Wednesday, May 14, 2008

thirteen years

Cara told me this was good blog material. So, here goes.

Are you sitting down?

Do you have and food or drink in your mouth? Swallow quickly.

A few days ago, I turned 23. Yesterday, I went out with a 36 year old.

Ok, catch your breath. If you did a spit take with your drink, it's your own fault. I told you to swallow.

Yes, I turned 23, and suddenly I'm thrust into the adult dating world. The world where men can ask you out at restaurants, and 23 year olds and 36 year olds can be peers (sorta). 23 no longer sounds like a college student. Sure, there are 23 year olds still finishing college, but there are a lot more 22 year olds in college. And yes, I'm still in school, but it's different. I have a degree, but I'm advancing my education further and doing something that few do. Since we've graduated college, three of my friends have started men born in the 70's: 29, 31, and 34 are the ages of their boyfriends.

So, back to this dude (man?). Let's see, when he was graduating high school, I was starting kindergarten. When he was my age, he was living in Greece, modeling, and I was ten, and had never flown on a plane yet. His oldest niece is 25. He said he normally wouldn't "go after" 23 year olds, but he was attracted to me before he knew my age, and when he knew my age, he said, "You don't sound or act like a 23 year old." And let's face it, he doesn't look, sound, or act like a 36 year old. When he asked, "How old do you think I am?" I realized that he was older than he looked. When I saw him outside in the sunlight, I noticed the few gray strands peppering his red hair and a few laugh line wrinkles around his eyes that I hadn't noticed when I'd first met him in the dark restaurant.

So, how did I come to meet this dude in the first place? Back up three months ago. I was at a restaurant, with my mother, stepfather, and step grandparents, celebrating my mother's birthday party. Around dessert, the waitress comes to me and says, "Hey, the man sitting at that table over there wants to ask you out." What?!? I looked over and see an attractive man waving at me. The waitress continues, "He's a great guy, I know him, he works here. " So, with the permission of my family, I went over and talked to him. He was dining with a friend. We all introduced ourselves, and the question of my age quickly came up. His friend had thought that I was young, 17 or 18, but he had noticed the margarita I was drinking and thought my young looking mother to be my coworker. His friend felt uncomfortable, "like the chaperone," and left us to chat about ourselves. I explained that I don't live here any more, that I was only in town for the weekend, but I was very flattered by his approach. He asked when I was returning, and I told him in about a month for spring break. "Ok, how about this?" he explained, "I'll tell you my email address, it's very easy to remember, and if you like, when you're in town again, I'll take you out. I'll take you out to dinner somewhere." The whole experience was very strange. I've never been asked out my a stranger, and certainly never when I was with my mother!

And what possessed me three months later to call his restaurant after unsuccessfully emailing him? A little bit of breakup blues desperation, and a lot of curiosity. Seriously, if he could take the risk to ask me out, couldn't I take the risk to let him take me out? At the very least, it could just be a fun time and good story. So, I suggested we meet for coffee at a nice shopping center, and we spent about three hours, drinking coffee, talking, telling stories, browsing shops, and eating cheese fries.

So, what of the date? It was fun. Did we have a good time together? Yes. Did we click? Not entirely. Were there fireworks and butterflies in my stomach? No. Is he someone I could see myself in a relationship with? No. Is he someone I'd see again? Perhaps. As it turns out, he's suffering from post breakup blues himself. About nine months ago, he moved here from Austin after a bad breakup, and I'm the first person he's asked out since then and this was his first date-type experience since then. Kinda flattering. He told me, "I'm just easing back into the dating thing. So, I'm pretty safe!" He seemed interested in hanging out again, when I mentioned liking plays, his response was, "We'll have to go to one sometime." And at the end of our time together, he told me to text him whenever I was in town. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. As long as he doesn't want to get serious, it might be nice to go to plays and such with an interesting, attractive man every once in a while. Or not. Maybe I'll always be busy with friends and family whenever I'm in town, that I won't want to bothers with hanging out with someone who I'm not seriously interested in.

Whatever the case, I'm glad I took the risk and had a good experience.


if walled in climb up said...

Good story. Maybe 36 and 23 is pushing it a bit. But I usually encourage friends to try a date with older guys. A lot of times they're much more stable and know what they want a little better. Maturity is always nice. I think stage of life matters much more than age--if you have similar goals for the relationship, it could be a great match! (Well, maybe not with this guy, but theoretically.) And I emphatically agree with you that it's better to try a date and quell the curiosity rather than wonder your whole life what would have happened. My greatest regret in dating was not going on a date with someone. It haunts me! So kudos to you for being brave. Even if you never see each other again, it probably helped him to get over a bit of post-breakup angst, to be reminded that a pretty, fun, smart girl would go out with him. : ) Thanks for sharing!

nate said...

my wife's best friend married a guy a bit over 20 years her senior, much to the disgust of most her friends (not including my wife). So far all the naysayers (several of who are now divorced) are extremely envious of their beautiful marriage!

Glad you went for it!

Anton said...

Eh, to me, 13 years is nothing if two people really like each other. However, if he's not a rock solid Christian, my advice would be to stay the hell away from him, even as a friend.

For what it's worth.

Martha Elaine Belden said...

great story!

i'm glad you had fun. and it sounds like you've got a level head about it. good for you :)

Sher said...

Kel, your boldness both cracks me up and intimidates/inspires me! I may be a flirt and outgoing when it comes to some situations, but when it comes to a man I'm interested, I tend to be the shy girl hiding in the corner. ha ha! Maybe I should channel some of your boldness!

Ben said...

Cara was right.