Martin and I like to look back on our “first date” with fond memories. The funny thing is, when we started comparing how the date and the lead up to it went, we had quite different versions of the same story. So, here, in all its glory, is the story of our first date, and I’ll let you be the judge as to who probably has it right.
So there I was, a single mom, living in Switzerland, enjoying life and work and travel, when one of my friends at work decided it was time for me to start dating again. I thought it over. I hadn’t dated in uh… a little while. Life was good, who needs a man anyway? Ok, it would be nice to have someone to go out for supper with, watch movies with, someone kind and intelligent and willing to be in charge of bug squashing and remote control battery buying, two tasks that were sorely unmet in my home. So I decided she was right. I was Ready To Start Dating.
She took this on as a mission. I found folded newspaper pages in my locker at work, the classified “men seeking women” section, with big red circles around certain candidates, and notes written on the side like “this one sounds fun!” and “loves travel!”. I read them with interest, put them in my bag, and never looked at them again.
My friend did not relent. She started checking into some of the new guys at work, a whole batch of them had just arrived, having been transferred from Zurich. “Fresh meat!” she said, rubbing her hands together greedily (Ok she actually never said or did that, but I like to imagine it that way).
She came up with a candidate.
“Martin. He’s Swedish or Danish or something. One of those countries up there.”
“You don’t know who he is, do you.” She accused.
“Uh… Is he, uh, tall with dark hair?” I was just guessing.
“They’re all tall with dark hair. Nicole. He’s got potential. He’s taller than YOU. “
“He reads. He speaks, like, a lot of languages. He’s smart.”
I headed for the door. “My break is over, I’ll check him out” I said enthusiastically.
“He’s perfect!” she called after me.
So a few days later. I‘m at work, on a break (you’re starting to think we’re always on a break, but we do actually work too.)
I’m sitting at a shared computer area, at one of the many computers available for our use during breaks. I am aimlessly reading emails. Nothing new. I think over this Whole Dating Thing. I really should make more of an effort.
Then I notice him. It’s that guy my friend mentioned, sitting at a computer just across from me. Martin, right? He looks ok. Harmless. Hey, he has a book! Potential.
How do I ask him out? I actually am free tonight, Jesse and Daniel are in Canada at their dad’s for a week!
I get a bit nervous. Come on now, just strike up a conversation. Say something clever and funny.
Ok say something deep and meaningful.
I have re-read the same sentence on my computer 17 times.
Say anything. Seriously.
“Hey, have you seen that new movie, blah blah blah?” (The blah is because I now can’t remember which movie it was, since I was obviously just pretending I wanted to go see it.)
“Oh,” Martin replies, glancing up from his computer at me. “No. I want to, it should be pretty good.”
“ Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard too!” I say enthusiastically, clearly overjoyed at the possibility of soon seeing blah blah blah.
Silence. Martin goes back to looking at his computer.
I try again.
“Do you know where it’s playing?”
“Uh, nope” he says, and looks away again.
“Oh, that’s too bad.” Now madness takes hold of me. “Maybe I’ll look it up. I could go see it tonight after work. My kids are in Canada, so I’m pretty much free.”
“Hmmm” Martin says, obviously not interested.
“Yep, I’m free as the wind. Free as a bird. Free to do whatever I want. It’s great” I chuckle. (Inner voice: WhatintheworldamIsaying?).
“Huh.” Martin offers, and then stares at his computer again.
“Kind of don’t feel like going alone though.” (Inner voice: DidIactuallyjust saythat??)
“Hmmmm.” Martin says, staring at a spot next to my head.
“Wonder if anyone else here is off work soon and feels like going too?” I look around the room vacantly, not seeing anything at all, my eyes blinded by my temporary insanity.
“Oh.” Martin looks around too. Then his eyes finally stop on me. “Would you like to go to the movie together?” He asks casually, like the thought just occurred to him.
“Hey, sure, why not?” I respond, acting spontaneous and cool and sophisticated and thrilled and casually interested and nonchalant and bedazzling.
The bedazzling is the best part, isn’t it?
So that’s how I remember it. Then we went out, first to a restaurant downtown, then started talking in real English, and never did see blah blah blah.
New job posting in Geneva. Cool. Work is fun. Nice to meet new people.
Hey, there’s a girl who seems nice. Find out name. Nicole. Find out if single. Yes. Make mental note to ask her out when the opportunity arises.
Sitting at a computer on break. Reading about cool interesting gadget stuff. Make mental note to buy everything.
Thoughts interrupted by voice asking about the movie blah blah blah.
Oh, it’s that girl.
Mind goes blank.
Try to think of a way to ask her out.
She keeps talking.
Still trying to think of a way to ask her out.
She is still talking.
Maybe should just take a risk and just ask.
If she would just stop talking I could concentrate on how to say it.
Ok here goes.
“Would you like to go to the movie together?”
She smiles. Says a lot of things. Pretty sure it’s a yes.
She is quite bedazzling.
So there you have it, Version 1 or Version 2, who knows which is closer to the truth (well, mine obviously), but regardless, the date was a success since we are now happily married 7 years later, and have still never seen the movie blah blah blah.