best date ever. to date... april 17th, part 1.

so sunday was supposed to be nice and easy. short and sweet and to the point. matthew wanted brunch. so i said, fine... favorite bar has the best brunch.

so we agreed to meet there, after a bit of discussion about what time he wakes up vs what time i wake up. i never make plans before 1 or 2 on sunday, because i sleep in, drink my coffee, and wake up as slowly as possible. sunday pace for me is just a crawl. and i usually don't feel like leaving the house, if at all, until hours after i wake up and lay around being lazy.

but i told him i'd meet him at 11, so he'd be hungry for brunch, because he was threatening not to eat. and what is brunch if there's no eating?

i woke up at 8, after a few hours of a nap. it was not nearly enough sleep. and i was a little bit disappointed, admittedly, that i was waking up and getting out of bed for a super early brunch.

but at the same time, i was excited for it. kit was meeting us there for a bit. i biked. he drove. it was another stunning day here.

spring is here. i hope it's here to stay. it felt like it took forever to get this point in the season, and we were having those 'tease' days where it would be 45 then 50 and gloomy, then 70 and sunny, and then 45 rainy again.

but it's been consistently in the 60s for a few days. it's a huge relief. everything is in bloom. pollen is on everything. and it's breezy and beautiful.

somehow, despite being up so early, i laid in bed too long and then had to rush to get ready. i ended up about 15 minutes late, which was fine, because he ended up looking for parking and i beat him there.

so we sat at the bar, and talked progressively more loudly while the place filled up. we had coffee. then food. then drinks. we were cutting jokes and teasing each other, which was fun. sam and the crew seemed completely unfazed that i was there with a boy, and didn't make any special effort to say hi or anything. but that's how sunday brunch goes. everyone is in a wicked mood since jeff left. something is definitely missing.

i made a comment about how spectacular a day it was, and how i was going to hop on my bike after brunch and go look for stoop/sidewalk sales in the neighborhood.

we'd been there for over an hour at that point. and he got this look on his face that funny and cute and sad all at the same time, and said, 'you mean you don't want to hang out with me today? you're leaving me?'

i corrected him, saying that i would, absolutely love to hang with him. that he had said brunch, and that i wasn't making any assumptions about time after that. so it was decided that we would go on an adventure. together. he wanted to go to a record store to look for a few things. it sounded like fun, though i haven't dropped cash on music in a billion years.

he is all about driving, which makes me slightly crazy. and i was all about biking, which he hates. so i said, 'let's walk. it's so nice out. we can't drive.'

and he agreed. he talked to kit for a minute, then her date showed up, and we bailed.

trees were in bloom. leaves were clinging to branches. it was super sunny and really breezy, and i kept stopping to take pictures. he asked to be in one. it's a fantastic picture. postcard worthy, i'd venture to say.

i kept linking arms with him, and i guess we got about halfway into the city toward the first record store, and i grabbed his hand. he complimented my skill improvement, from the first date. i think we spend like two thirds of the time we're together giving each other shit. and because somehow i've become witty since i started dating him, i can keep up. and we can burn each other equally, so one person doesn't start to feel like a whipping boy.

we were just silly and funny, walking quickly, giving each other shit, and bouncing from story to story, topic to topic. things with matthew just flow. it's effortless. we're the same speed, mentally. though he comes up with some seriously witty concepts that blow me away sometimes. i'm not quite that evolved yet.

once we got into the record store, things felt even better. call me stupid, but i guess i don't know what dating is. i think of dating as like dinner and a movie. or dinner and drinks. or lunch. or brunch. almost always a meal. and then, maybe a park or something.

i don't think of it as 'hey, you love music and i love music, and there's something i've been wanting to buy, so let's go to the record store.'

but what happened once we got there felt a little like magic.

we like a lot of the same stuff, musically. the second time we hung out, he had a tee shirt on under a button up shirt, for this band that i JUST found on pandora, and had literally downloaded the night before, called zolof the rock and roll destroyer. i told him about it. it was super random.

and most of the time, i feel that all i live for is writing and music. and asking each other bands and recommending stuff based on that for hours was great. it was so much fun. and a wholesome date without having sex was a welcome change, based solely on necessity. it made me feel like i could be respected. joking.

