I was in the middle of an intersection, when out of nowhere, a car comes careening toward me. Before I knew it, I was scooped up by this handsome, rather buff guy, named Dennis.
Just kidding. We met on eHarmony.
We chatted over email and had an hour-long phone conversation (at least that’s what Dennis claims), then decided we would like to meet in person. We met at Heaven Sent Desserts in North Park on a Wednesday evening. Actually, three months to-the-day after I had a stroke. It was one of the few dates that I’d gone on after getting back into the dating scene, and the two prior to this one were not so great, so my expectations were low.
I was kind of nervous that I wouldn’t recognize him as I walked up, but he was right there on the corner with a big smile. I know that he claims to be an awkward hugger, but he didn’t really have any issue hugging me “hello.”
We went into the patisserie for desserts and coffee, and got to know each other a bit with the typical first date banter. I thought he was very charismatic and funny. I loved that he could make me laugh, and his smile was infectious.
Are you guys nauseated yet?
Anyhow, if you can stomach more, we hit it off so well over desserts that Dennis had a part-two to our date. See, he cleverly planned our date a block away from a dance hall that happens to have swing dancing (only) on Wednesday nights. For those of you who know Dennis well, you will recall that he is an avid swing dancer. He also claims to have executed this same part-two with only three other dates, though I’m skeptical. Anyway, it happened to be the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, so it was a themed dance and everyone was was dressed up like sailors or nurses, which was pretty cool.
Dennis showed me the basic steps (which I clumsily followed along – remember, I just had a stroke and my balance was kind of disastrous, at best). I guess for my part, I did ok considering both my stroke and my dance-skills, generally (they aren’t that great). We danced for a couple of hours, and he introduced me to some of his friends, and at the end of the night, like a gentleman, he walked me to my car.
When we woke up in the back seat of my Jeep the next morning, we decided to walk down the street for breakfast.
Haha. You know I’m kidding.
Over the next several weeks (that quickly turned to months, then years), we spent more and more time together and I started to realize that I met someone who treats me better than I’ve ever experienced. Dennis was so open and easy to talk to, a non-judgmental person, who saw the best in life. He was driven, focused, loved his family, was so respectful, I could go on forever. It almost felt too good to be true.
Fast-forward four years and some change, and we are planning our future together. Neither of us was expecting to be here now, together, when we met that day in December, but I couldn’t imagine it going any other way. I am so excited to continue our lives together and let the future unfold how it may. As long as I have Dennis by my side – my best friend, love, and overall favorite human being, I’m pretty sure I can tackle anything life deals me.
I admit it. The first date I planned for Melissa was the most unoriginal, contrived date possible — desserts, followed by swing dancing. The only way it could have been more unoriginal was if I had picked her up in a ’64 Mustang convertible, wearing a letterman’s jacket, and took her to the drive-in. You can get all the the goreless details of our first date here if you’d like.
The reality is, when Melissa came up as one of my eHarmony matches, I was in the midst of a “not expecting to meet anyone special” funk. Don’t get me wrong. She looked pretty hot in her photos (especially the requisite bikini shot), but at that point in my life, I was feeling pretty cynical. And I had been on enough failed dates from eHarmony that, even up to the moment we met — no, actually, even up to halfway through our first date — I wasn’t placing any sort of expectations on it.
But, as you can obviously infer, something did happen. A few hours into our date, I found myself having a ton of fun with her. Our conversation flowed, we seemed to have a lot in common, despite our vastly different backgrounds and interests, and I felt like I could be myself and didn’t have to show off just to impress her or anything.
I mean, okay, I still ended up taking her swing dancing. And that for me is pretty much the epitome of showing off. But hey, a guy’s gotta ruffle his feathers just a tad. So cut me some slack, eh, hypothetical reader of our wedding site?
Yes, my cynical side was in full bloom when we met. But something about Melissa found a soft spot inside me, like the mushy insides of an overripe banana. And I found myself wanting to see her again. In fact, our second date was a mere two days later. So much for the three-day rule, right? (You know, that rule that you don’t want to come off as needy, so you have to wait at least three days after the first date before contacting them again?)
By the end of our second date, I caught myself thinking, “You know what, Melissa is going to be my next girlfriend.”
Yes, I thought “next.” Meaning there might be “another” after. Even in my softest of moments, my cynicism poked its way through, like a … uh, unripe banana?
And no, I had no idea if she wanted me to be her next boyfriend. It wasn’t like I consulted with her or anything before thinking that to myself. All in all, it was a pretty ballsy proclamation to make, even inside my own head.
But oddly, I felt an unexpected sense of confidence. I guess something in my subconscious knew.
Now, four years later, I’m still on the same “next.” And yes, I’m loving every minute of it — even those seemingly eternal minutes when we get drunk and fight. Which, honestly, happen pretty rarely. (Um … the fighting part. The drunk part is a little less rare.)
Really, this is all I’m trying to say:
I think I’m perfectly excited for this most recent “next girlfriend” to be my last.