In amongst all the dodgy dates and crap conversations, I had actually met someone – offline, organically, “normally”. It was a friend’s step-brother (her Mom married his Dad), who I don’t think I even knew existed before she introduced me to him on the Thursday before Easter weekend.
Her and I were out for a few drinks to celebrate the long weekend and were going to see a film about Renoir later in the evening. We’re so cultured. When her step-dad called and said he was in town and wondered if she was around, our drinks and movie turned into drinks, dinner and more drinks with him and her step-brother. Maybe we’re not so cultured.
When the brother arrived it was one of those times apt for the phrase “sit up and take note” – I definitely did that. Partly because she’d barely mentioned him before, but also because she’d definitely never mentioned her incredibly funny and charming step-brother before. My head was turned. When he started talking about his divorce and how he’d just moved to a new place, I was really listening.
He was Canadian and a DJ and so his nickname in time would be “Canadian DJ” – don’t say we’re not creative. He was funny and engaging and chatty, and when we ended up sat next to each other at dinner I definitely felt like there was some sort of a spark, like a proper frisson of electricity, between us. But I was a few drinks in and sometimes my awareness in these situations can be totally off so I tried not to get too far ahead of myself. Plus he was related (by marriage if not birth) to one of my best girlfriend’s so I wanted to get her take on it first.
She must have been wondering what the hell I was on with all the schoolgirl like giggling I was doing and I’m pretty sure she was going to cut me off with the bar when, on telling us about the real fire in his new apartment, I asked “where do you get your wood?” – it wasn’t even intended innuendo, which only made it more embarrassing. He took it well and responded with a suitably innuendo-laden answer.
When he and his dad left after dinner, I instantly said “so you’re step-brother…?” By her response I’m pretty sure she wasn’t expecting that: “What?! You like him? Really?! I never even thought of him for you.” While surprised, she didn’t seem against the idea so I said no more and we finished our night with more drinks, Renoir having long been forgotten.
The next day her and I were visiting her Granny who had pretty much adopted me since I moved to Canada – I was seriously missing family time and you can never beat some Granny cooking and chats. As we drove south I engineered Canadian DJ into the conversation and my girlfriend encouraged me to add him on Facebook. 15 minutes later, we were FB friends. It’s getting serious, millennials.
Later at Granny’s, my friend’s Mom called to wish us all Happy Easter and when she specifically asked to speak to me after chatting to her Mom (Granny) and her daughter (my girlfriend) I figured it was just to make me feel included. Turns out, she had been speaking to her husband (girlfriend’s step-dad, Canadian DJ’s dad – are you following along?) who mentioned our drinks the night before and that his son had apparently said, speaking of me, “she’s exactly the sort of person I should date”. Needless to say, that was not what I was expecting to hear and it more than put a smile on my face and a flutter in my stomach while sending my mind into overdrive. Did I mention I’m an overthinker?
Naturally he came up in conversation a few times over the weekend and by the Monday I decided that I was going to be brave and bold and send him a message on Facebook. I sent that first message (you know the kind that’s meant to sounds really easy and breezy and casual but in reality took a good hour and a half of rewrites to perfect? Yup one of those) and then panicked. For a whole 21 hours. It took almost a day to get a response… WTF. I felt close to a stroke the entire time. How can the sending of one little message do that to you? I’m an adult!
I’d included my phone number in the Facebook message, as well as a reference to my embarrassing wood comment, so when I got a text the following day from an unknown number that just said “Goooood morning!” I so wanted it to be from him and not a wrong number. Google was able to confirm it as for the former for me, as it was the number he had on his website for his business, and then I died with excitement. Um, hi, am I 15 again?
By the 12th message we were talking about Vegas (one of my favourite subjects) and when he mentioned about going for a drink I was more than a little keen to get it planned. We were trying to figure out a suitable time as I was on my way to my date with Dubsmash Dude and I was definitely more excited about the prospect of the DJ date than the Dubsmash date.
Gutted doesn’t quite cover what I felt when we didn’t think we’d be able to get time for a drink before he went on vacation the following Monday to visit his Dad and Step-Mom (my girlfriend’s Mom) for 2 weeks. We said we’d catch up when he was back but there was a feeling, on my side anyway, that the impetus might have dissipated. So when he messaged me on the Thursday confirming I was definitely busy on the Friday night because he had a spare ticket to a concert he was going to, I had to make a snap decision as to whether I was the type of girl who ditched plans with her friends to go on a date…. Death Cab For Cutie with a boy or Elie Goulding with my girlfriends….
