I went on a date the other night.
It was nothing special; in fact, I almost didn't go.
I took myself out with a gift card I discovered some time ago when cleaning out a drawer. I'd actually been planning on using the card for a while but hemmed and hawed every night as I came home exhausted from a long day teaching. But, I also knew I needed to treat myself to something and soon. So, I finally made up my mind and forcibly pushed myself out of my house.
I admit I did have a bit of trepidation as I approached the host stand requesting a table for one. Not that I felt awkward dining alone, but it was a Friday night and the dinner rush was beginning. Maybe they'd ask me to sit at the counter instead of taking up a whole table. But, plenty of tables were still available. The hostess smiled and graciously led me to a table in a corner of the main room where I had a commanding view of the restaurant.
As I scanned the menu, I noticed a touch of vertigo; perhaps it was my horrible vision having to adjust to the varying levels of darkness in the room, while trying to read the minuscule font on the menu. Or, perhaps my social anxiety was kicking in; after all, this was the first time in a long time I wasn't just picking something up for dinner, or throwing something together. I was actually out of my sanctuary and seated in a nice restaurant rather than a fast food place. And no, I hadn't had any wine. Yet.
Or, maybe it was a touch of both.
Or, maybe it was a touch of both.
The waiter came over with complimentary bread and butter, introduced himself, and asked about my drink preference. As I was undecided on which wine I wanted, he offered to bring me a sample of their house red blend. He was very pleasant and friendly. He left the small glass of wine and went to attend other guests.
He soon returned and I placed my order; Lasagna Bolognese, side salad and a glass of merlot, as the house red blend didn't knock my socks off.
While waiting for my order, I scanned the room and noticed several senior couples were out for the evening. They sat at their tables, adjacent to their partners with some couples being a little more cozy than others, but all seemed to be enjoying their time together. A few families were also out enjoying a meal together. The party of four in front of me was comprised of two adult women and one adult man, all seemingly in their mid-forties, plus one sullen teenage girl. Only one of the members of this party was not engrossed in a phone.
The vertigo hung around for a while, but did not become serious enough to make me need to leave and eventually it did subside. But, I began to wonder what it might be like to be on a real date. With another man, not just myself. How badly would my anxiety kick in?
I could not get that far. The whole idea of a date became such a foreign concept, it felt so wrong. I could not picture myself sitting at a restaurant with a guy making small talk while eating. I could not even project myself farther into the future into an established relationship talking over our respective days with my boyfriend/partner/husband or wherever we were on that particular path.
This was all reinforced even more when the bill came. I mean, the bill wasn't outrageous for one, less than $40.00. But I've lived the last few years a bit frugally out of necessity, and this night I even had a gift card, but still did not order the most expensive item on the menu. (The ribeye steak wasn't even tempting.) But, I did say yes to dessert. (Can't turn down tiramisu!) Anyway, as I am needing to tighten the belt a bit, the financial aspect of dating reared its giant head again. As did the social anxiety and the trust factors, and...and...the list goes on...
As does life...