So, contestant number 10 – tall, handsome, open and honest, and looking remarkably like I’m getting as interesting to him as he is getting to me.
Well, at least I don’t have this insane urge to climb across the table and jump on him. Yet.
Coffee number 2. We navigated our common background – of what I will call The Crazy – in such a way that we didn’t go down a conversational rat hole of regret, bitterness and victimising ourselves…impressive! This bodes well, because it means that whilst we can talk about The Crazy and acknowledge it’s in our history, we’re both pretty much done with the unhealthy nonsense that can so easily come with it and keep us stuck. Means we’ve both decided No More to being stuck. And we’ve both probably managed to sort our stuff out on that front, at least to some extent. Mad respect.
We slip seamlessly back into idle first-date banter, but with even more ease…it feels a little bit like I know so much more about him now, knowing that he’s been where I’ve been.
After trading more information, witticisms, musings and light-hearted smartypantsness, we both confess to a serious – perhaps life-threateningly serious – weakness for good coffee and rilly rilly rilly good food. It’s a bit of a burden, we agree, living this life of coffee fussiness and free range foodiness…at which point I really open up my heart to him to share that I cannot, I repeat, cannot, live without chocolate. Life without chocolate, I say, what is it all for? It doesn’t even bear thinking about.
And even though he confesses that he doesn’t share my addiction to chocolate, like, at all (in fact he kind of hates chocolate) he demonstrates great understanding and compassion in response to the risk I took in sharing such deeply personal information on a first date. What are we to do with such human frailty? There’s a coffee and chocolate show happening up the road he says, shall we check it out? Both our vices in one easy stop. Do I have time? Did I have other plans today?
My crushy little schoolgirl brain is whirring…I’m sure I had another date (details fuzzy now), but that’s later today I think…so I say umm, yes, I’d love to. I have plans later on but I have time now 🙂
Date 1, part 2 or is this Date 2, I’m not sure…we are walking around this coffee and chocolate show. Gosh, he’s so gorgeously tall. Good-looking much? And pretty fit for his age. Silver fox. Sigh. Oooh, look, chocolate! I’m like a kid in a candy shop – OK, I am, quite literally, a kid in a candy shop. I’m buying chocolate moustaches for my cutie patootie toddler nephew and pretty much hoovering up any free samples on offer. No shame man. All class. Did someone say Free Food? He seems to find it all very entertaining. Oh Lordy, that smile. The sweetest thing. Straight from heaven. Oh, my. Keep it together Missy. Keep. It. Together.
There is this coffee guru giving a talk shortly, he’s going to tell us how to make awesome coffee in all kinds of ways, even with a french press (gasp). These are indisputably important life skills. We must see this talk. I’m sitting next to him listening to this coffee guru. But I’m not really hearing what the coffee guru is saying. Contestant number 10 is sitting very close, closer than any guy has sat next to me in 23 years. Yes, 23. Years. Not days, not months. Years. It might be no big deal to him – I doubt he has much trouble attracting women – but it’s all very unfamiliar to me. Not at all uncomfortable though. Is it me or is it really, really, really warm in here?
Still no insane urge to lean over and jump on him. Yet. Honest.
I check the time. Contestant number 11 is in a couple of hours. I should really go soon. I’ll need time to collect myself and regroup after this date if I have any hope of doing any justice to paying any kind of decent attention to contestant number 11. I don’t tell him I have another date. Just that I should go soon. He seems reluctant to say goodbye. I am reluctant to say goodbye. He asks, do I want to grab an ice cream by the water? Shouldn’t take long. Do I have time before I need to go?
Date 1, part 3, or is this Date 3…sitting on a bench overlooking the harbour. The water is sparkling in the sunshine. Such a gorgeous day. This ice cream is Getting Owned. It doesn’t last long. I guess by now he’s figured out that I have the appetite of a horse. Oh well, it was going to come to light sooner or later…if there is one thing I have learned on this epic wee Tinder journey, it’s that there is no point not being me 🙂
So we talk a bit. We talk a bit about him and his history and experiences, and a bit about me. Out of respect for his privacy, I’m not going to give much or anything away really in terms of his history here…
So he’s asking me about my relationship history. I say I know it sounds so odd, and I know people find it hard to believe, but I have no recent relationship or dating history really. Just a few confused mixed messages from confused mixed-up Christian men that left me picking up some pretty painful pieces at times over the years. I tell him about my 23 year drought, and that I decided it was frickin’ ridiculous…I don’t know how it happened that I managed to be a ‘nice Christian girl’ in churches for 23 years and get passed over and ‘left on the shelf’ all that time, time and time again. But the fact that it left me at 43 feeling invisible, worthless and unlovable was probably not ever what God had in mind for me, or anyone.
So I decided to change it. I decided that I could change it. I wasn’t trapped. I wasn’t stuck. I didn’t have to stay there. I’d had enough. I was pretty sure I was more of a catch than all those confused mixed-up Christian men had led me to believe. I had a hunch.
So I changed it.
Cue the Tinder experiment. I needed to learn how to talk to guys, how to date. That’s why I joined Tinder. Simple as that.
He says he can’t believe it. 23 years? I’m a beautiful-looking girl, he says, and so lovely, how could no one take enough of an interest in me to pursue me in 23 years? How did that happen? He’s looking at me with genuine confusion on his face. He can’t seem to equate the woman he sees before him and all he’s learned about her so far, with her 23-year history of Never Been Kissed and feeling Roundly Ignored or worse by Christian men. I can barely equate it myself, and I’ve been hanging out with me more than anyone else has for all those 23 years.
