Can unexpected lustful chemistry grow into something more? I don't know, but I want to enjoy the ride.
What I knew about Thursday night's date was he was a photographer, lived about 25 minutes away, and really really really wanted to meet me.
He wanted to meet me so much that I thought two things 1. he's one of those online jokers who just say they want to meet because that's the thrill for them and never actually meet anyone or 2. he was desperate (and I mean desperate) for a plus-size model or a roll in the sheets.
So, tired as I was, off I went with the most laid back "he's not even going to show up" mindset. I just had that vibe that whatever was going to happen tonight, it wasn't going to be a big deal. I still dressed as nicely as I could, black boatneck shirt, pink scarf, black half-trench coat, jeans, boots.
Part of the success of having a good first meet with someone via online, is that you can start the friendly, playful joking exchange before you meet and it helps break the ice.
For example, we had been trading two jokes back and forth during the day via messages.
One joke was that if it wasn't raining, he'd show up on his motorcycle and I'd be wearing a skirt, and that would be that, it'd be a match made in heaven (because I like motorcycles and he likes skirts, get it?).
(Side note: The sad reality is that I don't own a skirt. Not a single one. I might have to rectify that, but I really really hate them.)
The other joke was that if it was raining (and it definitely was) that I would be the one without the umbrella and he would be the stranger on the street who "rescues me" from the rain because we all know that's just how it's done in the movies.
Well, that's exactly what happened. He was standing on the street corner as I came walking up from the parking lot, umbrella-less, scarf flying as I tried in whacky Bridget-Jones style to secure it around my head without simultaneously dropping my crackberry into a puddle. The Photographer had a huge umbrella, a brown leather bomber jacket on, and a really warm look on his face as we met. We hugged hello like we'd been friends for ages, one of those body-to-body hugs that make you feel warm and secure. I don't know why it happened, maybe it was the weather, but I'd like to think it had something to do with us.
Even one-armed as he held onto the umbrella in the wind, his embrace was strong and confident. I wanted to crawl right into his bomber jacket because I was freezing, yes me....the normally cold-loving one was freezing. A very good indication that I was getting sick.
The other indication? When I went to speak, I suddenly sounded like the lovechild of Kathleen Turner and Demi Moore. Wow, I was rocking the sexy voice that night.
We headed to our destination of my choice, a bar that I knew had some cozy booths. We walk in and......the booths are gone. I must have looked crushed, because he leaned in against my ear and said "Don't worry, we'll find a place to sit down..." but there weren't even any tables. Seems the establishment clears things out on busy nights to pack more people in. Live music was expected in 2 hours etc etc etc.
He rolled right with the punch while I frantically searched my mind for a nice place. His philosophy "There's a million other options if the first one doesn't work out." I came up with nothing and we wandered outside huddled together walking up the street. The wind blew his umbrella inside out, and I was clinging to his arm and burying my face against his coat. We ran into the first open door we could find...which turned out to be a LOUD crowded unromantic well-lit restaurant blasting 80s music. But...it had booths. OK, we'd make do.
He helped me with my coat and then put them on one side of the booth, looked at me and said, "Can I sit here?" meaning on my side of the booth. I am not sure if I was grinning on the outside but on the inside I felt like the Cheshire Cat. So he sat down, our legs touched immediately, and I turned a bit so I could make eye contact with him, which is a big thing with me. And I saw that he was nervous. That made me melt.
Conversation flowed in buckets like the rain outside.
Curious cat that I am, I asked him every question I could about photography. How, when, why, who, and where. I got a boatload of answers that left me more than a little awestruck. He's been everywhere and he knows...well...just about everyone in the music and celebrity industries. Yes, including some of my favorites. Yes, Bruce. He phrased it as "Of course, who doesn't know him? When you grow up on the Jersey shore...you know Bruce." He's not paparazzi. He's magazine photo shoot type. Yes, he's shot Bruce's motorcycles. He explained a little bit more about how he knew him. And he told me some things that I'm still digesting.
And he asked me a lot of questions too. The usual, but I was happy to see he was paying attention. Why Jersey? Do I like what I do for work? Do I have kids? Do I like to travel?
We discovered we both like movies, and when we find one we really like, we watch it repeatedly. He thinks Brad can't act; I didn't argue. He's not a Yankee fan; he doesn't really like sports at all. As we sat there talking in the other's ear over the din of 80s music, we realized we grew up at the same time. Def Leppard had us both tapping our feet against each other.
As the waitress came back a 3rd time to see if we finally decided to order something, he told me to get whatever I wanted; he doesn't drink alcohol. So I went with something non-alcoholic as well, and when the waitress left us, I said, "How long..." figuring he was recovering.
With the lifestyle he'd just described, I'd figured it made perfect sense. But he's never touched it, not even once as a teenager, not even in a ceremonial toast at a wedding. It just doesn't interest him. That's an idea I'm still trying to process, but I think I like it. We agreed that life could be fun enough without it, and that's when we learned that neither of us will watch horror movies - who needs to pay to be afraid?
After a really cozy hour or so in the booth under the harshest of lighting, we both felt restless and more than a little lustful for the unexpected chemistry we were feeling for one another. There was a DJ who would be starting soon, and we both couldn't imagine staying there if it got any louder than it already was. We agreed what was the point of a DJ if there was nowhere to dance?
So out we went, back to our cars. There was no discussion, just silent walking but really close to each other. His hand around my back pulling me against him, my hand also behind my back, curled inside his, holding on as if I might fall into a puddle and never be seen again. There was a very comfortable feeling knowing he wasn't buzzed and therefore thinking I looked beautiful through beer goggles. Refreshing. If there was going to be a kiss, it would be a kiss of sobriety. Plus-sized sobriety.
At my car, I turned to unlock the door and he came with me to hold the door open against the crazy wind. Then he leaned in and set his head on my shoulder and pressed his lips against my ear ever so softly. I closed my eyes and just let the moment linger. When I turned back around, his arms slipped around me and pulled me in close for a kiss.
He then said several hot lustful things to me that made my toes curl and knees buckle. I vaguely recall the start of the 2nd kiss, but I know my hands went into his hair.
We were interrupted by a car wanting to get into the empty spot we were hoarding with my open car door and our shameless embrace.
We slipped around to the back of the car to give the other driver room to pull in, and he said to me, "I want to kiss you even more..." and I croaked out like an off-pitched froggy, "Me too, but I really don't want you to get sick..." He laughed, agreed, gave me a quick kiss, and we hugged for many minutes. I probably already exchanged whatever germ I had, I thought, and contemplated just going for it.
But he whispered that I would just have to get better soon then so he could kiss me again. And we were both incredibly reluctant to leave each other.
I am suppressing any silly insecure thoughts about being with a man who looks at images with a critical eye, and I've decided I really would like to see The Photographer again.
Losing Weight; Finding Men
"Never make someone a priority in your life when you are just their option."