–nickname, that is. When you’re trying to help your besties (or blog readers) keep date-people people straight, without the benefit of faces, nicknames help. A couple of weeks ago, ‘Wild Animal Man’ aka, ‘The Centaur’ and I had a funny exchange. It was endearing and revealing to learn what he calls me and to see his reaction to my secret name for him.
Background: When it comes to communicating verbally about matters of the heart, The Centaur is not great. For example, he’s never, ever, said many of the usual sweet nothings to me, such as “I like you a lot” or “I think you’re attractive/pretty.” We just don’t really talk along these lines. This may seem like a bad thing—but bear with me! That quality certainly keeps my walls up, which is kinda just the way I want it right now. And he has many other lovely qualities: he’s extremely fetching, he’s wild and passionate for life, and he’s great with his dog.
I arrived at a music festival knowing I’d see him there. I was looking extremely cute in a whole woodsy-hippie kind of way (lace-up sandals and an amazing thrift store find of a bohemian dress). He looked gorgeous. He is very tall, with broad shoulders and sinewy limbs. Chocolate chip eyes, olive complexion, a mess of dark, long wild hair all over the place. Very untamed, very sexy. I always get a little flustered when I see him and do weird stuff like spilling beer all over him or tripping over my feet like an idiot or accidentally sending him texts about himself meant for my besties. This time, I saw him just as I was rubbing handwash all over my hands with a grossed-out face after leaving the Porta Potty. Very cute indeed.
I flirted. He introduced me to his friends. I didn’t think a lot of it. A little later, he came over to my blanket. Was he. . . gazing at me? That’s the only way I know how to describe the goofy look on his usually distant face. His head was back, and he was half-grinning and looking at me as if he’d never seen me before in his life. Later, I went up to the front of the crowd to enjoy the last band. He popped up beside me and we had fun like we never had– dancing together, goofing off with his friends and loving the music. As the band took a break, and leaned into me. He’s so tall, he has to stoop to talk to me in a crowd. Swoon. The rest of the scene faded out and I was just visually, olfactorily and physically fixated on his undomesticated presence, letting him pull me close. He said something to me along the lines of “My friend wanted to know who I was flirting with and I was like ‘Oh, that’s just Mama Bear’ and she was like, ‘THAT’S Mama Bear? But, she’s really beautiful!’ and I was like. . . ‘DUH!’”
Did a grown man just somehow use ‘DUH’ in an attempt to formulate a compliment to my beauty?
:::::Cool story, bro:::: But also, his friends have had a nickname for me? Meaning he talks about me when we’re apart? My head spun a little with surprise and delight at this unusual, for him, self-revelation and the awkward attempt at a compliment.
But more useful, as a moniker, I LOVE ‘Mama Bear’! I like it so much I almost want to trade out the name Molly Undercover for it! It’s cute, and also fierce. When ‘Wild Animal Man’ moves on, as I’m sure he will sooner or later, I get to keep this nickname. And I love it. Thanks, my hairy and huge Animal Man.
‘The Centaur’ was a nickname that had been coined by a mutual friend one night, after this undomesticated man-person had stomped around for hours at a party in only cowboy boots and sparkly spandex–quite a sight worth seeing. The nickname just fit his oversized, lanky and beautiful presence. And, ‘Wild Animal Man’–another mutual friend started this after one night when he’d curled up right on my porch and fell asleep, snoring like an oversized bear, feet sticking eighteen inches off the porch furniture.
Right then and there, as the rest of the festival crowd seemed to fade away in the bubble of intimacy we’d created , I revealed back to him my secret names for him. He looked left for a moment, trying it on for size in his mind. And then, I could swear I saw his chest puff just a little, he rocked back on his heels, and nodded. Maybe he likes being seen, named, recognized, too.
Soon, of course, Centaur and Mama Bear went back to the no-talk, all-fun situation.
The brief, but cute, verbal interlude ended there. That night, we danced, listened to music and partied with friends in the woods. How totally just right for my newly single self.
A dream date is so unwordly, that afterward I’m left unsure that it really happened. . .
The opposite of nightmare dates; on a dream date, you feel like a million bucks, and your date seems equally delighted. Like the best dreams, it stands alone, carrying no obligation to the future and needing no memory of the past.
