Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Perfectly Timed Moratorium

The single dad wrote his own dating obit last night. Interestingly, I thought his three strikes would be attributed to this thing he did where he got drunk and then aired his grievances. The first time I was "too aggressive" a time or two in Pittsburgh. The next time I had made a joke that I was going to Tinder around the country to go to all of the Escape Rooms for free. And "he knew what that meant" and "it really changed how I think about you". He knew what I meant? WHAT DID I MEAN?!

I was so caught off-guard and offended and (my Achilles heel of being) misunderstood, that I was up until 5am writing words down to try to get it out since he'd since fall asleep after the textual attack. Words like this:

I don't want to spend my time on someone who is just waiting for me to fuck up and then scrutinizing me when I do. I could let things you've said change my opinion about you, but I realize that one thing - or a few - you've said does not define who you are to me. The only suspicion I have is a person who says the perfect thing 100% of the time. Perfection is a fallacy. I am real and thus imperfect. I don't want to spend time with people who, not only do not forgive my imperfections - my shit moments - but holds them against me. I don't want to be with someone who makes me cry alone, in my room with little reason and no opportunity for defense, for simply being human. There is an undeniable beauty in the fault of others - a shadow of someone else's self doubt that reminds us that we are not alone in sometimes failing.  
We are not solely baring the angst of doubt and regret and things wrongly said and misunderstanding and judgement and history and turmoil and fear and everything that comes simply with existing. But that beauty fades, it backfires when we are judged for our foibles - mistaken for a villain only by opinion and error. I am far from perfect and I don't pretend to be anything but, and thus, I do not hold others' imperfections against them. Instead, I try to understand them. We are all revisions of our former selves; shaped by history and experiences and family and friends and good times and bad. And I can't endure the accusatory misconception that just because you didn't like something I said, that I am less worthy of adoration. Or that your feelings hurt mean mine matter less. We are all fighting the same damn fight, and you are either with me - helping me to stand and understand - or you are against me - your bayonet of words held tight against my throat. 
There is no middle in this war. We all bear the weight of a patchwork heart. And we all must pick a side.

The next morning he was "oh it was just a misunderstanding." WAS IT?! To who? And fuck you! But I let it go - eventually. And he apologized - eventually. The week following all of this being ironed out began the first in a string of him cancelling on me. The first was January 22. Having not seen him for a week, he was going to come over, but instead went to a friend's farewell dinner. (His friend was moving to Texas.) Which, normally, is fine. But 1. I only found out he cancelled because I ASKED, 2. He didn't even play the "Do you mind if I cancel, because..." card (of course I'd have obliged) and 3. He didn't apologize for cancelling. The following week, I was suppose to see him on one of the off days from his kid and the weekend, then he ex went out of town for work and the Single Dad seems to not have a sitter. And there was yesterday. This cancellation was my favorite. By this point I began to say to people "I'm suppose to see him" instead of "I'm going to see him" when it came to explaining my plans. And I had been frustrated - and calmly, with understanding, yet voicing it - for over a week. He texted daily, but we never saw each other. And my feeling - while polling other parents - that if you put yourself out there to date, that you should make sure you have the time to date, was growing. Gaining momentum. So this was the microscopic straw that broke the proverbial camel's back:

I have yet to respond. The most ridiculous part of this situation is that he seems to want me to feel sorry that he's sad for a situation of his own making. Like I'm suppose to coddle a man who has disappointed me yet again. Your fucking tummy hurts? Oh and you have paper work to do? - he adds as though his first excuse wasn't quite enough. And somehow I'm suppose to feel bad for him? SOMEONE CALL THE WAHBULANCE! This got laughable fast. And normally I would feel bad he was sick, but being the third (fourth, fifth?!) time in a month he had cancelled left my empathy to reside somewhere in the Valley of No Fucks to Give.

So while I tried the single dad dating thing, I'm not sure I can give an entirely accurate depiction of what it's like. I think this guy might be slightly more unaware of anyone else than most men. (Which is saying a lot! Seriously, you guys - other people exist and women are not here to kiss your balls at your beck and call, mk.) However, it did manage to neon-flashing-sign highlight the pot holes and warning whistles when it comes to single parents dating. So then perhaps he was the perfect person to try out and pass on the information. I would say the first thing to ask when trying to date a single parent (whether you yourself have kids or not) is: Do you have the time do date? Have you carved out space in your life for just you? If the answer is no, move on until the answer is yes. And consider it - at the least - a moratorium until the answer becomes yes.

