SINGLE – Confessions of a Newfound Serial Dater (Southern Belle)

If you’re not already following the Experimental Daters on Twitter, I certainly recommend it!  I’ve spent the week glued to my news feed, particularly because of Southern Belle’s antics over in America.  In the words of TOWTS ‘she’s giving Miss29 a run for her money this week’!  

So I was very excited this evening to see this arrive in my inbox, and to finally be able to read about it all in more than 140 characters!

It’s a long one, but I promise it’s worth reading … and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m now really curious about just how old Mr White Suit is!

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

@30Dates 

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know it has been an interesting week in Houston!

I have a very hectic travel schedule for this time of year and had been trying to get dates scheduled in between trips – the first of which I wrote about earlier. Alpha Nerd and I have stayed in touch and i’ve actually been pretty cautious about the level of communication for fear of .. well, hurting him in all honesty. More on this later.

As part of my work, we have Christmas networking drink events which are compulsory to attend. On best count, we have anything between 300-600 people turn up over a 3-6 hour period, all of whom need entertaining.

I hate these events.

I’ve known some of these engineers for over seven years and they very sweetly think of me like a daughter/granddaughter/distant helpless relative. They remember everything about my family, thank me for my help, enquire after my general wellbeing and then pop off on their merry way.

Then there are the other 500 who think it’s appropriate to grill me on whether I’m still single, and why, accompanied by leers and suggestions on how to improve my appearance. Oh, and kisses. They like to kiss my cheek. Or sniff my hair.

Suffice to say that I make my attendance at these things as short as possible in order to minimize the suffering.

I invited a few people from the client that I’m currently working for, including a guy who is a bit of office eye candy. He’s been a key support on our project for the past six months and we couldn’t have done anything without him working the systems for us. For those six months, he’s also had a fairly obvious crush on my beautiful co-worker. They’ve always seemed to be on the edge of flirting but never got past it.

At a lunch earlier in the week, she had mentioned that she actually quite liked him, so I invited him to the drinks to give them an opportunity to hang out, as well as give me someone who wasn’t going to lick my cheek to chat to for the obligatory couple of hours. As our colleagues from the home office arrived they remarked on how nice The Client was. I explained that he liked our co-worker and that my minor meddling was designed to get them talking, however he kept chatting to me. Anyhow. Best laid plans!

Knowing that I’m out of the country for five days this week, I wanted to schedule a second date with Alpha Nerd during the week. After I’d had a little liquid courage seemed to be a great idea-maybe I’d relax enough to enjoy the date and not run away from him.

We met at a little restaurant bar in the Houston Heights called Good Dog Hot Dog. It absolutely wasn’t my first choice for a second date location in terms of bright lighting and beer selection but I am somewhat limited currently from my normal hangouts (more on this with a flashback) so agreed and met him at 9pm.

Gin definitely helped with the nerves portion.

Note to all daters out there: HOTDOGS ARE NOT A DATE APPROPRIATE FOOD. We were laughing a lot as we tried to eat some very complex, messy dogs. Graceful as ever, I resorted to breaking off bits of the hotdog individually like a small and incompetent child.

If Alpha Nerd and I get to a third date, I’m packing cutlery in my purse.

Conversational topics had a little more range and depth on this date. I spoke a little bit about my unconventional motives for going into my field of work and he didn’t bat an eyelid when I talked about my Dad suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. That’s always been an interesting one. (One guy in the past asked if I’d been genetically tested for the potential defect because he couldn’t risk having a sick wife or children in the future.)

He told me about his plans for Christmas and the nieces/nephews that he’d be surrounded by, how well he got on with his family and siblings. We were laughing about something ridiculous when I heard our voices echoing into the now empty space. Oops. The whole staff were behind the counter with their coats on, wearing semi-irritated expressions.

As we stepped out into the cold Houston winter night, I realized that the problem in going to sit down at a bar or restaurant is the complete lack of physicality in the date. There’s no opportunity for an arm brush or any casual touch which starts the more physical chemistry. I love that warm, fuzzy feeling of possibility so when he walked a little closer to me, I became hyper aware of my personal space. He had parked his car in the restaurant’s lot and mine was down the street. I stopped walking and again, refused the offer of an escort back to my car. When he leaned in to give me a hug, he kissed my cheek.

I am sad to say that I couldn’t tell you whether he meant to do something else because the combination of gin, cider and a few late nights have stolen the full memory from me.

Either way, we said our goodbyes and before I’d gotten home, I had a sweet text message asking to go out again.

I have 8 days left in the US this year, 1 of which is allocated to a new guy tomorrow. (Mr White Suit. More to follow.)

Another date is just going to be really hard to fit in and honestly, probably give him the wrong impression or at least an accelerated expectation.

Friday night was a company Christmas party and thanks to some random meetings earlier in the month, I’d got a lovely date. Baby Canadian is a tad bit younger than I (25 to my soon-to-be 30) and .. gorgeous. We’ve hung out a few times as friends and to be honest, I had no impression he was interested in me as more than a friend but the company christmas party is not an event I wanted to attend solo.

