…and then date night got weird

I’m keen on perceiving trends lately…I mean, I’ve always been keen on perceiving trends; it’s just that now I’m much more aware and able to spot them in my own life. So what the heck is up with all the dry guys? I seem to end up going on more second, third and fourth dates with guys who do not drink at all. My last boy friend was sober, and so was my Chicago crush.

Don’t get me wrong:  I’m not saying this is a bad thing, and I certainly don’t want to date some guy for whom alcohol is the center of his fun and entertainment. Sure, I talk of w(h)ine and cheese with the girls, but neither wine nor beer nor cocktails are the focal point of my social interactions (though I certainly do appreciate how they lube things up…).

All of these dry guys have a story, which they typically volunteer pretty early on in conversations — they seem to want to get it out of the way so that it’s not one of those big, lurking mysteries, the proverbial elephant in the room. So when I’d been on date four or five (not really counting anymore) with a cute, funny, sweet guy, and we’d talked about wine, etc., but he no longer drinks, I finally said:

“So you used to drink; you don’t anymore. Everyone’s got a story. What’s yours?”

And then date night got weird. We were in his car at the time. He took a breath and said, “The last time I drank, I was with my wife. I must have had a lot, because I blacked out. I don’t think I’ve ever, at any other time, blacked out. And when I woke up, I was in jail.” He did not elaborate further, aside from to say that he has no idea what really happened. It was implied that his ex accused him of something…

“Yikes,” I said, not entirely sure how to respond. I felt uncomfortable and awkward… But I didn’t feel afraid or concerned for my safety. Should I have? In fact, we went out for dessert after that.

I guess for one thing, I feel pretty confident that I can hold my own — that I am capable of maintaining my own boundaries — and that I project a certain amount of confidence. Part of projecting confidence is that “walk with purpose” business that self defense folks will tell you about — it simply makes people a little less inclined to think they can mess with you…posture, attitude. I hope I’m expressing this adequately without sounding completely full of myself. Said another way, there was nothing about being in this fellow’s presence that made me feel physically intimidated.

Second, I’ve lived enough to feel as though I’ve got a pretty good bullshit detector / am an okay judge of character. The men I meet these days are honest and decent human beings. I don’t think I’d even be attracting them if they weren’t. And I’m pretty good at calling a bluff. I’m not sensing a well of anger percolating under the surface with this dude — or any other explosive emotions waiting to come out. He seems pretty well adjusted…of course that could just be the months of therapy that followed whatever happened that night…

But perhaps the real reason all this weirdness didn’t send up any big, red flags was because I didn’t see things going anywhere anyway. I mean, so far, we’d seen each other enough times for him to be pulling out some much bigger moves than he had been. He was a good kisser, to be  sure, but I wasn’t dying to rip his clothes off or anything (which good kissing is wont to inspire me to do). He’s rebuilding his life somewhere in some far corner of suburbia, and I’m living my mostly already rebuilt life in urbania. In other words, he’s too far behind my curve. I just don’t have the energy to be there for him as he goes through all the rest of his stuff.

And so it’s not going any further because I didn’t see it going any further anyway, not because of some messed up situation…and certainly not because he doesn’t drink. Still, I gotta say, that made for a pretty strange date…and I’m not sure I want to go through with too many more of those!

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