I was reminded yesterday that sometimes dating is good.
We have all heard – and probably lived- the nightmare stories of dates that go awry. The types where you walk away from the shituation thinking, “At least I’m not that person” or even, “I’m too good for them”.
This is not one of those stories.
This is one of those dating stories that reinforces ones worth.
First, an admission: DIO episode 3 is conspicuously MIA. It happened. Also, it happened in the usual way, a one hit wonder that ended up more along the lines of Mating Into Oblivion, so I wasn’t in any big hurry to blog another notch into my bedpost.
Look at me, all humble.
Second, episode 4 is largely the same except I walked away from the encounter appreciative instead of further embittered.
Disclaimer: That was not an admission of my specific bitterness, I still maintain that my grumpiness is just a reasonable response to the realness of our world and that I’m secretly happy…just judicious about where I expend my happy capital.
We first met a few years ago – maybe just two – when I was looking at a potential business to buy down by Portland State University. I was wandering around the South Park Blocks, contemplating.
We literally bumped into one another.
One thing led to another and, well…that was the first time I’d had sex in student housing in a while. I might have been MIA myself for most of the rest of the afternoon. I felt a little like Shirley Valentine without ever having left my own town.
Naturally, nothing happened. Me, being my charming self, said “We’re never going to see each other again after today, are we?” as we lay they chatting away the golden hours.
Not showers, Diezel.
It was a good chuckle and reminded us to make the most of our fleeting opportunity.
Of course, this being my life, my snarkiness ended up just being foreshadowing in disguise.
Flash forward to the following summer. I spot an attractive young man while walking home through my Park Blocks – the North end version – from work. He’s wandering without purpose, distractedly sipping one of those fancy iced teas from his reusable Starbucks cup.
I’m appreciating the guy candy and simultaneously judging his coffee shop choices. He turns and catches me and we both recognize each other.
“Well, that was awkward”, he smiles.
“Aren’t you in the wrong Park Blocks, little boy?”, I tease in return.
“We don’t like to be called ‘boy’”, he says.
“But I wouldn’t mind being your sex slave again”, he says, locking his arm in mine.
“You never got to see my apartment, did you? How rude of me.”
This isn’t a bad ritual.
The next morning, as I’m putting off showering as long as possible, I find his Starbucks cup in my fridge, rinse it out and put it away in case he ever uses my phone number.
He hadn’t given me his.
Yesterday, he did.
Getting out of the elevator, he moved to go into my old unit.
“A few things have changed, I told him”, guiding him toward my new unit.
“Anything else change that I should know about?”
“Only the obvious”, I say, patting my belly.
“More to hold onto”, he laughs.
“I can’t just wait around for you to text”, I tell him. “It’s called a leave behind, and it used to be a thing”, I tell him as I shut the door.
Later, as we’re dressing – no time to waste today, I have dinner plans – he tells me that he’s kind of surprised that I managed to show him something new again.
“Experience has to happen with age, this isn’t The Matrix”, I joke.
I’m just watching him dress and can’t help but express my awe at how well he’s maintained his physique as a student.
He shows some obvious pride and brushes it off with a quick, “I really don’t even exercise, this is just from swimming.”
Our eyes lock in a dare-stare as he awaits my comment. Channeling my inner Lucille Bluth, I withhold.
“Well, it works.”
He tells me that I really shouldn’t be self conscious and I assure him that I’m still grieving over my retirement from running.
“It’s just been one injury after another since I turned…46? No, it was the year before.”
“You are not that old!”
“It was 46”, I decide, “And that was several years ago. My doctor told me ‘No more running for you. Do something else, like swimming!’”, I tell him.
“Except I never learned how”, I admit.
He laughs and then goes there.
“I thought all you people knew how to swim!”, he laughs at me.
“Oh, did you want to take your Starbucks cup from last time with you?”
I grab the cup as he retrieves his jacket and he gives me a little kiss goodbye, “I cannot believe how old you are. I oughta card you to make sure you aren’t telling me lies!”
As I’m heading to the shower, I smile and think, “Same time next year, Felipe.”
And I can’t help but feel improved by my casual familiarity with this young man. His playful yet naive judgments remind me that sometimes what we perceive as our own faults aren’t even visible to others…and sometimes those judgments are just acceptance wrapped up in their own disguise.