Introducing Bella (my stylist, first offline date)

Many sayings could apply here. Sometimes you have to go off the grid. OR Sometimes you have to get back to the basics. No matter what it is, it’s ironic.

I say it’s ironic, because after all the money I’ve spent online dating, it seems meeting someone the old-fashioned way (flirting and talking with someone in public) works just as well, if not better than online.

So let’s start at the beginning. Bella is my hair stylist, my exclusive stylist. She’s also the only one my son let’s cut his hair. I can’t tell you how long it has been, definitely more than a year now, maybe close to two years.

We’ve always had good rapport and find it real easy to talk to each other. My son always walks out of the salon saying “You guys are hysterical together.” He even suggested several times that her and I date.

But there’s a problem, OK, maybe two problems. First, I have a strict policy about trying to pick up waitresses, bartenders (i.e. Zoey), Hooters girls, strippers, or any woman who makes her money interacting with men for tips – especially at her workplace. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve dated all of the above at one time or another, but I’ve never picked them up at their work. I’ve met them outside of work and found out they were a bartender or waitress. Well, except for strippers, I met them at the club. So sue me.

The second issue is I’m 42 and she’s 25 (birthday in June). I’m 16.5 years older than she is and she’s barely 7 years older than my older son.

But she’s funny, smart, in shape, and absolutely beautiful. And we connect so well. She also has two little boys (4 and 14 months) and is divorced.

However, back in the Summer I decided to step up my conversations with her. I made them more flirty, playful, with several comments that – even though were fairly innocent – had plenty of built-in innuendo for someone who’s looking for sexually charged comments. And that’s precisely when I also noticed her demeanor changed toward me.

Without going into too much detail (yes, this is the abridged version), we made a bet on the World Series in November. When we made the bet, she asked what she would get if she won, I said “Anything you want.” And I confirmed that several times with her during the conversation. All of this took place while she was cutting my hair. Then, when I went to pay, I asked her what I would get if I won the bet, she replied with the same thing, “Anything you want.”

It was on! I knew right there what my “prize” was going to be. I was going to have her go on a date with me.

I won the bet. We had seen each other a few times at the salon after the bet and had talked about settling it, but I was too reluctant to tell her what I wanted, for fear she would reject it. I tried getting her to tell me what she would have picked if she had won, and she wouldn’t tell me.

Then came my birthday, last month. I was in getting my haircut on my birthday, as was my son. But we were on a time crunch. Remember, that was also the night of my first date with Ariel. And Bella always has a long wait-list of guys waiting just to have her cut their hair. So I just took the first girl who was available. When I sat down in Andrea’s chair, Bella was cleaning her station and started making comments like I was cheating on her and such. I retorted with comments like clearly I wasn’t a priority in her life, etc. She saw my son there and grabbed his ticket and began cutting his hair.

We talked back and forth across the salon the entire time. Andrea and the two other stylists were getting a kick out the banter back and forth. We went into the back to wash my hair, and Bella and my son soon followed. We continued the conversations )and flirting).

When I was done getting my hair washed, Andrea noticed my tattoos on my arm which I had recently had done. She was admiring them, so I was pulling up my sleeve to show all the work that goes up my arm and onto my chest. After that, we went back to finish up in the salon. Shortly after, my son took his seat back in Bella’s chair.

He tells me that she got his shirt wet. I asked how. He said she was distracted looking at my tattoos when I was showing them to Andrea and wasn’t paying attention and got water all over the front of his shirt. So across the salon, I said (loud enough for all to hear), “Oh, so you were checking me out, huh?” She turned 50 shades of red and had to turn away to hide her face she was blushing and so embarrassed.

Right then I knew I had her. So after we were all done, I was at the counter paying Andrea for both haircuts. When we were finished, Bella already had a new client in her chair. I walked back into the salon and from across the room said, “I’m not done with you yet,” and we walked out.

About a week later, I got a weird Facebook friend request. I didn’t recognize the name or the small picture on my phone, and we had no friends in common. So I didn’t open it right away. Later that night I finally got around to opening it. Then it hit me! It was her! Bella from the salon.

She stalked me – it was so sweet. She went into her work system and pulled out my full name and looked me up on Facebook. (Now I know she debated for days whether to send me something or not.) We chatted on Messenger for a few days before exchanging numbers. We’ve talked everyday since, and I mean we’ve talked a lot.

And yes, this was all overlapping my time with Ariel. But I wasn’t sure Bella was really serious about me, or us for that matter. But then last week, with Ariel pulling away and something clearly being wrong, and Bella obviously showing showing interest in me, I started to play along with the conversation as it escalated.

It was just talking and I was fully reserving my time for Ariel, if that is what worked out. Well, coincidentally or ironically or however you want to put it, Bella said she wanted to see me this weekend yesterday Рjust ask Ariel was preparing to have the break-up talk with me. So we made plans. She wanted to see me for breakfast Friday, Friday night as well as Saturday night. I committed to Friday plans, holding back on Saturday until I heard from Ariel.  Obviously, I committed to Saturday once things with Ariel fell through.

We had breakfast late this morning in between her time at the gym and before she had to go to work. It was really fun, friendly and flirty. She was nervous the whole place was listening to our conversations about the bet, guys flirting with her at work, and other such nonsense. We also discussed plans for the evening. She gets off work late and has to work all day Saturday, so she wants to just chill and watch a movie at her place.

I walked her to her car and we lingered chatting for a few minutes. A nearby was getting ready to pull out of the lot. As soon as it did, I pulled her close me and we embraced at first, holding each other tighter and tighter. I released a little, allowing her to pull back just enough to make room to kiss her. It wasn’t your typical first date kiss. She even grabbed my face as we kissed for a couple of minutes, even though it seemed so much longer.

So things definitely look promising, and I will – of course – update you on the rest of our weekend together.

And as always, thanks for reading!

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