FIrst Date: Well, at least I didn’t do *that*.

Where were we?  Ah yes. I was meeting Johnny Rotten for the Very! First! Time! My Munchkin had fallen off the bed, I was overcome with a fit of I-am-a-terrible-mother-and-person, I cried my eyes out, he knocked on the door, and the hot mess that was me was revealed like the worst episode of Extreme Makeover ever.

He hugged me, told me it was great to meet me, and then–AND THEN!– offered to hold the baby so that I could wipe my face off and put real pants on.

Before I get massive internet screaming about how I was a horrible mom who let her kid fall off the bed and then let a stranger– an Internet Person– hold her darling child, let me just say that he has two kids. I knew that he knew that babies have to be held the right side up, even though there is no little label with an arrow to tell him so. I was in the house, only a few feet away. The door wouldn’t be closed, except to put pants on (which, dudes? I am totally good at that. If I were a superhero, I’d probably be FastGarmentPuttingOnGirl or something) and my sister and her boyfriend were about eight seconds away, as they were coming to eyeball the new guy babysit.

It went smashingly well. I got out of the bathroom to find that Munchkin was cooing at Johnny Rotten and Johnny Rotten was cooing right back at Munchkin. D’awwww.  You know when you meet someone and they’re really good at everything, and it kind of makes you feel bad and like you can’t be friends with them because you have your own blooper reel from every single day and you coast from one embarrassment to another? Yeah. That.

Folks, I really liked him.  I mean, really liked him. Reallyreallyreally liked him. I chalked it up as a ‘sucks to be me’ situation, because it wasn’t a date-date, it was hanging out. A relationship wouldn’t have worked anyway, because we were not only from different countries which kind of makes dating a little tough, but we both had just ended long term relationships and rebound relationships never work, right? Right. Still, doing something on a Saturday night is better than doing nothing on a Saturday night, and if the person I’m doing things with is cute and smells good, all the better.

He easily dealt with The Sister’s interrogation polite conversation and small talk, and we headed out for dinner. All good. I wasn’t trainwrecky, and he loosened up a little. We were getting along great, and even if this didn’t work out into anything meaningful– which it wouldn’t, of course!– we both had fun. We were having such a good time, in fact, that we decided to spend some more time together and went out for a drink at the local pub.

Maybe he was finally getting comfortable around me, or maybe it was just the wine with dinner, but he had gone from ‘loosening up’ to a little flirty. I had figured that he was not into me like that, but I guess he was just shy and really polite. He seemed to like me. Like, like-like me. Yes, like THAT. I was stoked, and I figured that he’d make his move any second.

Two things happened at that very moment.

One: my jacket dropped from my chair onto the floor.

Two: he made the move he had been contemplating all evening.

I bent down to get my jacket, and he tried to execute some kind of suave contortion to put his arm around my shoulders. Had he swept his arm up around the back like a normal person, and not an Internet Person, everything would have gone according to plan and I wouldn’t be telling you this, because it would be boring.

Happily for the sake of stories told to strangers, he did not. He swept his arm up in front of me, like he was going to put it over my head, and then have it land on my shoulders. At that exact moment, i bent forward to grab my jacket. We collided.  Smooth.

For the second time that day, my mascara was ruined because of tears, but these weren’t anything emotional. It seems to be a pretty normal body response to being elbowed full force in the  face, you know? It wasn’t a little tap. My eyes watered. I tasted blood. I could feel my lip puffing up. I swore.

For him, the phrase ‘died a thousand deaths’ didn’t even begin to cover it. He apologized. He asked if I was okay.  He apologized more.

Johnny Rotten was so very, very upset by this. I started to laugh. Of course, most people don’t laugh right after they get hit in the teeth, and he mistook it for sobbing, which I found even funnier. He was ready to accept that this had been a complete failure, and started gathering my things so that he could take me home.  Once I caught my breath, I convinced him that I really didn’t hate him. I knew it was an accident, I wasn’t badly hurt, and I wanted to continue the evening.

It was more than that though, for me. Yes, I absolutely did want to continue the evening, but you know what? Him bashing me in the teeth took all the pressure off. Yeah, maybe I did end up answering the door in pj pants, with a yelling infant and a leaking face…. but at least I didn’t turn tentative affection into outright battery.

The pressure was off. We were now even-steven, and I knew I wanted to see him again.

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