The trilogy and a half started with Engineer No. 94. He was nice. The conversation flowed. He didn’t live at home, unlike half the men my age. I was totally willing to overlook the fact that I wasn’t attracted to him, because he looked like my pal Ward, and go on a second date. Then… radio silence.
After two weeks of regular and daily texting, I heard nothing from Engineer No. 94 all weekend. When I did, there was no excuse for the absence and I’d already talked myself out of him. I wasn’t attracted to him and silence is exactly the protocol for completely blowing someone off, when you meet online. If that wasn’t what he’d been doing, then clearly he was playing some kind of game. So, though I tried to get a feel for him again, just… no.
Then, a couple of Sundays ago, I went to church and lunch with my lifelong acquaintance, Andy. We grew up together, as some of the only Catholic kids in town, but never actually spent time alone. It wasn’t so much a date, as catching up with an old friend, but it was wonderful to truly enjoy company with a man, sans pressure. Thank the good Lord it was, because, that evening was my date with Civil Engineer. An hour and a half, five beers (all him), and about 37 insults later, I was done. This wasn’t concealed by my claim that I had to leave to get to bed, because I had to work the next day… even though it was only 7:30.
Meh. He was too drunk to have feelings.
So, that left me with one more date, which had actually been planned when I started this series. His name was Mailman and he lived about an hour away. He seemed eager to meet and we made arrangements for that Saturday evening. We were going to get coffee… until he changed his name to The Flake. The Flake had an emergency come up with a friend and canceled on me, promising to get in touch to reschedule. Fulfilling my commitment to actually try, I messaged him my schedule. He said that would be great, he’d let me know, and…
Sigh. It’s a part of online dating, one with which we’re all familiar. The Flake is the Mellenial version of the man you meet in a bar, who asks for your number and says he’ll call. Perhaps Mailman realized, as did I, that he lived an hour away, was thrilled with the house he’d been restoring, and loved his job; while I lived in Shetland, working for the best library system in the state, a mile from my Gramma, just a few from my best friend, and a few more from my daddy. I’m not going anywhere. Neither was he. Well, then… I guess he shouldn’t have freaking messaged me in the first place.
The plan was to try to get another date before I posted this. If I couldn’t, I was going to open with “That’s right. You’ve been How-I-Met-Your-Mothered, bitches!” Then, came Air Force.
I met Air Force on OKCupid. I saw his profile, thought he seemed nice, but he had that whopping flaw: he was in the service. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what these men have done for our country. I do. I just don’t want to be the carry on item, while they do it. It takes a lot to be a military spouse… and I don’t have it. I went to school for seven years to be a librarian. I’m very attached to my family and have just mended some very important relationships. My Gramma is my favorite lady and Gaily and I have been conjoined since the 9th grade. I’m. Not. Leaving. So why bother starting something?
I imagine Air Force realized this would be a concern to women, because his first message explained that he’s ready to settle down and lucky to have a position where he can stay for as long as he likes. At this news, I figured, why not? He didn’t open like this…
I figured I’d see where it led. So, we had the normal online dating conversations. By that I mean…
Air Force: The last book I read wasn’t anything impressive. There’s nothing wrong with a little light reading, though.
– He’s nervous. Librarians might be literature snobs, who only read classics. –
Me: One time, I read this paranormal romance novel about a dragon shapeshifter, who falls in love with a unicorn shapeshifter.
Air Force: I have a bit of a nerdy side. Do you have a limit on that?
Me: I just told you about my dragon meets unicorn paranormal romance book. So not really.
So, after a couple of days, Air Force gave me his number and told me I could text him. How very confident and decisive of him… and how very unfortunate that I had to give the lamest (albeit true) excuse: I don’t have a phone. You see, my Samsung Galaxy S 3 completely died on me Friday night, right around the time Air Force wanted to start texting. I had already ordered the Galaxy S 5 when it happened and was stuck with a Go Phone/carrier pigeon/smoke signals until it arrived. Fortunately, Air Force didn’t take this as the brushoff and we continued to message online. Eventually, he asked to meet. I expected the usual “I don’t care. What do you want to do?” crap, when he asked what kind of food I liked. I told him sushi, because I gave up meat for Lent.
Air Force: “Is Wasabi good?” – Shetland’s sushi restaurant –
Me: “The food is great. The service is meh.”
Air Force: “Alright. Would you like to meet there Thursday at 6:30?”
I shit you not. The man actually just named a time and place, instead of forcing the back and forth “What time is good for you? Where do you want to meet?” nonsense. He was polite enough to ask what I like and enough of a man to make a freaking decision. Furthermore, Wasabi is nowhere near him. He chose Wasabi, strictly because it’s in Shetland and so am I. He didn’t demand I meet him in the middle. He came to me.
So, I went all out. I figure, even if I’m only cautiously optimistic about a man, it’s a waste of both of our time if I don’t put in effort and vice versa. I donned my cowboy boots, the cute $5 dress I bought at Goodwill with Gail a few months ago, and my new jean jacket. I did my hair and full makeup, with the brown eyeliner that makes my eyes look eerily green and headed out.
On the way, I got a text message asking me to let Air Force know when I arrived. Rather than just wanting to know when to look up from his phone, when I texted, Air Force actually came out to the parking lot to meet me. He opened the door for me and directed me to the table, where he already had menus for us. He was patient while I decided what to order and after the orders were taken, we talked… and it was great. The conversation flowed. He was nice looking and certainly didn’t look like Ward. He was clearly into his job and talked about the countries he’d visited and the cultures he’d experienced. I not subtly mentioned that I was divorced and he seemed cool with it. I, of course, rambled like a moron at times…
Air Force: “I lived in Virginia for awhile. That was nice.”
Me: “I’ve never been further east than Arkansas. It looked beautiful in Hocus Pocus.”
Air Force had plenty to say, though, including offering dessert. We talked and ate for over an hour and a half. After he paid, on the way to our cars, he asked…
Air Force: “Have you seen Captain America yet?”
Me: “No, but I was just talking to a coworker about how it looked good.”
Air Force: “Would you like to go?”
Air Force: “Well, no. This weekend.”
He just asked, y’all. There was no…
Does he like me? Do I even like him enough to want him to like me?
He didn’t ignore me for a few days to seem aloof. He didn’t make vague “let’s do it again, sometime” plans. I texted him when I got home…
Me: Thank you again for dinner. I had a really nice time.
Air Force: I enjoyed your company. I will look at the weekend movie schedule for Captain America. Do you have any conflicts?
Again, he just made plans. He asked if a time didn’t work for me and then chose the Springfield theater, just north of Shetland, because it’s closer for me. A man mastered the gentlemanly formality that came off stilted and awkward when Geologist called me “enchanting.” So there you go. There’s actually a second date happening.
Air Force: How does noon on Saturday, in Springfield sound? Then a late lunch?
Me: That sounds great. Springfield has lots of good lunch places.
Me: Or restaurants, as they’re more commonly called.