Not before clarifying with him “is it you and a group of friends or is this a potential “date”…?” When he responded with “hahahahaha not a group of friends so let’s go with “date”;)”. Let’s just say team dating came back into play in a big way.
The girls rallied, there were suggested alternatives, opinions, debates, it got pretty heated between those who were in the ‘chicks before dicks’ camp and those that thought when presented with the prospect of a good date, one can’t simply turn it down. Ultimately it was decided I should change my plans and go on the date, especially once I checked with the friend I had plans with whose emphatic text response was “GO GET IT GIRL”. I bloody love my friends.
So the plans were made – drinks and dinner before Death Cab For Cutie. We both noted how we’d gone from maybe not having time for a drink before his trip to now planning a full on first date.
This would be the first of many escalations. I loved it and was overcome with anxiety about it all at the same time. My group chats were on fire with excitement, questions and, most importantly, shopping plans for that night to ensure I had something to wear. No, but really, are we 15 again? It would seem so and, I’m not gonna lie, it was a tonne of fun. I had forgotten this feeling, the giddiness of boy chat, prospective dates, hopefully impending first kisses.
The next day I was an anxiety ridden mess, partly down to general nerves about the date and partly down to not hearing from him until 3pm by which time I’d convinced myself he’d changed his mind, or hadn’t been serious about the date in the first place.
Hi there self-doubt, you’ve been silent for a whole week, I missed you. It’s incredible how you can be sailing along, feeling great, on top of the word, winning at life and then BAM! The takedown of your self-worth and self-confidence that a previous partner performed comes crawling back like a disease.
I tried my best to push the doubts out of my head and got to the bar we were meeting at first because somehow he’d managed to forget the tickets at home and had to go back for them. The bar was my local right across from my apartment, yes it had been my suggestion, so it worked out perfectly for me as I was able to get a double gin and ginger ale in before he even arrived. As soon as he did I was instantly calmer, albeit with a flutter of excitement in my stomach. It wasn’t the worst feeling.
We had a quick dinner with drinks then got a cab out to the venue. We talked constantly, it was so easy. We talked family and music, travel and tv shows, working out and drinking, plans for Summer and life plans. There were no silences, no uncertainties as we both happily shared and eagerly listened.
The only slightly awkward moment was bumping into friends of his on our way into the venue, and I only say awkward because it always is on a date, especially a first date. When it’s not your friends and you’re not quite sure how, or even if!, you’re going to be introduced or if you’ll just stand there like a lemon while your date chats with his friends. Thankfully there was a quick intro and we moved on into the university stadium where the gig was. He later told me the friend messaged him after we met and said I was cute. Blushes ensued.
When we got inside, amidst the lineups for the concession stands and washrooms and people trying to find their seats, I realised that going to a gig with someone on a first date had potential for some uneasiness. I mean, do you dance? Clap along? God forbid sing? My over-thinking nerve was on high alert. Thankfully, when Death Cab started we quickly found an easy balance between singing (yeah I’d had to brush up on some of their songs earlier in the day) and chatting and laughing throughout. My self-consciousness slowly slipped away.
At one point while we were laughing about something in the crowd (can we all just take a minute to appreciate how great people watching is for an ice breaker on a first date?!), I remember thinking “please kiss me… also if this wasn’t a first date, I would so be having sex with you later”. Yup, you could say I was having a good time.
Waiting for a cab to get back downtown after the show, it was a pretty chilly April night and only one of us had brought a jacket (thanks to that shopping trip Michele had taken me on the afternoon before) so it was a perfect excuse for him to get closer for some warmth. But no kiss.
Deciding the night was too early to finish, we went for a few cocktails at a sushi place and after drinks with dinner and during the gig, we probably could have done with some more food at that point but stuck with just the alcohol. The conversation got a little more in-depth, chats about our divorces (or separations as his was at the time), our parents divorces, our own struggles. There was a lot we had in common and I liked that for once I didn’t feel like my divorce was the elephant in the room.
His separation was still fairly fresh, though he was sure it was definitely over and barring some back and forth about pet custody (it seems almost as contentious to navigate post-breakup as child custody) there was nothing left for them to discuss. I recognised the sadness still in him that I’d felt myself, that sense of not quite believing that it had come to an end, that you were now without that person you’d thought you’d be with forever. I marvelled at how much quicker he’d obviously been able to start to come out the other side in comparison to me. He was on a date only months after, while I’d taken years. Actual years. I was envious of, and impressed by, his resilience.