But I confess to him that in spite of confused mixed messages etc, I had already gone into Relationship Lock Down before then anyway. So any guys who would have been interested probably didn’t stand a chance of getting really near me anyway. I had me some seriously tall walls up. It wasn’t all the guys’ fault, confused as they may have been. I say I’m the one who made that decision to lock down at the age of 20 – after a very traumatic first heartbreak. To shut down emotionally so that nobody could get in. Nobody decided it for me.
I tell him I thought it that it would be easier to completely shut that part of me down than to put myself at risk again and live with a succession of heart breaks like that. Turns out I had the succession of heart breaks anyway, just in a more confusing, less open way, which is pretty common for Christian girls in church settings – so what did I have to lose by opening up shop again, I say? At least I might at get a sense that some guys might find me interesting! Which it turns out they do. Find me interesting, that is. Teehee.
He wonders out loud if I’m ready for a relationship then. By this time I’ve turned to face him and have my legs crossed on the park bench. I say well I didn’t join Tinder to find a relationship, I joined Tinder to learn. I’m starting from way further back than a relationship. I lost 23 years. I have so much to learn. There’s so much I didn’t know about even the basics of getting to know a guy and being open to someone before I joined Tinder, I say. I don’t know what reply he was expecting from me, but I don’t think it was that. The expression on his face was priceless. And gorgeous.
He asks about my ‘Christian thing’…he says he believes being a Christian is about basically being a good person. I say I disagree…there are lots of good people who don’t call themselves Christians, and lots of people who call themselves Christians who are not good people…I believe that being a Christian is about having a heart connection with God, I say. It’s our heart that God wants to connect with. It’s our deepest part that He wants to know and love, and heal from hurt. I say it’s such a personal thing.
I say I have such an allergy to religiousness now, I really don’t believe that how a lot of churches operate is how God ever wanted us to live…I say I’m done with Planet Christianese, I’m done with religious ‘rules’ that only lead Christians to judge and condemn one another…it’s so dysfunctional. I say I don’t believe that’s God’s heart for us at all. I want to know what God wants, and I want to own it, to make it my own…
I say I want God with all my heart, but I want Him real. I want His heart in mine and mine in His. Everything else is just detail. That’s what I want, and that’s what I’m going to fight for. That’s why I knew I needed to open up to people, especially guys, a bit more and be willing to learn again and let people back in. Tinder isn’t your conventional Christian vehicle, but phooey to conventional Christian expectations. I don’t believe God belongs in any of our silly little man-made boxes.
And yes, for the record, I am saving myself for my husband I say. I know people think I’m crazy or silly or both to be so idealistic, but I believe that’s God’s best for me and I don’t really give a rat’s what people think about it. And my Future Husband is going to be one very lucky sod. Because I am pretty sure that I am going to be Scorching Hot in the sack, after a bit of practice. I don’t exactly have much to base that on, but that’s what I reckon. 23 years of waiting? Are you kidding me? I’m pretty sure it all will still work down there. My poor unsuspecting Future Husband won’t know what hit him. I hope he’s keeping fit wherever he is, is all I can say. Damn straight.
He’s looking at me like, Who Is This Woman?
He’s saying that there is a purity and an honesty about me that is really quite fascinating…he’s saying something about wanting to kiss my ‘beautiful lips’, about being a bit lost for words, about feeling like a schoolboy right now. I’m looking at him. I’m studying him. I guess maybe, I’m smiling a little bit, but I’m not saying anything. I’m definitely not leaning in for a kiss. I’ve only known him for a few hours for goodness sake. He knows I’m not going to be such an easy score in the kissing stakes.
But it seems like he has decided that I am worth the effort. Because now he’s saying something about being totally up for it, the whole saving sex for marriage thing, at least with someone like me. He’s saying that doesn’t scare him off because there’s too much about me that he finds intriguing, that he wants to know more about.
I’m not sure I heard him correctly – come again? I’m thinking…you, a super hot red-blooded regular hetero guy who doesn’t subscribe to my rare (read: old-fashioned) belief in saving sex for marriage, and has probably had any woman he wants for most of his life…you are telling me that you would be prepared to date me or more and not try to shag me before you’d decided to commit pretty much the rest of your life to me in marriage? Ummmm…I’m not saying anything, but I’m thinking, does he know what he just said? It’s my turn to hear something I didn’t ever expect to hear!
I decide not to challenge him on that. But I also decide to expect that he might change his mind at any time. So whilst I’ll take what he’s saying at face value, it wouldn’t be realistic for me to hold him to that. He’s a guy for crying out loud.
I’m so different from any other woman he’s met, he says. So much of what he’s heard and seen of me today he likes, he says. He has to know more. Will I let him take me to dinner some time in the coming week?
Wow. Once he knows what he wants, he doesn’t hold back. He’s not shy about saying what he wants, and going after it.
That. Is. So. Damn. Hot.
I now have this insane urge to slide across the park bench and jump on him.
But I reckon he’d never know. Poker face and all that.
I check my schedule on my phone. All full up with Tinder dates this week except for tomorrow night. Otherwise the week after. He’s like no I can’t wait until the week after next. Can we do tomorrow night?
Sure we can 🙂
Postscript: Nobody ever wants to be a postscript, but sometimes you are someone’s postscript and that’s how it is…so, what happened to contestant number 11? About an hour before our date, when I was sitting by the water with contestant number 10, he messaged and cancelled as something urgent had come up. Which actually was great for me – I got to spend more time with contestant number 10 🙂 Contestant number 11 actually tried to reschedule with me a week or so later, but by that time…my attention had become a lot more focused elsewhere, so to speak 🙂