but he didn't find what he wanted in the first store, and there was another store a couple blocks off. we passed the bar where we went that first night, and he said we should grab a beer after checking out the other shop.

i told him that if we weren't having so much fun, i was planning to go home and have an afternoon alone, but that i was totally into prolonging our time together. it was arts and crafts day at the bar, so i was even more into the idea of going back there specifically.

we were looking through the same sections at the same time, very close to each other in the second store. and i found this cd that was so obscure that i freaked out a little. i know, so hipster-y of me. but really... i've never seen a copy in the eight years i've been friends with half the band. so it was awesome to find it there. like it was planted, and waiting for me to happen into it.

things like zolof and the cd and other millions of little coincidences would have had a profound effect on me. making me super smitten and spouting 'it's meant to be' and 'see? everything happens for a reason' and all that other bullshit drivel.

i'm so glad i'm not like that anymore. now, after a hundred of those things happen, i shake my head, and get a laugh out of it. like, 'hm. that's pretty funny.' and reflect on how insane i used to be, clinging to those things and taking them as signs, instead of just asking whoever i was with.

i mean, there's something undeniable with some things. like finding one of a shirt that is on super sale and just happens to be your favorite size and color. you know, when the stars align just right.

but the difference now is that i'm a big girl. and instead of taking the two of us happening to reach for the same cd out of a hundred at the same time as a sign of being in love, i just get a giggle out of it, and tell him he's cute. i'm so relieved. i really feared reverting back to that girl. and i'm so glad that i am not even tempted to.

i asked him if i could kiss him in the second store, and he turned his face a quarter, i guess giving me his cheek. but i went for his mouth. it seemed strange to spend time making out and kissing so much the first two dates, and to not have more contact than hugs and arm linking and hand holding. we'd been together about three hours at that point, and hadn't kissed at all.

i thought it was cute to ask, and after i kissed him there, i think we were both a little bit happier and more comfortable. after. he made a comment about me being smoky, from just having had a cigarette. i apologized and he laughed, saying i knew it didn't bother him. but that i should spend less time smoking, as i'd already had like six in the span of three hours.

he found a couple things he wanted, and i bought my hipster cd, and we left to go back to the bar.

we ordered beers and talked and joked a lot, while i made cute little crafts for nina's kids. he wrote a song on a page ripped out of a coloring book.

and then we flipped the plastic frogs from first date night into a dish (instead of my cleavage), and played that game for a while.

i don't know.

i came home and thought about it so much. it's just so easy with him. so simple. we just bump along and coexist when we hang out. and there's no pressure and no awkwardness. i don't quite have the feeling that i could say ANYTHING to him yet, but i am pretty close to it. i've pushed the envelope a few times, and he's responded positively every time, and pushing back equally.

had i met him years ago, he'd probably be my boyfriend by now. now being week TWO, by the way. we'd be attached at the hip and smitten and falling in love and spending like every day and night together. all the spare time.

i get that feeling from him for a few different reasons. first of all, we now have a huge stack of like fifteen dates that we want to go on together. not to mention, he keeps inviting me out to meet different friends different days of the week. like, 'you HAVE to meet this friend. on wednesdays we go to this place. oh and you should hang out with this couple i know. we go to this place on mondays.' and on and on. all of my days could be filled if i said yes to everything and put dates on each one.

what's funny is that, unlike before when i was in the dating world, it's not that he's doing all this shit to get into my pants. back when i was a prude (instead of the whore i've become), dudes had to put up with a lot of shit from me. go here, go do this thing, like weeks worth of hangouts, months even! and then MAYBE i'd sleep with them. the beauty of matthew is that he doesn't have to spend any time with me because i took him home with me that first night.

he genuinely wants to hang out. and that feels pretty good to me.

i'm so glad that we're upfront with each other. specifically that he knows exactly where i am, mentally and emotionally and relationally.

because i had my first clue when he asked to see me this weekend, on friday morning when he woke up.

when we left the bar on sunday, the discussion turned on his end, and it has had me in a daze since.

on the way back to my old neighborhood, by favorite bar, where his car and my bike were parked, he wanted to say hi to his friend.

so we did. she was awesome. and her fiancee was really awesome, too. they're great together, and happy and cute.

and they're getting married in two weeks.

two. weeks.

