“The time will come/when, with elation,/you will greet yourself arriving/at your own door, in your own mirror,/and each will smile at the other’s welcome/and say, sit here. Eat./You will love again the stranger who was your self.” – Derek Walcott, “Love After Love”
I had my second date with Dexter Morgan last night, and since I’m still alive to write about it, I’d say things are going pretty well.
All week, we had been texting. We generally talked a lot about books; I suggested he read The Perks of Being A Wallflower (he had already read it, but wanted to read it again) and The Fault in Our Stars (okay. Young adult novels? I adore them. Don’t judge). He texted me first, about Wallflower, about a day after our first date, and it just kind of went from there. I confessed I wasn’t really sure how to proceed; I really wanted to do things “the right way” but generally I just fuck things up in the process. He said he felt as though we kinda missed the boat on the “right” things; if we were doing things right, he’d wait a few more days so that I wouldn’t be sure if he liked me or not and it seemed counterproductive.
So, we met for dinner after he got off of work, and though he offered to pick me up, I declined. I’m a self-reliant woman. I can take cabs like the best of them.
…And then, due to an ill-timed nap, I – she who shows up early, mostly – was late. And I was all sorts of flustered, and thought that I looked terrible, and just decided, “Fuck it, this is the best I’m gonna do. He can like it, or not.”
But when he saw me, he said, “Hey, pretty.” So I guess he liked it.
I apologized for being late, that it wasn’t my thing, obviously, and he was like, “Well, you’re now batting a 50/50 average, so we’ll just have to keep seeing each other and like, by late July, you’ll be at a C.”
“I don’t do Cs, though I am jealous that you can do that math in your head,” I said.
“Okay. Two years from now. High 90s,” he assured me.
We stood at the bar, waiting for a table. We went to a place in Logan Square, and it was obviously hipster haven: PBRs and irony as far as the eye could see. He said, “Sorry, I’m not used to it being so loud in here. Since we talked about some of the in-depth stuff last time, should we talk about boring stuff this time?”
But even the boring wasn’t all that boring. We each got slices of pizza and a beer (the place was cash only and he paid so I wasn’t going to be like, “CAN I HAVE 17 WHISKEYS PLEASE, AND IF IT’S SEVEN-YEAR-AGED THAT’S EVEN BETTER.”). The food itself was pretty good (though you can’t really fuck up pizza) but it occurred to me midway through that I was eating in front of another person the way that I’d be eating at home, by myself (I can’t eat normally anymore. I’ll take the slice of pizza and deconstruct it. Make tinier slices of pizza. [Are you sitting there wondering, “What the fuck do you have against pizza, Amanda?” … because I am.] I don’t know when that happened. Maybe living by myself for close to seven years has made me weirder than even I thought possible).
He told me about his co-workers, throwing each name out there as if it was someone I had known for years. It was a little hard to keep up, but I guess it also had something to do with being comfortable. I asked a little about his past relationships. He said most of them just ran their course. Ended. Nothing too terrible or dramatic. His last girlfriend, he said, criticized his name once, after they had been dating a year.
“She just looked at me, and said, ‘I love you, but your name is so stupid.'”
I said, “Did you break up with her, immediately?”
He said, “No.”
I said, “Did you break up with her the next day?”
He said, “It took about 6 more months. She said it wasn’t working, but if she hadn’t, I would have done it. I was more relieved than anything.”
I said, “That’s very strange to me. But I am not an expert in these matters.”
(And Lord knows, I’m a fucking hypocrite. If I were him, it would be clear to me to end the relationship [what’s in a name? EVERYTHING], but I can’t say I actually would have followed through. Fuck, at this very moment, I’m supposed to be on that date with that fried-caterpillar guy and instead of saying, “I had a great time with you but unlike Hall & Oates, your kiss is NOT on my list,” I texted him Thursday and said Saturday wasn’t gonna work, but that we should reschedule.
That’s how I deal with confrontation. I reschedule it.)
And of course, we talked about more books. Catcher in the Rye? I love, he hates. He thinks Holden Caulfield is terrible. I said, “Whaaaaaaattttttt? THAT IS TERRIBLE.” in a pitch only a dog could love, and he said, “You’re cute when you get offended. I won’t say I’ll offend you on purpose, but that thing you do? With your voice? Where it gets six octaves higher than normal? I kinda like it.”
And then we started talking about future plans, which made me nervous and excited all at the same time, because it seems so sure until it’s not. We kind of agreed to just take it easy (but we probably won’t). Go out on a Wednesday. See a free show at Millennium. Have a picnic just because.
We ended the date by quoting Mean Girls (YESSSSSS! SOMEONE GETS IT!!!) and he actually gave me three books to read (SOMEONE GETS THAT AS WELL!!!!): The Time Traveler’s Wife, World War Z, Wicked.
I said, “Awww; we’re like a book club. With chemistry. I like being weird with you.”
He said, “We’re not weird. Just awesome. You are tiny and awesome.” (he’s 6’2″ – HEIGHT FOR THE WIN.)
(Yeah, we’re totes gonna be watching Buffy soon.)
I mean, it all sounds good, don’t get me wrong. It’s just weird in its easiness. And I would rather have easiness than hardship on any given day of the week, but I don’t quite know what to do with it when I got it.
All I know right now is that I like this boy, and there’s definite potential. I have another date tomorrow with a runner dude, which will probably end as soon as he sees my muffin top. I don’t particularly want to go, but I also am not trying to put all the eggs in one very-tall-man basket. I have the unfortunate feeling that all of the crazy will slowly start bubbling to the surface, and I’ve done such a good job of reigning that shit in.
(Well, I mean, probably not. But maybe a little.)
Have a good night, friends. Be kind to yourselves.