April 13th, 2016
Have you ever been on a date with someone and called them the wrong name? And not like you slipped up and said Bob even though you knew his name was Bill. I mean, you thought his name was something else entirely. A few years before I met my husband, I met this really great guy. I don’t remember how we met, but I do know I went out with him twice and talked with him on the phone a few times before he told me I was calling him the wrong name. In my defense, I was teaching at the time and his name was an amalgamation of three of my students. I’m not sure how I confused it, but I called him Frank.
Brian was one of those really good guys. We went out to dinner for our first date and we talked the entire time. There was never a lull in the conversation, but even more important, while we joked and bantered, he never crossed the line into innuendo or anything suggestive. After our date, he walked me to my car and gave me a chaste kiss and told me he enjoyed our date. I left under the assumption he just wasn’t into me.
He called the next day to tell me he’d had a great time and asked me out for the next weekend. I called him Frank again as we were finishing our conversation. He hesitated, but ended up saying goodbye and hung up. He told me at the beginning of the second date and wondered if perhaps I was dating someone else named Frank and just mixed up the names. I wanted to dig a hole and crawl into it. I assured him I wasn’t dating anyone else and explained how his names were so close to some of my students’ that I messed it up. He laughed, and I couldn’t believe this guy liked me enough to want to go out with me even though I kept calling him the wrong name. When he stopped chuckling he told me that we had a “meet cute” story to tell our grandchildren. My heart leapt with that line. I didn’t know if I liked him enough to be thinking that way, but I did know he was a great guy and he liked me enough to be thinking that way.
We saw a movie that night and then went out for a drink and talked. It was nice, but while we bantered and joked, he never crossed the line. I knew he was interested, but I didn’t understand why he hadn’t made a move. He walked me to my car after our date and gave me a longer chaste kiss, but it was still chaste. For our third date, he brought me a small bouquet of flowers. He kissed my cheek and told me I looked great. I think we went to dinner that time too. He was the kind of guy who opened the door for me, who put his hand on the small of my back as we were led to our seat. At the movies he took me to the concession stand and bought me popcorn and soda. He complimented my ideas, my laugh, and my sense of humor. Most of all, he said he liked my wit. I remember having a great time, but in the back of my mind confusion reigned. If he liked me and kept asking me out, why wasn’t he making a move?
Up until that point, that’s what guys did. They bought me dinner, took me to a movie, and then made the move. I would push back and say they moved too fast, and then I’d go home, rarely to hear from them again. Those who did call again never called a third time if I said no. If I said yes, they never called the fourth time. I had no idea what to think of Frank…I mean Brian. He asked me questions and listened to my answers. He laughed at jokes I made. He looked at me, never past me. He was nice, and I didn’t know what to do with that.
On the fourth date, we went out dancing and drinking. He invited me back to his place, and finally made his move. He was the first man to ask me what I liked, to make sure I was pleased. He was the first man to tell me in the middle of making love that he couldn’t believe how lucky he was to have me there. He was also the first man to tell me I was beautiful. And when WE were through, he made sure I was warm and tucked in. He got up and brought me water. He waited on me, and I curled into myself.
I didn’t know what to make of him. I didn’t know how to accept his kindness. I wondered what was wrong with him that he thought he was lucky to have me. When he called me the next day, I didn’t answer and I didn’t answer for the next two weeks when he finally gave up. I didn’t know what to do with a genuinely nice guy. Besides, what would happen when he realized I wasn’t so great? For a long time I felt guilty for not answering his calls because I knew he would never know that the problem was me and not him.
It took a long time, but I realized he changed me. He opened the door to this other world where men honor women and think they’re incredible. He showed me that some men like smart women and enjoy making that woman feel special. Because of him, I raised my standards, and my views of myself. Because of him, I valued men who didn’t look past me to see if the next woman walking in was prettier. Because of him, I was ready for a nice guy when I met my husband.
So thank you Brian Jordan…or was it Frank?
To read more of our letters, click on The Path!