And otherwise simply a dating obituary: Single Dad Cancels Three Times, Tryst Dead in the Water 

This particular moratorium, however, is quite perfectly timed. I am actually rather thankful for it - as much as I am annoyed by it. (I'm fucking cute didn't you notice?! MAKE the time.)  Because tomorrow I'm taking off to Arizona and I was feeling sort of weird about going to stay the weekend at some guy's house while I was sort of dating someone. The weirder part for everyone else seems to be the fact that I'm going to fly across the country and stay with some guy that I met in a bar for 30 minutes 18 months ago. But Arizona is warm and he said it's free and I was looking for somewhere to go back in October and he asked. (I'm a simple creature, really.) My friends seem to think it's crazy and "what if he's a psycho". My mom, however said "I trust your judgement," but send me his address. She's used to these (simple) things I do by now. : )

Friday, January 16, 2015

On Dating a Single Parent

Alright, so it's been about a month since I gave the single dad thing a go. I see him every once and a while. Let's five times. That 28 hour date, a Wednesday night, that 70 hour date, and this past Tuesday and Thursday. Which is strange considering that the Turk, who lasted about two months, but really only like 20 days in person, seemed so much more of something; so intense. (It's only since just this I've realized how incredibly different interactions between two people can be over the same amount of time. It's mind-boggling. But anyway...)

So we're four weeks into this and I'm not quite sure what to think, but there are definitely disjointed thoughts running through my mind. I'm already running into feeling like I'm competing with a kid. To which someone responded to my concern, "Well it's not a competition." Well no fucking shit because 1. I would never win and 2. I'm not trying to compete, it just feels that way. It feels like some sort of weird, unwanted rivalry, as I am vying for the same affections - well aware best I'll ever do is silver. This issue was brought up one night when he was suppose to come over and then the kid decided he wanted to go back to dad's from mom's and I got a, "Sorry, I can never say 'no' to him."

Well good god what am I suppose to do with that? On the one hand, I deeply admire him for being such a good and doting father, having missed out on that myself. On the other hand, as a single girl interested in a guy, I find it incredibly frustrating that I am not doted upon; that I'll always come second. And that's just being honest.

So lets continue with this sort of free-flowing what's going in my head and jot it down with the next hypothetical scenario that popped into my mind: What if I'm sick or hurt and I need to go to the hospital but he - in this completely theoretical scenario where he's something significant to me - can't take me because he's got his kid? I, in theory, then am dating a guy that can't take care of me because he's too busy taking care of his number one. 

I want to be able to need as much as I am needed. Isn't that the definition of a partnership? But then it occurs to me that if you are dating a single parent, you are always going to be needed more than your needs are fulfilled. You are always going to have to bend more than they bend; work around two needs instead of just one. It appears to be an incredibly uneven see-saw: Two people on one end hanging you high and dry on the other. Boris and Natasha versus Rocky sans Bullwinkle.

Even still, I'm trying to give this time to matriculate into the world of single parent dating. This all is still incredibly casual - although difficult to keep it feeling particularly casual based on the situation - but I have these thoughts and such, e.g.: How the fuck would this ever work?  And we haven't even gotten to the part where he's gone back to work yet and his work hours are all jacked up so then it's just work and kid ... and no girl - which could be the end in and of itself. A question I posed just last night: Just what happens then? Are we done when you being to work again?

"I don't know my schedule yet." Which my brain takes and translates - appropriately - to: Calm the fuck down, self - remember to be in the moment. And thus, it reminds me that one of the appeals of dating a single parent was that they don't have enough time to spend with me in order to get attached (because I'm fucking moving, damnit). Otherwise, if this went deep into dating territory as is, it would feel like I'm making all the sacrifices to meet the needs in his life. And what about me? Just because I don't have a child, doesn't mean I should have to sleep on a couch in the basement my needs are less important.

And so I remind myself it's casual - as casual as it can be working around the schedule of a seven year old. So right now I figure we still enjoy each other's company (despite seeing one another rarely.) And it's still winter and beds are still cold. And I, sort of unexpectedly, like to spend time with him - so there's that. And yet, with my silver medal, I can't fully identify with the satiated feeling of being a part time parent, and thus, also a part time lover. Instead, I am simply a part time lover; a woman of convenience - my most loathed place to be. And, to make matters worse, a position he doesn't seem to understand.

