Suddenly I have found myself turning into that person who can’t remember past conversations or specific details about another person; the person who used to annoy me by their “lack of interest”. Between dates, conversations, two different apps and mindless swiping, I can’t keep them all straight! My friends have even become confused, and one of them even created a cheat sheet of all the guys I’m seeing to keep track of it all. Before I go on a date, I have to quiz myself on the guy I’m going out with, referring back to his profile and the conversation we have had, and even keep notes after the dates to remember what I learned about the guy (if I’m actually interested in him). This is exhausting! Trying to date, maintain a successful career, hang out with my friends, and workout is wearing me out!
Normally I wouldn’t be going on so many dates or be putting myself out there this much, but it’s so hard to tell how much of a connection you are going to have with someone at “face value”. The only problem with these quick swiping apps is that they leave one very important characteristic to the imagination, and that is charisma. I believe that charisma is the most attractive quality a person can have. Charismatic, passionate people draw others in like moths to a flame. Someone can be, at first glance, not very attractive to you, but once you spark up a conversation their charisma takes over and you can’t help but be attracted to them. This is why it is so important to not overlook anyone that you may be somewhat attracted to on the apps as they could appear extremely different to you upon meeting them in person.
I have been drawn to many men over the years for their intelligence, passion, and charisma and I may have passed over them on the apps and “swiped left” just seeing them at “face value”. I consider myself more of a sapiosexual (someone who is attracted to intelligence) than someone who is superficial and only attracted to people for their looks. Of course there needs to be sexual chemistry, but there are so many more important qualities to desire in a spouse. Have I dated people in the past purely because of sexual attraction? Sure, who hasn’t, but there’s a reason why these “relationships” didn’t amount to anything. There was no true connection beyond the physical and as a result there was no foundation to build upon.
Now on to the dates:
The Banker (Bumble)
OK, so technically he manages a group of business loan officers that specialize in the tech industry, but that’s too wordy. The Banker is one of those guys who may not have been the most attractive man on the app, but once I met him in person I was instantly drawn to him. He is more striking in person than he was in his pictures. He is tall, fit, handsome, mature, and very intelligent. What I like most about him is that he’s confident without being narcissistic and he seems to have a soft sensitive side that I am curious to discover.
We met at this cute little wine bar on South Lamar called Aviary. It was a very good choice for a first date and they have half price bottles on Wednesday (http://www.aviarylounge.com/). We connected through our similar jobs, being that we’re both in banking, and the conversation was easy and comfortable. We discovered we both have crazy, hyper-active dogs (although his is still a puppy), and we seemed to have similar aspirations and desires for our futures. We laughed about how we’re both sometimes borderline arrogant, calling each other out on the words we chose to describe ourselves. For example, he asked if I want kids and I said, “I know I’d be a great mom, but I haven’t decided” and he poked fun at my overly-confident statement. I told him my frustrations about dating in this day and age and how, in my opinion, after the first date a man should call to ask the woman out again. I also emphasized how important chivalry is and how you should take your time getting to know someone. He sympathized with these feelings.
Before I knew it, we had killed the first bottle of wine. We decided that we weren’t done getting to know one another, so we ordered another. Hours flew by and all of a sudden it was past midnight, and on a Wednesday! We wrapped up our conversation and he walked me to me car. We both acknowledged that we had a great time, and he leaned in for a goodnight kiss. We were both nervous, so it was a little awkward, bumping teeth at first, but it was sweet.
The next day he texted saying he had a great time and that he wanted to take me out again if I’d like to. Yes, he didn’t call, but he joked about it, acknowledging the text in place of the phone call. Unfortunately this was the Thursday before Christmas and my family had just arrived in town for the holidays, so I was booked all weekend through the beginning of the following week. Then the next week came around and by the time I was available, he had gone home for a post-holiday visit with his family. He was very persistent though, and provided me with the perfect balance of checking in to see how I was doing and giving me space to have time with my family.
