lad.

P 4 - the hat's on the other head...

Finally, we needed to go, and he asked if he could take me somewhere else for one more drink. I acquiesced… (who wouldn’t?) and started to follow him out of the parking lot, when I realized I’d left my phone and my scarf inside the pub. So, we turned around and I headed in to get them, only to find that a gang of drunk 30-something men on the patio had found said scarf, and one of them was wearing it. Great. Gross. Ugh…I can already tell I’m going to have to engage in some kind of drunken negotiations to get it back. So – I turned on my charming and cheerful persona, thanked them for finding it and asked politely for the scarf back. The guy wearing it thought he was being funny, but he was just being a jerk about it and not giving it back to me, saying – “this doesn’t smell like you…I don’t think it’s really yours!” (yes… you’ve deduced correctly… he sniffed me. SNIFFED ME, people…)

After my best protestations, they would NOT give me the stinkin’ scarf (drunk guys can be such fashion-hogs), so I gave up. I thought when they saw me walking away, they’d cave, but no – they’d fully committed to the jerk role and were playing the part beautifully.

When Taylor saw me returning to my car scarfless, he hopped out with a puzzled look on his face. I explained the situation and he marched right into the bar and politely, but firmly told them to return my scarf to me. They played the same boorish game with him, but he was having nothing to do with it. He reached up and grabbed one end of the scarf and used a perfect balance of a “don’t mess with me” tone and playful banter with these idiots as he pulled the scarf off the guy with the same finesse as a magician pulling bandanas from a pocket. In less than 2 minutes, the scarf was ours again and we were heading out.
I have to admit… it’s PRETTY sexy when a guy will stand up for you – even if it IS about something as insignificant as an accessory. (Though…it was a VERY cute accessory – black ruffles and all).

P 5 - Bier Haus

He tried to take us to “The Big Easy,” a sweet blues spot that often has live music… but it was closed, so we headed over to Hans’ Bier Haus where we had some Christmas-y brew and sat by the jukebox just chatting some more. At one point he even quoted Lord Byron. BYRON, friends…

This was a great date. I mean – truly. It was such a refreshing surprise to find such depth AND playfulness in a guy so young. Some of the stuff we talked about would have been socially paralyzing for many men much older, but Taylor was comfortable and winsome.

He kissed me again outside the Bier Haus before returning to his car. Yum. …and sigh…

So… the cougar date ended exactly how you wish it won’t … with me wanting to spend more time with someone who’s really not appropriate for me to date.

I figured that after the fun of the night wore off, when he woke up the next day, unaltered by alcohol or my captivating smile, he would think of our date with fondness, but then move on. I didn’t expect any texts or follow-up conversation.

But… I was wrong.

He texted me to ask when this would post, and after I told him (and asked if he was nervous about the write-up!), he texted, “Well, regardless of the ‘grade’ I receive…I plan on pursuing you again 🙂 ”

Totes adorbs.

So – that brings us to now. We haven’t hung out again because I’ve been so busy with holiday stuff and little ones. But, not for lack of his trying – he’s texted a couple times asking if I was available to go out.

What shall I do? I guess I should also throw out there, that it’s not just the age thing which has me perplexed… I think he and I are probably in different place on the issue of faith. (You know… that whole sticky wicket of me loving God and wanting to find a guy who does too?). Now, I’m not CERTAIN of this… it’s just what I picked up from our brief foray into that topic. Maybe another date would clear it up? But then, when you combine that with him being a neophyte (in more ways than one?)… I’m not so sure… Then again, he’s sweet, smart, funny, thoughtful, fun to be around and an amazing kisser.

Hmmm………..

So, I’ll do what any self-respecting not-bold-enough-to-make-her-own-decisions dater would do…
I’m opening it up to readers’ suggestions… do I go out with him again, but make it clear that we just need to be friends? How young IS too young? I want to hear your thoughts.
The best comment (as judged by my entirely subjective mood, with extra consideration to those that make me laugh…) will receive a free “AndAllThatSass” notepad.
I know… I know… the excitement is almost unbearable.

Let the advising begin.


#7 – Seven Smoke’s A-Blowin’

On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

7 Smoke’s A-Blowin’
6 Skirts A-Dropping
Sca-ven-ger Huuuuunk…..
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent,
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad.

Well… this MAY have been the worst date I’ve been on …to date.

I met Kevin on Match.com and thought his profile was funny.

We started texting a WHILE ago (like…months ago), and then he sort of drifted off. He kept asking me out by text for just a few hours later, and with kids, I just don’t usually have that kind of flexibility. So, I kept telling him that I couldn’t, but that if he’d give me some warning, I’d love to meet!

We reconnected a few weeks ago and I told him about the 12 Dates series I was doing on here and asked if he’d be up for it. He agreed, and we decided to meet for a drink that night (again…last minute).

He wanted to go somewhere dog-friendly because he’d been in court all day and his dog had been abandoned long enough. That was fine with me. I’ve never had someone bring their pet on a date, but hey! – new experiences are good, right?

We met at Little Woodrows in Midtown. When I arrived…I texted that I was walking in, hoping he’d watch for me or come to meet me (I suppose they can’t ALL be Taco Bobs…. greeting you at the door with your favorite brew…). I walked around looking for the guy in the photos on his profile, but was having difficulty. Finally I just looked for a guy with a dog and found him.

At the risk of sounding mean, I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t think he looked like he portrayed himself in his profile:

Um...is it just me??

So… while I’m still having this internal dialogue with myself about expectations and gestalt shifts, I’m simultaneously trying to make good first date conversation – asking him about his work, his dog, etc.
…and all the while, his eyes are glued to the TV screen where the Texans are playing.
As in… not looking at me… just sort of half-grunting, half-answering or sitting in silence while watching the game.
When he did give a longer answer, he did so while continuing to hold his gaze at the TV screen, so as to make me feel like he could just be talking to WHOEVER was in the vicinity.
Keep it classy, Kevin.

Now, let me pause to address what I KNOW some of you are thinking (especially the Texas residents) –
“Well, that was a big game! (Against the Patriots) I can see why he was distracted!”

But, here’s the thing… HE agreed to go out – AND be under the microscope, knowing I’d be writing about the date, AND he chose the place (a place with TVs showing the game)… so any inattention to our conversation… or to me at ALL – was on him. I feel pretty strongly about this. If you’re going to be the architect of the date, that carries with it the responsibility of being mentally dialed in to said date.
I have no problem dating someone who loves football, but since I DON’T, I at least expect that he’ll plan accordingly so that there’s not a competition.

I tried to order this fantastic pumpkin beer I’d had there before, but they had taken it off the menu and I needed a minute to think of what I DID want. And he seemed annoyed.

Then, he proceeded to pull a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and light one up.

