My new Bumble profile went live.
I held my breath.
Newly separated for four months, I had packed some bags and moved to Los Angeles for the summer. It was the adventure I needed.
On Bumble, I mostly swiped left. Occasionally swiped right. I matched. I chatted with men within the app. I tentatively shared my cell phone number. I finally agreed to meet a man for lunch in Venice Beach.
“Sure, why not,” I said to him, trying to sound up-for-anything, ignoring the flip in my stomach.
I texted my girlfriends back in New York with a photo of my date.
He’s younger! Woohoo!
Oh my god! Have fun!
While on my way to the restaurant, I wished the GPS voice would help me navigate my first date after a 30-year marriage. But all she said was “you have arrived at your final destination.”
This very first date happened to have the very same first name as my soon-to-be ex-husband, but that was where the similarities ended. Where my ex is NFL-wide-receiver-big, this “T” v.2.0 could fit into his pocket. So small, in fact, that when “Tv.2.0” bent over to pick up a menu off the floor, I thought, ‘I’d never fit into those jeans.’
Our second date was dinner. While walking to the restaurant, he stopped to take a call. I had spent many an evening with my ex while he took work calls. This time, I patiently—and irritatedly—waited on Albott Kinney Boulevard in a new dress (and flats) while this virtual stranger finished his call.
At the table, the friendly waitress asked about my dress.
“So sexy,” she said to me. “You’re a lucky guy.” She nudged my date.
I discreetly tried to better cover “the girls” to no avail.
He asked how many dates had I been on since my separation.
“Two,” I replied, holding up my fingers. “This one, and the last one with you.”
“This will be a fun summer,” he said nearly licking his lips, making me feel like I was his summer project.
After a few cocktails, he said, “I’d like to kiss you.”
I hesitated and ever-so-slightly leaned away. “I’m not ready.”
As much as I knew I’d eventually have to kiss a man other than my husband, to me, this man wasn’t the one to break that seal. But at the car, I decided to appease him, to push myself, and kiss him goodnight. I easily reached around his neck, gave him an unremarkable, nearly chaste kiss, then said, “bye!” for my getaway. I was proud that I had summited the first intimacy hump, but that kiss was no peak.
I never heard from him again.
“I’m not sure if I’m ready for this dating thing,” I said to my LA friends the next night. “Or if I just wasn’t into him.”
“Probably both,” Daniela said.
“You’re not into him,” her husband said at the same time.
That summer in LA, I went on other dates. Even made out with a couple of them. But I learned the most about dating with “T v.2.0.”
1) It was okay that I didn’t want the man.
2) Taking a phone call while on a date was not cool.
3) Save the sexy dress for when I definitely DID want to the man.
And the most important of all,
4) Never date a man with a waist size smaller than mine.