The big bang
Meeting someone for the first time can be something that can cause me to shake in my boots a bit. But I am brave, and I do so anyway. It is difficult enough to wonder what they will think, what I will think, what we will think without also wondering what a crowd of others may think. But as I said...I am brave.
We had agreed to meet for a drink. He would be having dinner with a buddy coming into town and I was teaching a self defense class. We would meet after each event and after I could change my clothes and run a comb through my hair. And then I receive a text, "He is running late, would you be interested in joining us? Unless you are too scared..."
I responded, "I am NOT scared." and agreed to it because sometimes I just cannot turn down a taunt like that. Except I was scared. It is hard enough to be, in a sense on display for one, let alone for two to decide if I muster up to their expectations. I know it really isn't any big deal . You meet, decide if you like each other a bit or decide you don't and continue to carry on. However, it still unnerved me a bit.
I realize while I am driving there, that I probably won't recognize him due to him only having one picture on his profile and that being a an actual profile. Looking at someone straight on looks different. At a stop light I send a quick text saying I should be arriving in five minutes and to wave at me or something so I will know where he is. Instead, he is standing near the door speaking with another man and smiles at me. "Hi. Our table's over here." He leads the way and continues, "My buddy isn't here yet but will be here soon. I'll be right back."
I sit there waiting, wondering if I am sitting in the spot he chose for himself because his phone is laying on the table. Wondering if he is former military and needs the spot I am sitting in which is with my back to the wall as I have noticed most men in the military want their back against the wall in a public place. I am peeling back conversation in my head to figure it out as I wait. He comes back with two men and looks nervous, he introduces his buddy and his former boss. "Uhhm, I'm sorry, this is unexpected...my old boss and some of my old co-workers are here. They would like us to join them if you will."
I feel like a deer caught in headlights. I am sure I look terrified. I whisper, "Would you like me to just go? I mean it's okay, I don't want to intrude..."
He grabs my arm, "No, no don't go, it's just...is it okay to join them? I didn't plan this..."
I take a deep breath and figure why not? On the way to their area (I had not seen their section yet) he says, "I'm really sorry..." and then I turn to the section and see fifteen men or more scattered among the tables. "The conversation may get a bit geeky. We are all engineers..." He stands me at one end of the tables and finds me a chair while introducing me. I am completely out of my element and intimidated by this amount of testosterone in one small space. I am the only woman here on top of not knowing a soul--including my date.
And yes, the conversation he called "geeky" sounded like everyone was speaking French to my ears. I am a fairly intelligent person, yet, this was like sitting in the midst of an episode of The Big Bang Theory. The men are a variety of ages and from all over the country. All are brilliant but stop a moment mid-stride to cheer the Blackhawks scoring and to then turn the conversation to my Elvis purse to somehow include me in their reunion.
My date, Mr. Bit Of A Genius, apologizes again, "It's all so unusual...but I'm glad you stayed." I am too because I think I learned more about him on this odd first date than I have ever learned about any man on a date. I learned that despite strangeness popping up, he could adjust and so can I. I learned he was well respected and liked by his former colleagues. I learned that though I had no idea what any of them were talking about, he attempted to make me feel comfortable and draw me into the conversation and he didn't ignore me. I learned that he is funny and quick to laugh and treated the people around him well.
A few days later, he invited me out again. I had to ask, "Are you bringing fifteen men with you this time?"
He responded, "Do I need to?"
Monika M. Basile
The big bang