Virginia is for Lovers . . . or maybe I Like You as a Friend-ers . . .

You know what sucks about having a really, really great time on a first date?  The day after.  The waiting and wondering.  Will he call?  Text?  Email?  Did he have as great a time as I did, or was he happy when the night was finally over?

I completely misread Mr. Florida.  I thought we’d had a good time, connected well, etcetera etcetera.  But despite my flirtatious texts afterwards and flat out telling him that I’d be around for several more days, he didn’t ask to see me again.  And when I texted him asking to see him again, he said he had to get up early for work.  Right.  That’s the modern day equivalent of “I have to wash my hair.”

I had a tough time finding a Mr. Virginia.  For weeks I’d looked forward to arriving at my friends Andrew & Sheri’s house to have a bit of a break and hang out with them and their two little boys.  I hadn’t really planned anything beyond getting there and crashing after nearly two months on the road.  After a few days, though, I realized that I couldn’t stay at their house forever and had better start planning dates for Virginia and the surrounding states.

I was dropping off Andrew and one of his friends for a canoe trip when Andrew asked Patrick if he knew of any single guys who’d be willing to go out with me.  (Yes, I know how pathetic that sounds, but let's be honest -- the offers weren’t rolling in there in the great state of Virginia).  Patrick texted one of his old buddies, but all I knew about him was that he was smarter than Patrick and could do more push ups than the average construction worker (this comment was made after we drove by a group of construction workers, and two appeared to be having a push-up contest alongside the side of the road -- random).  As I drove away, he hadn’t heard anything yet.  When they came back three days later, he sounded like it was probably going to happen.  Not for sure, but maybe.  Later that night, I got a text saying this was going to happen.  Their friend would be calling me soon to set something up.

Eighteen hours later (but who’s counting?) I got the call as I was hiking through Hungry Mother State Park.  I found a place to sit down and talk (I thought huffing and puffing into the phone might not be attractive), and we talked and talked and talked.  And then he asked if I was free that night.

Have you ever read The Rules?  Me neither.  But I know the basic theme of the book: don’t make things too easy for guys.  Make them pursue you.  Only answer one of every four emails and don’t say yes to a date unless he asks you out three days in advance.

But playing hard to get?  I so do not have time for that.  And considering the fact that I am not a big fan of talking on the phone and this guy kept me talking for forty-five minutes while I sat around, hot and sticky and swatting at bugs three miles into a six-mile hike, it seemed to me that this could be a good night.  Screw The Rules.

I had to drive an hour and a half to get to where he was, and we started out walking around the campus where he and Sheri and Patrick all went to college.  He was much the same in person as he had been on the phone, laid back and easy to laugh.  Oh, and he looked good.  Really good.  I was, of course, wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and flip flops.  The more I date, the more I realize my desperate need for a fashion consultant.

We drove to a restaurant and ate and talked, and about half an hour in, I realized my face hurt from smiling and laughing.  I couldn’t stop.  The next day, when a friend asked me what was  so funny, I couldn’t even name it.  It wasn’t like he was telling jokes or anything -- it’s just that everything we talked about seemed to make us laugh.

We talked a lot about dating and relationships and our hits and misses in love.  He poo-pooed the female theory that men become more attractive to women if they’re funny, admitting that for men, women are either attractive or they’re not.  She could be the funniest or smartest or kindest woman in the world, but if he’s not attracted to her from the start, he’s never going to grow more attracted to her.  He had a theory of his own about the differences in men and women: men marry hoping the woman will never change, while women marry hoping they’ll be able to change the man.  I laughed and said that was probably true.  Not for me, of course.  But for other women.

He asked about my previous thirteen dates and, after hearing about some of them, laughed about blowing it and making Virginia look bad.  I disagreed.  Salt-n-Peppa’s “What a Man” started playing in the restaurant, and as I listened to him talk, I thought how fitting the song was at that moment.  Virginia was looking real good. 

I told him about my basic top three things I’m looking for in a guy: a man who is smart, funny, and a Christian.  And yet, despite meeting and even being good friends over the years with several different guys who met my basic three criteria, I wasn't attracted to them for one reason or another.

“There’s that indefinable thing,” he said.  "And people either have it or they don't."

“Yep,” I agreed, smiling at him and thinking that he had that undefinable thing.  I didn’t tell him that, of course.

We swapped stories of bad set-ups we’d endured over the years.  I told him about the guy who hated football and preferred to spend his weekends at antique car shows.  I knew nothing about antique cars, but tried to be interested.  I asked when he’d refinished his car, thinking that that’s a pretty big and impressive task to complete, but he said no, he just bought it already refinished.

“So what do you do, then, at these car shows?” I asked.

“You stand by your car, and people come and look at it and ask you questions,” he said.  “Maybe I’ll take you sometime.”

“Mmmmm . . . I don’t think so,” I said.

Mr. Virginia’s worst blind date was a double date with a friend, and he wasn’t interested in the girl at all.  While the women went to the bathroom at the end of the night, his friend warned him that they’d probably suggest getting together again when they came back to the table and that he’d better have an excuse ready.

“We should do this again,” they said.

“I can’t.  I have to go to a wedding,” he replied.

“Tomorrow night?”

“Umm, yeah.”

“It’s a Wednesday.”

“Yeah . . . my family’s weird.”

Note to self: when making up an excuse, make sure you hear what day they want to go out again before giving your made-up excuse.  It’s much more believable.

I thought about that later, wondering why honesty, supposedly the best policy, is so hard.  I’d much rather have a guy tell me he’s not interested than sit around waiting and wondering if he is.  And yet, when the tables are turned and I’m not interested in the guy, I have a horrible time just telling him that.  I say it’s because I hate to hurt anyone’s feelings, and while that may be true, it’s also true that I’m a chicken.

We left the restaurant and drove up a mountain that my friends had laughed about when I told them earlier that this was part of his plan for the night.

“That’s totally a make out spot!” Andrew and Sheri laughed.

As we wound our way up the hill, I debated.  Should I kiss him?  I definitely could.  I was very attracted to him.  But I had kissed Mr. Florida and that had turned out disastrously.  Maybe it would be better to not kiss this guy.  And maybe he really just wanted to show me a view of the city.  It turned out that I didn’t have to make the decision; when we got to the top, the gate was locked.  We drove back down.

“This date is horrible compared to flying in a Cessna,” he said.  I assured him that it wasn't.  We headed to a little coffee shop that he knew of and ordered hot chocolates and a piece of white chocolate raspberry cheesecake to share. 

“We’re closing,” the girl behind the counter yelled, three bites in.  We couldn’t catch a break.  We shoveled down the cheesecake and headed back out on the streets.  We wandered around the downtown area, talking and laughing and drinking our hot chocolates.  I couldn’t believe it when we got into his car and the clock read 1:30AM. It was way past my bedtime.

I know what you're wondering.  Did he call?  Text?  Email?

Nope.  And it’s so disappointing, even if I am slated for thirty-six more dates.

Sheri encouraged me to not take it personally but to think of how intimidating this whole thing is for the guys I'm meeting.  What guy wants to deal with someone who's dating fifty men when he could date someone locally who only wants to date him?

I’m thinking maybe he had to go to a wedding.

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