This dream date story involves Adonis, the Pilot (that’s what I’ll call him here). Adonis is a dashing, motorcycle-riding, swaggering pilot; a poet, a painter, dancer and musician. He’s downright gorgeous, with a strong jaw, perfect stubble, a confident swagger, luscious lips, multicolored green-blue-brown eyes. He’s a muse, and he inspires me to live an elegant, beautiful, life. Whenever stars align for us to spend a little time together, I’m overjoyed. And, just the way I like it these days, he’s not looking for anything committed or serious. When we are not actually together, we don’t talk or text, (perfect, I have my friends for that!) and there are no promises of future dates. Just the present moment, which is, at least for now, perfect.
This story recounts our second date: the afternoon of planned date, he texted to say that he really felt like flying in his meticulously restored vintage plane – would I like to join? Terrifying, but come on–who says no to an offer like that? Plus, he’d been a legitimate pilot for twenty years. I trusted he’d keep us alive, and if we did crash and die, at least I’d be having an amazing time with a hot guy in the process. There are worse ways to go.
I got ready (always part of the fun) as the anticipation built. I called just before we were to meet, to ask if there were any clothing retirements for flying in a vintage cessna. He said no, and I decided on something vintage-y that matched the lovely old Cessna: dark flared high waisted jeans, a bright colored sleeveless top with a cute peter pan collar, and strappy red sandals. As we chatted he asked for a few more minutes to groom his lovely self. “Just because I’d like to. . .I like to look good even when someone beautiful isn’t coming over to my house,” he joked. Adonis has got game, I’ll give him that.
Driving in his car to the small airport, we talked. The conversation touched on living passionately, and our feelings about death and friendship. (Really, if that conversation had been the whole date, it would have been a dream in itself!) We got there, and first he did a safety inspection, then showed me around the very sexy airplane. I could see his slightly obsessive love for it as he nerded out, explaining how it works and, in a move that I thought was quite considerate, the science behind how tough it would be to crash it.
Then there was the photoshoot. The midwestern sky was full of pink, blue and purple clouds. We did a couple selfies. He snapped about a hundred pictures of me with the airplane on my phone, ‘for your grandchildren to see what a confident and fearless woman their grandmother was’ he said. I felt gorgeous, and like a model.
We went up, and not only did he show off for a bit, but as an instructor, he gave me a chance to take the controls as well. This was thrilling, magical, and perspective-broadening. As I observed him in his element, and got out of my own, I began to learn what an intensely physical, mental and beautiful dance it is to fly a vintage small craft. For me, learning something new and getting out of my own element is my comfort zone. It makes me feel alive! I felt alive. When we landed, I was full of adrenaline.
We went back to his lovely apartment, full of his drawings and paintings, books, musical instruments, and vintage furniture. There was just enough red wine, and good lighting to made me feel like an absolute goddess. We sang folk songs together while he played guitar; at a few points, he’d thrust a harmonica or a violin at me to solo, (both of which–how did he know?–I used to love to play a million years ago when I was in high school. I now play very badly, but he still acted very tickled.) We danced and ordered food in–middle eastern. We had incredible conversations about philosophy, friendship, and more. He serenaded me to candlelight on his guitar. We danced in the pouring rain.
I left many hours after the date began, feeling I’d been swept up in a spell. I was pretty convinced that I was a magical princess witch who can fly and should be treated, toasted and entertained with passion, skill and beauty at all times! And why not? I’m pretty special (wink). I am basically ruined for average dates now–thanks a lot, Adonis! Guys, up your game!
Here’s where I get cerebral again, and a little Debbie Downer: there is a disconnect between a passionate dream date like this and a sustained relationship. Do the two even have anything to do with each other? If not, I might be ok with it. Maybe I never want a relationship again, but just a series of dream dates like this with different wonderful men.
Today, I’m going to have to resist the urge to sort that tangled knot, out and at least savor my memories and photos of the night (I’d show them to you, but then I’d have to kill you). Adonis inspired me so much! I’d like to learn to bring the dream more and more into my waking life, to my own muse, and to increasingly live my single mama life with the elegance and passion I see in him. Anyways, thanks for reading, and letting me tell you my dream date story!