I know I promised a full report on Saturday but I ended up taking a day for moi, including sweat pants, my down comforter, Dog Whisperer, some DVR and Cold Mountain. It was awesome!
So, without further adieu....
At 3:45p I looked into my closet with frustration and some horror. I can't wear jeans, because their all a wee bit too tight on me so it's tights or leggings. In this weather....leggings. I call my gf Megan* who says "no" to the leggings and jeans would be good. Jeans are not good. "I can't get into any of them". "That's all in your head." "Oh, yeah, it's all in my head that my fat ass can't get into any of my jeans. They don't fit, so how is that in my head?". She sighs and says okay. After about 20 minutes of disgust looking at my closet, I finally manage to select three outfits.
1. A maroon knee length, v-neck sweater dress that I would normally wear with tights and boots. I tried it on and made a face in the mirror. Too many bumps and bubbles. So, I put on the tights. Still too many. Then I looked at the drawer in my dresser in fear of the one thing that lay inside. Slowly opening the drawer it had somehow found its way to the top and it stared me straight in the face. A girdle. Yep, no fancy Spanx (which I think is a nice word for girdle) but a full fledged girdle. Ughhh....I pulled it out gingerly praying that I wouldn't look better with it on and just give the whole thing up. I slipped my feet in and PULLED and...pulled. Sucked in some air and pulled some more. It was on. I slipped the dress on over it, looked in the mirror and I did look better but I also felt like any false move and the damn thing would explode, my bumps and bubbles along with it. I did NOT feel sexy or beautiful. I took a picture and sent it to Megan who said "gorgeous". Ugh. I don't feel that way. So, it had to go.
2. A grey dress, that totally reminds me of something I owned in 1988. It's tight on the butt and legs and then baggy on top where a silver pattern of circles or bubbles rests on the chest - believe it or not, this pattern actually helps those of who are mammary gland challenged. The sleeves reach elbow length and a large boat neck allows me to wear it low on the chest as a v-neck or it falls off the shoulder. Black leggings and black boots complete it. I look in the mirror at what's become my "go to outfit" and think this might be a bit too much for a first date and a little bit too nightclub-ish. I strip it off.
3. A long sleeve sweater/dress top with a low collared v-neck. The thin acrylic material helps it hang and brings enough warmth that I won't be sweating indoors or freezing outside in the frozen tundra. I pair it with jeggings (YES, I said JEGGINGS! Shutup! Their totally comfy) and camel knee-high stiletto boots. I look in the mirror and see the first pleasing reflection of myself in months. This is the one. It's a little bit more casual than the others and very date worthy. I also send this to Megan for approval and get it.
I was moving slowly and it took another hour getting ready between sips of wine. I wasn't nervous but I definitely was stressed. Flat ironed hair to perfection, got frustrated with my eye makeup and ended up completely washing my face and doing it again. Better, but I was missing my makeup Midas touch.
I feed Meow Mix and look at the clock - 5:10p. Okay, I'm running late but I can hurry. I reach under the white bed skirt and pull out the Tupperware container/box that holds my supply of clutches and other non-everyday bags. I pull out this great snake print clutch that I got at H&M. This bag rocks and I actually have a couple of the same style. It's actually a multi-use bag. The shape is square with handles at the top so you can fill it all the way and carry by handles, or throw in the essentials and fold it in half as a clutch. Clever design, really.
I lay all the essentials out on the table and pack them one by one, most of them having their own specific place. The rest jumbled together at the bottom, which will present an archaeological dig later to find my "lip jazz" (aka Burt's Bees tinted lip moisturizer). Look at the clock. Shit. 5:17. Shit. I run into my bedroom grabbing jewelry (there is no time for decisions), quickly decide on the blue and silver circle necklace set Sister2 gave me for Christmas, and I was impressed by this gift! A first ever. The color sets off the blue jeggings and my eyes. I like that my outfit is not matchy-matchy. I've never been that kind of gal. Fashion is, to me, an expression of art, creativity and who I am. One more glance in the mirror. Back to the bathroom to grab a comb for hair touch ups. Suddenly I realize I have not put on socks or boots. Shit. 5:23. I quickly take off the jeggings, rub the bottom of my feet with deodorant, pour some baby powder in and pull a striped pair of wool knee high socks (seriously, this does help!), jeggings, zip up the boots. Ready. 5:25. Shit. I wrap my purple Pashmina scarf around my neck, slip into my long Thinsulate coat - zip, snap, tie - grab my 1920's-inspired hat from Target (I get so many compliments on my hat!), gloves, keys, bag and fly down my stairs. Opening the door, the arctic blast hits my face and the street lights are reflecting off the icy sidewalks. Potential death, or shattered hip, await me. Awesome. Pull out phone. 5:32. Shit, shit!
