I walked into the restaurant and spotted Old Flame sitting at the bar sipping a beer. He looked better than I remembered and when I hugged him I felt a stirring in my nether regions.
Near the end of a dinner filled with laughter, Old Flame’s hazel eyes turned serious. He reached across the table and gave me an unexpected kiss on the lips. It was soft and sweet. No tongue.
“I’m sorry I let you go the first time. I was too intimidated. But not anymore,” he said.
Them there were heart-winning words. I gulped. Part of me wanted to jump across the table, wrap my legs around Old Flame, and start humping him.
Dr. Diana’s instructions popped into my head. Take it slow. Kissing and canoodling, are OK but nothing more. At the end of a second date with a new guy you like, tell him you are seeing other people.
“Thanks,” I replied, sticking to the game plan. I was relieved that I didn’t have to have the “seeing other people” conversation with Old Flame just yet.
My date with Old Flame was my third great date in three days. On Saturday night, I went bowling with Spontaneous Guy. I was dreading it, but telling him I still wanted to see other people went better than expected. Spontaneous Guy wasn’t thrilled about the prospect. He was silent for a few minutes until I rolled a particularly pathetic gutter ball.
“I want you to do what you need to do,” he said putting his hands on my shoulders.
That was the answer I needed to hear. It actually made me like him more. We kissed.
On Sunday night, I had beers with Kickball Guy, a cute guy on my kickball team I had been admiring. Fun dude.
And I should probably mention a few other dates on the horizon. A friend of a friend that I’ve met a couple of times sent me a message on Facebook asking if I wanted to hang out sometime, and the dimpled advertising guy I met at another friend’s birthday party sent me an email this morning asking when I’m free.
After years of a dating drought — the last two of which were really, really dry — it seems I have finally unearthed a hidden goldmine of eligible bachelors. When it rains, it hails. Life is crazy like that.
I always thought it would be awesome to be on “The Bachelorette.” One woman dating tons of guys that were all into her? It doesn’t get any better than that. I fantasized about what my season would be like. Instead of swimming and bungee jumping on fantasy dates, we would drink Pinot Noir and go to indie films. Instead of burly idiots, my cast of suitors would be intellectuals with tattoos under their suits. And the finale would be set in Paris, of course.
Now that I was living my real life “Bachelorette” dream (minus the Malibu compound, the trip to Paris, and the cameras), it didn’t feel as wonderful as I expected. I felt exhausted, confused, and disoriented, as if I just stepped off the Gravitron at the state fair after eating absurd amounts of cotton candy. Like I was going to barf. Too much of a good thing can be … well, just too much.
As I rode the subway back to Brooklyn, my feeling of excitement about Old Flame turned into a churning knot of anxiety. I started worrying about all the men and their feelings, about me and my feelings. What if I hurt them? What if I chose the wrong guy and he hurt me? I assured myself that I was seeing who was right for me and trying to be as kind and compassionate as possible in the process. I reminded myself that love doesn’t mean someone has to get hurt. I said it over and over again until I felt better.
Then I went back to thinking about Old Flame’s lips.