the time i accidentally went on a date…

27 Mar

Mike is our school student-representative (I’m in graduate school) and I run into him from time to time at events. He’s a decently good-looking guy (with haunting eyes) and speaks intelligently – which is more than I can say for other guys that I’ve met. I never thought about Mike very much because when I first met him, I thought he was wearing a wedding ring.

When you get to a certain age, your eyes immediately check out the ring finger, then the package, and then the ring finger again just to be sure, ladies you know what I’m talking about.

At school, I was working with a small group of students on a project that required the recruitment of additional volunteers. Mike was one of the volunteers I recruited. He was also assigned to my team. So, ever the good team leader, I scheduled a meeting with my volunteers to get everyone on the same page and to start delegating tasks. Mike couldn’t make the meeting so I followed up with him individually, as I did with other volunteers who couldn’t make the meeting.

I had previously friended him on Facebook and messaged him asking when he and I could get together to talk business, our business being our extracurricular work at school. He was super involved on campus and regarded well-enough to be elected student-rep. and so I honestly wanted to pick his brain about why he chose our school, what his plans were post graduation – networking. Honest to goodness networking.

So when he couldn’t make the team meeting, I e-mailed him asking if he wanted to get together for a drink and talk business, my business, this time, being the project for which he volunteered. He texted me that night with, “I don’t drink, but I want to see you.”

I didn’t have his number saved in my phone so I freaked out thinking it was some hacker-stalker from this blog, because nowhere else do I talk about drinking, lol. But I had forgotten that I suggested drinks – it was just a way to start an e-mail you know, “do you wanna get together for drinks yadda yadda yadda…”

I texted Gretchen FUH-REEEKING out. “Ask him who he is.” Gretch responded calmly.

So I did. And he told me. And I said, “DOOD! YOU FREAKED ME OUT! I don’t have your number saved.” Supe casz, right? No big. No flirting. I even called him dood. Not dude. Dood is less formal that dude. And I hate hate hate when people call me dude. I’M NOT A DUDE. I’M A GIRL! Ok, anyway…

We texted back and forth some dates and places to meet – logistics. THEN HE SAYS: “It’s a date.”

And I’m thinking, “whaaaa? You’re married!? You can’t say that to people. Especially other women. Especially after you say “…I want to see you.”

So I get to wondering if he’s really married. I could have sworn I saw a ring on his finger the last time I saw him. And then I get annoyed, because married men are always asking me out. I must give out a “looking for an excuse to divorce your wife?” vibe or a “come relive your youthful single days with me, stud” vibe. I SWEAR I don’t do it on purpose and I SWEAR I don’t date married men, but I’m forever being approached by them.

Anyway, I want to meet with him to talk about this project so if he wants to call it a date because he’s being funny, fine. But I’m not going to engage. He texts me the next evening asking me what I’m doing that night. I say, “nothing, I’m tired.” The. End. (You can tell I’m super cool going to sleep early on a Friday night.) In fact, the only time I initiate a message is to let him know that where we’re meeting on Saturday is cash only.

The day of our meeting/date I get out of bed ONLY because I’ve set up this MEETING with him. I throw on some clothes that aren’t my pajamas and wash the night-slobber off my face. I walk to the restaurant and he meets me there. He gives me a hug. Like a good hug. Not a professional/semi-obligatory “we’ve seen each other socially” kind of hug. We’re seated and I start shoveling food in my mouth. No. Qualms. SHOVELING FOOD IN MY MOUTH. And on the 9th day God created salsa and saw that it was good. On the 10th day he created tortilla chips because he really wanted to eat the salsa, “this is gooooood” he said. (direct quote)

Between mouthfuls of food, Mike and I have a conversation. (remember this term gentleman, CON-VER-SAY-SHUN, say it slowly now, sound it out, take your time.) We talk about a lot of really good stuff, work, school, family, my upcoming job interview, just lots of a really good stuff. And, just to be honest, I don’t know if this conversation would have happened if I actually knew I was on a date. I probably would have clammed up and definitely would not have eaten as much or as… aggressively. Let’s be real – I’m a disaster.

We sit at the restaurant for a good two hours. Our lunch server kicks us out because she’s closing her tabs and it’s time to set up for the early-dinner crowd. Mike picks up the check. I offer to pay my share, but he says, “No, no. If I didn’t plan on paying I wouldn’t have agreed on meeting. Also, I’m Southern.”

And I’m thinking, “Whoa. This is a date. OMG AM I ON A DATE WITH A MARRIED MAN?!” So I look at his ring finger and realize that I’ve been looking at the wrong finger the ENTIRE TIME! (I’m really with it, when it comes to marriage) He’s NOT MARRIED. So, I’m kinda relieved.

And then I start to panic. BECAUSE IM ON A DATE! I try not to hyperventilate, I feel faint and unprepared – I didn’t even brush my hair!!! I take a deep breath and ask Mike if he wants to go to the store across the street with me. I’m looking for a gift for my friend’s new baby and I think they might have what I need. He agrees. As we’re leaving, I’m pushing the doors open and he says, “I should be getting these doors, by the way.”

I laugh, nervously – and I’m a little annoyed, honestly. I was thinking, “you picked up the tab; I can open a door.” [guys: you may start your rant on how women are hypocritical and don’t know what we want, now] We go to the store and he stands SUPER close to me. Like, protective close, you know what I’m talking about?

What I want is not at the store, so we leave. We walk down the street and stop in at a coffee house, because… where else was I supposed to take him? I was walking toward my house and when we walked passed his train stop he didn’t get on – I WASN’T GOING TO TAKE HIM TO MY HOUSE! So we’re at the coffee house. We sit and talk for another hour and a half. We have a pretty decent conversation and I’m not freaking out. But then he reaches over and rubs my back a little – and I tense up. I just wasn’t expecting to be on a date that day…

A girl goes through a whole psyching-up process, guys, you’ve got to give her some time to mentally prepare. Anyway, Mike had some errands to run and left, but not before he invited me to a party later that same night. He also gave me shit for not calling him to go out sooner – and I’m like, “Buddy, I ACTUALLY wanted to talk business with you. I wasn’t trying to date you” in my head, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

So anyway, I was tricked into a first date. And it wasn’t half bad. Probably because I didn’t think I was on a date and therefore didn’t get in my own way.

But things aren’t going to get very far with Mike, because I’m moving. That’s right. I think I’m leaving Chicago. I’ll know more after my job interview and I’ll keep you posted, but it looks like I won’t be in the Windy City for very much longer – and just as the weather was getting better, damn it.

Buuuut, you know what that means? A new city! And a whole new batch of men to date, berate, and make fun of. I kid… I kid…

Wish me luck on my interview!
Jane

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