I was drinking a raspberry vodka cocktail on the patio of a fairly popular bar in West Hollywood when I was introduced by a friend to RJ. At the time, I was with my friend Sarah, who knew RJ because they had met at a party a few months ago. We made small talk, and because I was somewhat drunk, I flirted a bit and hoped I came off as charming. I thought she was extremely attractive so I asked her for her number. She gave it to me and made me promise to text her later.
(Side note. I thought Sarah introduced me to RJ because she thought that I would find her attractive and we could hit things off. I didn't realize that she had been hitting on RJ the whole night and that she introduced us because she wanted to leave a good impression. When I found out what happened, I apologized to Sarah, but she said that it was no problem. She went even further to say that when she got home, she thought that RJ and I were good for each other and that we could possibly be more than friends. I still felt guilty about the whole situation, but that didn't stop me from going on a first date with RJ.)
So afterwards I ended up texting RJ, and we made room to have dinner with each other the next night. I came late because I had to come from a friend's birthday party and I couldn't blow her off. She said that she didn't mind waiting, mainly because she was catching up with her reading for class. We ended up eating in this small restaurant near campus.
Here's the thing that I hate about first dates: I'm awkward and easily embarrassed. I hate going on first dates with a burning passion. And because of this, I tend to be too quiet and polite because I'm always scared that I'll say or do something that would make me look like a fool. This, in turn, makes me seem extremely boring.
RJ ended up telling me that she thought the exact same thing about me. She told me that she didn't know where the charming person she met two days ago went. I told her that I was only charming because I was extremely drunk, and that I'm usually more reserved when I'm first getting to know someone. If she wanted to get to know me more, she'd have to hang out with me more until I felt comfortable around her.
Despite the boring dinner, RJ asked me if I wanted to get drinks with her. After a few drinks, I started to relax and feel more open. We ended up having much more fun after that, which then led to several more dates after the first one.
At a certain point during the first date, I remember telling RJ that I had something for girls who would be down to do things such as get ice cream or pizza together. Basically, someone who didn't mind what they were eating as long as it tasted good and they were having fun. Most people hate eating oily things with other people because it's messy. I'm the exact opposite when it comes to that: I like eating with someone that I like. For me, it's a way to get to know someone better. It also saves time because you get to hang out with the person you like and you get to eat something great. What more could one possibly want?
About a month after we met, I asked her if she wanted to sleep over at my place for the weekend. It seemed like we were getting serious, and I wanted to talk to her about maybe taking the relationship further.
That Friday evening, I picked her up at her apartment. At that point, I had a compulsive habit of holding her hand and either rubbing my thumb over her hand or kissing it once in a while. Most of the time, I wouldn't even realize that I was doing it. RJ didn't seem to mind, so there was nothing to stop me from making this into a habit. When I did that this particular Friday, I realized something was off.
"What is that in your hand?"
"I'm holding a pizza."
I looked at her and narrowed my eyes. I quickly reverted my eyes back to the road. "Did you get that for me?"
There was a pause. "Yeah."
"I thought it would help you like me more."
"I already like you. You don't need to bribe me with food in order to do that."
"I know. I thought that you'd appreciate the gesture nonetheless."
"It's very thoughtful of you to do. You don't need to try that hard to gain my affection."
Her smile was so wide I could see it from the corner of my eye.
And suddenly it hit me all at once.
I liked this girl a lot. Like as much more than a friend.
My brain went blank for a second, and then into overdrive. She had waited for me for about an hour and a half on our first date just because she wanted to spend time with me. Despite our extremely boring first date together, she decided to give me a second chance. She let me hold her hand (despite not knowing where my hands had been the whole day), just because holding her hand gave me comfort. She didn't really like pizza, but she got me one because she knew I liked (
loved) eating pizza. She got one, for me. There was no more I could possibly ask from her.
And then I realized that this was it. A near perfect girlfriend that was sitting in the passenger seat of the car.
I realized that my brain was trying to tell me something that I should have realized a long time ago.
I told her that I loved her the next week.