"What do you mean 'convenience," he asked as I broached the topic. And honestly, I don't even know where to begin explaining. And even if I tried, it would only ever make sense if I had a kid too (or he didn't.) And here lies the crux of the problem: Our lives force us to use separate playbooks; play by different rules. Single parent/childless single dating: It's hard. It would require understanding from both parties who can't possibly fully understand the other person's position. It's sacrificial and admirable and complicated and not easy and potentially totally worth it - and potentially totally not.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Key

When I was 24, I had everything. A live-in boyfriend. A house. Furniture to fill it. Photos and art to line the walls. A car. An education. And a job. On paper, it looked perfect. On the inside, everything was falling apart. 

I was months away from 26 when I ended it. When our lease was up 6 months later, we packed up and left a 7 foot wide, 5 foot tall pile of perfectly good stuff behind the house for trash collectors (or garbage hunters - that George Foreman grill still worked). 

I kept the furniture. I kept some stuff. I moved in with a stranger. A year later, we both looked for new digs and to move again - to the location and price I wanted - I had to get rid of more stuff. I downsized again. I felt freer. The weight of each piece of furniture that used to define the life I thought I was ready for, fell off as the shackles of stuff came undone. 

At 30, I moved again. Another downsize. I was prepping for a move I had wanted for years, to a place I was still uncertain where exactly it was. I gave up more things; felt even freer still. 

At 31 I look around and I realize that my contemporaries are filling their homes with stuff and children and things. And I took a seat, casting away all the stuff that tied me to a place and limited me to where I might live or where I could go. If I wanted, my life could fit in my car. I love that; I am tethered to nothing; free and open and able to everything. 

Growing up we were told how life would be as an adult. That we would get an education, then a job, then a spouse, then kids. To work each day to buy a home to fill with furniture to make comfort for a family. At 24, I began to reject what I had sought so hard to achieve because I had grown up thinking that it was the goal, the purpose, the definition of success and therefore the key to happiness. But what I began to realize was that all of those ties to things and what I was expected to have and be, only imprisoned my desire to a life more simple; more shared; more experienced in everything. To live out all of the mistakes we are suppose to make. To have the awful moments to share with friends and family and understand that - even at 31 - we're all still trying to figure it out. That for some people, the life we are raised to believe is right, isn't what is right for us - at least not on the timeline we were brought up to believe. And we have to fail in order to find out what our own definition of success is; what makes us happy. 

Lately I've helplessly watched as loved ones struggle to make something of what they are told is success; what defines their value as a human being. And I think far too often we as humans fail to recognize that losing absolutely everything you thought you wanted and beginning all over again is perhaps the most liberating, terrifying and successful thing(s) we can do. Often we must fail entirely first in order to succeed (even just a little) in the end. And it is then we are truly able to appreciate the tiny successes as much as huge accomplishments. Happiness isn't defined by what we have or the things we have tethered to ourselves; happiness is the joy you feel in small victories and in knowing that everything you have done has brought you to where you are meant to be - and that the future, while scary, remains hopeful. To learn to trust that everything happens in time. That buying stuff and things does not dull a nagging impatience or feelings of ineptitude. 

At months away from 26, I finally learned that you cannot buy happiness. At 30, I learned the freedom from the things you buy, might actually take you one step closer to finding your place. Too often, it seems, humans are enslaved to objects. I find now, a certain euphoria that lies within exactly what we don't know and the ability to drive away whenever - with nothing - in order to know it. At 31, I have realized failing isn't a bad thing; fail isn't a four letter word. That sometimes giving up everything you have is the key to getting everything you ever wanted. So far, I find this to be true. And the hope for more lies in front me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

70 Hour Date

So that Steeler playoff weekend third date thing happened. It actually happened. And it went like this:

this was just like - the fucking coolest
On Friday he met me at work at 2:30p. We drove up to Pittsburgh and checked in. We went to dinner, then drinks. We got drunk; I got drunker. We went back to the hotel. The next day we went to lunch at my favorite place to eat. We checked into our next hotel (because he accidentally booked a different one drunk on Thursday night). We got ready - rather I got ready while he went and got me velcro from Micheals (this tooks some coaxing; good sport). We taxied to Station Square for bar before the game, then ferried across the river to the game. He surprised me with the best fucking seats (see pic). And he gifted the tickets he originally bought to a friend of mine. (How nice of him.) We split a sandwich at the game and I had three ciders to his 60 beers (fine, fine divided by 10). Unfortunately the Steelers lost and we were both a little salty, citing 'KUMQUAT!' to elicit each others' silence. And it worked. (I think we used a total of two 'kumquat' silencers each this weekend, which is pretty good considering two near strangers spending so much time together. I highly suggest this method of disagreement intervention.) We ferried back over and headed to a bar for drinks (which he didn't need any more of, so I got him water and he complied) and food. (Might I suggest Bar Louie's chicken nachos? Amazing.) His friend dropped by to hang out with him; she loved me so much she gave me her number and said we need to hang out. (Sure.) Around 2am, we taxied back to our hotel and he passed out while I watched and episode of Friends for about four seconds before I fell asleep.

