The same goes for dates.
I had another very good first date. (This is becoming very familiar. Why aren’t they asking for seconds?!) Saul has only been in Vancouver four days, having just moved from Victoria. He messaged me on Plenty of Fish. He’s eight years older, but in his profile pics, he appeared fit, younger than his age and endearingly smiley. Yeah, yeah. Photos can be so deceptive. I decided to hop on a ferry and meet him in Gastown. I needed to take a bunch of photos of older Vancouver buildings to give me a feel for a historical piece I’m writing so I figured now would be a good time to do that groundwork and cross off another online possibility. And I set my favorite bakery as our meeting place so, even if the date fizzled, I’d still have a sweet aftertaste.
Saul walked in and looked as young and smiley in person as in his pics. Well, hurrah. At first, I wasn’t terribly invested in the conversation. He talked too fast, too long and with too much detail about technical things. (He had listed science as an interest on his profile. Not my forte at all.) I figured, okay, this will be a pleasant coffee and that will be the end of it.
But there was a geeky charm to him as he caught a breath and said, “I’m talking too fast, aren’t I? I had caffeine already. Normally I only drink decaf.” Blame it on the joe. He then opened up about already having a bad coffee date only hours earlier. It comes with being the New Kid in Town. Fresh cookies always draw that initial surge of salivating suitors. That date lasted ten minutes with the other guy declaring, “Everything you would ever want is right here in me. But you’re not making enough eye contact. You’re obviously not interested.” Exit tightly wound single guy.
Somehow the story made me warm to Saul. Most men don’t open up about a same-day date, particularly one that ends so badly.
I knew Saul was interested in me. Maybe any guy would look good after that morning date. Maybe Saul spent the time in between practicing his eye contact. But he also showed interest in the way he’d touch me as we talked—naturally leaning into me as he joked and holding my hands to see if they were cold from this sudden spell of winter weather.
When the bakery closed, I still wanted to take some more photos so he walked his bike and strolled with me as we sauntered along Hastings, the worst blocks in Canada. As we casually meandered through a mixed crowd of mentally ill/homeless/addicted people, I realized that this was neither a romantic walk nor a proper “Welcome to Vancouver” excursion. I should have taken us on a less direct route to Chinatown. But I’m not used to thinking about travel for more than one. Saul gamely acted nonchalant. Even better, he went on a political tangent about the rights of the least fortunate and the failings of the Harper government. “Please tell me you’re not Conservative,” he said. “I’d have to end it right here.” I’m not. But he wouldn’t have.
He was clearly freezing—visibly shivering—but he waited patiently as I snapped pictures of historical buildings that were on my list. As the skies darkened, we ambled along the seawall, heading back towards his place. “Can I make you dinner?” he asked. I politely declined. I’m too finicky an eater. Can’t divulge all my quirks on the first date. “Can we go out for dinner?” Sure. Persistence, when it’s the right guy, can be sexy.
All this time, we’d sat and walked side by side. Now at dinner we faced each other. And the connection seemed stronger. I reached my hand across the table and held his. “I like this,” I said. Simple, yet significant.
I had to walk fifteen minutes from the restaurant to catch a bus to make the last ferry home. “I’ll walk you there,” he insisted. “And it wouldn’t be so bad if you missed it.”
Maybe not. But the evening ended at the bus stop with several hugs and a quick kiss. Fresh cook out of the oven. I’ve got a tongue to protect. Everything feels comfortable and I hope a second date does happen. I’ve learned that there’s a vast unknown between first date and what may or may not come next. He is a fresh cookie and I still have a couple other first dates pending. It’s a promising beginning. We’ll see if there’s a next.