Monday, January 31, 2011

A Date with A Unicorn: Part 16

*I never wanted anything so much Than to drown in your love*

"State of the Union at my house Tuesday?" Mr. Unicorn inquired. "Works for me," I messaged back. "Shall I cook?" "That'd be great," he responded.

When Tuesday evening rolled around, Mr. U picked me up at work. We held hands and walked briskly through the night air while making our way to the grocery store. After purchasing our supplies, we headed back to the apartment. He opened up a bottle of wine and put on some music. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work preparing potatoes. So this is what being a part of a couple feels like, I thought. It had been so long, I'd pretty much forgotten.

"How exactly are you making those potatoes?" he looked at me strangely. "Because typically I..." "Psssht," I shushed him. "I know you aren't about to tell me, the Irish girl, how to make potatoes are you? Because if there's one thing we Irish people know how to cook - its meat and potatoes - just drink your drinky drink and let the expert handle this." "Sorrrryyyyy," he joked back at me. "I get it, I get it. Your people have a monopoly on potatoes. Got it." "And don't you forget it," I concluded. After which, the rest of the evening was pretty uneventful. State of the Union watching. Chicken Picatta eating. Red wine drinking. And then bed. Until...

I lay there wrapped in a comforter, warm and content. So serene and contemplative that my heart suddenly welled up in my chest while my thoughts and emotions seemed to burst all at once. And then I started to cry.

And boy, did I cry. I cried and I cried and I couldn't stop. "What's wrong!" Mr. U sat up in bed concerned and very alarmed. "I don't know," I said as I continued to sob. And I didn't really know. All I knew was that I was mortified and embarrassed and I felt stupid - to say the least - And yet I could not be cajoled to stop. "I'm not a crier," I insisted. "Really I'm not."

Which is true. I am not a crier. In fact, I don't think I'd cried in years. I'll say that again - YEARS.

I didn't cry when I lost my job. I didn't cry when I lost my money. I didn't cry when my birth mother abandoned me for a second time or my half brother cursed me out on the sidewalk of a DC street in front of my friends. I didn't cry when I was sick or when I thought I might die. But then... on this calm night, where everything in my life was finally fitting into place, I finally did cry. I cried for the loss. I cried for the pain. I cried for the happiness that had suddenly appeared. It had been so long since I'd been happy. And I cried for that too. So much wasted time. So much heartache.

"I'm," I whispered quietly. "But I'm scared." "I'm scared too," Mr. U whispered back. Which surprised me. Mr. Confidence? Mr. So Sure of Himself? Who had pursued me and wooed me and gotten me so successfully with such seeming ease and perfection? What could he possibly have to be scared of? "This all just happen so fast..." I continued. "All of it." "Hmm," he considered this carefully. "Do you wanna slow things down?" he asked. "I don't know how we'd even going about doing that," I said. "Do you wanna slow things down?" I questioned, worried what his answer might be. "No," was all he said.

"Alright," he continued, after awhile. "You are okay. O-kaaay. Let's sit up. Have a sip of water. Take some deep breaths. And go to sleep." "Okay," I nodded sitting up. I gulped down some water, took a few deep breaths and then lay my head down again, feeling very exposed, vulnerable and yes, super lame.

"We're in this together now", I thought, still unable to completely calm my nerves to sleep. And I knew there were no guarantees. After all, every relationship "fails," or at the very least, ends, that is until one doesn't. I wondered if this might be that one. And hoped this might be that one. And finally fell asleep, knowing that whether it was that one or not, at least we were in this one, together.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me! - Part One

Yesterday, was my birthday. And what an epically great birthday it was.


[wait for it]....



I schlepped home late Wednesday night in the ominous thunder snow for hours only to find an empty house with no electricity, no heat and nary a crumb or morsel to eat in sight waiting for me. Assuming correctly, that no positive change in conditions would likely come about any time soon, I left my own personal icebox of a home and made my way to my parent's always and infinitely more stocked abode. While they too were without heat, internet, tv or modern lighting, they did have a feast of food from a dinner party they'd went ahead and thrown anyway, despite the storm, traditionally equipped with fueled fireplaces and endless candelight.

