“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.” – Bridget, Bridget Jones’s Diary
You know those bad date stories we women all LOVE to talk about? The ones I love to talk about? Well, this past Saturday night I turned the tables – on myself – and became someone else’s bad date. I had the best of intentions. Really, I did.
I swear to God, it was like the night was cosmically charged or something. For disaster. Maybe. I hope not. Although I’m kind of beginning to think so because as the clock ticks I become more and more doubtful that I’m ever going to hear from this person again, and will be forced to resign the evening to one that I’d like to forget. No, strike that. One I’d like to do all over again but know I will never have the opportunity to.
It’s almost as if I brought it on myself. Like, what kind of idiot goes trudging into the city for a first date in the middle of a snowstorm? This idiot, of course, the one who spends her life looking for The One, The One I like to think is out there waiting to meet me. I’m so much a dreamer that before I left my house an image of Renée Zellweger kissing Colin Firth in the falling snow at the end of Bridget Jones’s Diary popped into my head. Dreamer, I know, with a big fat capital D.
In reality, I’ve been chasing this illusory One for almost three years now, looking for that single, irresistible guy to whisk me away into a world of slow seduction, everlasting love and, of course, amazing sex. And by amazing I mean tantric, all night, multi-orgasmic sex.
Normally on my dates I feel nothing. No connection. Nada. Zilch. Sometimes my date feels one and if I’m not altogether ambivalent then, of course, I get swept away, sort of, chasing the feeling the guy is having, hoping, praying, that I can behold it one day for myself. Maybe, I think, I missed it. So I “investigate” by seeing that person again. Sometimes even again after that. Depends how NOT ambivalent I really am.
And then other times, though more infrequently, I’m “lucky” enough to wind up “in” a relationship that I know in my heart of hearts is not the one in which I’m supposed to be. Too often I stay longer than I should, trying to turn that relationship into something it’s not and somehow justify the time I’ve already invested. Yet, all the while feeling frustrated because I know it’s not the relationship I want. Or deserve.
Naturally, I have felt “it,” too. Whatever that elusive “it” really is – chemistry, lust, or what have you, right along with the other person. At which point some sort of relationship ensues, though, to date, not one that has lasted.
As I walked through slushy streets in expensive boots not meant for snow, in freezing temperature to the restaurant after my normal dating “commute” on the train into New York City, I began thinking that there must be a reason why I didn’t stay home. I even texted my date about an hour before leaving to make sure he still wanted to go to the trouble. He did, if I did.
“I’m fearless,” I joked back in agreement.
But was that really the case?
When I got to the restaurant I was met with this adorable guy in his early forties. Not my typical narcissistic, emotionally unavailable power monger that I typically gravitate towards. Different. A little more… Zen. Spiritual. As it turns out, more like me. Because, at my old age of 42, I’ve finally realized why I didn’t always fit into my own life – I was a little bit more creative than I let on. Crunchy. Perceptive.
I stifled that identity for years in lieu of being the straitlaced, Type A, linear thinker that everyone thought I was or, probably more accurately, what everyone thought I should be.
I led what many would call a charmed life with the applicable accouterments. All good, except that my life didn’t quite fit with my spirit and over time began to squash it, until the day when my cover was finally blown to smithereens.
I’m normally a good date. I am. I’m what you would call a seasoned date. Not that I always was. I most certainly was not. But now that I’ve been doing this for a little while I’m normally confident. Smart. Funny. Some might even say witty. Because of that, I usually “get the guy.” At least I do for a while, as in a call back after the interview.
On a date, I always like to get to my destination a few minutes early and compose myself. Which would’ve been nice, especially that night, since I got there and I was freezing cold, with wet feet, and feeling slightly disheveled as a result. But I was a few minutes late, and I didn’t get my requisite prep time. Not to worry, though. I excused myself to the ladies room and pulled myself together.
Within minutes, I was back in business. We began talking over drinks. And I was beginning to warm up, both literally and figuratively. Not long after, we moved to a table for dinner.