Uuuuuuummm….. wha?

I am pretty hard-core in my opinion of smoking… no love lost for those who do, but I don’t want to date a smoker. Like – at all.

So, I said, in what I thought was the least judgmental tone I’m capable of, “Oh! You’re – uh …you’re profile didn’t say you were a smoker!?”
His response: “Yeah. I kinda lied about that. But I only smoke when I drink. And Match doesn’t have that category.” (Sans eye-contact, of course, because… the Texans are on, after all…)

Now – I know lots of people in this camp – they don’t smoke other than when they’re drinking. So, I get it. It’s common.
But, guess what? That still COUNTS as “SMOKING!” And since you DO drink, that means (by virture of the law of association?) that you DO in fact, smoke. And, I do in fact, not like it.

So we have a couple of problems here:

kevin - smoking options on match.com1. While Match.com, unlike some of the other dating sites, doesn’t have a box to check that says “Smokes? Only when drinking,” they DO have a box called “occasionally.”
That’s you, Kevin.
THAT’S the box ya shoulda checked. I suppose people who only smoke when they drink, don’t consider themselves “occasional smokers,” but I can’t think of a better term FOR it.
You smoke.
On occasion.
Occasionally.

Yeah…that’s you.

2. Since when are we totes cool with people lying on their profiles? I mean, hello – I know it happens all the time, but isn’t there still some universal notion that it’s not right or good? Putting up photos from when you looked differently or saying that you don’t smoke when you do, or….a myriad other ways people can “fake out” the system – just doesn’t make any sense to me, if you know that the end-game will have you – on a date – with someone who chose you based on your exaggerated profile!?
Not to mention that, last time I checked, lying was bad.
As in – wrong. Immoral. Not friendly.
DEFINITELY on Santa’s naughty list.

So, here I was, with a date who was, both literally and metaphorically, blowing smoke. …while giving me clipped answers so as not to disturb his concentration on the football game, and certainly not asking me ANY questions about myself.

I looked around and asked if he knew if they had a pool table or darts at this location, to which he responded, “Meh…I don’t wanna get into all that...”

Finally (when there was a commercial), he suggested we go inside where it was a little warmer (this was QUITE a chilly night).
By this point, I’m just wishing I had the guts to actually use one of my “Early Dismissal Forms“… or, at the very least, just say, “Look… I think we can both agree that this isn’t exactly a match made in heaven. So, I’m just gonna go.”

But, what sounds SO easy now, as I type this from the comfort of my couch, is socially terrifying when you’re in the moment. Even though I have virtually nothing invested in this man, I still don’t want to hurt his feelings. Plus… it’s just not culturally acceptable to walk out of a date, unless the person does something REALLY egregious. Right?
Besides… I knew my readers were waiting with bated breath to hear about #7, and… how could I disappoint?

So, I forced myself to endure another 20 minutes or so with him where, I’ll admit that the conversation got a LITTLE bit better (mostly because he didn’t have a clear line of sight to the game now), but having set the bar so very low at the outset of the date, I was easily wowed with communication gems such as:

– him saying that he doesn’t like to read “middle-brow literature, like the Kite Runner.” Uuuum…. one of my favorite books…thanks a lot. He said that his ex-girlfriend had called him an intellectual snob because of that opinion. Hey, cowboy… you shoulda listened to her.
I asked him what would qualify for “high brow,” first joking, “OOoooh, totally. I only read the classics, like 50 Shades of Gray.” He gave me a pity chuckle and I followed with, “but what are we talking about, then — Ana Karenina? Or does it have to be Constitutional Law?” (thinking I’m being adorable by making reference to the “literature” of his profession.) He allowed as to how the classics COULD be classified as ‘high brow,’ but then listed off some of HIS favorite authors, none of whom I’d heard of, let alone read.

– (this thread started by HIM) the way people misrepresent themselves in their online profiles.
Seriously!?! We’re having this conversation? Am I being tested? Is Ashton Kutcher about to jump out from behind the bar?
This is SO inception. Talking ABOUT people misrepresenting themselves, when you actually ARE one of those people!?

Finally, I was close enough to the time I’d told him I had to jet (to meet a friend), that I said my goodbye.
We made out in the parking lot for while, and then…
KIDDING! I’m just seeing if you were paying attention. Good job.

NO – no kiss. Ick.
Not only was he condescending, inattentive and deceptive… he had smoker’s breath! Blech.

I gave him the obligatory smile and hug and left.

Scene.


#6 – Skirts A-Dropping

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Six Skirts A-Dropping,
Sca-ven-ger Hunk…
Four Snowboarding Yanks
Three Taco Bobs
Two-Stepping Gent,
and a
Partridge in a Greek Salad

Let me just leap RIGHT into the inappropriate and scandalous discussion.

I don’t normally date black guys.

[Audience gasps in horror and disgust]

Ok – before you go freaking out, let me explain.  And let me also say that there are PLENTY of people out there who, while they have tons of friends of different races, only prefer to date within their own.  I’m not the only one, but maybe I’m one of the few who will own it.

I HAVE dated black men.  Wonderful men who had big hearts, were kind and thoughtful… but just weren’t for me.  Partly it’s that there isn’t the same level of attraction for me (let the record show that I WILL make an exception for Taye Diggs), but mostly… and here comes the controversy… I don’t like the way they kiss.

There.
I said it.
Black men kiss differently and I’m not a fan.

Some of you are sitting there with your brows furrowed, thinking, “girrrrl….you cray.”  But, I’m telling you.  It’s a thing.

At first, I just thought it was a personal difference between me and the guy I was seeing, but as I smooched more of the brothers, I realized there was a style, across the board, that I didn’t like.  I’ve talked with some of my black friends (girls, gay and straight guys) and they agree with me.

If you still think I’m weird – Oprah did a show on JUST this subject!

The point of going into this is to set the backdrop for date #6……..which was with a deliciously handsome black man.
I made an exception because he’s such a solid guy – sweet, smart, loves God and thinks I’m great (that’s a pretty good quality in any dating candidate, I have to admit).

Mike, as we’ll call him, is a friend of my little brother’s and a stand-up guy.  We flirt every time we see each other and we went out for a quick lunch date last spring.  Did I mention he lives in Florida?  Oh.  Yeah.  He lives in Florida.  Sigh…

So, when I was in Florida for a friend’s wedding, and Mike asked me to go out, (this would be, officially, date #2 for us), I said, “yes.  Aaaaand….. do you read my blog?”  😉

I asked him about the 12 Dates of Christmas idea, and he was in.

He agreed to meet up with me in Orlando, Florida where our adventure began at Cafe Tu Tu Tango, an artsy Tapas restaurant with tons of energy and the ocasional Flamenco dancer whirling past you while you sip your Dragonfruit Mojito.

