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First dates, much like losing your virginity (presuming you’re female), are pretty bad. There’s a great build up, much anticipation and excitement, followed by what can only be described as The Letdown.

Mr. Right greets you and you’re off for a night full of promise. However dinner is harder to choke down than your revulsion to his mother fixation. While listening to yet another dull story of his recent underwear shopping trip with Mother, you fixate on what is wrong with you and why you lack the courage to feign cramps and go watch The Colbert Report. Or perhaps he’s taken you to see the new “it” film of the month, which leaves you little time to get to know one another and by the end of the date, you’re standing on the corner of Am I Really That Desperate and Should I Fake Being A Lesbian.

But what about the first dates when you’re simply not sure it is a date?

Having started the divorce proceedings Maggie was newly single and ready to throw herself into the depths of dating hell when she met Mark, a perpetually single man who claimed he just hadn’t found his Ms. Right.

Working in the same office, there was no denying the mutual attraction, so when Mark asked if she wanted to meet up the next day, Maggie immediately agreed, failing to ask pertinent questions that all women should ask.

Few minutes early, Maggie met Mark at the arranged place and time and waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. After 30 minutes, she was getting ready to pack it in when she noticed Mark sauntering over with little more than a hello and half-hearted apology. Maggie, a little pissed off, decided to make a fresh start and see where the day took them.

They ran errands throughout the city, stopping by a little coffee shop before finishing off the afternoon at a car stereo store where he asked her opinion on a stereo for his truck. By this time Maggie was definitely getting the Friend Vibe and felt foolish for assuming Mark had asked her out.

Back at the car park, Maggie and Mark lingered a bit. Without any prior indication, Mark suddenly wrapped his arms around Maggie and kissed her. In a sex crazed daze, she returned his kiss and thought about taking this back to her place. Mark had told her that he’d wanted to do that all day, but felt the timing wasn’t right. Maggie was soaring high again after several months of neglect from her soon to be ex-husband.

Their relationship lasted only a few regrettable months, going down faster than a hooker when the Navy came to town. But she learned an important lesson when she returned to Play the Field – it’s OK to clarify what direction Mr. Maybe is heading before stepping out onto the turf.

Sometimes in this wonderful world of Dating Dilemma’s we get lost in the rules of the game and fail to notice the flashing Time Out signs. Desperation, occasionally our perfume of choice, is even overpowering to our own senses, inhibiting our judgment as if we’ve been on a three-day bender. Taking the time to cover all the bases before jumping in feet first into a relationship can save us from the mother of all hangovers and a regret that won’t go away without a shot of penicillin. Re-virginization is a frightening thing, and I, too, have faced it more than once. But with the help of Big Blue and other members of my goody drawer, I’m able to stay focused on the task at hand – finding Mr. Right while occasionally dating Mr. Right Now.

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