|Date #4 and our first picture together: April 12, 2008|
I opened the door and jumped in. "Hello." And I found myself sitting next to a man with a boat load of crap in the back of his SUV who would later become my husband. He had just returned to California after three months in Arizona. We made a quick decision to go to T.G.I. Friday's downtown because it was close. We both ordered dinner salads. We laughed. He checked out my butt when I got up to go to the bathroom. I didn't find that out until later, but I was hoping because I knew I looked good that night, and who doesn't want to be admired? After the check came, he dropped me off where I'd parked my car.
They say first impressions are everything and I agree. The one and done thing was not new to me. There were guys I would go on one dinner date with and know that I didn't want to ever see them again. It didn't even have to be anything major. If I wasn't as attracted to him in person as I was to his online profile, or if he was geographically undesirable, there was a good chance it wasn't going to work. If the conversation was forced, or I just wasn't that interested for whatever reasons, it probably wasn't going to work. I was quick to judge, but I had a heart. I felt guilty having him treat me a second time for no reason. I was living alone, and working part-time while modeling part time. I didn't have the desire to spend time and money or burn through gas for just anyone. It just wasn't that serious. If I wasn't feeling it, your calls would be ignored, and there would not be a second date.
I wasn't so sure about a second date with MJ, but it wasn't a hard no. I also wasn't that sure about an all day date, but he called and I said yes. He planned everything. There was go cart racing, pizza eating, kite flying and an almost movie. We held hands briefly in Walmart. It was great. He was great, but it was a long day, and the homebody in me was ready to go home. I liked him, but I didn't know if I liked him, liked him. I wasn't ready to commit to three more hours, or a third date. We sat in the parking lot of the movie theater and talked for an hour instead, and then he took me home. It was the sweetest, and funnest date I'd ever been on, and yet still, I wasn't sold.
I distinctly remember telling my parents that I didn't feel like going on that third date.
It was my Birthday, and they had taken me to Outback Steakhouse for dinner. "I don't know mom. I think I just want to go home after work. It will be such a long day."
He was cute; and I genuinely laughed when I was with him like I had not done with anyone else, but I was sort of just dating to date. I really didn't care all that much about having a boyfriend. I'd been through a lot, was still going through a lot, and felt like damaged goods; better off alone. It was a Wednesday. April 2nd to be exact. I stopped at Walmart to get some grocery shopping done, because there was time to kill between work and our second date which was to be a basketball game and dinner. Recreational Basketball; and he was playing. I sat in the bleachers and watched him run up and down the court with a bunch of other guys in their twenties and thirties. I don't remember if they won or lost. I wonder if he does? Afterwards we went straight to Souplantation, because it was close. It was actually a step down from T.G.I. Friday if anything. Him in his basketball gear, and me in whatever it was I wore to work that day, minus the glamour shot look.
Precisely nine days after Souplantation I was in my car on a Friday night driving 1 1/2 hours and almost 100 miles to his house. I actually wasn't supposed to go up there until the next day, but I'd packed a bag before meeting up with my girlfriends secretly hoping that when I called he would say yes. Little did I know that his apartment was a mess and the second he hung up with me, he scrambled around his apartment in a mad dash to clean up.
|Date #384 something...I lost count (2016)|
The fourth date was a romantic gondola ride through the canals of Long Beach while we sipped wine and nibbled from an antipasto platter. It was BYOB, and we searched and searched for a liquor store to buy the wine. He carried me on his back for a few blocks when my feet got tired, and we laughed in relief when we made it to the boat on time. It was our fanciest date yet, but from the beginning none of that mattered. I didn't care if date night was eating chicken and rice bowls with beer and watching movies at home or making homemade Mexican pizza from one of his recipe books. I didn't care how much money I spent driving to Orange County every weekend. I had an SUV. I couldn't afford it, but I did it anyway. I didn't care how early I had to get up on Monday morning to get to work, if it meant I could stay an extra night. It didn't bother me anymore that he was four years younger than me. I was no longer dating just to date. This man had stolen my heart, and there was nothing I could do about it.
He was hooked on day one (baby, you know its true). It took me eighteen days from blind date to smitten, and my only regret is that instead of just sitting back and enjoying the ride, I tried to push him away. We've traveled Europe, Hawaii times three, dined on rooftops, danced on cruise ships, and eaten $100 steaks, but I fell in love with him at Souplantation, and it doesn't get any better than that.