Last night I had dinner with a guy to whom I shall grant the name Mr. Nice Guy.
He was, as the name would imply, a nice guy. We had plenty to talk about. He loves eating out and cooking, he's traveled a lot, and he's articulate and well read. He's had a variety of interesting jobs. We have some similar TV and movie tastes. He's close to his family. He's 40, never been married, and works as a computer programmer. He's good looking.
It was a pleasant evening but wow, it was dull. Sparkless. A little flat. And it was exactly the kind of date I expected from my Internet dating experience.
I'm forever trying to not have expectations, but I find it to be nigh impossible not to get sucked in. When I decided to dip my toes into the Internet dating pool, I figured that I'd experience a Dating Bell Curve: a few awful guys, a number of totally fine but not right for me guys, and a few great guys. The law of averages at work, right? So far, I have a very small sample size, but my curve is a flat line: awful (Mr. Tango), fine (Mr. Nice Guy), and great (Mr. Coffee).
To be fair, I suppose it's harsh to rule after one meeting that Mr. Nice Guy is not right for me. And it's not like there was something negative about our evening. It was just boring. After an hour and a half, I was ready to go home and get some sleep.
I try not to do is make comparisons. I've struggled with this a lot since John died. It's so easy for me to start feeling sorry for myself, feel like my life is the hardest life, my situation is the worst situation, woe is me and all that. The truth is that someone always has it better and someone always has it worse. All that matters is that you play the hand you're dealt the best you can.
When I got home last night and was talking about my evening with the friends who watched the twins for me, it was so hard not to compare Mr. Nice Guy to Mr. Coffee even though that's not really fair to do. I've spent more time with Mr. Coffee, I know him better. For all I know, Mr. Nice Guy just needs a few dates to get comfortable and let his guard down (although I didn't get the impression that his guard was up). I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, and for that reason alone, I feel like I should go out with the guy again to see if I'm still bored or more interested.
But the bottom line is that I don't really want to. I was bored! I could go on a date with Mr. Coffee instead! It didn't help Mr. Nice Guy's situation that I got a lovely e-mail from Mr. Coffee today telling me about his week so far and checking about making weekend plans. I get that flip-flop feeing in my stomach when I see Mr. Coffee's name in my Inbox. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I think about him. I have a voice mail from him saved on my phone so that I can indulge in the Sexy Accent whenever I want. I eagerly anticipate our time together. And I've felt this was since our first coffee meeting.
My first meeting with Mr. Nice Guy didn't give me any of that buzz. The bottom line is that there's no reason not to go on another date with the guy, but there's no compelling reason to go, either. Huh. Mr. Nice Guy did leave the ball in my court with the parting words, "I had a really good time and I'd like to see you again. Let me know what you want to do."
Beyond the lack of a spark, two things struck me during my evening with Mr. Nice Guy. First, he was clearly uncomfortable the couple of times the phrase "my late husband" came up. Frankly, who can blame him? My profile states that I'm a widow, but I'm the first to admit that it's an uncomfortable topic even if you know it to be the situation. But Mr. Nice Guy was completely unable to find a way to handle it. It's not that I was testing him; as it would happen, a couple of stories came up during which I, on the fly, couldn't figure out how not to mention John, and so there you go. Not to compare again, but to compare again, Mr. Coffee handled that situation with grace and maturity, which really impressed me.
It was similar when Maddie and Riley came up. Mr. Nice Guy is childless and has never been married. While he was not disinterested in the twins, exactly, he just had no frame of reference for what kids are like. Kids are not his world. They're a huge part of mine. Not sure how that would reconcile.
I don't really like the way this post sounds. I feel like I sound really judgmental. The bottom line is that Mr. Nice Guy really does seem to fit the deep part of the Dating Bell Curve: a fine guy who is not the one for me. Why do I feel a little guilty for saying that?
Question for you all: Mr. Nice Guy and I split the check for dinner, which was totally fine with me. I did find it odd, however, that he did not even offer to pay. In my experience, guys on first dates offer to pay, and then argue to varying degrees when I offer to split the tab. There was no offer last night, just a clear expectation that we'd be going Dutch. Again, while the end result is totally fine, does anyone else find it a little ungentlemanly that there was no offer on his part to cover it? Do I just need to get over myself?