The first date after my divorce was both terrifying and exhilarating. Starting the dating process after leaving a bad marriage was an exercise in courage; requiring both faith in myself and faith in the man who would be brave enough to be the first.
Weeks before the actual first foray into the dating world I took a chance and joined the internet dating experience. A long time friend essentially dared me to join, and shockingly I did. The old, backwards me never would have considered such a move.
However, the new and ever improving me was eager to test the water and see how dating would feel after nearly twenty five years of being out of practice. Around this same time I had made some giant lifestyle changes with diet and exercise, and my self confidence was growing exponentially with each pound I lost. My new smaller sized blue jeans helped me feel like taking a leap of faith and I made a profile and “put myself out there”. I was both scared to death and excited to see what may happen.
The lucky guy, I'll call him Steve, was also divorced and had been for a few years. He seemed charming, smart, and funny and was an ideal candidate for the first date post divorce. We chatted, texted, and started the process of getting to know each other and before long, he asked me out. I was thrilled, and totally shocked.
He knew about my diet and lifestyle changes, and most graciously offered to fix dinner for me while strictly adhering to the dietary stipulations! This seemed almost too good to be true. We picked a day and he gave me directions, and then, I completely freaked out. What was I thinking? I had not been on a date in over twenty five years, how would I know what to do? What would I say? How would I act? Crazy thoughts raced through my mind; was he a serial killer, should I cancel, what if he did not like me?
The days leading up to that Saturday were filled with the insane wanderings of a nervous and inexperienced woman who was just starting to find herself again. I seriously contemplated canceling, but after some much needed counsel from a dear friend and coworkers I decided to be braver than I could imagine and just do it.
Saturday morning I busied myself with some gym time to occupy my mind and burn off nervous energy. As the day turned into evening, a knot in my stomach came and I could not help feeling like a silly girl going on her first date ever. Years had passed since I actually took longer than thirty minutes to get ready to go anywhere. Scary, huh? Doing hair and deciding what to wear were making me crazy! Admittedly the weight loss and growing self esteem was coming at just the right time, yet still I worried about making a good first impression.
The new Blingy date jeans which cost far too much were worth every dime when I walked out the door feeling like a million bucks! That seems so superficial now, but months ago it was a confidence boost for a woman struggling to know if she was date worthy. Of course, the new black Spanx helped too!
The twenty minute drive to his house felt like three hours. Since he was cooking, I brought the booze. I made a quick stop at the grocery store and was off again. A few good girlfriends sent me a group text just as I was pulling in his driveway, putting me at ease. They always know just what to say. I am quite certain that I will never forget the feeling I had when I climbed the steps to his front door. I wanted to cry, laugh, puke and run away. I mustered all the guts I could manage and pecked on the door.
He was sweet, funny, a great cook, and we had an amazing evening. Of course, a cold beer or two helped my jitters drift away, and we ate, watched college basketball, and had such fun. I am sure he knew I was a nervous wreck, and he understood. That date was the first of several great evenings we shared. We are friends still, and I hope he knows how grateful I am that he was a “great first date”. I guess with Spanx, some liquid courage and some moral support from good friends, even a middle aged woman can find her dating game again.