Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The One That Got Away

Once upon a time, a long time ago...
I was on a lunch date, nowhere near home, with a guy I was either dating at the time, or had recently been friend-zoned by. I can't remember if we were actively dating at that point in time or not. We were not near my home or his home; this part is significant. Out of nowhere, my date said, "Someone is looking at you. I think he's about to come up..." And sure enough, someone tapped me on the shoulder right then.
Much to my surprise, it was The One Who Got Away (TOWGA)several years earlier. Not only was it TOWGA, but he lived overseas. When I say this was incredibly unexpected, I really mean it! I hadn't seen him in years (because he lived overseas). How and what he was doing there nowhere near anything relevant, I have no idea. But nonetheless, he was there.
I was so surprised to see him that I managed to forget his name, plus my date's name. Seriously. Forgot both guys' names at the same time. TOWGA and I had known each other (very well) for about 13 years at that point. My date and I had been something undefined and still unclear for about a year.
In other words, I shouldn't have forgotten their names. But I did.
I was completely caught off-guard and went totally tongue-tied. The guys were left to introduce themselves to each other. It was awkward.
But then it got funny. Or at least in hindsight it was funny. At the time it was just awkward.
The two guys sized each other up and did some classic posturing and peacocking. I mostly stood there trying to figure out how and why TOWGA was in the middle of nothing relevant, and not in a foreign country. Conversation was briefly made, but not made well.
I finally took a deep breath and took a good look at TOWGA. He looked just the way I remembered him- always in need of a haircut 2 weeks ago, and wearing a slightly off-beat suit and shoes. He never wore typical, conservative suits. He gravitated more towards colors and the nutty professor look. (Not that he knew it.) I always liked his not traditional look. He wasn't much taller than me, blonde, and had a charming smile that always made you wonder what he was really up to.
It took all of two seconds to remember everything I ever liked about him. He and I technically never dated. But the feelings and emotions regarding him are as if I had. It's open conversation between us that we never dated, but always thought we would someday. I liked him, he had a girlfriend, he liked me, I had a boyfriend, etc. I dated his friends, he dated mine. We just never got the timing right. We've gone on a few dates, about 5 years apart usually. We have a wonderfully close and caring relationship. Like I said, he's The One Who Got Away. He's a good guy who will always hold a special place in my heart, and I wouldn't be embarrassed if he read this. (I'm pretty sure he already knows.)
But then I looked over at my actual lunch date. He was also wearing a slightly off-beat suit. In fact, both guys were wearing olive green tweed jackets over brown pants, with a tie. And they had on the same exact shoes- burgundy/mahogany loafers. They were the same height, with rakish blond hair.
And that's when it hit me.
I have a type.
I didn't know I had a type right until that very moment. 20+ years of dating and I had no idea I had a type. In fact, the similarities didn't end there. Both guys love sci-fi, tabletop/board gaming, can best anyone in fantasy trivia, and have an interesting political viewpoint.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how many guys I've been involved with that meet that description. In fact, the overall majority sound exactly like that. There are a few odd exceptions, but for the most part, all my men have been sci-fi/fantasy nerds, loved board games, knew way too much about superheroes, and liked politics.
For a few days, maybe even weeks, that epiphany bothered me. Until one day when I realized, that wasn't a bad way to describe me too. I love sci-fi/fantasy, I rock at tabletop/board games, love ALL pop culture trivia (particularly superheroes), and love politics.
Is it so wrong that I tend to gravitate towards men I share these things in common with? I don't think so.
But here's my point-
It took me over 20 years of dating to realize I have a type. After 20 years of dating I still have a few things to learn. I haven't mastered dating yet, and probably never will. And that's all fine and good, but what does realizing I have a type mean for me?
Well, in my case, I took a step back and realized something. This type of guy is always fun, and I am always drawn to him. But after 15 years of finding myself with that kind of guy, maybe it's time to accept that while he's fun, the relationships never work out. Maybe I should be looking for something different? But then, is it my type that isn't working? Or is it something else? (And there are a lot of something elses it could be.)
It's something to think about. Which means that now, after 24 years of dating, I still have more to learn.

Oh, and for the record, I think maybe someday I will label the guy that was my lunch date as The Other One Who Got Away. Our relationship never really took off for a variety of reasons, but it had its moments. He was/is a great guy that I have few negative things to say about. Our friendship continues, although the romance is dead. But things continue to evolve there, and I'm not sure how I will label him in the future. It could go many ways. Only time will tell.
(The highlight of that crazy lunch though was watching him pretend not to be jealous, while being obviously, incredibly jealous. It made me realize that maybe he liked me more than he ever let on.)

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