How the perfect date ruined dating – part 2
It’s Sunday morning at 10 am and I’m excited and strangely a little nervous, what should be a nonchalant feeling of meeting a number is instead a second date with Tammy. The perfect and best first date I’ve ever had that ruined dating.
Have you stumbled into this post confused? With a face like a nun in a strip club? Rest assured you can catch up and read part 1 by clicking the link below. How the perfect date ruined dating – Part 1 This way the other nuns don’t laugh at you.
Tammy isn’t much of a texter so although we stayed in contact daily, it didn’t have the speedy back and fourth a face to face would.
But it was easy, like sending someone a picture of a weird table leg you found and having a whole conversation about it.
The infectious smile
We share a good morning text and I let her know what plans I had for the date. Food. I’ve always thought food or some kind of activity is always good for a second date. There’s nothing worse than ordering a three-course meal only to find that your date has less personality than your starter, way saltier than your main and makes you want to take your dessert home in a paper bag.
I arrive early, waiting at a restaurant near where we both live. I put on my best “just threw this on but still look good” outfit with the hope that she likes what she sees a second time around.
Tammy let me know before our first date that she wasn’t one for dressing up and that her friend begged her not to show up to our first date in flood boots (wellies). She arrived with the same round enthusiastic eyes, wearing a long green cardigan, a black top tucked into loose jeans and white trainers. Her hair was packed into a bun and she wore a wide infectious smile that made me think “gah I hope today goes well”.
Rick and Morty and chill
The date develops and like some sort of cliche sitcom we decide to go for a walk through a park. Our local star beams the occasional light through the clouds but fails to melt away little islands of pressed ice awkwardly placed through our unplanned path.
We hold hands and talk like we always have, finding short moments of privacy for sneaky displays of affection.
Enough to make an old couple uncomfortable and judge but not so much as to cause a “get a room” heckle. Oh, but I would have gladly gotten a room.
On the way back I ask if she would like to keep hanging out, she mentions that she has some life admin stuff to do but what did I have in mind. It was a Sunday and Tammy wasn’t such a drinker that a tipple was an exciting idea, and we had already eaten so I couldn’t suggest food again. So I took the plunge, clumsily plunged but a plunge nevertheless. Forcing myself to make some sort of eye contact but probably seeming like some sort of 16-year-old on prom night, I ask her, almost guiltily.
“Would you like to come over to mine? we can watch that show I told you about.” That show is Rick and Morty… hold applause.
She pauses for a moment, almost like she’s weighing up the consequences of her next response.
In an effort to absolve any idea of underhanded plans I reassure her that we wouldn’t do anything she wasn’t comfortable with, that it would just be us chilling out. I almost feel like the baddies at the start of the “Taken” movie.
She hums for a moment, “ya okay let’s do it” and I’m excited that the date isn’t over just yet.
The song I don’t want no scrubs plays in my head as I sit in her car and direct her to my flat about a 10-minute drive away. We arrive and I innocently stick to the plan, Rick and Morty and chill, In my experience, Rick and Morty has never been the go-to show for stirring passion and lust. I mean try to be aroused while Inter-dimensional Cable plays in the background, you know… the episode where kids eat cereal out of a leprechaun’s stomach… if you haven’t watched this show, go watch this show it’s great!
Tammy got comfortable, legs folded carelessly on the sofa casually watching me set the scene. I sit next to her remote in hand as she attempts to push the limits of her comfort even further by resting her knees against my thigh. Her arm supporting her head, elbow firmly indented into the back of the sofa.
I start the show. To my delight and relief she reacts to the show with laughter, amusement and shock followed by the occasional head turns to catch my gaze.
It was the kind of natural laughter you might show your trusted allies, comfortable, vulnerable with hardly a care and no fear of an ambush.
As great as Rick and Morty is, we actually only watched about 10 minutes of it altogether, every head turn Tammy made resulted in something I like to call “Macking out”. We’d remind ourselves that we should watch the show only to be interrupted by those pesky head turns.
Tammy decided it was best to leave probably an hour after she arrived, partly because she had other things to do in the day, but possibly also to avoid the situation getting out of hand. She made a half-joke about how if we ended up having sex she’d probably fall in love with me shortly after. Now hearing something like that would usually cause me to curl up into an anti-commitment cocoon, one armed with a rocket pack that would leave a smoke trail saying “I’m not ready for this” as it jets away. I took a moment’s moment to process what she said, smiled and said: “that’s cool”.
“That’s cool”!? In hindsight, I don’t know if I was high on make out fumes or attempting to convince myself that I saw a grand future ahead.
Tammy and I agreed to meet again two days later at a local bar. The kind of bar that would fit right in on the streets of Camden, but seemed strangely out of place in my residential area. An area where parents pushing quadra strollers and old couples pointing at delinquents was commonplace.
Things were as good and normal as expected, we had our naturally easy conversation while she rested her legs on my lap. Suddenly she says something different, something that seemed like a precursor to something that was on her mind. Something bigger.