Cafe TuTu - Sarah's collage

Since I didn’t know what the night would entail (Mike had a “plan”), I wore a sparkly mini-skirt with a black top, tights, tall boots and a pink sweater.

We met at the restaurant, each having driven two hours for this date.  That’s commitment.

Immediately, we were in the zone, chatting and laughing.  We talked about all kinds of things from families to church to the way different races are funny about subcultures within their race (he’s felt ostracized by southern black people for having a “white” voice (he’s from New York and to me, sounds like he has NO accent)) to the fact that I haven’t been a huge fan of the way black men smooch…oh yes, I told him.
Conversation was easy.
I kept catching Mike just looking at me while I talked and really paying attention to my thoughts on a given subject.
And, throughout the night, he would tell me, “you’re fantastic.” 🙂

Mike - 1

Mike is easy to talk with and I totally enjoyed our time together.  We were so embroiled in conversation that two hours (and at least 4 “Happy Birthdays” (which are a whole-restaurant event)) passed at the restaurant before we figured it was time to go.

Like I always do, I offered to split the bill, but Mike insisted on taking care of it (and y’all know how much I like when a guy does that).  And we were off.  We left my car at Cafe Tu Tu Tango and Mike drove us to our next destination.

A Salsa dancing club!

Mike - salsa clubNow… I should point out two things:

1.  Mike doesn’t salsa.  He’d been once before, but doesn’t know how, though he was totally game for learning (and afterwards TOTALLY had the itch… was even talking about taking lessons).  So, the fact that he brought me here was especially brave, since it’s not like he thought he was gonna whip me around the dance floor.

2.  He chose this spot because he remembered that I love salsa dancing.  What??  I don’t even REMEMBER telling him that!?  But, he paid attention and chose it ….for me.  SO sweet.

We started out just watching the existing dancers do their art on the dance floor, and sipped our drinks.  I told Mike we should start with the Bachata, because it’s an easy one to learn and be able to do without much practice.  Anyone who can count to four and poke out their hip has a fighting chance at this one.  So, when a Bachata began, we ventured onto the dance floor.

Let me say this – Mike was a great study – not only a quick learner, but such a fun attitude about it all.  Soon we were salsa-ing and merengue-ing, and he had learned to keep the top part of his body still while letting his hips carry most of the movement (a tricky piece of salsa dancing for a lot of guys who want to just bounce around).

Mike - at the club

We took turns dancing and standing on the sidelines watching.  Mike made me promise that I’d include “sweater guy” in my blog post.  There was a handsome, but odd sort of fellow there with a thick cable-knit sweater with leather elbow patches.  And the longer we were there (and sweating like barnyard creatures), the more enigmatic “sweater guy” was.  This was not a chilly night, by any stretch, and people were shedding clothes faster than Taylor Swift can come up with a new way to say “life’s not fair.”  But not sweater guy… he would go out on the dance floor and dance (awkwardly), never thinking to remove it.  At one point, Mike just turned to me and said, with this shocked and indignant tone, “Dude!  Sweater guy!  It’s FLORIDA!”  I don’t know why we were so amused by him, but he became a character in our night… we’d check in on him, track his luck with the ladies, and imagine what the rationale was for willingly dancing in the middle of a hot salsa club in eskimo-wear.

But, while sweater guy refused to shed clothing, my ensemble apparently had other ideas… malfunctioning ideas.

Mike and I had just finished a rousing couple of salsa songs… by this time, he’d learned the basic steps and we’ve even thrown in a couple of spins.

And as we’re walking off the dance floor, I feel it.
That awful moment where your body is aware that something horrifically mortifying is happening, but you’re noticing it just one milisecond too late to keep it from happening… and, as if in slow motion, I felt the sensation of my skirt…sliding down my legs into a humiliating pool of sparkly fabric on the ground around my ankles.  A puddle of shame…

Yup – my skirt fell off.  FELL. OFF.

Technically, I suppose I danced it off.  All that hip action in the salsa/merengue was too much for my skirt, so it just abandoned ship.
Now, I’ve danced off an earring or two (at least 12, actually…it’s a problem) in my day, but I’ve never lost an item of clothing… not one that separates my unmentionables from the cold outside world.  Until this night.

And the worst part isn’t even the skirt falling down, but that shameful motion of having to pull it back up in public — like I’d just finished up in the bathroom or something.  It was unebelievably embarrassing.

And here I was on a date!

But, Mike was a total gentleman.  He laughed with me and convinced me it was no big deal (riiiiiggghhhht….), and then, for the rest of the night, as we danced, he kept a finger or two near the small of my back, holding my skirt tight.  Ha ha!  I kept checking to be sure it wasn’t making another slow descent into shameville, and he’d say in this sweetly reassuring voice, “I’ve got ya!”

Toward the end of our dancing time, another string of Bachata songs came on, and by now, Mike was practically a pro at this one.
So, as we were dancing closely (my skirt firmly held in place), he kissed me.
Now…there are two things to be impressed by in this moment.
1 – a man who had JUST learned this dance was able (for a moment) to multi-task and remember the steps to continue dancing and smooching at the same time.  That takes skill, friends.
2 – he MAY just have broken the ‘I don’t like the way black men kiss’ stereotype I held.
Yep… it was a mighty fine kiss, I’m here to report.
SO fine, in fact, that when we finally left the club and were waiting outside for the valet to bring his car around, we smooched some more.  And it was nice.  Really nice.
So nice, that the poor valet had to park the car at the curb and wait a minute for us to return to the land of the non-smoochers.

Mike drove me back to my car and we said goodbye.

What a night!  Skirts dropping, salsa dancing, opinion-changing kisses, flamenco dancers, AND sweater guy.  Not shabby.

Mike said that if he lived in Houston, he’d “put a clamp down” (is that the phrase?  I keep getting it wrong…)… but basically – that he’d pursue dates #3+ with me.

I’d like to think it was my sparkling wit and amazing dance-teaching abilities that impressed him, and not seeing me skirt-less…
But either way, a fun night was had by all.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Cafe Tu Tu Tango is offering my readers a 10% discount!
So, for any central Florida readers,
go get your Tapas on
and think of me when the lower-than-usual bill comes.  🙂

Cafe TuTu - coupon


#5 – Sca-ven-ger Hunk…

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

SCA-VEN-GER HUUUUNK………(hoping you all heard that in your head with the dramatically prolonged vibrato-esque voice that I intended)
Four Snowboarding Yanks,
Three Taco Bobs,
Two-Stepping Gent,
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad.

Warning…the level of forethought and creativity that went into the following date is so high that you may explode from jealousy.