We sat down and I began yapping away, oblivious to my surroundings, telling my life story that, of course, included my ex-husband. I wasn’t saying anything negative about him. I’m beyond that. These days we get along well. But it was my version, and not really a conversation I would imagine having in front of my ex-husband, let alone while on a first date. But, essentially, that’s what, unbeknownst to me, I was doing.
Never once did I look around me. I was just so self-absorbed. And absorbed in this cute guy. But about 10 minutes in I happened to look to my left at the people sitting next to me, the ones who were sitting silently at the next table.
Wow, I thought, the guy sitting only inches away from me looks really familiar. So, I looked to see who he was sitting with, and it turned out to be my ex-husband’s niece. By the looks on their faces, it was clear she and her fiancé had seen me there the whole time but never once said hello.
Our eyes met. Immediately the awkward hellos began to fly. Of course, as if that weren’t enough, I scanned the rest of their table and also noticed my ex-husband’s nephew and his significant other sitting there, too. No one had bothered to let me know they were there.
I introduced everyone to my date and then proceeded to mouth to my date that we needed to move to a different table, texting him like an immature high school girl the reason why. No way could I talk to him freely with an audience, especially since we didn’t know each other well.
I said my hellos and then my goodbyes to the table next to me, gave an honest explanation as to why I could no longer sit there, and we moved. All good. Right? Not really. Now I was flustered. Distracted. And, apparently, in idiot mode. Except I’m not an idiot. Not normally, at least.
My date told me I was meant to meet him, and that this chance meeting with my ex-husband’s family was supposed to happen, that there was definitely a reason. I only needed to figure out what it was. After all, what were the odds that I would sit down right next to them in a restaurant of his choosing in the middle of Manhattan on the night of a snowstorm?
As I now recount the night’s events none of this sounds like a big deal. In truth, it isn’t. So what? So my ex-husband’s family saw me on a date. They’ve seen my ex-husband, their uncle, with another woman for years. So his family might have eavesdropped on my conversation. Not cool but at the end of the day who really cares anyway?
I did. But the question is why?
My date proposed that I’m not over my ex. Surely, that’s not the case. If my ex appeared at my doorstep looking to reconcile, I would never agree. No way could I ever go back to the passionless marriage I had.
Perhaps, my date alternatively suggested, this was some kind of message to my ex that I had, in fact, moved on. Doubtful. He wouldn’t care if I had or I had not. In my ex’s world that information is irrelevant, and I’m fine with that.
Honestly, after I thought about it, I had the answer all along. As it seems, I had sent it into the Universe myself, via text, taunting whatever higher power there is that I’m the person I purport to be.
Of my willingness to travel in the snow, I had texted my date that I was fearless before leaving home to meet him that evening. Right after I sent it, I looked at the text thinking, Where did THAT come from? The Universe, it seems, wanted to know as well. And it wasn’t the first time the Universe had asked.
Two weeks earlier I was asked a question on another first date: “Are you ready for someone to love you?”
I replied that I was. No, it wouldn’t be him, as I would discover days later when he informed me that he had decided not to pursue a relationship with me. But the question was an intriguing one nonetheless.
Not long before that, a mentor of mine advised me that I’m uncoupled because I want to be. “No,” I adamantly disagreed. That is until I actually thought about it.
For a long time what she said was, indeed, correct. Though I’ve dated – a lot – and have had relationships, they were always with people who treated me like the fox that I was – the fox who relished in taking a running jump to swipe at grapes which were always just out of reach, at relationships with men who I knew could not and would not give me the meaningful relationship I professed to want.
I realize now that’s because I was afraid, afraid of finally letting go of the past and outing myself to the world – the entire world – without feeling self-conscious.
The Rule of Three tells us that the energy we send into the Universe will come back to us threefold. I believe the events of last Saturday night completed my three. On that night, my two worlds finally collided and became one.
Unfortunately, by the end of this writing I learned my date and I will not be moving forward together. I can’t say that I’m not disappointed. But I do agree we met for a reason. And it was a worthwhile one.
Do you believe everything happens for a reason?
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