New Year’s Eve passed and we finally had time to get together. Our second date was scheduled for January 3rd, but, unfortunately, that was my first day back at work after being off for 10 days and I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I had to cancel last minute. I felt awful. We rescheduled for that Thursday, but then he had to cancel last minute to fill in for a sick co-worker at a networking event that night. Sheesh! I must really like this guy because we rescheduled yet again for the 10th.
Date #2 finally happened… three weeks after the first date. We went to another new wine bar called Wine Belly at South First and Oltorf (http://austinwinebelly.com/). It’s a small, homey place with a surprise open patio out back. He was just as handsome as I remembered. We picked up conversation like no time had passed at all, recapping our previous conversation, what we learned about each other, and asking additional questions to find out more. It was nice, easy, and I felt comfortable with him.
This date didn’t last quite as long as the first as we both had an early morning ahead of us, but we planned another date to take our dogs to Auditorium Shores the following Saturday. He walked me to my car, kissed me goodnight, then texted me later on to let me know he had a good time. He even lined up another date between this one and the doggie date for Thursday. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this goes.
The Escape Artist (Tinder)
This guy actually set up a very cute first date. We met at Peter Pan on Barton Springs, an Austin staple (http://peterpanminigolf.com/). In his pictures he looked very tall and handsome, but in person he was a bit shorter than I had anticipated and a little skinnier than I usually go for. But, keeping in mind the charisma factor, I put these biases aside and decided to get to know him and have a good time. He was very sweet, funny, intelligent, and successful. In between putts, we talked about where we grew up, what brought us to Austin, etc. (you know, the usual questions). Although we had a good time, I felt more of a friendly connection with him than a romantic one.
After we finished our round of putt-putt, he asked if I would like to go somewhere for a drink and talk some more. I accepted his offer to get to know him further, and he suggested a new restaurant/bar on South Lamar called Eberly. This place was so charming! It has a 1940’s feel to it and a great history behind its name. The restaurant, equipped with the historic 1866 Cedar Tavern bar from Greenwich Village in New York City, received its name from an “innkeeper named Angeline Eberly (who) stood up to President Sam Houston and his Texas Rangers by firing a cannon to stave off a rebellion and preserve Austin as the capital of Texas.” (http://eberlyaustin.com/) This is a great place for a date; it is eclectic, inviting, and at night the lighting is perfect for a romantic evening.
When we walked in the swanky establishment, that neither one of us had been to before, The Escape Artist immediately bee-lined for the back bar (it was a hard to find area that I didn’t even know was there). It was almost like he had been here before… When we got to the back bar, to his surprise his best friend, whom he had mentioned multiple times in conversation, was there. He was on what appeared to be a first date as well with a cute blonde. What are the odds? Two best friends on first dates who just happen to bring their dates to the same bar? Hmmm… this was a little too coincidental. I made a joke and called them out on their “chance reunion” and they both played it off like it wasn’t planned. In my opinion, this was a way for them to meet up and have an escape plan in case their dates were awful, or maybe to get each other’s approval of the women with whom they were on dates. I let them have their little moment of victory, thinking they had succeeded in their plan, and my date and I went to our own table to talk and enjoy our drinks.
We were carrying on good conversation, but I could tell that both of us were just feeling a friendly connection. The Escape Artist told me a story of how he usually gets confused for being gay and that men hit on him frequently. I could definitely see why. He is clean-cut, good-looking, slim, and dresses very metro with skinny pants and well-coordinated outfits. After he told me this story, I kept thinking about how he would be a great fit for my GBF (gay best friend), Enrique, if only he was attracted to men. This was a bad sign. A little hint: The moment you start playing match maker for the person you are supposed to be on a date with is the moment that you know there is absolutely no love connection.
He drove me back to my car and I thanked him for the date. We had a good time, but there was no kiss goodnight, and we both knew that there wasn’t going to be a second date.
The Poser (Bumble)
I was skeptical going into this date. He only had 3 photos on his profile, and none of them truly showed what he looked like. On Bumble he was chatty, nice, and very persistent so, in the spirit of charisma, I put my biases aside again and decided to give him a chance. We first started talking right before Christmas and, as I mentioned before, I was extremely busy with my family during that time, so we couldn’t meet up. Then he was in Cancun, so there went another week. He was continually checking in though, wishing me Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and asking me questions about different activities I was doing. Finally we both had some free time on New Year’s Day to get together.
