I didn’t notice him when I walked in. Me first? How had I beaten him after I’d dizzied myself, circling multiple times in search of a parking spot? I was three minutes late, but from our emails, I sensed Philip was a punctual guy. Cold feet? It happens.
Just after 6 p.m., an awkward time for coffee. Would it be weird if I grazed on a small salad? Being a guy who probably needs glasses but still doesn’t have a pair, I crouched over the display case and squinted at the labels of the different deli creations. Undoubtedly not a great pose and a flagrant violation of First Date Wait whereby I should have a smile Vaselined on my face, keep the stomach sucked in and look cool and confident standing in a public eatery alone. Mid-crouch/squint, I realized someone was suddenly standing beside me. Philip.
“I bought you a coffee,” he said and I followed him to a table at the far end of the bakery. “Decaf,” he explained. Perfect! Beside my latté was a small plate with biscotti.
I’d bought coffee for some guys on first dates, but I can’t recall another man treating me. Little things—what should be a basic in being a gentleman—make strong first impressions. I sat down and noticed Philip wore a perfectly pressed button down shirt. He’d given this meeting some thought, something that should have been evident when he texted me fifteen minutes ahead of time: “Looking forward to meeting you.”
A class act. A refreshing change.
I became somewhat alarmed when he started talking: rapid pace, too much dwelling on a single topic, not enough back and forth. Please no déjà-vu. I’ve endured enough self-absorbed blowhards. Thankfully, it was just nervous energy. Toward the end of the date, as he joined me while I walked my dog along the seawall, I learned that I was his first date since he’d ended a ten-year relationship in December. Okay, that triggers a different déjà-vu. Dating freshly dumped guys doesn’t work out.
But I can ignore the warning signs. Heck, I’d ignored the nuts—which I hate—in the biscotti and graciously eaten the whole thing. I can ignore a lot when a guy leads with a latté-in-waiting.
Not a perfect first date, but there is definitely potential. On paper, we’re a good match. He’s 46, I’m 47. He has three degrees, I have three degrees. He’s incredibly fit and a marathon runner and, well, I try and I’m fitter than 95% of the men my age. Philip is worth a second date at least.
But then, as my dog tangled himself in a scraggly bush and I went back to my sexy crouching/sprinting pose, Philip revealed his own snag. “I got a job offer two days ago. In Edmonton.”
Of course he did. This was the business trip he’d mentioned in our exchange of messages. I’d made a series of lightly disparaging comments about the city—it’s so easy—in an attempt at humor. “I have to decide by Monday,” he said, sounding apologetic and genuinely conflicted.
Potential, yes. But I’m not the kind of guy you consider passing up a chance to move to Edmonton for. I mean, really, it’s Edmonton! If I’d known ninety minutes earlier, I’d have left the biscotti untouched, lied and mumbled something about anaphylaxis. And yet I’m glad I didn’t know. After dozens of go-nowhere coffee dates, that wonderful first impression proved restorative. There are genuinely nice single men out there still. Surely they don’t all move to Edmonton.