Unlike my neighbors, I was smart enough to put down de-icer on my sidewalk that morning. But that was the only danger-free zone. I made my way to the grassy area and shuffled along on my toes - baby steps to safety. Finally I make it past the end houses to the crosswalk and scurry across to the school sidewalk - always clear. I get to my usual corner to grab a cab and...nothing. Shit. I should have known. In weather like this, there is never a cab. Several drive by with their lights off filled with passengers enjoying the warm heat inside as I stand here in boots that have about as much warmth as a freezer. Awesome. I pull out my phone for the time. Shit. 5:40. And as I put it away the bus pulls up. Done.
Jumping on to the bus I whip out my CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) card. "Invalid". What the? Okay, I pull out $3 and put it in to pay my $2.25 fare - I can't believe I don't have change - "No need for the other dollar," says bus driver. "Thank you!" I text Steven to report on my delay. "No cabs." "Do you want me to come pick you up?" "Sweet of you to offer but I'm now on CTA." "Okay - seats by fireplace are taken. May have to work another angle to secure." "My money is on your resourcefulness." "Mission accomplished!" "Attaboy!" 5:42.
Just 10 minutes later I get dropped at an intersection and prepare to transfer buses. CTA has this ingenious mobile website where you can get times for buses - CTA Bustracker. It's brills! I quickly check the time for the next bus. What the? 15 minutes? Seriously? Knowing that they can often come faster, I begin to walk down the street to the next stop. I was certainly not going to stand their and freeze my ass off for 15 minutes. At least walking would get the heart pumping and some warmth brewing. Knowing my CTA card was not working, I tried the trick again and claimed that I didn't have change. "That's okay," said the busdriver. "Thanks!"
Finally on bus. Send text: "Just made transfer will be another 10. I'm sorry." "No worries." Ten minutes later, I leap off the bus, refasten the buttons on my coat and haul ass down the block to the venue. I walk in, look around and see a handful of people sitting at the bar and a few small groups at tall boy tables sharing Happy Hour. The place is virtually empty. You'd never know that it is one of the hottest places come summer, jammed with people dressed to the nines and a long line waiting to go up the stairs and on to the beautiful patio on the rooftop. Finally I tell the host that I'm meeting someone by the fire. The host looks as confused as I and finally says, it looks like there is someone sitting in the nook by the fire. I look and there are a pair legs perched on the table, but that's all I see of him. I peak my head in and sure enough. There he is sitting on the banquet leading up to a glass wall. Inside a thin line of fire burns. It's not as cozy warm as one might think but it's better than nothing.
"There you are! Hi!" A big smile came across his face. "Hi, yourself." We chuckle and he reaches in for a huge bear hug. Ah! I love big, tight hugs. Brother-in-law1 calls it Hug Therapy, and he's right. I love 'em. I start to pull away and he grabs tighter. Awesome! "You're cold. I'll warm you up." Mmmm.
We finally break apart and I take off my coat but leave my hat and scarf on until I can warm up and the witty banter begins. Wow! Hilarious! I love exchanging jabs and witty conversation. It's one of my favorite things and it was....so much fun!
Steven is about 5"10' and a biggish guy with a Buddha (hey, a little Buddha is good as long as Buddha doesn't get any bigger), large legs and muscular! His head is shaved and he's donning some killer glasses. For a moment I was a little confused on his pressing me to dress "sexy" when he had on Brown Timberland lace up ankle boots accompanied by dark blue jeans so worn that the only sign they were once dark is the fine line around the seams, and a bluish-grey sweater. The guys I typically date would be in nice dark jeans, a long sleeved button down and black ankle boots. He was dressed super casual and I was happy I chose the right outfit. Just chic enough but no overdressed.
The waiter came up and asked if I'd like something to drink and I ordered my usual Grey Goose Gimlet up, "Oh, she's going to be trouble!" I laugh and gingerly slap his knee to say stop. It felt less like a first date and more like two old friends getting together after a long time. Dare I say, it was very comfortable. Steven has a shy confidence about him. Quick with wit but not super gregarious in nature. It wasn't long before we were just laughing and cracking each other up. Within 15 minutes he leans close to me and says "I really want to kiss you." Okay, that was fast! "But I want to wait. I just don't know how long I can wait."
Within an hour I reached the point in conversation where I wanted to dig in deeper so I asked him what he does. "I'm a police officer of aviation." "What does that mean? Do you work at the airport, downtown, what?" "Yes, I work at the airport and help with anti-terrorism, bomb threats, etc." "So you're protecting us?" "Yeah, that's a nice way of saying it." "You carry a weapon and all?" "Yeah, sort of." WTF, man? Give me some straight answers! I never did get one which kind of pissed me off. I'm thinking he's TSA but can't for the life of me figure out what he's telling me and why he's not just telling me. Is he ashamed? Is he undercover? Whatever. I try again. "Okay, so are you a Marshall?" "I don't travel." "Okay, so do you work regular police shifts?" "Yeah, a few days on a few off and rotation. I work tomorrow at 5:30." "In the evening?" "No, morning." "Oh my gosh. We should call it a night soon so you can get to bed." "Eh, I don't require much sleep." (I hate to pull this book into it but "He's Just Not That Into You" says that if a guys is into you he will go without sleep, find a way to make it through the day and always make time to call you...If I was blind to it before than now I'm thinking he's interested).
