What Is A Real Date?

I work with this guy. He’s about my age, works really hard, has a lisp and a limp. He is one of the nicest people I know. He is average height, he is fairly handsome and his face is nothing short of gentle. We talk all the time at work and he is always polite and friendly, but I never really imagined being more than friends with him.

One slow night at work he came up to me and said, “I know someone who likes you.”

Patricia.
Patricia.

Surprised, I look over and smile.

“Someone who likes me?”

He returns the smile,

“Yeah.”

“Will you tell me who? If they don’t want me to know, you don’t have to tell me, I don’t mind.”

“No, they don’t mind.”

“Are you sure?”

He nods his head, smiling,

“It’s me.”

I smile, almost blushing now, “You like me?”

He nods, his cheeks rosy now.

I pause for a moment. I haven’t had a conversation so innocent in a long time. As you get older, people tend to put less thought into the blooming process of a relationship. Things are less of a big deal; less effort and thought put into meeting new people you actually want to know. I’m used to guys texting, “hey, you wanna chill?” (Sometimes, I wonder, does dating really even exist anymore?) Taking ladies out on dates was a formal occasion once upon a time, but somewhere along the way we smudged the lines.

But I felt like his confession, as we can call it, had a lot of forethought and planning, and I didn’t want to brush this potentially chivalrous courting off so quickly.

“Well, we can go out sometime!”

“Yeah?” His eyes now bright.

I nod, “Yes.”

As we exchanged numbers, our empty mouths still spoke through the smiles on our faces. This was different, and seemed lighthearted.  I was actually very flattered at the notion. I hadn’t pictured a relationship with him—we  clearly walked two different paths of life. Me—the wild child, independent and adventurous one. He—the hardworking, church-volunteering, all-around-nice guy that everyone liked.

From what I knew of him, I couldn’t see much in common except that we both like manual cars and worked at a seafood restaurant. But I was intrigued by how he was refreshingly different—telling me his feelings upfront, asking me to go somewhere on a real date—and I was curious to see where this might lead.

When I got off of work and met him at the movie theater across the street, I arrived before him. I sat at a table with my back to the door, fixed the bow in my hair, smoothed my circle skirt, adjusted my long socks and fixed the laces on my Keds and anticipated his arrival. When he showed up he looked so handsome! He wore his pants around his waist and a nice v-neck and he smelled amazing. He happened to be wearing my favorite cologne.

There weren’t many showings left since it was late, so we chose a movie we were already ten minutes late to. I had already seen the movie once, but I didn’t let him know that, I wanted a good time. He paid for the tickets and bought me a pretzel. He even let me wear his jacket when I got cold in the theater.

The whole time I couldn’t help but think of how nice and polite and chivalrous he was. And even though I saw the movie once, it was better the second time around, and I think that had to do with the entire experience. After the movie we walked arm in arm to the parking lot. My best friend was waiting for me, so it was time to part ways. I hugged him goodbye and turned to leave, but I turned back to him and said,

“Oh! I forgot one more thing!”

And I gave him a peck on the cheek.

I hopped in her car and he in his and the cars drove off. The car ride back home was fun, I was smiling extra hard and my best friend was just laughing at my teenaged moment, but I really didn’t mind.

The date was draped in shades of pink—warm and flirtatious, kind and respectful. There was no pressure to progress any further than where we were at that very moment. He was a true and honest gentleman. The sweetness of the night made me as giddy as a schoolgirl. I can still remember how much my cheeks ached from smiling so hard later that night.

Sometimes I feel like dating is a dead language or an art form that has been forgotten. But this quiet guy, with a lisp and a limp and an unassuming way about him, gave me something unexpected: a real date. It was one of the best I’ve ever had.

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2 Comments

  • I love this story. It reminds me how a person’s little vulnerabilities can become so lovable, especially when they are part of a beautiful, strong soul.

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