My last couple months have been dedicated to the adventures of moving and setting up a new home. Going on dates was back burnered for the main activities of organizing my new kitchen and painting every room. The only conversations I had with men were those burly straight guys at Home Depot on the ready with advice on paint, flooring and lighting. Granted, they were great guys displaying an exceptional commitment to my purchases but were not likely interested in enjoying the view of my antique chandelier that hangs right above my bed.
As spring temperatures quickly turned to that of summer, I received a notification from OK Cupid that I had a message from an interested suitor. Howard’s profile was very nice- a little different from others I had dated. He wasn’t tall, didn’t work in Manhattan, and owned a cat. He wasn’t the best looking or most stylish, but there was something about Howard that just made him… dare I say… exceptionally sexy. And here’s the kicker… Howard lives within walking distance from my new home.
Seeing that this very well may be the new gay version of Welcome Wagon, how could I not respond?
Howard and I exchanged a few flirty text messages; enough to prove that a date with him was definitely worth the time away from a paintbrush and unpacking boxes. We decided to meet up at my StarOffice- the Starbucks in Westfield.
“You live down the street, I’ll pick you up or you can pick me up,” suggested Howard.
“Great thinking,” I responded. “Happy to pick you up!”
I went to Howard’s at our agreed-upon time. It was an easy drive, seeing that I’ve driven by his house countless times three mornings a week at 5am on my way to spin class. Seeing Howard in person was very interesting. He was still not the most handsome, not the best dresser, and a little chubby. But man, he was pretty damned sexy.
“Where did you park?”
“Right there- on the street.”
“You could have parked in the driveway, silly.”
From doorway to car to Starbucks and back, Howard and I talked nonstop. He was very smart, funny, and didn’t miss a beat in the conversation. One beat in particular stood out as most interesting…
“So Howard, why do you think you’re still single?”
“I’m in no rush to settle down- when it happens, it happens. If it happens.”
“Good answer… but it can be lonely sometimes being single. How do you deal with that?”
“I never get lonely. I have lots of… friends.”
I thought to myself, I have lots of friends too. But based on his tone I think his “friends” may bring a little extra to the table than mine…
After a very pleasant goodnight kiss in his driveway, Howard invited me in. I declined because I knew exactly where that would lead. Howard understood. I suggested we get together again. Howard totally agreed.
And I totally never heard from Howard again.
The interesting thing about a first date with the man next door is what happens when you don’t have a second date. You ask yourself, “What happens when I run into him at the local grocery?” or “What happens if we’re at the same neighborhood party?”. It could prove awkward, to say the least. Even without a post-first date run in, I still had to drive by his house three days a week.
What did I see three mornings a week at 5am? A driveway with a different car parked in it every time… sometimes multiple cars.
Seems Howard’s driveway sees more traffic than the exit ramp to Terminal C at Newark Liberty Airport.
Howard was in no hurry to settle down because he was getting more action than a Baldwin Brother in the 90’s. And you know what? Good for him! It was the perfect relationship for Howard, and he was obviously happy. Does Howard’s idea of a relationship mirror mine? Absolutely not, but it doesn’t make Howard a bad person.
When it comes to relationships, everyone has expectations and ideas as to what a relationship means. The key is finding that someone with expectations and ideas that come pretty damned close to yours.
Obviously Howard wasn’t a match, but thanks to the first thing he said on our date and his intention at the end, I know without doubt that I was given an invitation to park my car in his driveway. It was my choice not to park.
I’m more than happy with my resolve to keep driving until I find that parking place that says “Reserved”.