Sunday, July 10, 2011

Maverick

Way back at the end of April, as has been known to happen more and more frequently the longer I write this thing, I got an email from a random guy telling me my blog was hilarious and asking if I'd like to meet up sometime. He attached a picture that had me guessing he was about 40 (dark hair, dark eyes, crossed arms, leaning up against a tree senior-portrait-style). Additionally, he listed some of the more notable accomplishments of his life, including but not limited to racing sailing yachts and flying high-performance aircraft for the Navy. He seemed intriguing, so I wrote him back and told him I'd love to go out sometime.

Then I subsequently blew him off for the last guy.

Like I said, I got tired, and the prospect of going on yet ANOTHER first date was, at the time, downright enfeebling.

Fast-forward a few months. Upon my posting that I was no longer sipping from my oh-so-tall drink of water (seriously, he was so tall... sigh), the gentleman emailed me again to see if maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't blow him off this time. I said OK, and we set to work drawing up plans for a date. After a few emails back and forth, we agreed to meet Thursday evening at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon, which I'd never been to before.

And as soon as I hit "send" on the email confirming the plans, my entire being collapsed into a pulsating pile of anxiety. For starters, his picture made me nervous -- it was just so "stage-y" that I figured one of two things was going to happen: 1. Maverick would show up looking better than the photograph and be completely normal, or 2. He'd show up looking way worse and be a total weirdo. Given my lackluster luck in the dating arena, I was very nearly banking on the latter option.

Moreover... sigh. Agghh. In the blinding haze of heartrending pain that was the aftermath of the entrepreneur, I apparently decided that salvation lay at the bottom of a pint glass and that I could fill the hole in my soul with boneless chicken kabobs from Kabob Palace, barbecued pulled pork from Old Glory, chili dogs at Hard Times Cafe and chocolate concretes at D.C.'s new Shake Shack.

I'm saying, I ate my feelings. And when I awoke like a fat Rip Van Winkle from the seemingly eternal food coma, I found myself heavier than I've been in a long while. I'm still thinner than I was when I graduated from high school, but I don't feel good about myself. It really hit me when I started looking at pictures tagged of me on Facebook; I'd click through them and go, "That's a bad picture of me. That's a bad picture of me. FML, these are ALL bad pictures of me!!!"

So I wasn't exactly feeling sexy as I got dressed in my blue summer dress and brown belt (my newest acquisitions from Gossip on 23rd) and applied my makeup for the evening. I wallowed in my insecurities for a while and fished for compliments from my friend Alex, who is temporarily squatting on my couch, then headed out the door.

I texted Maverick from the entrance of Mad Rose to let him know I'd arrived and was waiting outside. Even though I was right on time, he'd apparently beaten me there -- he came strolling up to me from around the corner, where the tavern has a little outdoor seating area.

Remember the two options I cited earlier? Turns out, it was Option 1. In a MAJOR way.

Oh, God, he's hot. Oh, God, he's SO hot. Oh he's really really really hot!!!

Maverick was way younger-looking in person than he was in his photograph. And though he was fully dressed in a blue-striped button-down and gray pressed pants, it was evident he spent a significant amount of his time pumping iron at the gym.

If I was anxious before, I was a complete basket case now. I sheepishly followed Maverick to his table on the patio.

I took a seat and ordered a glass of wine while settling in to chat with him. I discovered that he's, in fact, 38 years old, and grew up outside San Francisco before enrolling in the Naval Academy in Annapolis, after which he became a naval aviator a la Maverick from "Top Gun" (hence his pseudonym). He eventually left the Navy as a lieutenant commander.

All of that just made him hotter. And frankly, based on that, I should have been able to seamlessly roll with the conversation -- I know a lot about the military and I lived in San Francisco for a while after graduating from college. But it's the big cosmic joke of my life: Gorgeous men read my blog, deem me funny and articulate, and want to take me out. But once confronted with these modern-day Adonises, I lose my power over speech. I feel like my tongue swells in my mouth and flops about like a fish out of water. I can't form intelligent sentences, and I certainly can't crack my typical witty jokes. The singular thing that attracted them to me is the one thing I can't ever seem to produce. And the even sadder flip side of this is that when I'm on a date with a man that my brain scans and categorizes as "never in a million years," I'm a silver-tongued orator comparable to Abraham Lincoln.

Sigh.

So I plodded over my words and thought, There is exactly a zero percent chance this man could ever be attracted to me. And when he switched to a non-alcoholic drink for his second round, it seemed that my suspicions were all but confirmed.

But then... we got on the topic of places we generally hang out, and he mentioned Galaxy Hut, just down the street from Mad Rose. The Hut has a delicious selection of craft beer, so I asked if he were a beer drinker. Maverick seemed to indicate that he was not a  BIG beer guy, but had an appreciation for good ones now and then. Then he asked if I'd like to continue the evening by going over there.

Maybe I'm not doing so bad after all, I thought to myself, genuinely surprised. We continued chatting on the way to the bar.

Maverick asked a lot of questions about the blog, and he seemed impressed with my technological savvy (which, honestly, I would categorize as "limited," but hey, he's 38 and didn't have Facebook in college). He wanted to know about my worst date, what makes a good date, and myriad other things about the process.

We got to Galaxy Hut and snagged a table in the middle of the room that had two empty cans of PBR on it.

Or at least, what we thought were two empty cans. Some guys promptly came over and poured on the attitude as they dramatically grabbed their shitty beer while saying, "We WERE sitting here, but whatever, that's fine." As soon as they left, a bunch of other patrons came over and high-fived us for kicking them out -- apparently, they'd left their beers on the table, but were hanging out outside, and then getting pissy at people for sitting there. WTF? In any case, it was cool to be beloved by the entire bar.

Instead of sitting directly across from me, Maverick pulled his chair to the side of the table so he could be closer. We got a round of beers and continued talking.

Maverick put his hand on mine and held it there. He remarked that we were over an hour into the date, so it must be going well. I said something to the effect of how worried I'd been earlier, and he hushed me down by telling me how pretty my hair and eyes were. I started blushing uncontrollably.

We continued chatting through a second round of drinks, until finally I realized how late it was getting. We finished up and went outside.

At some point, we made out, and, um, his kisses were... aggressive? Let's put it this way -- I looked at myself in the mirror the next day and my bottom lip was all swollen and various shades of purple. I was half expecting somebody at work to pull me aside and ask me if everything was all right at home.

Anyway, it was a perfectly lovely evening, but sadly, a caveat: I kind of get the sense that Maverick is more interested in seeing himself be blogged about than he is in ever going on a date with me again. He just asked A LOT of questions about it -- more than anyone else I've gone out with has ever asked. He even called me the next day to ask more questions about what I was going to write, when I was going to write it... he was a little high-maintenance about it. I'm not really expecting to hear from him again after I post this.

But hey, if he's gonna call, he's gonna call. Whatever. We'll see.