Here I sit. Scrubbed, exfoliated, shaved, polished, curled, perfumed, clothed and accessorized a full 40 minutes ahead of when I need to be ready for my date with Mr. Airplane. Me, who cannot be on time for her own party, is ready early.
I remember now why I don’t like being ready early.
I have done all the first date prerequisites, including primping of lots of areas that he will absolutely not see this afternoon. But I can’t help it. I always do this before a first date. Remember, I grew up with a single mom. Watching her paint her long, red nails moments before her date arrived, fanning her hands through the air frantically to dry the polish as he knocked at door… this is what I know of dating. So I primp. Always.
(The exception to this rule is when someone catches me off-guard with a spontaneous date request. James did this — “Wanna go get a burger?” — when I was in running shorts and an old t-shirt. So, no primping then. I’m not so much of a primper that I’d turn down a good date just because I hadn’t applied my favorite lipstick yet.)
How much time I put into the primping process is directly correlated to how many butterflies the man in question has prompted prior to the date. I had another first date last week, with Mr. Marathon. He received moderate primping levels, and will likely not generate more primping action for our second date this week. Mr. Airplane, on the other hand, is getting much higher levels of attention because he definitely has arrested my interest, at least so far.
And so I sit here, all feminined-out, with the first date nerves mounting.
The ridiculous thing about first date jitters for me is that I am typically not particularly invested in the outcome. I think I approach first dates like a guy, because I can be really psyched for them, and when they don’t pan out, I’m totally okay with that, too. I know for a fact that if I return home this evening after meeting Mr. Airplane, with absolutely certain knowledge that there will not be another date, I’ll simply crawl into my jammies, grab a glass of wine, and laugh along with Carrie and the Sex and the City girls. No biggie.
So why the jitters???
Because…. you just never know, do you? You just never know if this guy, on this day, will be the next guy to change your life. We he be your next great love? Will you look back someday on this afternoon as the one that changed everything?
Some first dates are just doomed to failure. The first date I went on after Mike had stomped on my heart was one such casualty. It had all the makings of a great story — he was a fireman who approached me in the bagged salad section of the local Safeway and asked me out. He looked awful hunky in his fireman gear and he was ever so polite. I said yes, did my primping, and off we went. We spent four very nice hours together, talking about all sorts of things. He told me I was amazing, he told me he’d never met anyone he felt so comfortable talking with, he told me how glad he was that he’d worked up the nerve to approach me in the produce aisle. Me? I went home from that date and cried — no, sobbed — for hours. All it did was make me miss Mike terribly. My head knew better, but my heart ruled the show that night and that was the end of Mr. Fireman.
Other first dates start with low expectations and shatter your previous ceiling of greatness. My first date with Parker was like that. We met very late in the evening because I’d had to work, and I’d had a really difficult night at work (I was a cocktail waitress and the businessmen had a hard time keeping their hands to themselves….). We went to a club to hear a band that turned out to be tone deaf and possessed sadistically loud amps for their guitars. And then we couldn’t get a cab home and had to walk in the freezing rain for miles. That date should have sucked, but instead we laughed the entire way through it, playing in the rain, and falling completely in love. So, you never know.
Who knows that will happen with Mr. Airplane. Will it be butterflies and love songs tonight when I return home? Or jammies and TV?