In the last two articles, I recounted how John had slid into my DMs after many years, and the events leading up to our first meeting. I brought a friend along to our first meeting to make sure it wasn’t a date. But John had countered by bringing a friend too, thus turning the non-date into a double date! If you are just joining us, you can catch up on the first two articles here and here.
So here I was, sitting at the table and John standing next to me. We were sitting on one of those high tables where the people seated are the same height as the people standing. I remember him standing really close to me. Usually, that would have driven me crazy, but with him, I didn’t mind. My pet peeve is bad BO. It doesn’t matter how good somebody looks, if their breath stinks or they smell sweaty, I am out. He smelled good, really good. Many years later, I asked what cologne he was wearing that day, and bought it for him on his birthday. That smell still gets my endorphins going.
Easy Like Sunday Morning
Anyway, back to the date. Shit! I was on a date with John! I had to mentally stop myself from pinching myself. The first thing I noticed is how attentive he was. He listened with his whole face. His expression changed in sync with the storyteller’s emotion. He asked the right questions at the correct times. It was effortless to talk to him. He put the whole table at ease and even made the waitress giggle as he ordered a round of drinks. I could see why he was popular back then, he was charismatic. I was in trouble. My body was telling my mind what I already knew, I wanted him.
I snapped out of my mini daydream and realized he had said something to me, and I had missed it. I said, “I am sorry, what did you say?” angry at myself for not paying closer attention. By this time, the quartet had split into two. Fleabag and John’s friend, let’s call him “Harry,” were at the bar doing shots. That was not going to end well, I mused. John was repeating what he had said, and I still could not hear him, so I leaned in. He spoke very softly, and I found myself leaning in a lot during the conversation. I later learned that John did this deliberately!
Remember how I had said that John bringing a friend to neutralize my bringing a friend was a very John-like thing to do? Well, here is an excellent example of John’s strategic ways. By talking in a subdued voice, he forces me to lean forward towards him. He leans in as well, which makes the conversation more intimate. Its almost like we are whispering secrets to each other. Every time I leaned forward, he would also place his hand on my lower back, almost as if he was going to kiss me. So the entire conversation consisted of me holding my breath each time he leaned forward to say something. He was subliminally priming my mind for a kiss! He denies this, of course. He says, he just wanted me closer, to make it more intimate.
At some point, I stopped turning my head to the side when he leaned in. Like when you peck somebody on the cheek, both your heads have to move in sync. If my head goes to my left, theirs has to go their left, and so on. If you don’t move your head appropriately, you end up on a trajectory with their lips. That is what I did, I didn’t move my head. It caught him off guard. I could tell he was surprised when he leaned in and found me unmoved, staring right up at him. Our faces inches away from each other, our eyes locked in an unexpected stare down. He pulled away quickly, looked down, and blushed. He was flustered! Ha! I couldn’t believe it. He was almost…shy about it. I later learned that John is quite shy; he just covers it up well. I had seen a chink in his armor, that emboldened me.
“We are leaving!” Fleabag was saying as she picked up her purse. Wait! What? I am not ready to leave yet! I wanted the closeness with John to last for as long as it could. Then I realized “we” was not referring to her and me. It was referring to her and Harry! I was furious. You have to understand, this was before the girl power movement that called out slut-shaming and the bullshit double standards that society imposes on women. So my first thought was, “how is this going to reflect on me?” I was afraid John would think I was as “easy” as Fleabag. It never occurred to me that John’s friend, Harry, was doing the exact same thing. Damn you society! Anyway, I started to protest with all sorts of thoughts going through my mind; you drove, how will I get home? Who’s driving? Are you ok to drive? Before I could string my thoughts together, John took my hand and squeezed it reassuringly. “let them go, you can ride with me,” he said, smiling confidently.
What was happening?! How did I go from a non-date to being driven home by John? It was my turn to get flustered. “Where am I dropping you?” John was asking as I pulled myself together. I explained to him that I was staying at Fleabag’s for the night. He winked and suggested we give them some time before we go there. As we sat there listening to a group of performers break out into a cipher (remember we were at a spoken-word cafe), I wished I was a little more spontaneous. Look at Fleabag, I thought, she is having a great time and isn’t caught up worrying about consequences. How does she do it? I want to live more freely and with less restraint! This was the last thought in my mind when I looked up and found John’s face saying something to me. Without hesitation, I kissed him. That was my last first kiss.
Join us next week as we examine the challenges of the early stages of dating. Family, goals, and credit scores. These are just a few of the factors that can doom a relationship before it has had time to take root. Find out next week what and how we dealt with our issues.