Introducing Ariel

To say that 2016 has started off poorly, is a grand understatement. January has been pretty much the worst month I can remember in a very long time. Not only the way it started with Zoey, but also many personal issues which you’re not interested in hearing here.

But things are hopefully starting to pick up.

I had been following through with my vow to not get back on Match until February, in order to avoid the Valentine’s Day new-relationship awkwardness. But last weekend I was updating my profile for when I decided to get back into the swing of the online dating game. You’d think I was new to this, because I didn’t realize that editing my profile made it “live” after months of having it hidden. I didn’t realize it until the flood of winks and notifications came in. Most of them completely bogus – thank you Match.

But there were a few “live ones” on there. So I decided to just give it a shot since my profile was public and ladies were checking it out.

That’s where Ariel came in. Her profile was very much what I was looking for. She’s tall enough (my perfect girl is about 5’8″-5’9″ because I’m 6’2″), active enough (she likes to run 5/10Ks and works out almost everyday), likes my kind of music, and even commented on looking good in a ballcap and formal dress. I once had a line almost exactly like that about wanting someone who looks good both in a ballcap and LBD.

So I messaged her. After about two days, we both decided to take the conversation off Match. I originally set up a date for us to get together this weekend (Saturday). But a friend of mine offered to watch my son on my birthday (Thursday) if I wanted to go out and do something for my birthday. So I asked Ariel if she was free and wanted to go out Thursday. She accepted.

A little about Ariel. She has one child, an 18 year old son who is a freshman in college, just like my oldest. She is only six months younger than me and works in the financial department of a very cool non-profit. And has the biggest, most intoxicating smile.

Ariel was mentioned numerous times that she felt very special that I chose to spend my birthday with her, and make that our first date. We met at the restaurant, and she arrived with a gift. I was very surprised she brought me a gift. It wasn’t much, just a gourmet cupcake and a very sweet card. The conversation was great and there was a lot of laughing. Always a good sign.

I walked her to her car, and as you regular readers know, I’m not the best at judging the “first kiss” and often back out instead of face the possible rejection. But tonight was not one of those nights. It seemed very natural and easy. It was just a quick kiss, but there was nothing uncomfortable about it.

As we parted, I reminded her that we were still on for Saturday and she wasn’t getting out of it. She completely agreed.

Friday, we texted a bit in the morning. She told me she was informed that she was just officially offered a job at the non-profit she used to for prior to her current job. She was really looking forward to this opportunity. The weather had been in the 60’s recently and we were discussing how nice it was. So I suggested – half joking – that she skip out on the afternoon at work and we go celebrate the new of her new job. I fully expected her to decline my offer because of work. But she didn’t. She jumped at the invitation.

So, I picked her up at her office and we went to a nearby bar for drinks and appetizers. Again, the conversation was great. No awkward silences or moments, and there was even more laughter. She’s totally tuned into my sense of humor and I don’t have to explain my jokes to her. It is so nice.

As I returned from a bathroom break, I noticed a lounge area with couches and loveseats. When I got back to the table, I mentioned the couches and she said she totally forgot about them and that next time we’ll have to hit the couch area instead. I drove her back to her office, and in the car we kissed goodbye again. This time was a little more intense than the first time.

But before she got out of the car, she commented that Saturday night she promised to be more affectionate. I totally understood because we were saying goodbye in the parking lot of her work. I had not said anything or acted in any adverse way because the thought of something “more” in that situation had never crossed my mind. So I really took that comment as a very good sign.

Saturday night went just as well, if not better. Though I was more nervous Saturday than I was for either of the first two dates, combined. We went to a japanese steakhouse and had wine in the waiting area talking about karaoke because she admitted she was a closet karaoke singer. Then during dinner, we were having a great time “people watching.” There was a younger couple sitting across the hibachi from us who looked like they were having a miserable time. By the end of dinner, we had decided to ask them to join for the rest of the night to get their real story and maybe cheer them up. However, they vanished as soon as the check was paid and we never had the chance.

We went to a nearby big country bar after dinner for drinks. We were talking, laughing, dancing, singing, kissing, holding hands and each other, and lots more “people watching”.

It was probably the best date I’ve been on in a very long time. She parked right next to me in the parking garage because she pulled into the garage right behind me. Normally I would have picked her up, but she lives about 30 minutes North of downtown and I live about 30 minutes South of downtown, so we just met downtown. We walked back hand in hand and when we got to her car, the goodnight kiss was much more intense and lingered for quite a while. Unfortunately, I had to return home to relieve the babysitter even though every ounce of my body wanted to stay there with her all night.

Today, we talked a little this morning and she spends Sundays going to church and spending time with her family (sisters and parents). She was making Mardi Gras King Cakes with her sister. I asked how that was going and jokingly said she needed to make one for me. Again, she enthusiastically agreed to have one for me “the next time she sees me”.

So everything seems to be starting off well. But I am much more cautious this time around, for better or worse. I am trying not to get my hopes up too high, given the way recent dating experiences have gone. Though many of my friends are telling me to not worry about it so much. One big change I’ve made is dialing back the texting. I’ve heard more than one source cite too much texting as being a key problem to developing relationships. So I am trying to make sure I space things out and not send every text that comes to mind. Hopefully it all equates to a better result.

Again, thank you for reading. And if you have any further questions or comments, please let me know.

Until next time …

Next Post: Ariel: I Made Her BFF Cry

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