Upon hearing of my predicament, a male friend of mine said, “Oh, we’ll get you back out there, don’t worry.” I latched onto his enthusiasm immediately and thought I’d ride the wave of opportunity.
My friend was quite amused that he was able to play matchmaker to such an eligible bachelorette. “Never married?” “No kids?” “Career?!” Correct, correct correct. Then he started telling me, “Oh yea, so-and-so is going to text you, you should totally go out with him.” That is a little informal I thought, but I’ve been out of the country and out of the dating game for almost 10 years. So-and-so did not text me. “Oh, he is probably still seeing so-and-so girl.” my sister added. Then I went so far so to fear that he had done a complete Google search of me and thought otherwise about texting me. Then I stopped. I thought. And I rationalized. Some guy I do not know, at all, may text me, or not, may be dating another girl, or not, or may have done a search of me, or not? No thank you. Call off cupid, I am not interested.
But friend was relentless. The next day he flipped out his phone and showed me a photo of a nice-looking guy I had seen at a recent party. “Yea, I guess he’s pretty cute.” “He’s totally going to text you.” “How does he have my number?” “I gave it to him along with your photo, thinks you’re hot.” Sure enough, later that day I receive a text from New Guy. It was so weird seeing a text come up from a person who was not my mother, father, sister, or ex. It made me very uncomfortable straightaway. Crushing sorrow just about hit me over the head and I could feel my fingers and toes go cold. I had to fight back tears then just as I do now. But I was on! I was being texted to!
While I was away in Spain, my first-kissed friends started having their second children. Woman, and I think to some extent men too, hit that age and start noticing things like different styles of baby strollers. We traveled for work and play jetting to London, Ibiza or France and talking endlessly about all the export markets we’d open. I knew that lifestyle couldn’t continue with a child, so I wanted to get as much travel in as possible in the moment.
I texted New Guy back and accepted a glass of wine with him. I was full of the enthusiasm that my matchmaker friend had contaminated me with. I was content with my life in Spain. But one of the few things I missed was being able to sit down and have a conversation with someone without discretely questioning a verb conjugation. When you are speaking your own language there is no internal monologue about grammar. ‘Yea, I think the present perfect was a good call there, or the past subjunctive might have come across like I was showing off, like I studied a little too much’. So yes, I would have a glass of wine with New Guy, not worry about my conjugations and just have a good time.
And we did. We sat and had three glasses of wine and even moved to a table closer to the fire to continue chatting. It probably sounded like I had 10 years of conversation that was just waiting to come out. He walked me to my car and there was that weird exchange like he might kiss me. I was not sure what had happened, but my dopamine was raging! New Guy sent a text back to my matchmaker friend that date was great. I had performed well! My first date with a real American in more than 10 years. Hallelujah. More text invites followed. I kindly declined for some reason, unsure exactly what to conclude. I felt conflicted.
Finally, he invited me to a dinner party at his house with friends. Perfect; low key and low pressure. Only, when I showed up it was just us and another established couple. The dinner was superb. He was a talented cook and had great taste in wine. He introduced me to an Entre-deux-Mers producer I did not know. We talked about the trend of prolonging marriage and children. He told me about his life’s framework and how marriage might not fit into his framework. I am very direct with people that I immediately feel comfortable around, plus wine makes me feel comfortable around people. I asked him if he ever wanted to get married. He said yes-ish, but again with the framework and that marriage might not fit, and then I was just confused and started thinking about when all the townspeople raise the framework of a barn together. I realized we were not raising a barn or anything else here at this dinner party.
The night ended with a hug and I piled into an Uber. I woke up the next morning with entre-deux-mers swimming through my head and a pit in my stomach. I was alone. As much as I want to move forward with my life and get back to that point I was at with my ex, I am not ready to date. Something good came out of that weekend though: I’d be starting work at a great winery in the Willamette Valley. I’d ‘start Monday and we’d see where it went’, they said. I have worked three shifts now and absolutely love it. I get to talk about wine all day and they pay me for it.
The adventure continues.