After awhile the touchy-feely flirtation increased, the "you're so beautiful" became a regular quote (which a gal never grows tired of hearing), the witty banter continued along with some serious stuff, he began to move in closer and for the first time I allowed myself to linger longer during glances, to study him and allow myself to open to him and see what's there. I told him about where I'm from in Kansas. He grabs my hand and intertwines his fingers with mine, "So you're a country girl." "I grew up in the city of 350,000 people. That's not country!" "That's country to this city boy." Hmph. "Well, country girls are a lot more friendly and confident than city girls." "I'm beginning to see that."
He asked me why I was single and suggested that I'm a heart breaker. Hmmmm...maybe a little bit. I hadn't thought of it that way. "I just have some things to deal with. Relationships with men in my life that I needed to reconcile in order to move forward." "Hmmm...interesting." I did open up to him about my dad but didn't go closer to mentioning my abuser/stalker. He shared that he was super shy growing up and took a trip to South America where the women are really aggressive and it gave him confidence, and probably made him a bit of a player for awhile. "But now that I'm almost 40 I'm ready to settle down and look for something real." "That makes sense. When is your birthday?" He leans into my ear and whispers "Tomorrow." "Well, happy early birthday." He leans in again, "Thanks for sharing it with me."
It was almost 10:00 and I insist that we start our departure. He leans in and whispers "Not without a kiss." I looked into his eyes and smiled, "Okay." Wow. Nice, gentle and lots of chemistry. "Okay, I think we should get our bill and go." "I want to stay here and kiss more." "I don't really do full on PDA." "Okay, then we can finish this in the car. I'll take you home." "Well, that would be very nice of you." Then we sat and talked a bit longer waiting for the waitress to come by. She didn't. I finally said "I have to go to the bathroom. Let's go." When I came back he was still sitting there. I grabbed my coat and he immediately got up to hold it for me to slip on. What a gent! Then he grabbed his and said "I'm going to valet for the car." I stood inside and got this sinking feeling something wasn't right. He came in to get me, but didn't open the car door. Instead I stood in front of the car waiting for traffic to clear for one second so I could run to the door and open it before I was bombarded with more oncoming traffic. I slid into the car, the heater on, and we drove off.
Once at my door, he pulled the car over and, for the first time, I didn't grab the door handle and jump out. I sat, waited and then he reached towards me, hand on my face and kissed me. We were now in full blown make out. The initial kiss was so nice and this one started out the same and then all of a sudden I had a wild animal in my mouth. This boy did not know how to kiss after all! My heart sank and I thought "Well, maybe I can teach him as I have others." But who wants to teach? I'm willing to help his wardrobe, buy a new, nice, full length coat and trash that entirely too ugly Russian fur (real fur) hat with the ear flaps that just perches on top of his head. Shutter. But the kissing. :( Bummer. Major bummer. I finally rescued my mouth from the assault and said "Thanks for tonight. I had fun." "Me too. I'll see you on Monday." "Monday?" "Yeah, that's the next time I can see you." "Oh, I have a board meeting that night." "Tuesday?" "I have a networking group I host that night. Why don't you call me when you're free and we'll schedule?" "You are interested in going out again, aren't you?" "Yes" I say with a sigh and smile. "Awesome!"
I got out of the car only to see an old neighbor and stopped to give her a hug. He waited and I told her that my date was waiting for me to go inside and I did. As I was washing my face, I replayed the night in my head and was very proud of myself. Proud that I allowed myself to be open and be part of something. Proud that by doing so I am one step closer to finding my partner. Proud to let someone be sweet and affectionate to me. Proud that I didn't just grab the door handle, lean over to kiss him on the cheek, leap out, say a quick thanks and I'll talk to you soon and within seconds be in the safety of my home. Over the years, my wall caused me to shut down; to not get close, not open up, not take the chance. Often times I would immediately say "this won't go anywhere" or "I'll probably break up with him" so I never bothered to let anyone get close enough to see me. I even did that when I came home. Immediately I thought "I'm going to hurt him. Step away now." When the reality is that is the old Epiphany. That's the old me and my old modus operandi. Now that I've done it the last few times I known why I haven't been able to be in a relationship. I don't let anyone get close. No matter what happens, it felt really, really good.
Finally snuggled into my flannel sheets and down comforter, doing Sudoku to rest my mind, it donned on me what was off about the end of the night. I have this sinking feeling that we skipped out on our bill. Four cocktails and tip. Probably $50! Unbelievable. My phone buzzes. Text from Steven: "I had a wonderful time with you this evening." "As I.... :)" And with that I went to bed. The next morning I texted a Happy Birthday wish and he said "Thanks, country bumpkin."
And with that...we shall see. There are a couple of other guys I'm talking to and a dating service here in Chicago called to see if I'm still available. No sex until monogamy and until then I'm dating around, and that includes another date with Steven.