1st red flag: Overkill emojis. Yes, I use them, but when there are more emojis than words, I’m sorry but you have a problem. There should be a support group called “Emojis Annonymous” for emoji over-users. Can you not successfully express yourself through words? And what is with sending the one random smiley face wearing sunglasses? Guys will text just this emoji with no reason or purpose; just a smiley face wearing sunglasses. What’s scary is that this isn’t the first guy who has done this to me, so what does this mean??? Are you trying to be cool? It’s not working. It’s weird, pointless, and I don’t get it. If someone knows why guys do this, please explain it to me.
2nd red flag: For the first date, he asked me to the movies… Just a little piece of advice, this is the worst first date idea ever! You can’t talk and get to know one another, and you are committing to an event and a certain time frame, so there’s no escaping. When you ask a woman to the movies on the first date, this gives her the impression that you are lacking in interpersonal skills and are worried that you won’t be able to carry on a conversation, so you chose a date where you won’t have to talk. He saved himself a little by asking me to meet for a drink first at The Park on South Lamar, but it was last minute and by the time I got ready and got to the bar we only had about 45 rushed minutes to attempt to get to know each other.
On a side note, what is it with this group of dates and South Lamar? Weird…
3rd red flag: He was contradicting himself with his statements and answers to my questions about his life and interests. He said, “I love to travel.” Ok, “Where all have you traveled?” I asked. He replied, “Well, I just started traveling this year and have only been to Cancun and Miami.” Alright, you can love to travel but are just getting a late start on it, no big deal. Then I asked about his hobbies. He said, “I love to go camping, hiking, and be outdoors.” Well, there’s something we have in common. So I asked, “Where have you camped recently?” “I haven’t,” he said. He then went on to tell me that he went camping with his dad in Tennessee growing up, but hasn’t been in years. So, how is this a recent hobby of yours if you’re 30 and haven’t been since you were a child? I’m confused.
Then I started realizing that a lot of the exciting things that have happened in his life just happened in the past year. That made me wonder what had changed to send him on this new trajectory of life to become more cultured and exciting. Great for him for making this change, but I’m looking for someone with a little more life experience that I can share past stories with and also create new ones. Plus, he seemed very close-minded and unpolished, and kept pronouncing words wrong like Cabernet Sauvignon, which for some reason I found irritating. At least the movie was good (we saw Passengers, I highly recommend it).
The more dates I go on, the more confident and carefree I am becoming. Being open to meeting new people and knowing that I’m going to keep my options open, until something gets serious, takes all the pressure off of dating for me. Sure, I still get butterflies and nerves when I go on a first date, but I don’t feel the obligation to find “the one” right away that I used to feel. It’s refreshing and liberating. For the first time in my life I’m not asking myself, “Where is this going?” with every first, second, and/or third date.
However, for some reason, in the back of my mind on all of these dates I couldn’t help but think about The Tall Man. We had seen each other a few times since he called things off. I have no idea why, other than the fact that he ended things and, even though we were still friends, I couldn’t have him. I have learned that I have an unhealthy obsession with wanting what I can’t have when it comes to men. So, after my second date with The Banker, and with the help of some liquid courage, I started a text conversation with The Tall Man. I was feeling vulnerable, wasn’t thinking clearly, and needed an answer to a question that I had been obsessing over for weeks.
We had a brief conversation, I told him that I still think about him, and then typed out the question “Do you think about me?” I sat there staring at the question and paused to think about the outcomes before I worked up the courage (or possibly stupidity) to press send. What answer did I get? Crickets. Note to self: Do not drink and text, unless that’s the only way to work up the nerve to get the closure you need. So that was that. Just the reality check I needed to put The Tall Man in the past and look towards my possible future with The Banker, and maybe a couple more first dates sprinkled in the mix.
“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.” -Anais Nin