The restaurant was closing and he insisted on walking me back to my place. All night I had been floored by his manners. Doors were opened for me, seats pulled out, jackets put on, everything paid for – I wasn’t used to it but jeez, I could definitely adjust. Every little gesture made my stomach flip just a little. And actually, knowing his family, I wasn’t surprised he was like that. They’re very much of the thinking that a man should be the man and a woman should be the woman, without being archaic. I’m all for equality and women doing things for themselves but there’s something about chivalry that gets me, and I do believe both can exist simultaneously.
On the walk home, in the crisp night air, the most recent intake of alcohol filtering into my bloodstream, with him of course on the road side, having moved me onto the inside of the sidewalk, I made another bold decision and asked him if he wanted to come up. Earlier in the night we’d shared our love for whisky and I just happened to have a great bottle that I thought he’d like to try.
10 minutes later, whiskies in hand, random YouTube videos on AppleTV and the sofa bed pulled out for full comfort, it felt like I was hanging out with an old friend. But an old friend who I really, really wanted to kiss me. Eventually, as we got progressively closer video after video, I was clearly feeling emboldened by the whisky and straight out asked him if he intended to kiss me.
After being taken aback a little, he said “I’ve really wanted to but it’s the first time I’ve kissed someone since… and I didn’t know I’d be so excited about it” before finally, FINALLY!, leaning forward and kissing me. I was sitting but there was a definite weakening in the knees. He was a great kisser and we proceeded to make out like teenagers. We really are 15 again.
At some point during the make out, YouTube, whisky session the fact he was having a sofa delivered at 9am came up, so after not that long a discussion I packed a bag and we got a cab out to where he lived, half an hour away, at 4am in the morning… another escalation.
As we drove along the empty streets and highway we drunkenly chatted, telling the cab driver the story of our night, him telling me how much he loved furnishing and decorating his new place, bought after his separation, me exclaiming the fact I barely leave downtown during daylight hours nevermind for a 4am cab ride to some far off suburb on a first date.
He wanted exactly 1 minute and 36 seconds to clean his apartment when we got there, so I stood outside the door and waited. For more like 5 minutes. A grand tour of his new pride and joy of a house and an introduction to the cat and dog, was followed by more whisky, Japanese this time, by the fire. But seriously, where did he get his wood from?
Things get fuzzy, but I remember us making out a lot before him saying “don’t look behind you, but it’s getting light outside”. It was 7am. We got to bed, him leaving the bedroom to let me get changed into my pjs – seriously, manners – and after some fairly heavy petting (definitely 15 again) with an unspoken understanding that we definitely weren’t going to have sex, we fell soundly asleep.
For an hour and a half anyway. Remember that sofa delivery? Yah, 9am. Bang on time. Why are they never there at the start of the delivery slot when you want them to be?! We barely made it up to let them in, and when I say we I mean he. I stayed put. He then had to take the dog out as well (sucks to have responsibility). Still I stayed put.
We spent the morning in bed, feeling more than a little worse for wear but entirely comfortable, chatting about the night before, how we’d both had a better time than either of us were even expecting, again sharing more stories of our marriages and the breakdown of them. It was a strange thing to be bonding over but we seemed to have had very similar experiences and he was relieved he could talk about it when it’s not something that you’d normally lead with on a first date.
With me complimenting the newly delivered couch – velvet teal was a bold but admirable choice but he’s not exactly a shy and retiring guy – at 1.30pm we dragged our asses out of bed and up the street to the pub where we managed some food and a Guinness each. Hair of the dog seemed like a good (the only?) idea. We sent a pic to his step-sister, my girlfriend, who loved the fact we’d clearly spent the night together and sent back a heart emoji filled response along with a pic of her and her boyfriend also having lunch.
Post-food and hair of the dog another nap was needed and it felt like one of those really lovely, lazy Saturdays I missed sharing with someone. I love my time to myself but having no plans with someone, is much better than having no plans by yourself. I was aware I was going out that night though and needed to get myself together for what was going to be a big night for the twins’ birthday so his insistence on driving me home was welcome cause I sure as hell wasn’t getting on the skytrain.
A whole 23 hours after our, what can only be described as epic, first date started, he drove me back along the highway, much busier now than 12 hours earlier in the middle of the night. He dropped me off at exactly 4pm, of course getting out to open my door and help me out his SUV. There was a last kiss, ok maybe many last kisses, before I tore myself away to go and get ready for early drinks with friends before the birthday celebrations. Despite the hangover and severe lack of sleep, I’m pretty sure I could have floated up to the 10th floor high on life, no elevator needed.
At 4.12pm as I was jumping in the shower, my phone buzzed. “I think I’m going through withdrawal from you”. Heart melt. Knees weak. Stomach flipped.
I truly forgot what this felt like.