Ok – with that qualifier out of the way, and heading into treacherous amounts of awesomeness at your own risk, let me tell you about Brian (he gave me permission to use his real name).  I met him originally on Match.com, and then again on OKCupid.  But, let’s not waste time with all that when we have “Quazy Quests” to discuss…

First of all, this date with Brian is our SECOND date…which I’m lucky he even agreed to since I was (and this will shock anyone who knows me) – late to our first.
To my credit, (and to someone else’s misfortune), there was an accident on 59 that had me sitting on the highway for almost 1/2 hour, but still…  I can’t STAND being late
and Brian was amazingly gracious about it.

We met at The Hay Merchant (a craft food and beer spot in Montrose) and chatted over a couple of beers.  Easy first date.  We established that we each love the improv shows at ComedySportz…in fact, he participates on one of their improv teams when he’s not crunching numbers (my condescending generalization of his role as a Statistician in Houston’s Med Center) at his dayjob.  So… when he asked me on our second date, rather than call or text to line up dinner, he sent an Evite…an EVITE, people! (A-Dorable) with all the information I’d need to prepare for our ComedySportz Improv inspired Scavenger Hunt date.  Check out said invitaion here.
(Quick caveat – when I asked him if I could write up our date as part of this series, he said that was fine on the condition that he ALSO would write it up from HIS perspective and post it to his blog.  See below to read it from the guy’s point of view.)

Brian’s take on the date!

Brian showed up RIGHT on time and handed me the first clue – boom.  Right in.

Scavenger Hunk 1As you can see – I had to decipher each clue along the way which would let me know WHERE we were going next.  In this case,
(and this MAY be the only one I figured out without getting a little hint),
we were headed to
…that’s right — Party City.

And, as the longer scrolled paper said, we might need to pick up some ‘accents’ for our ensembles there.

hat

Along the drive to PC and throughout the night, we pulled slips of paper from a hat (literally…see pic to the right, of said hat) with silly or first-date get-to-know-you questions on them and took turns answering.  This was a great way to make conversation and keep those first date lulls in conversation to a minimum.  Plus, being with a guy who does improv comedy meant that I would hear things like:

“The other day I went dumpster diving and I found……….
my mother!”
Bahahahaha!  So silly.  There was definitely a lot of laughing on this date.

We arrived at Party City and started looking for someone to ask our question.  I asked a man what country he’d like to travel to, and he replied with “Hawaii.”  (allow enough dead silence to give homage to the not-so-brilliance of this reponse.)
SOOOoooo…. “Hawaii” was our “other country”… great.
We also trolled through the store looking for some accoutrements to add to our “look.”  I decided Brian needed a white feather boa and I got a pair of fabulously glamorous sunglasses.  And you KNOW what they say about a person who wears their sunglasses at night?  They can see the light that’s right before their eyes.  But, I digress, …on behalf of my 80’s-child friends out there…

Brian 1

Anyway, while we were checking out, a Party City employee handed me the next clue.

Now…if you’re doing the math, you’ve realized that Brian had to have gone to ALL these places earlier in the day to deliver the clues…

…this is the kind of dedication and time/thoughtfulness that is RARE in a date…
and it did NOT fail to impress.

Also – he had a whole ‘back up’ folder in his car with copies of each clue in case someone along the way messed it up.

LOVE it!

That clue took us to Spec’s (a Texas wine store). Brian - at Spec's

Once we were there, we were to pick out a bottle of wine from the country we’d gotten in the last location… you know… Hawaii (raising one eyebrow in geographic superiority…).  While there aren’t a lot of Hawaiin wines at Spec’s, we were able to pick out a lovely Californian Zinfandel and while doing so, a Spec’s employee walked up to us and handed me the next clue – which led to “Sophia” (a BYOB restaurant tucked into Montrose.).
So, after getting the wine, we headed there.

Brian’s and my meals that night,respectively.YUM!

I should take this opportunity to tell you about another thread of this improv-inspired date…
The “Pavlovian Response” game.
Brian had alluded to this in the Evite, but also texted me to let me know that his friend would be contacting me to assign me MY role in this game.  Here’s how it works.  Each of us had the task of responding to a certain stimulus/cue/behavior with our own behavior and throughout the night, we’d be trying to figure out what the other’s was.  By way of example, I’ll tell you mine.

Brian’s friend e-mailed me and told me that every time Brian took a drink or talked about/mentioned drinking, I was to twirl my hair… and get more and more obvious/crazy with it as the night went on.  She even sent a video with an example (you know… in case I didn’t know HOW to twirl hair…)

While we were at Sophia’s, as I was talking at one point, Brian just leaned back and “bock!”ed like a chicken.
What??  I realized this was his Pavlovian Response (well…it was either the game or a rare form of farm Turrets), but I didn’t know what had triggered it.
But, oh… I would dedicate myself to figuring it out.
About 20 minutes later, as I was talking again, he clucked again (poor guy… he’d let his friends pick his P.R. out…hee hee).  This time, I just repeated everything about what I’d just done… shifting in my seat, picking up my fork…nothin’.  So, I repeated my last sentence word-for-word until he did it again, right after the word “blog.”
Eureka!!  I’d struck comedic gold.  Keep in mind, he didn’t know mine yet, so I had all the power, folks.  All I had to do was say the word “blog” [bock!] and any reference to the blog [bock!], whether a great blog [bock!] like my blog [bock bock!!] or another mediocre blog [bock!], and Brian would cluck like a chicken.  Power, baby… and I used it.  Anyone we interacted with for the rest of the night got to hear poor Brian doing his best barnyard impressions… awesome.

Eventually, later in the meal, he did pick up on mine, but since mine wasn’t nearly as embarrassing, I was fine with that.  Did I mention that I now have a bald spot?
Small price to pay to be able to write about all this in the blog [bock!!].

Our server had given me the next clue before dinner started.  I couldn’t figure it out right away… I even enlisted the help of our new friends one table over (how could they not inquire about our date when there were feather boas and chicken noises involved?).  I eventually (with Brian’s help) pieced it together that we were going to an improv show at Third Coast Comedy*.  Awesome.  I LOVE comedy.  And, how more perfect can you get than ending the night of improv-based scavenger-hunting, than with an improv show?

So, we arrived at the theater just after they’d started the show, and we weren’t even there 5 minutes before we were both volunteering to participate.  Brian went up on stage first, and I followed.  I got to help out with two sketches and I LOVED it.  (The second time I was on stage, Brian took some photos, but… no one had taught him how to zoom with an iPhone, so they’re far off/blurry… but you get the idea).

I was the puppet-master for one of the improv actors.SO fun.

I had SUCH a blast here.
Love improv.
Love being on stage.
Is it too late to consider a career change?

At the end of the show, one of the improv guys pulled me aside and handed me the final clue.

Now, remember, each clue tells me where we’re headed next.  So, you’ll probably chuckle when you see that the last clue said only:

“You’ll be sleeping here tonight.”

