Wednesday, November 17, 2004

January, pt. II

(eventually, these will be combined.)

I know, you think I forgot Hal. I didn’t.

Since I’ve started dating again, my mom has taken an active role in finding me prospective dates. She started surfing the internet dating sites and emailing me men she finds interesting.

I probably would have overlooked Hal myself. He was listed as divorced, and had two young children.

"Oh, Katie, you have to write to this guy. He's cute," mom wrote.

Well, he was cute. And he sounded smart. And cultured. And interesting.

So I wrote to Hal.

We talked on the phone a few times, and decided that we’d meet for drinks after work at (name of bar).

Well, she was right. He was cute.

He was wearing glasses, which he hadn’t been wearing in his photo.

We met for a drink, which turned into dinner, which turned into more drinks. We had great conversation. He's a very confusing sort of fellow....all proper and gentlemanly. Likes the theater. Likes to read. Very well-spoken. Also a former Army Ranger. (that's the confusing part...the two don't seem to fit together. He apparently took a lot of ribbing from the guys because he would go to London and see musicals during his leave...)

Er...anyway...he is charming, and intelligent, and funny, and he completely adores his children. He talked about Maddy, who was six and getting into cheerleading.

“We’d be great friends then,” I told him. “I was a cheerleader.”

“Really?” Hal looked surprised. “You don’t seem like the type.”

“Thank you,” I said.

I prided myself on not seeming like the “type.”

I asked him about his ex wife, what had happened.

“We were really young,” he said. “Too young. One day, we just realized that we were better friends than anything else.”

“How long ago did you split up?” I wondered.

“Four years ago.”

Four years. That seemed like a comfortable distance.

Did I mention how cute he is? Dark hair, glasses, dimples. Oh, those dimples.

We talked a while longer, and I told him that I needed to go home.

“6 a.m. comes awfully early,” I said.

He walked me to my car, hugged me, and thanked me for meeting him.

“Is it all right if I call you again?” he asked.

Was he kidding?

“Of course,” I grinned. “I’m looking forward to it.”

This could be big trouble...opposing Katie types on either side...because on the other side, there's Rick. The guy who sings....who, in addition to singing in a country band, actually majored in vocal performance (and math, go figure) in college, likes Italian arias and used to use "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis as his audition piece. Still haven't really heard him, but the thought of it makes me swoon. There’s just something about a man who can sing. What's a girl to do?

For our second date, Hal picked me up at 4 pm (in his Jaguar!) and we went to see a movie. After the movie, we talked about dinner. I asked if there was anywhere in particular he wanted to go...if not, I was going to suggest Cole's or India Gate.

"Have you ever been to (Name of Steakhouse) at the (Hotel)?"

Wow. No. E.B. (Name of Steakhouse) is a nice place. A really, really nice place.

“Okay,” he said, “let's go there.”

He called ahead to see if he was dressed appropriately. He wasn’t wearing a tie.

Wow. WOW. No man has ever taken me for a dinner at a place like that.

We were seated, and I opened the menu. I had to fight to hide my shock. The most inexpensive item on the menu was the cheeseburger platter for $13.95 and everything else is in the $30 range.

“Order whatever you want,” Hal said. “I’ve never been disappointed here. Even the cheeseburger is great.”

I hate to sound shallow, and I'm afraid that I might, but this was an entirely new experience for me. Money was clearly NO object for Hal.

But that wasn’t even the best part....the best part was the conversation. We just talked and talked and talked, all through dinner, and dessert, and then we moved to the bar for drinks after dinner and talked some more...about our favorite movies, our families, past relationships, old friends. I found out that his favorite movie is What’s the Name of this Damn Movie, closely followed by So I Married an Axe Murderer.

“That kid's head's like Sputnik. Spherical but quite pointy in parts. Oh, that was a harsh one, wasn't it? He'll be cryin himself to sleep tonite on his huge pilla," he quoted, doing a perfect Mike Myers imitation. I laughed.

He told me the most touching story about a friend that he lost in the Gulf War and I almost cried....I'll save that one for another time. He was so sweet, and such a gentleman. He held every single door for me. Every one. Also during conversation, I learned that his father has been on the cover of Forbes magazine and belongs to some famous fancy country club in Phoenix that has an admission fee of $60,000.

After dinner at almost 10, we decided to take a ride to Niagara Falls, just for fun. We just walked around a little bit and talked some more. It was much colder than it was in Buffalo, and neither of us was really prepared.

"I was going to be all romantic and hold your hand,” he told me on the way back to the car, “ but it was too cold!"

When we got back, we took a little walk down by the lake in Delaware Park. (and he did hold my hand)

He brought me back to my apartment and I invited him in....but had to tell him that I don't have cable. That was embarrassing. Really, how do you tell a guy who drives a Jag and spends $120 on dinner on a second date that you can't afford cable for crying out loud...He thought this was both funny and a little sad, and wouldn't stop teasing me. He even offered to PAY for cable for me...or at least split it with me

“Let's see how things go, and then we'll talk,” I told him.

When he finally decided it was time to leave, at around 1 a.m., I walked out with him so I could move my car. Damn evil eye doctor.

He wrapped his arms around me and gave me a squeeze, then quickly brushed his lips against mine.

"Is it all right if I call you?"

Um, let me think about!!!!

"Of course it is," I said.

I moved the car and headed back up to my apartment. I think I floated up all three flights. It was obviously too early to tell if anything would come of it, but I think I definitely thought I was going to enjoy myself. I hadn't gotten in touch with Rick yet, but what I liked him just as much? Oh, Lord. I couldn't even think about it.



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