He was smiling, but this was the first time I'd seen him in person, so I did that whole is-he-kidding-or-is-he-serious internal thought process in my head. He looked like he was kidding. But somewhere, years ago, I heard that 80% of all jokes are half-truths. Or something like that. This could be one of those times.
I walked up to the bar of the restaurant to officially meet him. He got up out of his chair, like a gentleman would, and hugged me as he greeted me. Wow, I thought. He wasn't lying about his height. He really was pretty short. I was wearing heels, and I stood at least a good 2 inches (if not more) above him.
"See, I knew you'd be late. I have three sisters." He laughed.
"But I really wasn't late. Parking is terrible here! I had to walk all the way from the parking garage," I countered.
He smiled again. "But see, I planned for that."
Already this whole punctual thing was getting on my nerves. Am I always on time? No. Do I tend to take time to get ready? What girl doesn't? But seriously, harping on the fact that I was eight minutes late isn't a good introductory card to play. And I was hungry. You don't mess with me when those two are combined.
I didn't instantly sit down next to him because I expected we'd be moving to a table.
"So did you put our name on the list?" I asked.
"No, not yet. I was waiting for you."
I'm a very patient person, but when it's crowded on a Saturday night and there's a line already beginning to form out the door... wouldn't you go ahead and at least put a name down on the list? I realize some places won't seat you until your complete party is present, but you can at least have a name down. Right?
"Oh. Okay. Well, I'm here now," I replied easily. I'm not one to make a big deal out of things, and I was damned if tonight was going to crash before it even began.
We were eventually seated near the center of the room. The restaurant was really nice... dimly lit, but full of character. I had never been to a tapas restaurant before, so I was out of my element, but he was pretty familiar with most of the items on the menu.
He suggested a couple of things for me to try, so I did, and even though it wasn't my favorite genre of food, it wasn't bad.
We made the usual small talk and laughed about our long phone conversations, and that's when the waiter brought the check.
"So on to the second date, eh?" He grinned as he reached for the check before I could.
"You're already planning that?" I asked skeptically.
"No, I mean, it's gonna happen right now. Let's move this... let's take a walk."
Clever. He was trying to two-birds-with-one-stone me. See, I had told him previously on the phone that my longest first date lasted 6 hours. But to be fair -- and I had made this clear -- 2 of those 6 hours was a movie. So really, it was 4 hours tops.
We walked to a local cafe to get my parking ticket validated, and talked until closing time. The conversation was easy, not forced, but I was still evaluating everything in my head.
I decided a good test was to see what his reaction might be once I said this:
"So... I told you I had something to tell you. It's not bad, but I... well..."
"Please don't tell me you're married. Or you have a kid," he nervously laughed.
"What? No! Nothing like that. I just... well, you know I'm a writer by profession...." I continued.
"Yeah?" He looked at me but didn't see where I was going with this.
"I keep a blog."
I maintained eye contact to clearly see his reaction. It seemed like he was waiting for more, so I continued.
"I write. I keep a blog about all my dating experiences. Some people could take offense to it, so I just wanted to be upfront."
"Oh, okay, I thought you were going to tell me you had 3 kids and a maniac husband or something!" He laughed, clearly relieved.
"Ha, no nothing like that," I said, glad he seemed to handle it okay.
But then he got suddenly silent.
"Well... it is a little weird," he said as he looked at me skeptically.
"What? Having a blog?"
"Well, just writing about the dates you're going on. I mean... now that I know that, the pressure's on. It's a little weird."
"Yeah, I can understand that," I said. "But I promise, your name and identity will never be revealed. Top secret, I swear. And I do write with all honesty, but also the fact in mind that one day, someone might end up reading it."
He seemed okay with that and suggested we go for a walk.
"Okay," I said, as we both got up from the table. "But only if I can run to my car and change into flats."