#2 entered the field quite simply. He has a slightly embarrassing OKC ID, but he wrote me a very straightforward email saying he thought I was doing something interesting and so he wanted to say hi. I replied, asking what came next, and once again he straight out said, I want a date or two and then we’ll see. Enchanted by this openness, I said yes, and we swapped email addresses.
Once he popped up on chat I pinged him and we chatted a bit, mostly admin shit: when, where, what time to meet. We settled on one of my favourite places in Delhi, Chilli’s in Vasant Kunj, on Thursday at 630. He made a strange joke when I said they had the best happy hours in Delhi, and there was a bit of awkwardness. Sigh, I thought to myself, this isn’t going to be a great one is it? Conversation was stilted and it certainly seemed he had a sense of humour that was a little off from mine. I will even admit that when a friend and I were discussing when to see a movie, I said Thursday at 9 please.
‘I don’t know how you do it here (he lives in Dubai at the moment), but I could pick you up.’ I gracefully declined and drove myself there, so I’d have a quick exit. Once in the past I’d met an OKC guy at Chilli’s and he’d been very insistent on picking me up and dropping me off, despite my repeated refusals. I managed to get there on my own but then he was dreary as can be and highly creepy, and I ended up having to text my flatmate to call with an emergency. At which point he once again tried to drive me home. So I am always careful to be in control of my own getting there and getting home.
Thursday came around and I was crazy busy, so I ended up having to push the date to 730. He got there 15 minutes early, and texted to ask if I minded if he ordered a drink. Touched that he asked (since I don’t think I would have!), I told him to go ahead. Then he asked what I wanted, since I should take advantage of happy hours. I told him.
I walked into Chilli’s and called him, and a guy at the very last booth stood up and waved. He was tall and broad, which I personally love, because it’s the only time I can feel small, and, after the mandatory handshake he gave me a casual side-hug. Clearly this was someone who was comfortable. How nice.
I sat down and we just took off talking. I don’t think that for the first hour either of us finished a thought, because something he said would spark a tangent in me and vice versa. About this time he managed to knock over a large, full glass of water, and of course drench me in the process. We moved to another table, with much laughter, and then picked up where we’d left off. ‘Where did you grow up?’ ‘What did you do?” ‘What DO you do?’ ‘What does that MEAN?’ ‘Why me?’ ‘Why OKC?’ ‘Do you read?’ and other flurries of questions turned into long stories of things we’ve done and places we’ve been and people we’ve met.
There were casual mentions of exes and lifestyles, and I was positively thrilled to learn that he actually runs what my friends used to call a ‘grown-up house’, i.e., a fully functional house that doesn’t rely on maids or takeout. Could it be that I had met a desi guy who picked up after himself and took responsibility for things like meals and groceries? And, at some point, he said, ‘It’s not fair you know; it’s hard for guys sometimes to know what we’re allowed to be.’
At this point he said he needed a smoke. But Chilli’s has no smoking area. So he asked the waiter what they’d do to him if he lit up right there, which made the waiter giggle and tell us we could try Underdogg’s across the hall which did have a smoking room. And then he stood up, handed a card to the waiter, telling him to start a tab, and we walked out, strolled into the other bar, refused a table, went into the smoking room, finished up, came out, paused to have a jovial chat with another waiter and strolled out.
Back at Chilli’s, three hours sped by and we’d hit that point when the glasses were empty, nothing was coming, and it was move the venue or go home. Since, by now, my gut was leaping about, banging bongos and screaming THIS IS A GOOD GUY, I asked if he wanted to come to my house. ‘What’ve you got to drink?’ he shot back at me, before agreeing. Later, as we walked up the stairs he asked me if I didn’t feel weird, letting a stranger into my house. ‘No, I said. It’s happened enough times! I like having people over, and I’m very lazy, AND I’m on Couchsurfing, so it’s completely normal.’ ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘I’m feeling weird.’ I bit back a SO CUTE! and simply ushered him inside and poured him a drink. ‘Nothing whiskey can’t cure,’ I said.
And then we sat at my balcony table and talked some more, and another three hours passed in a blur. The Flatmate came home and joined us for a while, and then left. Clearly we had extremely strong chemistry–I could say anything to him, and he’d listen with an open mind; he knew how to talk instead of argue; but, above all, it just felt so comfortable. It had been literally a year since the last time I’d had such a great first date, and even that one was more tense. And then, in the wee hours of the morning, I worked up all my courage and thought up a speech to give as prelude to making the first ever move of my life, and decided I was going to kiss him and hope that, if he didn’t want it, he’d be adult enough to stay friends.
Only the kiss, when it inevitably happened, was entirely organic–I don’t remember who kissed who! Quite the appropriate end to a phenomenal first date. I knew I wanted a second one. All that remained was to see if it happened.