Bahahahaha!!
Brian said he’d hoped that by the end of the night, I’d know him well enough to know that he was just kidding with any implications.  And I did.  It cracked me up.

But, as we climbed into his truck, I said, “well… you know… I can sleep in a LOT of different places.  I mean… I could sleep at a FrozenYogurt shop.  I could sleep at a wine bar…” – my point being that if he was on the same page, I’d love to keep the date going.  So, we decided to head to the Boom Boom Room (a charming wine bar a few blocks from my house).

We nestled into a banquette with our hat of questions and some sangria and just chatted for another hour.

Brian - outside BoomBoomRoom

Finally, we left, after asking a stranger to snap these photos —–>
and he drove me home.

As he walked me to my door, he handed me the last piece of the scavenger hunt…

brian - scroll

A scroll with a reference to misteltoe inside.  I took the bait and we had a nice goodnight kiss.  Nothing crazy or long, just a sweet kiss to end the night.

He drove off and I was left to process the most amazing date!

Brian - all clues

I honestly can’t think of another date I’ve been on that required SO much work on the front end from the guy.  Not only did it impress me that he would go to such lengths, but it also made me feel like he thought I was worth doing so… makes a girl feel cared about and significant when a man is that thoughtful.

Admittedly, with regard to that ever-pressing “will there be a next date?” question, I was on the fence.  Brian, for all his thoughtfulness and preparation, is a HARD man to read.  I couldn’t tell if he was feeling a “spark” or not…which makes me wonder if I was…  He’s definitely likeable, but I couldn’t get a good read on how much he was liking me…or not!  But, his actions speak louder than his nonverbals (nonverbals are so annoyingly un-loud that way) and he asked me out again.  I’m intriged for sure, and I can tell he’s a good guy.

Two observations about his personality and intentions:

1.  I noticed throughout the night that whenever I would be talking, he was REALLY tracking with me – as in, not only eye contact, but seeming to genuinely listen and care about what I was saying.  This goes a long way toward a woman feeling appreciated.

2.  I accidentally left my sweater in his truck.  We tried a couple times to coordinate me picking it up, but – due to my crazy schedule – it just wasn’t happening.  I was fine to just wait until we met up again, but the other night… I returned home from dinner with a friend, to find a paper bag on my doorstep with my name on a card attached.  Inside were my sweater and the infamous white feather boa.

Brian.

He had driven all the way to my house to deliver it to me, knowing I wasn’t there (we’d talked earlier that night and he knew I had plans).  THIS is the kind of gesture that lets me know, even if I didn’t sense it on the date, that he’s sincerely interested in me.

So…we’re doing lunch this week.

And we shall see….!?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In honor of our date foray into Improv-land, “Third Coast Improv Theater” has generously offered a 2-for-1 Date Night special for anyone who mentions my name/blog [bock!].  They’re not doing any more shows in 2012, but you can check out their website for date night (or guys’ night, girls’ night…whatevs) in 2013.
(that is… if we even MAKE it to 2013… fingers crossed, am I right Mayans?

3rd coast coupon


#4 – Four Snowboarding Yanks

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Four Snowboarding Yanks,
Three Taco Bobs,
2-Stepping Gent,
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad.

I found Allen on OKCupid and thought his profile was cute.  Sparse, but cute.  I messaged him first and he was quick to respond.  We were hardly three or four quick messages into things when I decided to spring the 12Dates idea on him.  I figured I’d appeal to his adventurous spirit which was apparent in his profile where he talked about how much he LOVED to snowboard.

So – we met at Benjy’s (the lounge) in the Village, and chatted over drinks and pizza.  And when I say “drinks,” I mean ‘lemonade,’ in Allen’s case.  He’s not a big drinker and never has even one drink if he’s going to be driving.  I admit, I kinda like a big sporty guy who doesn’t guzzle down the liquor.  Oh, did I not mention he’s QUITE easy on the eyes?  The photos don’t do him justice… broad shoulders and a warm smile.  Boom.

Allen wasn’t big on taking pictures.  I only guilted him into it twice and each time, when the server/hostess went to snap ’em, he made a dorky face.  (Which, admittedly, is both infuriating and adorable).  So – here’s Allen in all his soberly goofy splendor:

Allen 1Allen 2

Now… he had texted earlier to say that he was in a ballcap and shorts and wouldn’t have time to change and still make it at the time we’d decided on — because he was helping his mother move.  Um…yeah – that’s not a problem, A.    A man who TEXTS to check in about his fashion AND is concerned about punctuality AND helps his mama out… is JUUuuust fine in my book.  Besides, I knew we’d be cool at Benjy’s…usually the upstairs lounge is half-full of folks in scrubs anyway at that time.

But, the ballcap did present a different sort of problem.
A Sarah’s foot-in-mouth sorta problem.

SOOOooooo…..you know how I’m really not into sports?  Like…at all?  Well – I kinda, sorta, just a teensy bit ….insulted poor Allen.

You see that NY on his hat?  I realize that 99 out of 100 of my readers know what that stands for.  But I (being that one-hundredth person) got it wrong.  But, rather than saying I didn’t know who it was, when the subject of his hat came up (don’t remember how), I said, with a foolish sense of bravado,…”Oh!  You’re a fan of the Mets?”

(insert collective groans and rising levels of disappointment here…)

He laughed indignantly and allowed as how that was sheer heresy!  He said it would be like if when I told him I did my undergrad work at FSU, he had said, “Hey!  Go Gators!”  (Ack…patooey….ick…)  He continued giving “It would be like”s for the next few minutes while totally giving me a hard time….which I guess I deserved.  It was very amusing.
I TRIED crawling out of the hole by saying that I grew up in the city where the Mets did their spring training and so, my mind automatically goes to that team when I hear New York (which, incidentally, is where he’s from… which makes all this so much worse!).  I also tried undoing my damage by pointing out that BOTH teams have a nested Y in an N as their logo…. that they’re not THAT much different.  (This also made it worse…I got a lesson in “navy” vs. “blue”…)
So – I’ll let you guys decide JUST how egregious my error was:

Allen - NY teamsSee??  Practically the same.

I mean… if you squint your eyes JUUuuuuust right.  As in – closed.

Fine…they’re not the same at all.

Allen was right.

Hey – like I said – I never claimed to be an expert in ANYTHING sporty.

Anyway, I digress.

The evening was quick, but nice.  He walked me out to my car and said goodbye.  No kiss.  Which is a shame because I would’ve gladly kissed back…(like I said – the pictures don’t do him justice…he’s all sorts of hunky yumminess).

Afterwards, there was some flirty texting which tapered off after an hour or so.

But the next day…and the day after… and the days after THAT…nothing.

