I decided to go on a date with Owen after some messages exchanging back and forth on Tinder. It was one of those final days of May, and my heart was craving the presence of those men carrying torches passing by the dark tunnels.
It was largely about look and headline on Tinder, which is what lacks on Owen’s profile whose first photo is of a guy who is promisingly bald in the upcoming 5 years. But he struck me as a really nice, genuine gentleman and to be honest, I never let those ‘look’ thing decides. So yeah, a drink date was set up after like 3 weeks.
It was a bit nervous for me. I mean, I’m very confident with meeting new people, talking over drinks, heading back to the hotel and then fucking like rabbits. But this, regular dating, for people looking serious relationship (which is what I want), going for dinner, getting to know each other slowly, is all unfamiliar to me.
Therefore, words kept getting stuck at the tip of my tongue when I greeted him in person, looking very confident in shorts, hands crossed over his chest which gave away some of those curly hair underneath the t-shirt, standing right in front of my door with his vehicle.
“Nice to meet you!,” he started with a very confident smile.
“Nice to meet you, finally.” I was at a loss, feeling awkward like a highschool girl talking to Bruce Springsteen back in the day, or in my day, one of the Backstreet Boys. Having read something online about establishing the first impression in 30 second, I went on: “So I know a beer place, close by this lake where we can just sit down and chill, nice air, nice scenery, local middle-aged men, atmospheric, wanna go?”
Again, I retreat into that rather cool, a bit reckless, beer swilling oaf that I created a long time ago and have been thriving to become. But as the night went on, I realized that there is so much chilvary and gentleness going on inside this guy. Although he didn’t listen to those music that are deemed as “good” music by those cool kids, nor possess such “bad men” traits that somehow I’ve always been drawn to, Owen definitely got the whole MAN thing going on, so much that it made me feel like I could just relax, no need to toughen up myself nor surpress the silly, nerdy and maybe, as how DJ Man put it, “retroreceptive” side of me.
At the bar I stumbled upon an acquaintance. She’s a Vietnamese born living in the US, moving back here to start her writing project. “Are you on a date?” she asked, to which I responded: “Is it that obvious?”
We had drinks and then more drinks. And as the night sank lower, I could feel that we both got inclined to each other presence. I swallowed my nerves and moved a little bit closer to him while he was driving me home around those empty streets, getting swallowed into the yellow light cast down upon us from those sky lights.
Home arrived. Our hands started uninterwined as I got off the bike.
“Thank you for the night. I had a really great time,” I grinned.
“Me too. See you tomorrow.”
When I turned around, I saw Owen still looking back at my direction, giving a final hand sign before disappearing into the night. It might sound a bit strange but I thought, for a moment, he turned me into a complete jellyfish. A jellyfish.