I love a good first date. The kind of date that leaves you smiling and excited and glad. The kind of date where he says “We have to do this again.” because you two had so much fun that, well, you do have, or at least really want to do it again. The kind of first date that ends with that hint of a promise, followed by your’ name being called from the ferry when you’re halfway back to the parking lot, and you turn to see him waving a big wave with a huge smile on his face.
Yep, that’s a good first date.
A bad first date? Well, that’s when you think it’s a good first date, because you’re both having such a good time and laughing and carrying on, and joking and teasing and…suddenly you realize that he’s not there anymore! Oh, sure, physically he’s right there, beside you, or in front of you, but emotionally? Emotionally he’s on a fast clip to the highest of the high, high hills. Something has spooked him, and he’s on the run. Now, if you’re like me, or like most women, (and, probably, like most men, when it’s the girl that’s put on the proverbial track shoes) you’re going to blame yourself. You will think that you did something wrong to scare them, that you don’t know the “rules”, don’t know how to “do” this, that you’ll never be “good” at dating, blah, blah, blah. But, let me tell you this. He or she ran because THEY’RE scared, not because YOU scared them.
And to you runners out there (and we’ve all done it, at least once or twice, don’t deny)let me tell YOU this: YOU ran because YOU were scared, not because of anything they did, so, it’s not fair to blame them, or even to let them think it’s their fault. Be a man (or a woman, or hell, an adult!) and tell them: tell them something, tell them anything, just know yourself well enough that it’s the truth, because those who’ve been run from can smell a lie from a mile away. (Or further,depending on how far you got on the race to flee your’ fear) Tell them you’re not ready. Tell them you’re afraid. You can even tell them you don’t think you’re right for each other, if that’s not a lie. But mostly, tell them that sad, old, tired line that just happens to be the most honest thing you can say: “It’s not you, it’s me.” because, what can I say, except, that it’s true.
(Now, I know there are those of you out there who are thinking “Well, yeah, but what about the stalkers, the crazy ones, the ones you have reason to run from…” You have a point, I admit, there are those people out there, and sometimes we can be unlucky enough to not see it until the demons of hell have already come out to play…but here’s my counterpoint to your’ very valid point: If disappearing without a word from an otherwise normal and together person can turn them into a weeping mess, what do you think it’s got the potential to do to the moderately unhinged? Turn them into a bunny-boiler, that’s what! Do you really want someone channeling Glenn Close camped out on your’ front lawn?)
Be honest, that’s my advice. And the ferry guy? He’s been honest. On our second date, he let me know that he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Bummer! He’s quirky, odd, and hot, and in some ways “perfect” for cute little weirdo me. But in other ways he’s not right for me at all, not what I’m looking for, not what I need…so, in the long run, it’s all okay. His admission has freed me from the “examination routine”, where I look at everything he says and does under a microscope to figure out if this is someone I want to spend my life with. Also, since he was truthful and upfront about where he stands, because he used his words, like a grown-up should, there is no need for the hurt little child in my psyche to climb up and get me crying and weeping and gnashing because I think I’ve been rejected, which of course “proves” how unacceptable, un-desireable and un-loveable I am. (some of us have more baggage than others, tis true, but having been both the runner and the run from in this life, I can attest that disappearing from someone brings up some variation of the above in just about everyone!) This man’s honesty is liberating and it makes it possible to simply enjoy who he is and have fun. It makes it possible for me to experiment with that thing that is called “casual”. I’ve never really done that before, though it is akin to the “sweet affair” thing that I like so much. And, while I’m hanging out with him, I have my eyes and my options open, because, after all, I AM looking for someone to love truly, madly, passionately and monogamously ;who loves me truly, madly, passionately and monogamously in return. Maybe I’ll find him, maybe I won’t, so, in the meantime, I’m not going to turn down something fun, or special, or just plain nice with a man, just because it won’t last “forever”. Why should I? I have a dozen plus years of celibacy to make up for, after all.
So here I go, back on the horse, dating wise, someone new to hang out with, without potential for anything long term (except friendship. I can see us ending up as good friends, The Ferry Guy and I) with possibilities on and just off the horizon. It’s a good place, I think, to be!