I don’t share a lot of my personal life with my coworkers and last year was the first year I’d brought a partner to the event, but the majority didn’t know about our break up or the circumstances surrounding it. I figured distracting them with a beautiful, smart and intelligent date would work! I was right. He was the perfect person to bring to have fun with, my colleagues adored him and several of my girlfriends walked up and just asked… “Where can I get one?!”

We ended up drinking into the wee hours of the morning at a bar with a small group of after-partyers where he confided in me about a girl he’ d met on Tinder before he’d come to Houston on his six-month assignment. They spent a hot and heavy week together and while not exclusive, are waiting to be in the same country together. He seemed to really like her so I gave him some tips on long-distance dating as well as some general advice about committing to an idea, rather than an actual foundation of a relationship.

Text messages do not a girlfriend make.

Running concurrently to both of these dates is back and forth communication with Mr. White Suit, so named because he was my first choice of date to the Christmas party but couldn’t due to a prior commitment at a “White Suit” party. I have no idea what or why that idea is popular but he sent me a fantastic photo of him in a full white linen suit with matching hat & shoes. No half-assing it from this guy! He kept in touch during the evening and asked a couple of times if I was coming into downtown afterwards for a drink. I politely declined, thinking it probably best that we stick to our agreed Monday evening date.

No dates planned for the weekend meant quiet wind down time before this week of travel. I babysat for a friend on Saturday who was running around to do his Christmas shopping and as we’re doing some drawing at the kitchen table, I get a phone call from The Client.

He wanted to chat about some work stuff coming up, a potential promotion and coaching style that I’d been telling him about, but I was looking after a 6 year-old and not able to talk. I told him I was busy babysitting and I’d talk to him on Monday. He asked how the hotdog date had gone and I laughed, said I was with a six year old and I’d talk to him on Monday. Once my 12 hour-stint was finished, I headed home and grabbed an early night. Three late nights in a week is too much for me at this age apparently!

Imagine my surprise then when I receive a text message at 6am on Sunday from The Client, apologizing for how early it is and asking if I was free for brunch. I’d actually been up for an hour with my two furry alarm clocks, so we texted back and forth and he said he’d head my way for an early breakfast. As I mentioned before – this guy has been my eye candy in an ocean of decrepit, ancient engineers.

I ran around the house tidying up quickly and started asking myself “Why on earth did he text me?”. This isn’t me being self-deprecating folks, I have plenty of confidence about who I am and why on any given day I’d want to hang out with me too, but it was completely out of the blue… So I decided that whatever it was, it would make for interesting blog fodder and to just go with it.

(Miss Twenty-Nine here … Now you see why I chose her as an ED! Good girl Belle!!! 🙂 ) 

After two panic tweets to my posse of experts, that is. (Thanks guys!)

He turned up obviously slightly hung over so I teased him about that as we drove to breakfast. I asked a couple of times why on earth he wanted to come have breakfast 45 mins away from his house, even laughingly enquiring if he’d been round the corner with a lady friend! He smiled and said no, that he’d just wanted to come hang out. So I left it. No point interrogating the guy.

We go to breakfast locally and are chatting and he asks about the date, so we joke about it and I’m explaining I’m doing lots of first dates and writing for a blog at the same time. I ask him how it’s going in his love life – he tells me he’s got two people kind of on the go, one in Fort Worth and one other. I ask if it’s my colleague he pauses and says not anymore because of her behavior when she’s had a few drinks.

We spend an hour at breakfast telling funny dating stories, then go back to my house. He takes his coat off and seemed to not want to go anywhere so… I made us some tea. At this point, it’s all just a bit surreal so I asked why he’s here. He just looks at me and explains that he wanted to hang out. So we hang out. Listen to music. Talk more about all sorts of things: his time in the Army, him being stationed in Germany, whether I should get a gun for protection and the logistics of where to hide one given my house layout. It was like the 16 year-old version of a weird sort of non-date and I felt like I was observing a science experiment from outside of my own body!

Long story short, we have a very old fashioned make out session on the couch.

He wanted to take it further, but I’m not ready for that and honestly, it had already been such a weird day, I wanted to just recoup and take stock. So I sent him on his way and started overthinking things. Maybe he had liked me this whole time! Maybe he’d not approached me because I’d previously been in a relationship!

Maybe, Maybe, Maybe.

Of course, the reality of this is a cute boy came and had breakfast with me, didn’t talk once about actually liking me or being interested in going on a date but was definitely interested in kissing and all other things.

I think I just got Breakfast Booty Called. (BBC!)

He texted me a little bit later saying he hoped I’d had a good time and I said it had been unexpected, but fun.  At work on Monday I saw him briefly and he didn’t make eye contact or smile.. so it definitely seems that way.

I like him, he’s a nice guy and I’d go on a date with him. Who knows? I have too much going on in my life right now to worry about a 35 year-old who’s incapable of expressing himself. Problems I do not need, my friends.