it was the majority of the conversation. stress and planning and plans. the honeymoon. how excited they were, and how ready they are to be married and just have the wedding behind them.

she was talking specifics, and i could relate, so i did. and to be fair, i said i had a wedding once, and gave her some sensible advice.

we hung in their living room talking for a while, before leaving to walk the rest of the way back. our arms were around each other, hands on hips, and somehow he was managing to keep up with my quick pace.

and before we even made it off their block, he had asked me if he had invited me to go to their wedding with him yet.

and i said he hadn't. (i didn't even know about it until i was in their living room)

i said i didn't know if it was a good idea or not, and talked about how ironic it was that i'd just had an entire conversation with dave and ash the night before about how hard it was for me to go to their wedding in september. this huge moral dilemma, an internal struggle. that i couldn't say yes for a month. because i didn't think i could handle it.

and he made a comment about me being jaded and bitter about weddings, because he knows that i have no intention to get married again, much less anytime soon. he didn't mean it like i'm a bitter person, and clarified because it sounded weird. but how he understands not wanting that, and not wanting to be a part of it, right now.

and i asked where and when it was, and told him i'd have to see when my family is coming up. and make sure i could before telling him i would.

it was exactly then that i got a tickle in my throat. i thought i was going to throw up, because i couldn't clear it. there was so much pollen everywhere. i dug in my back after choking on my words for a tissue. i only had one, and said, 'well, now you know THAT about me' when i blew my nose like a grandpa. he didn't think anything of it.

but we walked, and were within a few blocks of my bike and his car. with that fucking tickle. it was making me nauseous. and i wondered how much of it was nerves at the thought of being a boy's date to a wedding.

right now, three days later, i feel excited about it. and i hope it's a daytime wedding, because i have pinback tickets for that night, and am not missing that show. i bought them like a month and a half ago.

i want an excuse to wear the dress i've held onto for years, waiting for another springtime or summertime wedding. i wore it last, with ever, nine years ago at wendy's wedding.

my belly flops a little when i think about dancing with him at the reception. when i think about running from the reception, tipsy, down the street, like the cover of 'paper hearts', to the show after a quick wardrobe change. or in our wedding attendee clothes, which would make us stick out like a sore thumb, but also be fun in a different way.

he hasn't gotten back to me about what time it's happening, so i still don't know if there's anything to be excited and/or nervous about yet.

so we were walking, and talking about that, and a couple blocks later was when the shift happened. the daze one.

i don't remember now what he even said. i guess it was in relation to how the two of them met, and how perfect they are together, and things like that. and he said (as he has said before, last time was following the details of my divorce and marriage hating) that if he met the right person now, he'd be totally into it. he's not specifically looking for it. and he won't force it. but if it happened? he'd be totally ready to jump in. and i said something about thinking it is so strange that i used to feel like that, and that now i kindof feel like i'd try to avoid it if i felt like that was where i was heading.

i said that i make an awesome girlfriend. that i'm fantastic at monogamy. and that there's no way i'm going to be either of those things right now. because it doesn't even sound appealing. that i just want to have fun.

and he said something, in addition to the fact that he is a very good boyfriend.

i don't know. we had a very uncomfortable conversation, and neither of us got uncomfortable. at least, i didn't. i feel like he got a little defensive in a way, that he wasn't saying it about me, just to me.

and i got that, and said that i knew. and that it's how we were even having the conversation. somehow we talked the whole way home about weddings and boy/girlfriends, and i didn't freak out. and he didn't either. we talked in such a way that it kindof removed each other from it. made it totally objective, even though i'm sure we were both saying things to give each other a clue.

i told him that i knew he'd make an awesome boyfriend. i think i said, 'i totally get that' after he said so. and he also followed up the asking me to the wedding bit with a speel about understanding if i didn't want to go, and that was probably why he hadn't asked me to go with him, without realizing it.

as we crossed broad street, a giant gust of wind blew, and his phillies hat flew off his head, backwards, all the way from one side of broad to the other. like seven lanes of distance, tumbling. it came to a stop in front of a firehouse. he ran after the hat, luckily it was sunday so there were no cars around. and i ran after him, in case it blew down the road further.

he grabbed it and we continued on our way. i can't remember now what he said at the exact moment it happened. but whatever it was made chasing his hat all over the street even funnier.

