Ten years ago I was single, living in Vermont, lonely, and working on my degree. A friend in a similar position on the opposite coast mentioned a good way to meet people was to join a dating site.
I’d dated plenty at that point in time and was bored with it. Having slid from one relationship to the next from the time I was a high schooler until my early twenties, I had never really just gone on dates with anyone for fun. I had a few years in Vermont after my first ‘real’ adult relationship ended (and left me completely heartbroken) where I dated off and on but nothing exciting. So I took my friend’s advice.
I signed up for Match.com. Blech, I know. I didn’t get how it worked and had heaps of winks or whatever they were bogging down my inbox. Mostly, it was annoying. I accepted a few dates but could tell as soon as I’d turn the corner there wasn’t a connection. One dude stared at my cleavage the whole time. Another guy tried several times to kiss me even though I said I didn’t kiss on the first date (a rule I made up extra special for him). One date was so bad I actually considered escaping out the bathroom window movie-style if only our table wasn’t outside.
Then one night I decided to take it seriously and find someone I might actually want to be with. Instead of them going after me, I took matters into my own hands. A glass of wine poured, I set the stereo on shuffle. One screen after the next offered up dudes with dogs, dudes on bikes, dudes kayaking, dudes with their moms, and dudes who obviously cropped out their last girlfriend from the photo. I have this ‘thing’ where I can tell a lot about a person based on their picture. I won’t claim to be accurate but one of my girlfriends likes to show me pictures of guys she’s interested in so I can give her my opinion based on his mug and she declares I’m spot on.
Second to the last page of matches, the Dixie Chicks song, “I Believe In Love” played, and there he was.
His picture drew me in. He.Was.Hot.
I scanned his profile. Not only was he witty, but he spelled judgment without the e, AND he quoted George Carlin.
Further down it said he was a musician. Ding ding ding!
My heart fluttered as I pressed the wink button. I wasn’t sure what it meant but I knew it would get his attention even though I would NOT be falling in love. It would be a few bearable dates if I was lucky.
A day later he messaged. Sharp, not sleazy, and you know… casual. We arranged a phone call and when he spoke, my heart melted. He had a great speaking voice. It all sounds very cliche, and as much as I tried to deny it, reality was that I could pin point every second that I fell for this guy.
We kept it spontaneous; a meeting before sharing the commitment of a meal. Church Street in Burlington, Vermont is a pedestrian only street so I hauled my shopping bags with me to meet outside Urban Outfitters by the big boulders.
It was ten years ago when I saw him for the first time and thought, I like tall.
Ten years ago, we walked to the city park to chat. I hoped he’d offer to carry my bags, but he didn’t. Later, he revealed he was put off that I carried around a litre of bottled water because why would anyone buy water?
All benches occupied, ten years ago we sat on the steps of the courthouse instead.
I can’t remember everything we talked about or how long we sat there, but I remember I asked most of the questions and was disappointed he didn’t ask me many questions. He was also wearing crocs because those were popular back then. I liked him. Many things he spoke of surprised me.
As we walked away, I was attracted to him but didn’t see any long term potential. After all, I wasn’t looking for a relationship. Just someone to hang out with. It was impossible to get a read on whether or not he liked me, and as he walked away I saw him getting out his phone. Just another dude, I thought. I told myself if he turned to glance back as we went our separate ways I’d have a chance with him… but if not, then I’d never see him again.
Ten years ago, he glanced back.