“Maybe you should just kiss me right away and get it over with. Then we won’t have to spend a whole date worrying about it,” I blurted out. There was silence on the other end of the phone; a really long silence. I can’t believe I just said that! Oops! I hope he knows I’m joking! I started giggling. I couldn’t help it.
“I’m just kidding, I’M JUST KIDDING.” I said. I had only meant to be funny.
“Uh…yeah…Sorry about the silence. I was just in recovery mode. I nearly fell out of my chair!” His booming laughter rang in my ear.
“You know I’m only joking, right? It’s my policy never to kiss on the first date, in case you were thinking about trying anything. In fact, I haven’t even kissed anyone since my divorce. So, how’s that for playing it safe?”
“I’ll top that. I haven’t kissed anyone in several years.”
“Well then, it sounds like we both need a lot of practice!” Ugh! Did I just say that out loud? There I go again! This guy’s going to think I’m serious. He laughed even louder. I did my best to backtrack and make sure he knew I was just teasing.
“I’m not so sure. How do I know you’re not serious?”
“C’mon, I’m just messing with you! And you’d better behave when I see you Saturday.” The banter was fun, but I wanted to make sure he knew I was joking.
I had been online dating for over five months, and the weirdest thing I had encountered was my lack of attraction to anyone I had met so far. Time after time I would sit across the table from my date, usually a handsome one, try to conjure up kissy feelings, and I just couldn’t do it. Even though I had seen the guy’s picture, and talked to him on the phone, it was different when we finally met in person. The sparks just weren’t there. I couldn’t figure out my attitude, and I wondered if my kisser was just broken! That scared me a little.
Once I realized there was no attraction I spent the remainder of the date secretly planning my escape route, just in case the fellow expected some affection. I mean, I tried to be conversational and just enjoy the company, but there was a lurching dread of the end to come. It felt a little like sitting in the dentist chair, watching the inevitable descent of that nasty drill. The idea of kissing someone I wasn’t attracted to was icky. Give-me-shivers-icky. Blech!
I had it all worked out, see. When we were ready to call it a night and walk to our vehicles to part ways, I would quick stick my hand out at arm’s length for an obvious handshake. That sent a clear enough message. If I sensed ahead of time that a guy might cause trouble or get awkward, I elected to skip the handshake and make a mad dash to my car while yelling over my shoulder, “Thanks for dinner!” I’m sure I left more than one man scratching his head.
It worked. I had made it through numerous dates and never had to kiss anybody yet.
Then along came Alex.
While everyone else in the online dating world seemed to be on a sprint to the finish line, he was out for a country stroll. I waited four whole days forever for him to even ask for my number, and I finally just gave it to him. Call me sometime already!
We talked every day for seven weeks; often for hours at a time. I felt like I had a new best friend. Those phone calls were often the highlight of my day. We talked about everything under the sun, and it was so easy to connect with him. But, he was still out for that stroll, and I wondered if he might be content to call me forever; never bothering to ask me out. Then, one day he called me and I didn’t answer (I was on a date with someone else). That wrinkled his newspaper. He asked me out the very next morning. Score!
With Alex I had something new to worry about. All those other guys? They were mere acquaintances. I hadn’t invested a lot in those relationships. Alex was different. I already knew I wanted this relationship to work, but I was worried about that old kissing thing. What if we met and, just like all the rest, I wasn’t attracted? I cared deeply, and I didn’t want to hurt this guy. What if I was broken, and there was no fixing me?
So, I came up with the only logical plan, which was to tell him I didn’t kiss on first dates. This was true, but only because there hadn’t been any first dates that were smooch-worthy. If I told Alex up front there would be no kissing, then the pressure would be off, right? I could enjoy his company while buying myself time to decide if there was enough lightning and thunder to get the job done.
We had our usual phone call the night before we were to meet. I was going to lay it all out; make sure he knew my wishes. Only, I kept cracking stupid jokes. He knew me well enough by now to know when I was being serious, and when I wasn’t. I hoped. But he didn’t sound convinced.
The morning of our date arrived. We were spending the day at Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. The whole way there I prayed. God, if this guy is the one, you’re going to have to help me be over-the-top attracted to him. You’re going to have to show me somehow; make it clear. And please God, if it’s not going to work, help me not to hurt his feelings.
When I got to the parking lot at the falls I spotted his vehicle and could see Alex sitting in a camping chair on the sidewalk in front. As I bounced out of my SUV he circled around his bumper and came toward me. As he walked up with an enormous grin on his face I got lost. Oh! My!! Stars!!! There was no question about attraction. He opened his arms wide and I walked in for a full Pentecostal hug.
“Hi” was about all either of us could manage for a few moments, and then I probably said something brilliant like, “It’s you!”
All at once his grin disappeared and he got serious. “There are three things we need to take care of before we actually start our date. The first is, we need to pray together.” He opened the back of his truck and took out an old pair of shorts to throw on the ground so we could kneel. I don’t remember much of what he prayed, except he asked God to guide us.
He slowly got up and threw the shorts in the back of his truck. While his back was turned I wondered about number two on his list. Before I really knew what was happening, he turned back to face me, squared up my shoulders, grabbed my face in his hands, AND KISSED ME! Just like that! There were all kinds of fireworks.
“That was number two,” he said. I couldn’t stop laughing. The joke was on me, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was the last thing I expected, and the best thing he could’ve done. It ended up being the best first date of my entire life.
Turns out he was the one. God answered my prayers. We ended up eloping a few months later, and now we’ve been married almost four years.
Oh, and what was his number three? Well…neither of us can remember. Muah.