so we changed the subject to something nice and light for those last few blocks. probably talking about what we'll do together next, making plans without specific days and dates attached. i don't really remember. but we got back to my old apartment, which he had parked in front of. and he said something like 'thanks for hanging out. it was fun.'

and i said something back, like, 'that was a perfect date. i had a lot of fun with you today. thanks for walking. so much better than driving...'

and we hugged and kissed like three separate times. and he was into his car and i was onto my bike, over to kit's for a state of the union.

i don't know what to think or make of any of it. i'm letting things settle. it feels a lot like shaking something up for hours. and then letting it sit overnight for a few days. like salad dressing. let it separate into distinct parts. and then see what is going on in the bottle.

i don't feel bottled up. not at all. i don't feel pressured. i feel like we have a stupid amount of fun together. so i wouldn't mind hanging out with him more than once or twice a week.

and then i realize that i feel some guilt already. not specific to him. it's more a generalized fear that is always running in the back of my mind.

as it relates to him, i know that if i wanted a boyfriend, he'd be it. he'd be devoted and sweet and thoughtful. he'd want to be around all the time. we'd want to do all the same stuff. together. and at the same time, we'd have independent time apart, too. and i do think that if i was looking for someone to come home to at night, he'd be an ideal candidate.

but because i don't want that, i have this feeling that is making me feel ways that i've never felt before.

for starters? i feel like a DUDE. i want to fuck without strings attached. fuck without emotional attachments. i just want to fuck. like, all the time.

and second, i feel like a selfish bitch. because i'm going to walk around, i'm going to date, and i'm going to hit on boys, without caring about how the feel. at all.

i think the way i put it last night is that i feel like i'm on the warpath. inadvertently seeking revenge on all the guys who ever fucked me without caring about me, and casting me aside when the next best thing came along.

i don't want to be an asshole. i'm not inherently an asshole.

and it's not in my nature to not care about the person i sleep with. it's something i have to work very hard at. and i guess when it will change, and when i'll let it, is when the deeper care starts to creep in. i hope it's like a year from now. and that i don't hurt too many people in the process.

i guess i just feel very afraid of losing/hurting matthew at this early point in the game. he's so much fun, i don't want him to tell me to fuck off because i'm not even open to making myself emotionally available to him. i don't want my only fuck buddy to stop hanging out with me.

i guess i'll deal with it when some poor boy tells me i'm an asshole.

the reason i think about it so much is because of how, my entire life until now, i've spent the years on the other end of the heartbreak. on the receiving end of being fucked and discarded. of falling for boys who refused to let me in, to be emotionally available to me.

and i worry for the karma that will bite me in the ass in retribution for what i'm doing right now. actively.

i think about hurting these boys on accident. and i commend myself for saying from the very beginning that i am not looking for a relationship. that i want to keep things free and open and non-committal. so it's not like i'm saying, 'i'm looking for THE ONE' and then thanking them for being on my roster.

that's the difference, i guess. well, that paired with the fact that i'm not 21 anymore.

and how that plays in now. which is the other half of the guilt. so i'm 33. and most guys my age are thinking about getting married and making babies. they've had ten more years of being single under their belt. they've had a decade or two of fuck buddies, while i was off being married. so what i'm going to run into are dudes who are over being a fuck buddy, and actually want a relationship.

let me tell you... when i had that revelation sometime yesterday, my mind was completely blown. light bulb style. 'OH! they're ready to settle down.'

and then, here i come, little miss starting over at 33, about to fuck their shit UP.

all in the name of making up for lost time. all for the sake of proving to myself that i can do something for a year that is not in my nature. just like being alone. i'm now in the one year phase of being alone without having to be alone.

it's so strange. it's such a multiple role reversal that i can't quite wrap my head around it.

because i'm on the other side of things now. i'm the one saying, 'chill, baby. let's just have fun. and go with the flow.'

god, i must sound like such an asshole.

i'm trying to figure out how i feel about it. or at what point it will change for me. at what point some dude is going to pull a tea move, and put it on the line. and say, 'i need something more from you. i feel too much to keep going on this way.'

or worse, the move i've pulled a few times, 'i'm in love with you. don't you feel anything for me?'

only to have new me reply back to boy version of old me, 'no. actually. i'm quite happy the way things are. why fuck it up now?'


this is going to be tough...

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