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Maryland

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Man, I felt bad for the chap who had to follow Delaware in my datingverse. Let’s just say that after that under-pleasant experience, I wasn’t my usual gung ho self for another first date. The very next day. Thank gosh for Megan, who told me to buck up, open my mind, remember why we were on the road in the first place and get out there. Now.*

S was my remarkably put together Maryland date, especially for a guy of his age (which I believe was around 27). A job in his field, owned a condo and his dream car (which was akin to a Toyota Matrix, not something souped up and wild). S had all the right puzzle pieces, and was just getting around to thinking about adding a ladyfriend to his comfortable life. American dream with white picket fence, party of one. On top of that, he didn’t use the word crotch-rocket throughout the entire date, and he likes his family a lot. Bonus!

After a giddy hello! by a boat, our designated meeting spot, S and I ambled the waterfront. Right away, we came across a closed museum with huge windows. Of course, we peered in at ginormous dinosaur bones. Yes, for the third time on this trip I let dinos do the hard work of getting our tongues loose. We whipped out our smart phones, compared cameras, took artsy photos and moseyed on. Eventually, I offered to buy him a beer.

As we walked up to the first bar, Megan did a once over of me, looked down at herself, then said, “Alicia, you look cuter. Go ask if we can film,” which was how I discovered that Megs decides who chats up managers not based on convenience but on looks alone (and I immediately started trying to tally the number of times she had opted to ask instead, all this time assuming she felt she had a better handle on the situation). S laughed, I schmoozed, and a few minutes later we were seated on a patio next to some drunk-getting-drunker history teachers (who immediately had a thing for Megan).

Nice as S was,  I became increasingly aware that he was feeling a warm, fuzzy, chemical reaction that had zip to do with the beer and everything to do with how well he felt the date was going. Not sure if it was the date before blocking my ability to let another human being in, or if I just wasn’t that into S, but I stopped leaning in to hear him and tried to alter my body language and facial expressions, wishing to anyone up above who had a second to listen that S read my signals.**

Yes, signals. I know that it’s socially unacceptable to be transparent when dating. Guys don’t ever say hm, I’d rather be watching Top Gear or I see you’re more into me than I am you, because sheesh, that’s impolite as heck. Conversely,  I’m not supposed to say anything of the sort either. It’s all about signals these days. Maybe I should have sent him a text message? Would that have been okay?

Eventually S said goodbye and off he went. Megan had made friends with the drunker-getting-even-more-toasted history teachers, who wanted to tease me about how my date obviously wanted to kiss me, and why I hadn’t let him. This led to them challenging if what I was doing was dating, what dates are, and eventually, what a successful date is.

Jovial arguing ensued, voices got a little raised, and Megs eventually whispered to me that these kind gents were blitzed and while I was making valid points about what constitutes a date, they probably weren’t really going to listen, let alone concede. We gave a few high-fives, passed out fliers, and on our way to Huckleberry Fit I checked my phone. Waiting was a text from S saying he had wanted to kiss me.

Even after thirty-eight dates, I’m going to have to admit that dating is still hard and I felt badly that I hadn’t wanted to kiss this very nice boy.

*In retrospect, this all kind of sounds like a mom forcing her daughter to just try going to a school dance, or a dad who wants you to get in the car to visit the dentist. Poor Megs.

** Yes! Check out that learning curve! Go Alicia! And now, back to not talking about myself in third person.

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