I had a picture in my mind of how my next dating experience was going to go. I’d meet a nice guy, maybe at a friend’s house party or while we both tried to flag down the bartender at one of those speakeasy-esque bars that serves cocktails with perfectly square ice cubes. We’d exchange some witty words, some knowing smiles, and clink our glasses as we got a second round. He’d ask for my number and would call a few days later. Our first date would be during the day—maybe to a museum—followed by a dinner date the next week, if things went well. I had in my mind that, next time I got on the dating mechanical bull, I was going to take things slow and steady so I didn’t get bucked off too soon.
But then I met The Young One.
On a Thursday night, we had both gone solo to see a band and after standing next to each other for a few minutes and exchanging several glances, he finally opened with an endearing, “Hello.” I even liked the tenor of his voice. We talked until the band came on, then danced, danced, danced, cracking up at each others’ most ridiculous moves. As the concert ended, he asked if I wanted to go get a drink. “I’m having the best time with you,” he said.
We said goodbye two hours later with an extraordinarily sweet kiss outside my subway stop. As soon as I got home, I received a text from him—thankfully, emoticon free—asking if I was free the next night.
Since then, we’ve crammed a month’s worth of dates into just under two weeks. We’ve gone to restaurants with dimly lit candles where we held hands across the table and shared stories—some funny, some more serious—about our lives. We, on a whim after work one night, decided to stand on the street and see if we could score tickets to see another band, even though the show was sold out. We high-fived as we walked into the venue, having paid less than face value for our entry. He accompanied me to the Mac store to help me pick out a new computer. Last Friday night, he cooked me an Italian feast at his place. I met a few of his friends at a birthday party the next night, and he’ll be meeting some of mine at trivia night tonight. I like our vibe—part lovey dovey, part fascinated at what the other has to say, part poking fun at each other. And as the classic “Best in Show” line goes, we can talk or not talk for hours.
(I know the question you guys are all asking yourselves—are they having sex? The answer is no, which I hope you recognize is not easy for me. While The Young One has slept over a few times and we’ve made out into the wee hours of the night, we’ve kept most of our clothes on. At least we’re taking part of it slow.)
As I told a friend about The Young One yesterday, I noticed one of her eyebrows raise. “It’s just not a sustainable pace,” she said. It’s the assumption that had made me think slow and steady was the way for me to win the race.
Here’s the thing: why not do something because it isn’t sustainable? Why not enjoy the glorious whirlwind of a new romance because you’re worried about what could happen? Sure, if things continue with The Young One, we will probably settle into a rhythm that doesn’t include nearly as many text messages or hanging out four nights a week. And I absolutely recognize that things could fizzle here.
Here is what I’m realizing: Taking things slow is awesome for other people, but it just isn’t me. There’s a reason it’s not something I’ve done often and if I’m honest with myself, the times I’ve done it, it’s usually because my feelings for a person just weren’t that strong. I’m an intense person and I need someone who matches that.
Here’s why I don’t think I’m setting myself up for disaster: Because if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few years of being single, it’s that most of the time two people just aren’t a match. There’s no great, tangible reason you can point to—they just aren’t—and that’s why so many courtships that initially seemed promising end in fade outs or email breakups. I recognize now that some people, like myself, may have to go through a lot of times when it’s not it to get to the one time that is. If things with The Young One end as quickly as they begin, I’ll be bummed. But I know know that I can handle that disappointment. I know that I am strong enough to take the time to get over it, brush myself off, and try again. If it doesn’t work, I know I will be able to recognize it as just not a match—not some great failing on my end or a sign that I will never find love. Because I know I will.
Yesterday, Amelia asked, “How Do You Know When You Really Like Someone?” Obviously, I have liked people in the past year—you have witnessed many of these likings. But meeting The Young One is a reminder of what it actually feels like. That being in someone’s presence makes you feel giddy, nervous, and completely comfortable all at the same time. That you feel like you’re vibrating on a slightly higher plane when you think about them. Like someone has kicked a door open in your mind and you remember what it’s like to feel truly adored and what it feels like to return that sentiment.
I’m not ready to sound the green zebra alarm. But honestly, I’m more worried about whether our team will do well at trivia night tonight than whether things with The Young One will continue to go well—which is to say, not very. It feels good to throw myself into something and not listen to the usual nagging worries that pop up in my head. If it turns out that the only purpose The Young One serves in my life is to simply to remind we what it feels like when you truly click with someone, well, I will be thankful for that.
Check out my Twitter account, @iamdaterx. Follow me to read new columns, and to get my random dating and sex thoughts on a daily basis. And if you ever want to email me, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dating is hard, so let’s help each other through it, mkay?