The next morning we woke up and checked out by 1pm - using every last minute till check out. A slow, recovering saunter. We headed out and down to Primanti's for sandwiches (yum!) on the way to Gabes (because I wanted pants I got the wrong size of at Christmas). Around 4pm, we finally began to make our way back to DC. (Five minutes in, I rear-end a car; but really it was more of a bump and not entirely my fault.) Mid-way through the four hour drive, I couldn't take the near-zero visibility of darkness and rain combined with wicked winds anymore; they made me so nervous driving up and down the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland. We quickly discussed and he said he was fine getting a hotel at the midway point for the night. (This was my favorite part - although I'm not entirely sure why.) So on a quick whim, he booked the hotel and we were hanging out in Cumberland for the evening - went to the only restaurant in town for dinner (and drinks) then back to our third hotel in three days. We watched some movies; did some things; went to sleep. Woke up in the morning, I emailed work I would be late, packed up and drove two more hours back. And when I left him at his car - even after all that time together, I wished I didn't have to - a reaction by which I found myself incredibly surprised. And a little confused. Not confused were some things I learned from this weekend:

Number One: You can go all in to something you are well aware could end in disaster, and end up pleasantly surprised.

Number Two: Just because a guy talks incessantly on a first date, doesn't mean he will continue to do so for the rest of time. (Mentioning it to him probably helps.)

Number Three: Lists of non/desirable traits don't really mean too much. Tribal tattoos, a kid, military, brown eyes, under six feet, voted for Dubya twice (once I can forgive; that second time is atrocious), an affliction t-shirt, online. And yet, I found a fondness in his company. He was nothing I would imagine from the canvas of description that I had painted in my mind. 

Number Four: Being completely physically simpatico is fantastic and forgives affliction t-shirts. 

Number Five: Don't get too drunk with someone you don't really know. But if you do get drunk, make sure the following night when they get too drunk, that you're there to shuffle everyone home that time and try not to judge too harshly in the morning - even if you wanted to smash all of their toes that night with a 90 pound sledgehammer. Fair's fair and tit for tat.

Number Six: Single dads - not too shabbs, but appear to smoosh all partying into off weekends.

Number Seven: Don't eat wings if you're going to share a bed with someone.

Number Eight: Women still don't understand men. Even if everything seems so obvious, once you throw in some interest on the side of the ladies, ladies will cock their head to a side and forget about how they understood where they were, what they were doing, and all she knew a week ago and substitute it with five hundred "what ifs" and confused little shoulder shrugs, waiting for the next confident moment where she can be like: "Oh, psh yea, he's totally still interested." 

Number Nine: (On a related note to Number Eight) After a 70 hour third date, when friends ask, "So what do you think/where's it gonna go" the answer will still probably be, 'I don't know.'

Number Ten: When someone asks you to do something cool, even though it has great potential to end it completely fucking irritated disaster, you fucking do something cool. (And offer to drive because 1. It's polite, 2. If he pays for literally everything else, you should at least pay for gas and, 3. You might need a getaway.) Because it could all turn out just fine - and with an NFL playoff stub and 10 lessons to boot.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Twenty Fifteen

At the end of 2013, I had decided – thanks in part to a horrifying familial experience of the 2012/13 NYE – that I was going to sit at home alone with some Redbox movie and a bag of popcorn to ring in the new year. When I told some friends, they said I couldn’t: "You can't spend NYE alone at home." I ended up going out in Virgina with a group of now-acquaintance friends. I had an alright time, but couldn’t shake the feeling that I would have rather been on my couch, a desire which grew exponentially when another friend showed up to that bar. That one that thought he’d bring his brother to me for me to bang since I made one with him drunk the summer before and his brother was about to go into basic training. All that happened was that I DD’ed for them, and thus got stuck sharing a blow up mattress with said brother, while his snoring roared in my right ear and I begrudgingly didn't sleep.

The following day I had to wait a very long time to get someone to drive me back home since their house was nowhere near the metro. All of that was annoying, but at least they were alive and safe. I did my good deed. I grumbled into 2014.

