Pizza and Beer and a New Friend

The other night I had my first official date from the online dating site. I don’t like to think of it in terms of a date, but in Joe’s eyes it was. He kept referring to it as such. And while my ears burned to hear it, I realized that I now needed to get used to the idea that I am dating. I never actually have. I always looked at the thing in terms of hanging out with a friend. I let Joe know that this was my perspective. And he seemed perfectly happy to be my new friend.

I had the best time. First of all, I put off our first meeting for a few weeks due to my being busy, and also a little apprehensive at the idea of meeting a guy this way. His idea was for me to meet him at one of his favorite clubs in Long Branch for Happy Hour. I decided that after a long weekend of work, come Monday, it would be really nice to have such a break to look forward to. I have never been good about letting guys buy me dinner or a drink, or whatever. But this evening I had the most wonderful time just letting him take the reins, make the decisions and just going along with it. This was, as I let him know, sort of trial thing for me. I was just getting my feet wet I told him. He seemed to also relax at the idea of us just getting to know each other as friends. He was so incredibly personable. I recognized that he had ADD, and let him know this was something he and I had in common, once he confessed to it.

He suggested many different drinks that all looked delicious, but for some reason all I wanted was a draft beer, which I soon had sitting right in front of me. We talked about anything that came to mind, and seemed to have no lack of topics to discuss. I recognized that I actually wasn’t so bad at keeping the conversation a float, probably due to many years as a customer care rep for a cell phone company. I noticed an interesting thing on the menu, miniature corn dog appetizers. Once I pointed them out, he insisted that we start out with that. They were served with a sweet mustard, and were absolutely delicious. He mentioned the salads, but ever since Joe had suggested pizza in the last online message he sent me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And so we went with a delicious pizza which was topped with goat cheese. With my being resolute on just enjoying the evening, everything turned out so nice. I never approached the date as something which could turn into a relationship, and Joe seemed content also to just enjoy the evening for what it was.

We soon escaped out the back door where his bicycle was parked. He said “Hi” to a number of friends. He had grown up in the area and knew quite a few people. I envisioned him being proud of his “date.” In my experience guys tend to kind of be “show-offs,” but this has never bothered me. We walked to 7-11 to get something for my headache and Joe asked if I would like to walk by the water afterward. We were right near Ocean avenue, and the beach was right across the street. I felt very comfortable with Joe and I told him this, so when he suggested we walk to the Oceanside, I was very welcoming of the idea. With Joe’s ADD personality, I also felt very inclined to be myself. I felt I could say nothing wrong. His style of conversation was stream of consciousness, so I let this out in myself as well. At one point in the evening I let him know he reminded me of my dad, and he was flattered. He got a smile from me more than once. As we walked by the water, on this lovely evening near dusk, he told me about his previous marriage. His wife had cheated on him. I got the impression that he was such a sweet guy, and that this possibly was not at all his fault. I said, “I’m sorry,” and thought to myself “There really are nice guys out there.” In truth, if it hadn’t been for my insistence on finding someone with a strong Christian faith I may have been interested in him. On the other hand, he didn’t seem to talk to me much about myself. And this is something which I have always let slide with guys I’ve gotten to know, much to my own detriment.

Joe seemed surprised when I was willing to exchange numbers with him. But I totally trusted him. He had suggested quite a few different things we could do, even the next day. However, while more than willing to be his friend, I did not want to lead him on. He soon had to go to pick up his son. But it was good timing. Why should the date go on for too long? We walked back to my car and discussed hanging out again. He knew he was the first of many guy friends from the dating site whom I would like to meet. As for him, I wanted very much to encourage him, so I told him everything positive which I saw, how he had such a great personality, and seemed able to enjoy the moment without making things into something they weren’t. I told him how much I appreciated his being able to postpone our first meeting without getting upset at all, and how this spoke volumes about his character. Most of all, he simply needed to put up new pictures as the one he had up didn’t accurately portray what an awesome and personable guy he was. I’ve even thought about meeting him and taking the pics for him myself. After all, why should I not be willing to help out such a nice guy?

In retrospect, Monday evening was the best thing I could do for myself. Joe was generous, which is a trait I decided I will always look for during such dates. I am a generous person also and would not even want a guy as a friend who was not. And so, being able to enjoy a nice evening of drinks and dinner was such a pleasure. I never felt I owed him anything. This exercise for me opened the door to other such meetings which could be said to be more like fun interviews. After meeting him I felt first of all that I could look forward to hanging out with him as a friend, someone who knows the beachside community pretty well. And also, I could certainly look forward to my future dates, to having fun conversations, and delicious food, while of course being just as careful to screen these guys, and exercise caution as to where and how we decided to meet.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Valerie L. Parent
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 00:28:04

    What a pleasant date! I understand what you mean about “dating”, and wanting to get to know him as a friend. You had a nice start getting aquainted with Joe.


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