Dater X: In My Element

After several weeks and one very disruptive snowstorm, The Bartender finally made his way to my city this weekend.

I was, of course, thrilled to host him, but I was also a bit apprehensive: having spent no more than a delirious New Year’s Eve night here together, I had no frame of reference for how our relationship would feel once he was officially on my turf. Granted, he’s new to his city and I know it well from years of commuting into town (and living there, before that), so it’s not as though he’s never heard me point out my favorite spots as we meander around town. But this was our first no-occasion opportunity to bop around the city that I love together. I was eager for him to enjoy it here as much as I do, especially as we move forward and consider where we’ll make our home base when the time comes.

And to my delight, we had what can only be described as one of those perfect city days. He woke me up early to have sex – something, I’m happy to report, that has only improved with practice – and then we both rolled lazily back into each other’s arms and slept in. We took a shower, then set out in search of breakfast, wandering past the dog park where I so often pause and where he hauled me over to the fence to do what I usually do and watch the puppies play. We stopped for brunch and did a crossword puzzle together. We wandered into a book shop and browsed, me surreptitiously making mental notes for his birthday next week. We meandered through one of my favorite parks, then into a bakery for treats. We played tourist and took in some of the sights that he’d never seen and that I had been saving for an out-of-towner to give me an excuse to enjoy them. We had a leisurely dinner in a near-vacant restaurant while the rest of the world watched the Super Bowl. We came home and cuddled on my couch and tucked into bed.

Best of all, perhaps, were our frequent, mutual exclamations of what fun it was to be out together, doing the same things that we both love to do, but with a partner.

I realize that this all sounds impossibly rosy, and maybe it is, but we also had in interesting conversation that I’ll share at face value, since that’s how I’m trying to take it: wandering past a vacant building and musing about opening our own bar one day, he said something about having kids in the city and raising them here. Taken aback but interested, I remarked that I couldn’t imagine moving out of the city and uprooting the life that I love and have worked so hard to have in order to have a family, and he agreed.

“It’s just that I always sort of thought of the bar as my baby – something that would take up so much of my time and my energy,” he said.

“Yeah,” I replied, prepared to say exactly what had been on my mind, “but there would be two of us.”

He thought about that for a moment, then kissed me on the mouth and told me I was right. I told him that for people like us – moderately successful, driven, ambitious – there was no limit to what we could or could not have, if we wanted it. He told me I was right again.

And no, it’s not exactly a reversal. But it was awfully gratifying to have my suspicions that he never considered kids because he never considered a partner in his life confirmed.

So there we are: partners, laughing at the same jokes as we stroll, gleefully pointing out cute dogs and neat pieces of architecture to one another, plotting which city would make sense to buy real estate in first. He loves the idea of us not committing to either city until we feel we have to, and I agree; after nearly a decade of commuting into his neck of the woods, it would be painful for me to let it go, and no less jarring to let go of the place that I live now, hard won with years of working long hours to earn it on my own. He seems pleasantly surprised to consider partnering with someone on any level – opening a bar, buying an apartment, converting a warehouse, traveling – and while I may have known I wanted that before he did, I am no less in thrall at having found someone who looks at the world so much like I do. It pained me to see him leave this morning, though it will be only four nights until we are together again.

This weekend, we’re off to celebrate his birthday with his family. I’m looking forward, with some trepidation, to meeting them, and to exploring his hometown with him. The following weekend, he’s back here to see me. The week after that, I’m off to his city. This gypsy lifestyle certainly isn’t anything that I ever planned for, but I have so far been pleasantly surprised to find myself in my element traveling. Especially with The Bartender by my side or at the other end of the train tracks.

Until next week,
Dater X 3.0