What’s UP with guys?

I mean – if I’m not interested, I’ll usually at least let the guy know…

So – several days later, I texted him…
And I’m going to post the next SEVERAL texts that passed between us so you can see the progression.

allen texts

Now…I was conflicted about whether to post this — for fear of being pegged as “mean”… but in the end, I promised you all an honest account of my dates, and this is where things landed, so – in the spirit of full disclosure…
here you go.

When I saw the texts about not being ready… I was disappointed, but at least admired his candor.

And then, three days later, he apparently woke up feeling saucy and threw out the offer.

Now – the “I’m not ready” bit would’ve been honorable, if it hadn’t been his way of setting the stage for what he really wanted. What Taco Bob had that Allen didn’t… is the commitment to his “not being ready” stance.  He (Taco Bob, a.k.a. Jason) took down his dating profile and assured me that we were just going to be friends (and stuck to that), while Allen keeps his profile active and asks me for a sex-only relationship.  Hmmm…

KIiiiiiinda makes me think he was just using the date to lay the groundwork for a FWB (Friends with Benefits) situation from the very beginning.

And, though I’d like to say that this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often, I’d be remiss to.
Because it happens quite a bit.

And, while it’s flattering in the sense that it means he at least found me attractive and desires me that way, it’s not what I’m looking for, ultimately.  I want the whole thing – someone who’s ready (when he finds the right one) to be all in.

Allen 3

So – thanks for the fun date, Allen… but I’m movin’ on.

(Maybe to a Mets fan??)


#3 – Three Taco Bobs

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad

Meet Taco Bob.  A guy who greets you at the front door with your favorite beer in hand.

Taco Bob 1

Yup.  What a great way to start a date!  But, I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me set the stage.

This is Jason.  Yes – Jason is his actual name…he’s letting me use it because we are just friends (and still are, even after going out…whew!).

Jason first contacted me on OKCupid with a sweet message about enjoying my profile.  I can’t link to his because he disabled it a few weeks ago.
We chatted online a bit and then talked on the phone and he was SO sweet.  He has an ever-so-slight southern accent and he told me that he liked the way my hair falls to frame my pretty face.
Swoon…. are you serious?
A southern accent complimenting your hair and pretty face?
I was in.

We continued texting and playing Words-With-Friends, but he never seemed to jump at the idea of hanging out.  Then he disappeared.  After a few days of no contact, I texted him to check in.  He wrote back a very gracious and thoughtful text saying that he’d been doing some thinking and soul-searching and had realized he’s really not ready to date after all.  I told him I was disappointed, but glad that he’d figured that out before investing in some woman and ending up hurting her (been there).

So, we kept in touch as friends and when the 12 Dates of Christmas idea rolled around, I asked if he would be my “Friend Date,” to which he graciously obliged.

We met at Dave & Busters to go bowling and when I arrived, he was waiting at the door with a Blue Moon in hand for me.  What??  Totes adorbs.

We went up to bowl, and despite this being a friend date, he insisted on paying.  Southern accent AND a gentleman?  Are you SURE you’re not ready to date?  Ok, ok…

When we were getting the game set up, I suggested that we pick out crazy names instead of using our own, and he was all for it.  Within 5 seconds, he said, “I’ll be Taco Bob.”   *Love*

SO – Taco Bob and Sassy Dragon hit the lanes.

Taco Bob & Sassy Dragon

Awww Yeah, baby

Bowling was a blast.  We got to tease each other for bad throws, discuss our technique (which mostly meant laughing at the fact that I apparently start my stance/walk with my hip poked out to the side… What?
That’s not how the pro’s do it?),
and generally just have fun.

Here and there we took little breaks to chat, but mostly we just giggled and played.

I hate to BRAAAAaaaag, but……..
(I actually don’t hate to brag at all…I rather enjoy it)…
I totally kicked his tail.

Hey – if this had been a real date, maybe I woulda gone easier on him
(nope…I would’ve played my best no matter what, who are we kidding).

Taco Bob gets beat

I’m just sayin’…

After a couple games, we headed downstairs to get a bite to eat.  All this time I thought that Dave & Busters just had a bunch of nasty fried food, but they have a real menu with healthy options on there!  Who would’ve guessed?

We talked quite a bit about our jobs, our lives… and it was nice.  We joked and laughed and he was an absolute delight.

Taco Bob 2

(I should say, for the record, that he did NOT like having his picture taken, so the very fact that there are ANY to post – is a testament to his sportsmanship.)

When we finished up at D&B, the night was young, so we decided to go get some Frozen Yogurt in the Heights.

Oh – did I mention he lives WAAAAAaaay out in Blahbety-Blah, TX?  Yeah… it’s quite the drive to Blahbety-Blah, so the fact that he was willing to drive further INTO the city for FroYo with me…was sweet.  Especially given that it was a friends-only date.

A note on the friends-only thing.  He asked me a few days later if there were any negative parts to our date and I told him no.  But one thing we did do, that I would NOT care to do so much on a ‘real’ first date, is talk in depth about our exes.  Y’all know by now that I’m not one to follow the rules of “don’t talk about’s” on dates and I’m an open book.  But, on the other hand, if I don’t know someone well, I’m certainly not going to go into the nitty-gritty of who-done-who-wrong either.  One of the nice things about this being friendly and not romantic, is that we were more free to talk about those things.  And since his divorce is still relatively fresh, he had some stuff to talk about and I think (I hope, at least), that I offered a good listening ear and some encouragement about life post-divorce.  So – what would’ve been a slight turn-off on a real date was one of the nice parts of having a friend-date.  If that makes sense.

So – I introduced Jason to the world of Menchie’s — Smileage card and all.  We sat in the little parlor room and decorated the blackboard.

We talked about music and friends and all sorts of stuff.
Like I said… delightful.

Taco Bob at MenchiesAll in all – a lovely time.  We walked out to our cars, hugged goodbye and have been texting on and off since.

I’m sure we’ll hang out again.  I invited him to join my singles crew that next night, but he was working (I would tell you what he does, but it’s one of those jobs that (according to him) when people hear, they assume and attribute negative qualities (like all those lawyer jokes, I suppose), so I’ll leave that a secret).

Two quick notes before signing off of Date #3’s report:

– I love that Jason was self-aware and honest enough to know that he’s not ready and say so.  I think there are a LOT of guys out there who confuse loneliness for readiness and it ends up hurting the women who fall in love with them.  So – props to you, Taco Bob.

– This making friends thing is one of the unexpected gifts of my foray into online dating.  SO many of my current friends (the guy friends) are men I never would’ve known if it hadn’t been for the online dating scene.  So – even when dates don’t work out for the romantic/long-term, there’s still an option of adding a friend to your life… and what could be better than that?

