Dater X: “Can I Ask You A Serious Question?”

Life is full of surprises: maybe you get pregnant without trying, win the lottery, find faith or cheat death. Other times, it’s the small, simple unexpectancies (I’m aware that “unexpectancies” isn’t a real word, but it should be) that make all the difference. Over the last few weeks, Baby Face has been my pleasant “unexpectancy.”

Having reconnected after five (or is it six?) years without a trace of contact, Baby Face and I have been spending a lot of time catching up, becoming reacquainted and starting back at square one. A lot has changed since our reckless beer-funneling college days, and not just because we’ve graduated to fancy craft beer and real glassware. Back in the day, Baby Face and I were friends, but we were never confess-your-deepest-secrets, share-your-embarrassing-stories kinds of friends. Last week, I was able to see Baby Face twice—once for lunch in the city and once for dinner and drinks at my place, where we were able to really talk and get to know each other, sweatpants on, makeup off and all.

I decided to make us dinner to avoid waiting longer to eat, spending money and looking semi-presentable, which he was totally on board with. To make things easier on me after a long day of work, I made pulled pork in my crockpot, which cooked all day and was ready for us when we got back to my apartment. (I also made macaroni salad and garlic bread, which I burned in the oven and he kindly opted to eat anyway). Over supper, we talked about everything from politics and dreams to our favorite foods and which TV shows we binge-watch in private. (For the record, he tends to vote Democrat, loves “American Horror Story” and at one point wanted to be a cop, which is so typical for dudes I’m into). We skimmed the surface, learning each other’s siblings’ names, middle names and family pets, but we also dug deeper than we had over the last couple of weeks. We even swapped stories about our exes and why our previous relationships fell apart, completely admitting our faults (when they were due) and comparing notes on how we grew, how we hurt and what we learned. Talking with Baby Face, even about the rocky stuff, felt natural.

Every once in a while, I couldn’t help but laugh about how drastically different our relationship was at that moment from how it was years ago as undergrads. If you’d asked me back then if I thought we’d be having heart-to-hearts and, on the other end of the spectrum, lighthearted conversations about period sex and hangovers, I would have said “never in a million years.” But the fact of the matter is, we’ve both grown up, found ourselves, and seem to mesh in a way that was never natural to us back then. In fact, it never even crossed my mind. Back then, we were buddies. Now, we’re an accelerated version of that with all of the warm fuzzies, to boot. It’s a dynamic we’re both really starting to like.

That night, we decided to watch the premiere of “Stalker” together, which we agreed to make a new weekly tradition, along with my Crock Pot dinners. While we were cuddled up on the couch together, he thanked me for dinner and having him over, calling it “the best way to unwind after a long day.” And it really was. There’s something about Baby Face that’s familiar, comforting, kind and magnetic. With every guy who’s come before him, I admit I’ve been slightly neurotic, always waiting for the other shoe to drop and incapable of just focusing on enjoying the present. That two-month curse really is a bitch. My past has always forced me into periods of panic where I would worry about being hurt, lied to or dumped, but never spoke up about it, too afraid to face possible rejection. With Baby Face, I’m not worried, and even better, I’m not afraid to tell him how I’m feeling. Even if things don’t work out (which, let’s be honest, is always a possibility), I know that he’s a good person with a kind heart. He is the guy I always knew, just a squeaky and shiny new 2.0 version that I find myself very attracted to. So while we laid there watching TV that night, content and comfortable, I was taken back when he abruptly said, “Can I ask you a serious question?”

I turned around to face him, moving from the little spoon position to the forking position. “Okay,” I said. “What’s up?”

He looked at me completely straight-faced and grabbed my hand, which was resting by my side. Deep breath.

“Will you go pumpkin picking with me next weekend? I want to carve a Jack-O-Lantern with your face in it.” We both laughed and I agreed, giving him a little smack on the leg for teasing me about his “serious question.” I smiled and flipped back over into my little spoon resting place.

Just then, like motherfucking clockwork, a text from Do Me Eyes popped up on my phone. It read: “Hope you’re doing well. I’m getting hungry…”

I grabbed my phone and responded “busy, talk soon,” just like last time. I know what he’s really hungry for, and it’s not dinner. But for the time being, I’m occupied.