Even the photo downloads slowly!
And, really, let’s go broader with that question. What. Do. I. Know?
Not much. At least with regard to food and that oversized mysterious element…dating.
Case in point: Tim.
I was smitten with him, I messaged him and on Friday we had our first date.
But let’s backtrack. Way, way back. My first smitten moment occurred eighteen years ago. Yes, same Tim. Yes, eighteen years.
I am the ultimate tortoise. S……L…….0…….W……..
No chance of whiplash.
Eighteen years ago, Tim and I played in the gay volleyball league, showing up on Friday nights for novice play. I noticed him and he, well,…maybe he noticed my errant bumps sending the ball flying onto his team’s court, interrupting play. That was before I became skilled at yelling, “Yours” during every point. My best volleyball maneuvers involved athletic minimalism.
Unfortunately, I carried that minimalist ethic over to my hopeless crushes. Over the years, I saw Tim at many volleyball events. He didn’t last long at the novice level. Most guys improve their skills and move up. As is constantly evident, I am not like most guys. Novice was my niche. But there were tournaments. He’d be there, a stunningly handsome distraction. I always felt that if a marketing executive from Crest or Colgate ever strolled into Vancouver, Tim would be scooped up to be their television spokesman. He has a million-dollar smile and then some.
So how does a tortoise actually land a date that is eighteen years in the making? Well, Tim’s profile has been on Plenty of Fish for a while. A rather long while. It proves how ridiculously obtuse Vancouver gay men are. Or maybe I am not the only tortoise.
I leave shortly for an extended vacation and I plan to delete or deactivate my online dating profiles. Still, I continued to see Tim’s profile pop up. I have had dozens and dozens of Fish Dates, but there seemed to be one piece of unfinished business.
Yeah, why not?
I messaged him. I went for broke. I mentioned the volleyball days and that dazzling smile. What’s the worst that could happen? A delete, a block, a restraining order. I don’t get over to Vancouver that much anyway.
He messaged back.
Let me repeat that: He messaged back!
It took weeks to finally meet for coffee and that almost never happened. Twice I sent messages that went unreturned. I waited a week, agonizing over the silence, and then dared to message again. He claims he texted but perhaps his words got lost in space. Sometimes I miss the days of plug-in phones and answering machines.
With any other guy, I would not have sent another message. But pride can be overvalued. And lonely.
It seems fitting that we finally officially met on yet another Friday night. He greeted me with that mesmerizing smile and a big hug at the café counter. Normally, I would be a jittery mess, but I immediately relaxed.
In the first five minutes, I’d revealed my inner geek with a reference about “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” when he mentioned Minneapolis. And he stayed. Within ten minutes, we were recommending various books. (How refreshing!) We chatted about our common experiences working in elementary schools and the fact that we recently worked in the same school district. We had plenty in common. More importantly, we engaged in real conversation, a true back-and-forth.
This is going well, I thought. But I have thought that before only to be messaged later about the lack of a spark. I tried to stay in the moment and block out any notion of a disappointing Day After brush-off message.
He suggested we go for a walk along the Stanley Park seawall. As I returned the coffee mugs, he scooped up my jacket and stowed it in his satchel. After half a block, he offered me his extra pair of sunglasses. Smooth,…and classy.
That’s when it became official: he swept me off my feet.
Still, I kept grounded. The conversation continued to flow easily. We laughed frequently, nothing forced. Several times, he put his arm around my shoulder and somehow I did not literally melt.
As he walked me back to the car, Tim provided the closure. “I’ve enjoyed this.”
“You’re very attractive, we have lots in common and I’d really like to see you again.” To be clear, those were Tim’s words. Tim’s!
We parted with a big, prolonged hug and, as soon as I drove away, I was overcome with the shakes. A good date. A great date! It really happened.
And to think it only took eighteen years.