Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Second Date

So the Tom Douglas set up has some potential.

The dinner was amazing, of course, and watching Tom and his wife cook was an experience I will never forget. I was put to work, chopping and mincing (badly, I might add, but I did gain a few tips on form), when they could pry me away from their herb garden. Oh sweet Jesus, I need me one of those. As promised in the initial bargain, I arrived a couple of hours before the party and got to see the magic happen. It was the perfect summer dinner party - filling but light, full of fresh flavors, comparable to a night out at any great Seattle restaurant, but with the intimacy that comes of friendship.

I hadn't given much thought to the mystery dinner date, even after I arrived. Tom gave me some light background on the guy while prepping dinner and I was intrigued, in spite of myself. He is a writer, primarily a screenwriter, who has enjoyed modest success. I confess that my biggest concern was that he was - and this is remarkably shameful to admit - that he is two years younger than me. I have dated exactly one person younger than me and vowed never to do it again. However, upon learning that he was divorced, I was willing to spot him a few years, as that ages you in good (and bad) ways. I had almost no expectations, even after the minor sell from Tom, who repeatedly reminded me that this was my time to date. I altered my perspective and just opened my mind.

He has very nearly my sense of humor and reserved but outgoing nature. He was charming without overplaying his hand and I, only knowing how to play it cool, just took it for what it was. There were one or two moments where we both kind of let loose and laughed really hard, and those were the most awkward moments of the evening, as we (or, at least I) wasn't sure if it was chemistry of the romantic or other variety. I got the distinct sense that we were both sort of interested, but wary, and neither of us wanted to show our proverbial hand.

I wasn't sure how the evening would end, but knew that I wanted to take my leave before him. I excused myself to help clean up and Jackie was all aflutter at our "chemistry." Married folks do so enjoy successfully setting up their single friends. I told her that I wasn't sure how the game worked anymore, but I still had some quaint, old-fashioned ideas about the choreography of the pursuit. In layman's terms, the ball was in his court, although I probably needed to noodle whether I wanted the elusive second date. He is very attractive, smart, clever and funny - and tall, which is a new thing of mine -- and I wanted to get to know him better. That said, I go up to 11 on such things and was concerned that I was staring at another potentially serious relationship. Oh fuck, I was just confused.

When I finally made my way to the door, he asked if he could walk me to my car. Promising sign. As we did, he took my hand and asked if I would like to have dinner with him - just he and I. I am so out of the rat race that I immediately thought he wanted to have me over for dinner, which seemed to be....a big step. I made a joke about being able to hold Tom liable for any future food poisoning and he quickly reassured me that he wasn't going to try to follow up the night's culinary treats himself. I agreed to the elusive second date, which we scheduled for this weekend (and I will likely have to cancel for work).

But here is where he kind of dazzled me. Tonight, he called me to "touch base" and whatnot. Considerate and cool of him, even though we are both not "phone talkers." I ended the call by telling him I was going to take Darbs on a walk - I didn't reveal the destination, just mentioned that my dog was starting to maul me a little. I should add here that ALL of the siblings were at my place last night and we celebrated accordingly. I was a little worse for the wear today and was sporting the baseball cap and dreaded ugly white T with gym shorts look.

I went to Greenlake and, halfway around, he appeared. It didn't freak me out at all, and I laughed when I saw him. He said "lucky guess" with a fiercely wicked smile, then proceeded to take one of my ear buds out of my ear and grabbed my hand. Of course, I had cheesy music on, and House of Pain's "Jump Around" was blaring on the ipod. I confess that, even if we just end up as friends, skipping and hopping with him for the last mile around the lake was pretty goddamn outstanding. I love a man with confidence and the sense of self-assuredness to make an ass out of himself (and take me down with him).

We only saw each other for about half an hour tonight and still have tentative plans for this weekend. We shall see. I am apparently breaking my resolution not to date in 2007, even though I remain pretty tentative. If nothing else, he is interesting, smart, funny and talented, so perhaps I am merely beginning a good friendship. I just know that I am going to take this one nice and slow and see where it leads. I am both unnerved and strangely reassured at how comfortable he is with me and I with him, and suspect that is something to be reckoned with. No matter how much you just think you know someone, you usually don't know the whole story. Then again, I don't think I want to be the kind of person who evaluates new friends on the basis of past relationships. Live and learn, absolutely, but I refuse to weigh down new friendships with the baggage of past relationships. Fuck that noise.

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