This year my good deed on NYE accomplished both what I wanted and perhaps what someone else needed. This year I was going exactly what I wanted to do. I was spending NYE at home. And to include a good deed, I invited any “orphans” to join me. No one showed up, so good for them and good for me. I finally got to do what I wanted and not what is “supposed to be.”  I rang in the New Year in yoga pants, on my couch, having downed almost an entire pizza by myself, while purchasing bras on Amazon at midnight to celebrate the ball drop I didn’t even have on the TV. Then a housemate and I popped a bubbly and played Wii for hours. This morning we had a New Years day waffle and mimosa pajama brunch in the comfort of our own home. It was just what I had wanted.

Upon a short retrospection of 2014, it seems to be a very appropriate end to this year. It hasn’t been a particularly adventurous year. I haven’t left the country; I’ve barely left DC, which is quite a change from a girl that spent the past five years barely home: First traveling all over the country, then the world. This year I went to Seattle and Boston and Nashville and that’s about it. So strange to think that the year before, that would be something that spanned a month. So strange to think I’m planning. (I am not a planner.)  And the plan has been just to wait. Patience is something I have become keenly aware of this year; resting at the feet of some sort of fated destiny. I have come to accept and covet that not every year has to be marked with tremendous occasions to be momentous or important; the little things add up, nurturing a patient mind.

No one thinks I’m moving. Not that their opinions matter and also not that I can blame them, as I’ve been saying I’m going for years, but I know I am on my way somewhere. However - and particularly this year - the universe has intervened; be it with money or the prospect of love or my cousin happening to have a spot in her house or all of the things that seemed to have divinely intervened. But all this stagnation – marked with moments of tremendous personal growth and recognition of past lessons learned and put to use – is leading to something. Something I don’t know. And something I won’t know I wanted until I have it.

I feel now there are very good things that lie ahead of me despite (or perhaps because of) those moments trapped in a provincial monotony. But bored, I have never been. Itching to go, yes, but I’m planning; waiting; filling my time with people and stories and practice and life. Because the things that have happened this year have been with such obvious purpose, but where they are leading to, I have yet to see. What a thrilling way that is to saunter into twenty-fifteen.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Better Men

Two days before Christmas the Turk texted me to wish me a Merry Christmas ‘before he forgot’, asked how I was and told me he was going back to Turkey on the 25th because apparently that’s really relevant stuff to someone you haven’t spoken to in 48 days. I don’t know what the fuck is up with that kid. But it doesn’t particularly matter anyway at this point, as I have since move on and so far it’s working out very well, in part thanks to a number of better men.

Back in mid-October Southwest was announcing they were having a sale. As I am wont to do post break-up or what-nots, I decided I wanted a trip and I took that sale as a chance to plan one. I posted on Facebook that there was a sale and “Who wants a visitor in January/February?!” taking note of the fine print. And that guy I met in a bar last summer left a comment saying it was 70 and sunny in Arizona in winter. That sounded incredibly appealing and I asked if he was offering a place to stay; if so, I was in because I like free. So, I went ahead and booked a ticket. So I’m going to Phoenix, which is nice, since I’ve never been. And I'm rather curious to see him again - and for more than 30 minutes. He seems like an interesting fellow.

A few people have expressed concern about this, but I just quickly remind them (as someone pointed out to me) that I had a ticket on reserve to go to Turkey, two weeks after meeting the Turk. (Can you believe I almost went to Turkey?!) So some guy who seems super nice, normal, sweet, lives in the United States, and wouldn't try to claim me as "his property", seems remarkably safer. And that seems to calm their fears. Besides, I’m a good judge of character: See: how I didn’t go to Turkey: Exhibit A. So that should be fun – and warm. Fuck the cold.

Speaking of cold, it brings me to the hunt for a winter bed warmer; also known as (having just learned this term last week): a cuffer. After the Turk fucked with my head and ego a bit, I decided I needed someone who thought the sun shined out of my ass. Re-enter: Goomba. I started texting with him again and we ended up going to a concert. The concert was fucking fantastic. The company was good too. I had a good time and I didn’t feel like each step I was making was wrong. I like spending time with him, but – I don’t know – that shoe doesn’t quite seem to fit. And we stopped texting for the most part – although I’m not entirely sure why. He probably started dating someone. (I do wish he would make it less awkward to just be friends though.) So that left me still cufferless.

