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Single In The Suburbs, Installment 6


In this installment, our writer finally meets the doctor who’s been wooing her from afar.

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n her last installment, our writer — a Midwestern single mom of two — agreed to a dinner date with a long-distance suitor who’s an M.D. Will there be chemistry when they finally meet?

Friday, 3:30 P.M.
Oh God. My boss Linda walked in while I was checking out guys on the online dating site. I managed to toggle back to an Excel spreadsheet before she had the chance to see what I was doing. That could have been incredibly embarrassing. Why? Because:
  1. I’m at work and should be working, not cruising the dating site. Linda is strictly by-the-book. She’s in the office by 7:45 and never
    Wow. He is a good kisser, and I tell him so.
    leaves before 5:15, eats lunch at her desk every day and wouldn’t dream of using her PC for anything other than work.
  2. She probably thinks Internet dating is for losers. Well, she has never actually said that. In fact, Linda is a kind and tolerant woman who would probably think Internet dating is a creative and safe alternative to hanging around clubs. So why do I assume she thinks it’s for losers? I think my therapist would call that “projecting”—projecting my feelings onto others. Sometimes I can’t really believe it’s me online, looking at guys.
I feel compelled to refresh the page JUST ONE MORE TIME before I got to sleep and sure enough, there’s another email from Tony, the guy who’s concerned about our size difference. He is not, as I’d feared, super short. On the contrary, he’s 6’7”. I don’t think it should be a problem. In fact, I think it’s kind of cute that he’d be worried.

Friday, 4:45 P.M.
I am counting the minutes until I can get out of work. I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m too distracted to do anything but sit here at my desk and watch the clock tick. As I write this, Tony is en route to see me. I feel a little guilty that he is driving nearly three hours after a long day at the hospital where he works. I’m also flattered. His city is a lot bigger than mine; surely there are plenty of great women to choose from. But he wants to meet me! He had asked me to pick my favorite restaurant; I chose the Indian place downtown. If the date is a bust, at least I’ve had a good meal.

Friday, 6:20 P.M.
I’m dressed and ready to head out the door. I’m wearing black moleskin pants, a clingy tunic with bell sleeves, and the highest heels I could find, a pair of suede T-straps with four-inch heels. I bought them on impulse but never wear them because I’m sure I’ll fall on my face. But given the fact that Tony is 6’7”, I’m willing to take the risk. I know he must be a little sensitive about his height since he’s the one who mentioned it in the first place, so I figure the least I can do is wear high heels. Hmmm… I wonder what it’s like to talk to someone that tall. How about kissing? Will I be able to reach him? Will I have to stand on tiptoes? Will he be forced to stoop?

Enough obsessing. It’s time to go.

Friday, 7 P.M.
I get there early, pick a table by the window and wait. He said he drives a silver something. BMW? Audi? I can’t remember. Suddenly I catch sight of a very tall man walking up the slate path to the restaurant’s door. It’s dark out so I can’t see his face, but how many 6’7” men could there be at this restaurant tonight? He walks through the door and I watch him scan the restaurant, searching for… me. He looks at me, I look at him. He offers a tentative smile and I smile back.

“Sara?”

“Tony?”

He gives me a hug and it seems like my face is about level with his bellybutton.

He doesn’t sit down. I soon discover that he has other plans for the evening. “I noticed an Italian place just next door,” he says. “Do you mind if we eat there instead?”

“Sure. That would be fine.” That’s weird. Didn’t he ask me to pick my favorite restaurant? On the other hand, there’s something refreshing about his spontaneity. We make our way to the Italian
“I’ve got a spare bedroom. I promise I’d be the perfect gentleman.”
place. He orders everything for me, from wine to dessert. I have the beef tips with pesto tortellini and he has the chicken parmagiana. At some point I find him digging into my plate with his fork, and, when it’s time for dessert, he eats his spumoni and then finishes my chocolate mousse.

Someone else might have been put off by his familiarity (my ex-husband, for instance, hated to share food with anyone, even me) but I kind of like it. I interpret it to mean that he felt comfortable with me. I like that. I also like the fact that he eats with gusto. He tells me about his kids, his parents, his practice. He asks about my work and seems genuinely interested. He’s very nice and very earnest. What I need now is a sign that he’s got a sense of humor. More than anything, I like a man who can make me laugh. Eventually he does. He describes the hair-waxing scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and soon we’re both cracking up.

I’m not wildly attracted to him, though. But I could be attracted, I decide. I do find smart men sexy, and Tony has got that in his favor. He talks about his medical practice with passion and insight, and sure enough, I find myself drawn to him.

After dinner we walk around the town square, and I point out a few landmarks, the war memorial, the copper fish weathervane atop the courthouse. He asks if I want ice cream but I remind him that we just ate dessert. I guess when you’re 6’7” tall you don’t have to worry so much about dessert.

Eventually we’re back where we started. “There’s my car,” I say, figuring it’s a good time to get this kiss over with. We stand there. I feel awkward. Here it goes. I smile at him, signaling that it’s OK, and he begins to bend down while I stand on my toes to meet him halfway. He cradles my head gently in his huge hands and kisses me softly on the mouth.

Wow.

He is a good kisser, and I tell him so.

“Thanks,” he says. “You too.” He pauses. “I’ve been thinking, Sara...”

“About what?” I want to kiss him again.

“Clearly, we live a good distance apart. It won’t be easy to keep this up. Unless we are willing to make the effort. We’d have to make a real commitment to this. The commuting.”

Yikes. Commitment? Aren’t we moving a little quickly? I do want to see him again and don’t want to say anything that might discourage him. “Sure. We’d need to make an effort.”

“There’s an antique show next weekend. How would you feel about driving out, spending the weekend at my house? The boys will be with their mother. I’ve got a spare bedroom. I promise I’d be the perfect gentleman.”

Jeez. Suddenly I am wondering whether I’m cut out for dating. This is terrifying. “That sounds like fun,” I say. “Let me think about it.”

Driving home I remember how my ex-husband recently urged me to get out there and have some adventures. “You were married a very long time, Sara. Go have some fun for a change.”


Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 7


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