She adjusts her shoulders and says “Hey, let’s talk about something more serious, we’re always joking around”, I smile, my facing failing to hide a confused but curious look.
I respond, “Yeah okay, what did you want to talk about”. She didn’t seem sure but I guess she wanted something more substantial so I suggested we talk about our past experiences, mainly relationships. She made a face I can only translate as her thinking “Whoa, too serious”, but we fell into it anyway.
The conversation went into details about our past relationships, our regrets, our mistakes and what could have gone differently had we known how it would end. It acted as a small jagged window into how our minds worked, and how we chose to deal with the struggles we both experienced. I found out that Tammy was an emotional open book, she made a joke about how she was really good at giving a girlfriend experience, I laughed it off but it made me think that maybe what I saw and experienced as special may have been normality for her. I had to ask.
“So, have you ever been on a first date like ours where you hold hands?”
“Yeah, not loads but it happens”
Her response wasn’t unexpected, holding hands on a first date isn’t a big deal when you think about it. Although I couldn’t help but think that maybe… maybe, I needed to get my head straight… I need to pull back a bit. But there was more.
Tammy found out from me that I was the kind of person that moved on from a finished relationship fairly quickly. That I wasn’t one to wallow in the regret and sadness of it all.
“OMG are you one of those people that doesn’t get sad”
she asked, her face concerned. As I reassured her that I do indeed have emotions like sadness, I could feel the conversation slowly suffocating whatever it was that we had created in the last two dates.
Essentially we were similar but we dealt with our emotional situations differently. I also may have been more invested in whatever this was than she was. I let it slip that I wasn’t currently using the dating apps, I was thinking of taking a break from the endless swipathon anyway but it came out more as I stopped because of her. She made it clear that she was still on them and wasn’t in the headspace of coming off them just yet. I assured her that I didn’t expect her to be and that she could do whatever she felt was right.
I spent the whole conversation with her legs on my lap, and with every movement I made against her leg like I was trying to placate a scared puppy, I could almost see the eagerness slowly leave her eyes. Tammy drove me home and made a joke about not coming in because you know… the whole falling in love thing, I laughed like I was ignoring the obvious signs and thought “I haven’t even asked yet”.
As she drove away and I walked into my flat, thinking about what just transpired and telling myself that I needed to pull my emotions and enthusiasm back to manageable levels. The flow of our text conversations somehow felt weaker as the days went by and the idea of seeing Tammy again stressfully followed them.
Tammy went on holiday for about a week but when she got back I naturally asked if she wanted to meet up again. She agreed but was only free a week later. The experience in my belt and the gut in my belly signalled to my brain that it was probably over.
Why over you say? Well, we had 3 dates in less than 7 days so I wondered why did someone that lived a 10-minute drive from me decide that she couldn’t see me for a week after being on holiday.
Naturally, people would say that maybe she’s busy, but the way I see it is we make time for the people we want to see.
On the day before our fourth date, I spent the morning waiting for the same eager messages of anticipation and wit. When they did not come I decided to lay my feelings to rest by sending her a light-hearted text asking if we were still on for the next evening.
The text even contained an amusing gif like I was awkwardly trying to hide the truth from her and myself. Then it happened. The reply was like many texts I had received before, it mentioned that although we had a great connection, something was missing and that she would have wanted to see me again but felt like she didn’t want to waste my time.
I remember what I was doing when I got the response, it was a Monday and I was on a leg extension machine.
I read the text and nodded to myself like I was giving myself a mental pat on the back for being right.
I took a deep sigh and put my phone down. Pushed through a set on the machine before sending back a text thanking her for letting me know. She apologised and mentioned that she didn’t quite know why she didn’t want to take it further so I attempted to fill in the blanks of what I thought happened.
A difference of opinion when it came to dealing with emotions and perhaps a fear that in the long run, I wasn’t what she wanted. She agreed and thanked me for being nice about it.
And then unexpectedly, Tammy seemed upset and lightly berated herself for being and I quote “a dick”, I did my best to assure her that she was not I quote “a dick” and that what she felt and what she was doing was quite normal and I understood why she wasn’t taking it further. In truth I did not understand, I did not understand at all. In hindsight she may have been upset because I was being nice about it, the adrenaline she may have accumulated rushing out of her system as excess emotional stress.
I never did message or see Tammy again, but about almost a week later while swiping through the app called Bumble, she popped up. My insides sank to my feet and I stopped for a moment, moving my thumb against her picture, I slid her to the right. As she vanished into the digital aether I shook my head in shame. What was I doing, what did I expect to happen, what if we matched again.
I shook my head again like I was emptying it of hopeful sand and then I deleted Bumble. I would never know.
Dating felt different for a while, what used to be an open minded exercise became a wide-eyed search. A search for something close to what I experienced, a click, a connection… eurgh I dare not say it. I figured it wouldn’t be happening anytime soon, so dates slowly again became what they were, a chance to meet someone new, to share a bit of personal space and hear about what makes them tick without expecting any magic or restless butterflies.
But the perfect date still ruined dating a little, and in the back of my mind I’ve begun to look for it a little.
That annoying, elusive, spark.