Okay. I will be the first to admit I haven’t dated all that much in my life. By the time I was dating age (i.e. 17) I was finally a senior in high school, but I was going to a large public school where I knew pretty much no one, and I was afraid to approach most girls. The one girl I got up the courage to ask out laughed in my face, so that wasn’t a good batting average for me. Needless to say, I didn’t ask out another girl from school that year.
However, I also went to church, and my mother was always suggesting I go out with one of the good Christian girls there. But so many of them I had grown up with, and it would have just seemed weird to want to court one of them. Well, except for this one girl, but she treated me like a brother, and I didn’t have the hurt to damage that relationship in order to try and craft another one out of its ashes. There was another girl, though, who was relatively new to our church, and I finally just asked her out.
She had short, dark brown hair and a smile that never left her lips. She was also world-smart, meaning she didn’t come originally from a church family. So she was not really the sort of girl the preacher’s kid was supposed to be going after. I suppose that made her more appealing in my eyes. I asked, she said yes, but it was the date that never happened. That seemed to happen a lot to me for some reason. Just say no if you don’t want to go out.
Me and Girl #3, we actually went on a date. Seven of them to be precise. I was 20 at the time, but a lot more world-weary than I should have been at that point. We met first online, and our initial phone conversation was horrendous. But we still met in person, which was a good thing, considering we hit it off from the start. We met, we wooed, we made exchange of vow. And yeah, as you can imagine, things went much too fast. I guess it either went nowhere, it went too slowly, or it accelerated swiftly back then for me. I think I scared her away. But those were a nice seven dates.
I suppose I could call her the Rebound Girl, as I was fresh off my disappointment at that point. We met at a concert (I was going to a plethora of them at the time), and I had come a long way since Girl #1, asking this girl out on the spot. Maybe rejection agreed with me, or I had discarded that fear of rejection along the way. Regardless, she said yes, and we went out. Twice. On the second date, she told me she was going back to her old boyfriend. Um, yeah.
We dated over the phone, honestly. There were several aborted plans to meet in person but they never came to fruition. I don’t think it helped that she lived in Texas and I was in Philadelphia. Or that I was living off a college job and she had no source of income. That one died when the phone bill came and it was bigger than my paycheck for the whole year.
Dating to me was always a chore because it was more about getting everything right, thinking like crazy, and hoping it all came off the way I thought it did. Waiting for her call, or to call her for another date, was an eternity unto itself. Did she think it went the way I did? Sometimes she did, and sometimes she didn’t, but too many of those girls were too nice to tell me straight out they weren’t interested. Or maybe my sense of humor turned them off.
Whichever was the case, I’ve probably gone on a grand total of 26 dates in my life (not counting the times I’ve been out with my wife). And all but 16 of those dates were one-and-done affairs, for whatever reason. I was always pretty good when it came to being “Good Friend Sam,” but “Relationship Sam,” and “Datemaster Sam” were not hats that fit me very well. Which is okay because apparently I didn’t need to be particularly good at that stuff to start. My wife gave me the benefit of the doubt, and we had good chemistry, so maybe chemistry trumps all.
Dating is hard. It’s even harder when you’re so self-conscious you can’t stop sweating the entire time. But when you get through it to the end, sometimes the date pressure is well worth all the trouble you had to get there. Believe me. Now, me and the missus just have to find some time for our next date night.