Are We There Yet?

“They say you’re really not somebody until somebody else loves you. Well I am waiting to make somebody somebody soon.” – Ingrid Michaelson

Spent Sunday morning with Dexter Morgan. Dexter has requested that I change his name because he doesn’t want people to believe that he is a serial killer. I explained that, like, six people read this on a regular basis and I thought that Dexter was funny, and also he’s a redeemable character. Wasn’t like I was referring to him as, say, Hannibal Lecter (though, there’s an idea!).

Dexter wanted me to change his name to Sebastian (-ion?), if I needed a made-up name. Dexter is a gamer, and that’s his name in game-osphere (I don’t understand how the fuck it works). But I won’t use Sebastian, because it reminds me of the crab from The Little Mermaid. And while that is my favorite Disney movie of all time, I’d prefer not to be reminded of the crab from The Little Mermaid every time I write about him. Sebastian is also the name of Ryan Phillippe’s character from Cruel Intentions, a movie I was in love with at the age of 14. Sebastian was a womanizing bastard who wants to sleep with his stepsister but ends up having sweet-movie-sex with Reese Witherspoon instead… and then gets hit by a taxi. Sad trombone. (As a side note, I also strangely think that Dexter/Sebastian looks somewhat similar to Ryan Phillippe… like maybe a second cousin, about which my 14-year-old self is pretty pleased.)

So, no, we won’t be using Sebastian, and Dexter’s real name is Paul.

We had planned on going to the beach, but the last day of May decided to be November instead, so we stopped at a coffee shop where I got the largest coffee they offered, and he… watched me get the largest coffee they offered, because he doesn’t drink coffee.

“I can’t believe you don’t drink coffee. How do you not drink coffee? How do you wake up in the morning?” I asked, half-mumbly.

“I never started, so I don’t really need to,” he shrugged.

“That’s just insane to me. I mean, I’m not a person until I have coffee.”

“That just sounds terrible. Why would you want to wait every day to become a person?”

Dude has a point. Still, my addiction to the magic liquid that dreams are made of came first, and it shall persist.

I told him I started reading The Time Traveler’s Wife, and was about 100 pages in, but just reading it made me feel impatient because of all the time jumps. I recognized that that was the point, of course, but still – I wanted instant gratification. It was a little rough.

I had given him This Is How You Lose Her on Friday night (totally was not kidding about the book club quality of this budding relationship), which he was in the middle of as well. “It’s a good thing I understand a little Spanish, otherwise this book would just piss me off. And the main character? I want to like him, but he’s kind of a douche.”

“I still think he’s kind of redeemable. Yeah he does stupid shit, but that’s what makes the book relatable. People fuck up all the time, and most don’t learn a thing from their mistakes.”

He picks up my cup and inhales before shuddering and putting it right back down. “I thought I’d try,” he said. “But no. No no no.”

“That’s okay,” I smile. “You have to do coffee backwards to start. In fact, you might want to practice by drinking straight sugar, first, and then maybe in a couple years you can drink it black.” (…like the souls of all those who need coffee to be people.)

We arrange another date for Friday (though, weirdly, I don’t think we counted this one as a date; maybe we’ll call it date 2.5 for posterity?), and even set up a FUTURE date in a couple weeks, to watch some orchestral performance in Grant Park. I joke with him that by that time, I’ll add him on Facebook (I’m trying hardcore not to repeat any excitable-bunny-moments I may have had during this ongoing-stranger-dating-period of my life).

And then, I say, I have to go. Because I have another date. With more coffee. And I’m not sure if this is rude, or hurtful. I’m just trying to be honest, because I don’t see the sense in not being truthful. And in the same breath, I tell him that I like where this is going, but it seems like it’s happening super quickly, and I don’t know how to deal like a normal human. So I have to go. On another date. To make sure that I’m not having another excitable-bunny-moment. Because I really like him, but it’s literally been a week. (And the six people who read this? You know how I am with my weeks.)

…But maybe this is exactly how it happens? Maybe it’s okay?

And he says, “I understand. You have to do what you have to do.”

And I say, “I mean, you could do it too. Like, go on another date, and see.”

And he says, “I could, but I probably won’t.”

“Why not? I think it’s only fair. You could tell me about it, and I’d tell you about mine.”

“It is fair, but you could end up liking him more than you like me, which would suck, or I could like a hypothetical other girl more than I like you.”

“I… would not like that, but it’s only been a week. I don’t want to rush anything,” I admit.

“See? Neither do I. There’s no need to rush anything. So, go do this. Enjoy your date – just don’t like him more than you like me,” he smiles.

“I’m going for that high ninety percentage, remember?” I shrug. “Dude’s into sports; there probably won’t be a second date.”

Dude, as it turns out, isn’t much taller than I am (not sure how I missed that!) and his voice is not unlike Milton from Office Space. I instantly know in five seconds that I don’t want to spend another five seconds on this date. But, I got convictions to keep. Unfortunately, there’s not even a place to sit. And he’s like, “We could go outside. But I know you have iced coffee, so I don’t know if it’ll be too cold.” I tell him it’ll be fine.

So we go outside. And I sit in a wet chair. Because I give no fucks. And it is at that precise moment when he says, “Oh, look, a table opened inside.”

So. Then I give a little bit of a fuck. And say, “Oh, hey. Not to be rude, but I really need to be out of here in 45 minutes. Something came up this morning,” I offer as apology. He seems unfazed.

We go inside, and there is endless talk of sports. He’s a runner and mad he can’t break a 3:30 marathon. He makes me cry a little inside.

That’s basically the perfect way to describe this date: 45 minutes of me crying a little, inside. And yes, of course, I make jokes at my own expense and swear a lot, and I make him laugh and I check my fucking phone a million times and wonder when the fucking God this will be the fuck over because if I have to hear about one more goddamn fucking stress tibial fracture that you fucking diagnosed your fucking self I will literally just go back up to the fucking Starbucks counter and get a fucking doughnut and eat it like the fat kid that I am and just cry at you.

And then, he goes his way and I go mine, probably to both our reliefs.

And later, when Paul texts me to see how it went, I briefly consider texting him that dude and I are straight-up getting married because it went so well. And instead I just say, “You have nothing to worry about.” Keep it simple. Keep it honest.

(… Though there is the science guy who is currently messaging me about polar bear exhibits. I mean, polar bears. How fun, right?)

Have a good night, friends. Be kind to yourselves.

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