The issue this has raised, which I think Miss Twenty Nine will find pretty amusing, is that on OK Cupid, I’ve not been screening for (very) physically attractive guys. For me, personality is attractive and knowing someone makes them more attractive to me, which is why The Client had become somewhat of a friend that I had no problem with going to breakfast with.

Alpha Nerd isn’t hot though. He’s not going to pick me up like The Client did and forcefully kiss me (this is all sounding a bit 50 Shades…) because he’s too respectful. Despite my suspicions of the BBC, it was helpful because I’ve realized I’ve been shying away from people where physical attraction might overpower my logical side. I might need to readdress my dating parameters…..

(Miss Twenty-Nine again … grinning …) 

Monday was a rough day at work. We’ve been asked to provide a level of statistical reporting to our client that honestly, we’re just not set up to perform. I fly to the UK tomorrow and am praying to everything I don’t believe in that I’ll not be asked to rejig things before or while I’m in the UK. Anyhow, The White Suit texted to confirm we were meeting and asked for suggestions of places between our houses. I confess, I nearly cancelled then and there. I hate suggesting places. I know it’s a sign of being considerate but I’d also like a date to have confidence and an original thought every once in a while and not leave it up to me. (You can tell it was a bad day, I’m normally very reasonable). I decided to be selfish and pick somewhere very close to my house. As I drove home, he texted me and threatened to wear the white suit.

Ladies & Gents, if he’d worn the white suit I promise, I would have given him second date privileges automatically. I digress.

He was a little late turning up to the bar, so I’d already ordered a cocktail and opened a tab. He’s about 6ft, wearing jeans/shirt/suit jacket.. which is weird. It looked like he’d half changed out of work clothes. There are ways that looks good but he’d just slightly missed the mark! He was smiley and friendly, gave me a quick hug and sat down next to me. The bartender seemed very confused by me trying to buy Mr. White Suit a drink so I kid you not, ran his card for both his and my drink. That annoyed the crap out of me, especially as he then TOLD MY DATE he should have refused my offer of paying. Mr. White Suit looked suitably embarrassed by the whole debacle, so we settled into chatting while I surreptitiously shot death rays at the misogynistic bartender.

(Miss Twenty-Nine – is it bad that I secretly applaud this barman??) 

The date would have probably gone well, had we not hit a major speed bump about 30 minutes in. He’s just got back from Lima, Peru and was saying that he’d missed out on a number of events he’d normally attend – like my Christmas party and a networking drinks on Thursday with some friends from Monaco that he’d wanted to go to.

Definitely a coincidence. Hundreds of events this time of year.

I asked who the friends from Monaco were and he named three people who work as consultants for my company and have for many, many years. I asked if he was familiar with the company they worked through and he named my company immediately and started talking about how many people were his very close friends there. My boss. My former boss. My former boss’ wife. My coworker. Another coworker. Another coworker. The Manager of our Canadian office – his best friend.

I went white and then bright red. All the pieces suddenly clicked together and I realize I’m at drinks with a guy I have heard about indirectly (I do not socialize with my coworkers!!) for six years.

I know who he is, when he got divorced (!!) that he’s got two grown daughters (!!) and much, much more.

He asked and I told him the truth. He started laughing in a slightly panicked way too as we realized we’ve probably met (briefly) previously at networking events, essentially moving around at one degree of separation for a number of years.

It really threw both of us. From my point of view, I keep those parts of my life completely separate and like it that way. Knowing that he’s (very!) attached to people that will be in my life for the next X amount of years is not a positive thing. For him, I could see that he realized I knew a lot more about him than he did me and that made him nervous.

Unfortunately he fell back on a whole different conversation:  office gossip. I actually had to ask him to not talk about the things he knows and then we struggled for other topics, mostly because I was still in shock. He quickly raised the fact that he had two adult daughters and asked if I was looking to have kids eventually. Yikes.

After two drinks, we both sensed it would be best to call it a night and waited outside for his car to arrive. He gave me a hug, made a joke about being glad he hadn’t worn the white suit and we went our separate ways.

(Miss Twenty Nine – He wouldn’t have been if he’d known about the potential privileges …!)

Since then he’s texted me saying it was lovely to meet and I sense he probably would like to go on another date – but he’s definitely looking for a relationship. I know that from both the brief date and information from my colleagues. I’m not there yet. I can’t mess this guy around and casually date him.

For a city of 4 million people, that was a really “small world” moment.

Tomorrow I fly to the UK for an Awards Event returning on Sunday.. which leaves me with 5 days left in the USA this year! Might take a break from dating in those 5 days and reassess my process….

Belle xxx

@MsSBelle_30Ds

2 Comments on SINGLE – Confessions of a Newfound Serial Dater (Southern Belle)

  1. *Cue the music for “It’s a Small World After All”
    How awkward!

  2. Right? I was mortified, I’ll be honest. He doesn’t seem as deterred, funnily..

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. My Top Ten Posts of the Year (The Coincidental Dater) | The 30 Dates Blog
  2. Update from H-Town (Southern Belle) | The 30 Dates Blog

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