_____________________________________________________

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Houston’s Heights, has generously offered a coupon for free FroYo!  So – go have a sweet date with whatever extras you want mixed in (see what I did there?)!  Thank you, Menchie’s!

Menchies Coupon


#2 – Two-Stepping Gent

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

a Two-Stepping Gent
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad

For this date, I broke two of my rules – no bald guys and no guys that aren’t taller than I am.
Yes, yes… go ahead and roll your eyes at my blatant vanity…But hey – the heart wants what it wants.

But I’m so glad I did.  This guy was a TON of fun.  And so sweet.  We’ll call him J.D.

JD 4

I also met J.D. on PlentyOfFish.  His profile, if you’re interested.  His first message to me said that his daughter was looking over his shoulder and said, “Oh, daddy – send HER a message.  She looks pretty and fun.”  (This girl is very wise).
My cynical side said, “he probably uses this line all the time… the ‘ol kid-hook,” but my trusting side thought it was SO sweet.  So, I bit.  And we exchanged a few messages over a couple of weeks before I finally asked him if he’d want to participate in the 12 Days series and go out sometime.  He was great about it and had an immediate suggestion of meeting at Big Texas Dance Hall and Saloon* to teach me to 2-step.  What could be MORE fun??

So, that’s exactly what we did.

JD 1

From the very beginning, he was easy to talk to, friendly, warm and sincere.
He also did something that is a dying art in this postmodern world of dating…he complimented me.  A lot.
Not in that sickeningly sweet over-the-top way, but in a genuine way where you really believed HE believed what he was saying.  All night long I heard about my beautiful “million-dollar” smile and how “fun” I was and he even said twice that I was pretty.

Side note for the guys:  This is a long-forgotten word that makes women swoon.  Take note.
There’s something about the word “pretty” that captures not only a woman’s beauty, but also a sense of femininity and sincerity.  I haven’t been told I was pretty in a long time and it made my heart melt a little.

Upon meeting him, he introduced a couple of friends that he’s know for forever that came along.  He explained a few minutes later that they’d been especially interested in seeing him get back on the dating scene, so when he announced that he had a date, they asked to join him and he had to make an in-the-moment decision.  He said, based on what he knew about me, that he figured I wouldn’t mind.  And, mostly I didn’t.  Having them there definitely added some flavor to the date – they were fun and silly and I could tell they were happy seeing him have a nice time.  It would’ve been different if we’d met for dinner, but getting together to dance at a place like this is different.  We could sorta weave in and out of spending time with them and on our own.  It worked out.

JD 3

Let me say THIS about JD…
the boy can DANCE.

Man – it was SO fun.  I teased him for doing too much fancy stuff before getting us into a rhythm of the basics, but I think I held my own and was a pretty decent partner, considering I’m not nearly the pro he is.

And he was so gracious when I would mess up or step on his poor toes.

He was also a great sport about getting out there for the cheesy songs (Justin Timberlake, the Cupid Shuffle, etc.) – doing crazy moves on the dance floor and generally just having a great time.

Hard to tell, but that's me being dipped (on the right).

Hard to tell, but that’s me being dipped (on the right).

After an hour or so of chatting and dancing, we passed by the pool tables en route to the restrooms and I asked if he was any good.  He took the cue (see what I did there?) and aked me to play.  ALWAYS a fun date activity.

I should note here that I am not any good at billiards.  Ping pong, yes.  Pool – no.  But, who cares?  It’s fun and even if (when) I get trounced, it’s an enjoyable way to spend time with someone.  You get to throw out a little trash talk, talk about your options on the table and of course, see if you can catch him checking out your backside when you crouch down for a shot.  😉

Aformentioned crouching.

Aformentioned crouching.

So – after the game of pool, we went and sat on one of the couches and talked for a while – about relationships, dating, etc.  It was easy and interesting.  Something came up about texting a girl the day after a date and I made some comment about it being important to me to hear from a guy – especially if there’s a kiss the night before – to which he deftly responded, “well… will there be?”  Well played, JD.  I looked up and gave him my best coy “I don’t know!” and he pulled my chin in for the sweetest kiss.   Refreshingly, he didn’t jam his tongue into my mouth or start attacking my body with his hands…he just kept it sweet and light and perfect for a first date.  And then he complimented me on my smooching.  What better way to end a kiss?

JD 5

We danced some more after that and I told him I needed to head out.  (After all, it WAS a school night).  For our last dance, he had shown me this 1-2-3, 1-2-3 pattern earlier in the night (my friend Tyler says it’s a polka…that doesn’t sound very “cool,” so…I don’t know…), and a song came on that we could do that dance to, …only it was insanely fast!  He asked if I was up to it and, despite the fact that I knew I wasn’t, I replied with an enthusiastic “sure!”

I’m telling you… I’ve never had SO much fun on the dance floor as that dance.  It felt like a ride at a theme park.  He was so strong in his leading and we twirled around so much – I’m convinced that at least once my feet actually both came off the floor.  We were out of breath by the end and I think we must’ve circled the dance floor 15 times in one song.  SO.  MUCH. FUN.

Sign me up for that – ANYtime.

He walked me out to my car and gave me another sweet kiss before I left.  Again – nothing over the top or aggressive – just right.

The next morning, I got this text:

text

Not bad, JD.  Not bad at all.

As to the question of a second date… I’m not sure.
Unlike Niko (from Date #1), JD did ask me out to dinner – even offered to drive to my neck of the woods and go to “my favorite place” which was so thoughtful.

While I had SUCH a fun time with him dancing and playing, I’m not sure we’re a great match.

I think our worlds are pretty different, and I’m just not sure I felt the spark I’d like to with someone.  These things aren’t always easy to explain in words — and certainly, I’m not going to go into the specifics with hundreds of strangers on my blog.
But, suffice it to say that I was impressed with him and I had a great time.  He made my night, and he’s definitely going to make some woman very happy.

_____________________________________________________________________

*Big Texas Saloon & Dance Hall has graciously offered the coupon below to get in for FREE on a Saturday night!  What??  That’s amazing!  Who wants to go 2-stepping?
A huge thank you to them for such a great time on Date #2, the friendliest bartender ever and many more nights of boot scootin’ fun to come.

Big Texas Q-Card


#1 – A Partridge in a Greek Salad

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

A partridge in a Greek salad.

Well, here we are – date #1 for the “12 Dates of Christmas” series.
(If you need to review the rules & terms, you can click here.)

Let me set the scene.

I met Niko on PlentyOfFish.  You can see his profile here.  I messaged HIM first because his profile made me giggle.
Niko (I took the liberty of replacing his very Greek name with an equally Greek one) has the humor thing in spades.  And y’all KNOW that’s my jam.

