My new adventures in dating started on a warm Atlanta Monday afternoon in October of last year. Eric had been a regular in the afternoon Spin class I taught at Atlantic Station, and he had been asking me to lunch for months. He was my idea of the typical Southern gentleman- slow talking, quick laughing, and very proud of the fact that he was not just an Atlantan, but one whose family most likely served sweet tea to Sherman. I made one thing clear to Eric before our lunch- my days in Atlanta were numbered, as this Yankee was going back to the Mother Ship.
“In that case, we’ll have lunch at Rosa Mexicana- that’s a New York restaurant, you know. And for dessert… I’ll give you some Southern flavor that might just derail your travel plans,” said Eric. Anyone who has ever gone on a date with a Southern Boy knows that the combination of charm and devilish grin can be intoxicating, and should come with a warning label. If anyone had the ammo to stop my move home, it was most likely this Son of the South,
We decided to have lunch after class, and the experience was complete with lots of laughs and lots of nachos. I enjoyed the conversation with Eric, and it was definitely mutual. He shared a lot about his life, his feelings and he even pulled out his iPhone to show me pictures of his son. One picture in particular was interesting- it was of Eric, his son and a very handsome man.
“Who’s the looker with you guys?” I asked. Eric swallowed a nacho and paused before answering. “That is my son’s other daddy.”
Now it was my turn to pause and swallow, but I wasn’t swallowing a nacho. “Oh, you mean your Ex?”
“Well, sort of,” replied Eric. We’ve been together for fifteen years and have grown apart. We haven’t officially ended it.”
It was at that point I knew that there really needed to be an additional warning label on this man. “So, you’re in a relationship but you’re on a date with me- one that you’ve been asking for, for quite some time. Does your partner know we’re at lunch?” Eric paused, choosing his words carefully and delivered them in his slow, Southern charming manner. “No. He doesn’t know. Is that going to be a problem for you?”
My response came with no pause for swallowing. “Damn right it’s a problem. It’s shit like this that brought me to this chair in this restaurant, sitting across from you.” I stood up, threw a twenty on the table and walked out.
As I walked out, I could hear Eric say, “See you in class next week?” I stopped, looked at him and made a face that I can only imagine making if I tasted overcooked okra and fatback.
Just because a potential date is attractive, charming and says the right things, you still need to ask a few qualifying questions before you say yes to or ask someone on a date. Those questions are at your discretion, of course, but I do recommend securing the fact that the person you’re interested in dating is in fact available and on the market with no complications. This is key if you see dating as the road to the end game of a relationship. Clearly in this situation, Eric’s definition of complications differ from mine, making him a not so fine D8.