Conveniently, the evening following the concert, I got a Tinder message from a guy who I told back in early June that I would go out with. Back then he told me he had a kid and I generally fell off the Tinder wagon so we never went out. I hadn’t been on Tinder for a while, but there seems to be total lulls and also total influxes in which, even if you’re not active on the app, old guys come back to ping you. This guy also texted me again around that same time; it didn’t work out:

very stupid men still exist past 30 (click to enlarge)

So the other guy (the single dad, not 'maximus') that I stopped talking to in June, messaged me again in August. I didn't respond; he tried again mid-December, citing persistence sometimes paying off. He won me with that: I do love me a persistent man. And I figured, I’ve got the international Muslim, the divorcees, the Jews, the short guy, the hey guys, a man with four fucking Chihuahuas, the FWB-turned-feelings, and all the other fails under my belt, why not try on single dad for size. I mean, I’m here to educate: Got to be well-rounded, right?

So we planned for a date on the 19th. He had a cool-ass date called Escape Room Live: where we get locked in a room together and have to search for clues and figure out puzzles to find out who is the spy out of the files we find in the room and where the key is to let us out. The website said it might be stressful (and we may be locked in with strangers) so 1. I said we needed a safe word so we didn’t kill each other (since we were strangers too) and we chose “kumquat” since it's likely to elicit a giggle and 2. I decided the date needed to began with drinks. As it happened, I was 30 minutes late which he let slide (which is good since I'm always late) and he was drinking a pineapple lady drink (or seven) that I let slide. I also let it slide that he has horrible tribal tattoos – a huge no-no in my dating book - but he was a good sport in allowing me to make fun of it and also partook. He knows they are awful, so it seemed mildly acceptable; had he said “these are cool” I would have gone home after my third bourbon and ginger.

Although he talked a lot - a lot - I used the word “KUMQUAT!” for silence; I didn’t feel the need to coddle him, perhaps it was because he was also from my hometown of Pittsburgh and I know our kind is okay with being forthright. Or perhaps it was our texts the previous week establishing that I’m a ball buster and he can handle his balls being proverbially busted. So when he needed to shut up, after the second bourbon and ginger, I let him know. It was an odd start.

And then it got a little odder. On the way to the Escape Room, I got a text from one of my favorite college friends: She was in town for the night passing through and did I want to meet up. I hadn’t seen her in ten years and when I told him that - and with the excitement in my voice - he said of course we had to go. (I'm not sure had the roles reversed, I would have been so gracious.) So fine, he was a Chatty Charles, but he was also a really good sport. We met up with my college friends, I shared that he was a Tinder date, they laughed and welcomed him, and in loo of standing in line at a club, we all went back to my place for drinks and games.

A few hours later, college friends left and the two of us went to bed: no kissing, no touching; just sleep. The next morning we got up and he asked if I wanted to watch the Steelers game with him. He said he was supposed to watch it with his son and I was hungover and lazy, so I passed. He asked again. I said maybe. This went on for two hours, until nearly kick-off then he mentioned food and I was hungry and he wouldn’t get home in time for the game so we went to a bar and watched the Steelers game ate and had some more to drink. The Steelers won and then played pool for five hours.

28 hours after we met, and six hours after he declared it was his longest first date ever (I could not make that same claim), I dropped him off at the metro. We kissed – a good kiss – and he went in for another, declaring, “damn, I wish I’d done that earlier.” We texted through the holidays - incredibly attentive (high on the list with persistence); he came over last night to watch a movie (and talked less). He slowly made his way from one end of the couch to my end, spooning – it rang with the innocence of youth; the growing anticipation of super snogging, a spooning sleep after the calm of abounding sexual tensions (trying hard to keep it playfully innocent). I realized that Chatty Charles, the single dad (that I told my mom probably wouldn't last more than three dates) had been upgraded from 'meh' to 'mildly keen.' (Mom said it's mean to lead someone on, I said it's mean to not give them at least three dates to pass/fail.) An upgrade likely aided by his plan for our (now) third date: He’s taking me to the Steelers playoff game this weekend in Pittsburgh, since I said I’d never been to an NFL game the Sunday after we met.

He asked in the days after meeting: What do I have to do to win you over? I didn’t know how to answer that, but I’m fairly certain that is what courting is; this is what courting is. So far (especially if this Pittsburgh road trip/Steelers play-off happens) I’m really enjoying it. Sure, it may be a complete disaster, but it is still why I didn’t let some douche just claim me without the courting. Because apparently the way to win a Pittsburgh girl over is through her football. If this is courting, fucking volley, man. It's refreshing to know that better men still exist.