We texted a bit and, while I got the slight impression he may be a little bit flakey or a player or maybe not really looking for love, but just fun… I thought it couldn’t hurt to grab a drink and get to know him.  Plus, he was such a good sport about being written about!

So, I donned a black skirt, tights and tall boots with a purple sweater, which Niko would later refer to as my ‘eggplant look,’ and met up with the Greek comedian.  (Ok, ok…he’s in real estate).

Sorry for the blur… but I think our winning smiles make up for it?

The plan was to meet for Happy Hour at Hughes Hangar (a speak easy type bar/patio), but when we arrived they were closed (which made my hour less-than-happy…), so we moved the party over to Beaver’s* (a funky little restaurant/Gastropub in lower Heights), where we made flirty banter with our server Nathan (see pic below) and each other.

niko 4

Our silly server, Nathan

Niko is a FUNNY guy.  He had me laughing from the first moment.

Admittedly, I did find it tricky to get him talking about anything because he was throwing out one-liners, but how could I be too upset when I kept laughing?

I asked him about his story —where he was from, what he does, what his interests are, what brought him to Houston, etc. and we spent the next couple of hours weaving in and out of hearing him tell me all about his life.  (Interspersed with copious amounts of joking, of course).

At one point, when he told me he spoke French, I (of course) made him prove it, and it got us into a conversation about languages.  Apparently he speaks them all.  I made a silly comment about my dream of marrying a man who spoke Tagalog, and he then launched into a series of Tagalog phrases.  WHAT?  C’mon…

If you don’t believe me…I made him endure the camera… check it out:

 A Partridge in a Greek Salad

All in all, the date was nice.  But it was also one-sided.  While Niko is a very flirtatious and affectionate guy, he didn’t seem all that interested in learning about me.  He was definitely interested in my physical appearance, making comments about my “succulent lips” (wasn’t sure if he wanted to smooch them or braise them in a red wine reduction…), and taking full advantage of the photo op to scoot nice and close and put his arm around me (which I have ZERO problem with…I’m just painting the picture here).   But he never asked me ONE question about myself or remarked on ANYthing about me that didn’t have to do with the physical.   I let a couple of natural lulls in conversation sit for a moment, thinking he would “bite,” but he never did.

He made several self-referential comments about his hair or his dimple and such… and it almost seemed like he was “selling” himself…which is funny since he’s handsome enough to let the “product” sell itself!  He has an amazing smile and playful, expressive eyes.  So – there wasn’t any need to draw attention to the cute parts of him – my eyes and thoughts were already there.

About ¾ of the way through the date (it had a pre-determined end time because I was heading out to meet a friend for dinner afterwards), I playfully teased him about it, and he admitted we’d been Niko-heavy in conversation, but didn’t make an effort to rectify it.  Puzzling.

One other slightly off-putting element of the date was his propensity for crass or over-the-line humor.  This is a tricky wicket in dating because not only is everyone’s style of comedic engaging different, there are different levels of “naughty humor” that you can use as you get to know someone better and s/he feels more comfortable around you.  But, when you make a sexual reference/joke early on before you really know each other, it can be awkward or make you think (as I did) that he’s overly focused on sexual things and not particularly interested in being sweet or winsome.  It’s a delicate balance.

In the end, the date was fun.  I laughed a TON and would gladly hang out with Niko again…but I’m not sure I see a romantic relationship in our future.

As for the question of a second date, I’d decided that I was a “probably no, but not 100% sure,” and that I’d wait to see what HE did next to determine if I’d go another date.  I got one silly text from him the next morning (stay tuned to hear my thoughts on morning-after texting…I’m a fan), and I responded.  Then, nothing.  NOTHING!

I’m guessing he probably picked up on MY vibe which wasn’t as singularly focused as his…

So… if, by the time this goes to post, I still haven’t heard anything, I’ll assume he’s not interested in date #2 either.

Either way…he was a great sport, a lot of fun, and I’d love to hang out with him and let him make me laugh anytime – especially since he can apparently do so in Tagalog and 39 other languages.  C’est bon!

Niko 3______________________________________________________________________________________

* For those of you who haven’t tasted the delish food and amazing drinks at Beavers, (and for those of you who have and love it), if you mention my blog anytime in December, you’ll get a free appetizer!  (with a purchase of two entrees).  So – go have a date there yourself and maybe you’ll have even better luck getting a call-back than I did.  In any case your palette will thank you.

Thanks, Beavers!

beavers date


The 12 Dates of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
12 oppor-tu-u-nities!

Announcing, (the first annual?):
12 Dates of Christmas:  A Dating Experiment Adventure Series

Many of you have asked to hear more from my own dating life, and in an attempt to show the good parts of online dating and not just display the horror show that is 95% of online profiles, I thought I’d do a series showcasing the REAL story of dating—my kinda dating (single mom, on the online scene, etc.)

So – in this upcoming Advent season–a season of longing and hope (how appropriate, right??),
I’m going to go on 12 dates and chronicle each one.  Here are the terms/parameters:

  1. Each guy will KNOW that I’m going to be blogging about the date.
  2. I’ll include picture(s) from the date as well as a link to each of their online profiles (if they are online)
  3. Each post-date write-up will include:  who is he?  how did we meet?  what did I wear/what did we do?  how was it?  and…that ever pressing question… will there be another date?

I’d like to TRY to get a large sample of types of dates – including:

  •  just drinks (easy first date)
  • dinner/longer date
  • a second date
  • dates with men I normally might not say ‘yes’ to initially
    (stay tuned for a quasi-hot-topic post on dating outside your ethnicity…)
  • a blind date (set-up)…. Still don’t have this one set…anyone want to suggest a friend?
  • a friends-only date (to show that the online dating world can be a great place to make friends,
    as well as search for love)
  • …..any other ideas?

So far, I have a few interesting ones lined up and I’m ready to write!

The plan is to tell the REAL story – good, bad and everything in-between.
It will be an honest account.
So…you’ll hear my thoughts on everything from first impressions to how his breath smells to what we ate/drank, and even if there was a goodnight smooch.

This means that some of the posts may be less-than-thrilling, because most of these guys are GOOD guys.  I’m not going to intentionally waste my time on someone who’s an obvious jerk JUST for your entertainment.  I don’t love you all THAT much.

But, hopefully it will give you an honest glimpse into the reality of dating in phase two of your life.

Interspersed throughout these 12 posts, I will continue to publish winner’s circle posts and others…not to worry.

Before I begin… do any of you have any suggestions on this?  Details to include?  Types of men/dates to choose?  I’m open…so let the comments roll on in.

Also…I don’t yet HAVE 12 dates on the calendar…so – if any of you have any hunky, Jesus-lovin’, witty and smart bachelors just lyin’ around… don’t hold out on a blogger.  Show a sister some set-up love.