We met at a small boutique hotel lounge. When I arrived it was very quiet inside with almost everyone else in the world either finishing up their Christmas shopping or staying away from the crowds. It's funny. I'm getting so much better at this dating thing. I'm barely nervous anymore. Still, I can never be late. I tried so hard to be strategically five minutes late in the hopes of coming off as nonchalant, but no, I was still a couple of minutes early. I sat down at a table with a decent view of the entrance and I read the drink menu.
Before he arrived I learned a few things, one of which is that a glass of scotch could run you anywhere from 12 to 90 dollars. A bottle of the good stuff was priced at $1800.00! Crazy. Scotch, whiskey, bourbon...I don't know the difference. All I know is they remind me of when I was a kid, how I hated the smell of adult drinks. I still do.
He must walk fast because I looked down for a split second and when I looked up again he was in front of me.
"Rachel? Are you Rachel?"
"Yes. Andy?" I stood up and took his hand. "Nice to meet you."
He kissed me on both cheeks. He was tall - over 6 feet to be sure. He had dark hair and chunky glasses. He was dressed nicely, a grey sweater over a button-down shirt. At first glance, you might guess he'd be a little awkward or maybe a bit geeky, but that dissapeared within the first moment of conversation. I say this like I was seeing him for the first time - and I should've been since it was a blind date, but I have a confession to make. When I first learned of this set-up, I googled him - I almost always do. Only a few hits came up and one of them was a flicker account. They were mostly his vacation photos. Of course I HAD to look at them. He wasn't actually in any of the first few pics (he had included people's names in the titles, which is how I finally figured out who he was). Every so often one would come up with him in it. As I went along, I kept going back and forth - he's not my type...maybe...he looks kind of cute there... I kept going like that for a while, absently scanning through the pics until several pages in, there was a photo of Andy with my old roommate Valerie! They were at some kind of a work function. I knew they worked in the same industry but it never occured to me that they could have worked together.
As soon as I saw Valerie's pic I had to talk to her, but I was at work and I can't get away with making long distance phone calls from my office. I called Lana, our other old roommate, who can call anywhere she wants from work and I had her three-way Valerie in London. Turns out she does know him, but not very well. She said he was always well dressed and sometimes came across as a bit "smooth". That surprised me because he looked kind of geeky in the pics. I wasn't sure what she meant, but I didn't press her. I guess I didn't want him to be ruined for me. If you push hard enough about anyone, you'll find something. I was happy to go with the first few neutral comments and take it from there. Maybe he was that trendy artsy geek kind of guy, I thought. In the end, what Valerie said was enough for me to give it a try and not too much so that I regretted agreeing to the date.
I like this guy. I had fun. Now I feel a bit guilty. Eventually it'll come up that we have Valerie in common, and I'd be lying if I pretend to be surprised about it. On the flip side I look like a big stalker if I tell him I looked at all of his flicker pics. On the other hand, it's like a blog in photos, and if you post them under your own name, how shocked can you be that someone would see them...? Lana thinks I should act surprised if it comes up and then maybe tell him the truth if there ends up being a 'down the road'. She thinks it could be cute someday. I think it would make me look, not so much cute, but like a comfortable liar. Ah well. I'm not going to obsess over it.
The best part of the date came hours later, well after we said goodnight. Because I was a bit messy (that's Australian for tipsy), I came right out and told him that I had a great time and I'd like to go out again. He agreed and then did this whole, 'too bad you're going away now...January is a crazy month for me...but call me when you get back and we'll make plans' thing. I thought, 'ok, that may have been a brush off.' I figured, oh well, if it is, it is. I met up with my friends and thought nothing more of it.
The next morning, when I woke up, there was a text message from Andy waiting for me from two in the morning.
"Hey Rachel. I was pleasantly suprised. I'm excited for number 2"
All I could think was, 'Number 2'??? Ha! He just said, 'number 2'!!! I can't believe it, 'number 2'??? I called Lana and Josh to tell them, not about the date so much as about how excited Andy is about a number 2. We all got a few good laughs.*
Anyway, once I got the adolescent jokes out of my system, I too let myself get a little excited for number 2.
*if you don't get the joke, consider yourself lucky.
PS Merry Christmas to anyone celebrating. I'm just so damn excited that Starbucks is open. Mmmm latte..delicious. Now I'm going to get my ass into running stuff, get out there, come home, finish packing, and head for the airport. Catch you from the coast.