We sat amidst the bedazzling flickers and flames and counted down the minutes till midnight, my 28th birthday. I kept saying aloud: "I'm 27, I'm 27, I'm 27. 27. 27. tweeeeeenty-seven!" I wanted to say it as many more times as I could, before it would no longer be true.

Have you ever heard the old superstition or saying that the day of your birthday, e.g. March 6th or July 10th or in my case January 27th, that whatever number day it is, 6, 10, or 27 that the year you are the same age number as your birthday day number is supposed to be your "Golden Year"? Meaning - your best year ever- ever heard that before? Which to me seems like a cruel joke if it were true for anyone born on July 1st or 2nd or 3rd. Then again being a baby or young child totally taken care of and oblivious to life's more complicated pains does sound pretty magnanimous to me now being a seasoned adult. So maybe Year 1 really could be your best year ever. Regardless, I had heard this old wives tale when I was a little girl. And in my less rationale childlike mind, I imagined that when I was 27 years old, that my 27th year of life would in fact be...the best ever. I often imagined that when I was 27 I would already be married to the man of my dreams, a successful attorney, living in a beautiful house and leading an enviable perfect sort of life.

In reality, as it turned out, being 27 was the worst year of my entire life. Instead of a handsome husband and an even handsomer life, I lost my job, my health, my savings, my birth family (for the second time) and with it -all of my sense of self-worth. I moved back to DC and back in with my parents and spent every day looking for work that didn't exist, being depressingly depressed and not to mention sick, bitter, angry and above all else hopelessly unhappy.

I couldn't stand to see anyone else in love or succeeding or contented. I stopped calling friends because I had nothing pleasant to say. I avoided children and babies and dogs. I once disembarked my metro bus one morning because a school fieldtrip got on and I couldn't stand to see the joy and excitement in those adorable (but at the time annoying) little faces. Instead I walked a mile and a half in the pouring rain. That kind of loathsome existence, was my 27th year.

You know how dogs and other animals can smell actual cancer? Well it makes me wonder if people can smell or sense emotional cancer. Because I was oozing with it. I projected all my misery onto every person and every thing and rejected all signs of life, which only sent me spiralling me ever deeper into my black hole of nothingness.

Then something changed. I almost died. Or at the very least - Really and truly thought I was going to die. And in that moment, I experienced for the only time in my entire life, actual terror. I looked up at my mother from my bed, grasped her hand tight, literally holding on for dear life and I said: "I don't want to die. I want to live." "That's good," she said. "So live."

And as you might have guessed, I did in fact, live. And then something changed again. Everything.

Everything I felt about myself and the world and the people in it. I wanted to live. I wanted to grow old. What a privilege. I didn't hate my love handles anymore or the laugh lines in my forehead or my chronic singledom. I rejoiced in happy couples and giggling chubby babies, petted every dog I walked past and smiled at ever person. I said "Good morning" to every bus driver and gave compliments to random strangers on the street. "Love your hat. Love that scarf. Where'd you get your hair cut cus its fab!" My psychological cancer had been cured and instead of permeating pain and misery into the world I beamed with unabashed gaiety. I was joyous. I was exhilarated. Everything was fresh and new and a total cliche of a gift. I was gleeful and grateful. Animated and amused. Humorous and happy and helpful and honest. I rejoiced and reveled and wondered in awe - I was alive and I wanted to live. And so... I began to live.

Give to the world and it will give back to you. So simple, so true.

With my new found optimism and satisfaction, I began to be noticed at work for my efforts. I made new friends and read more books. I drank less (okay, a little less) and exercised more. I took long walks admiring trees and called my grandmother more often and helped my parents around the house. When New Years Eve rolled around, I couldn't wait for a new year, new start. To put year 27 behind me and change everything for the better. 1/1/11. The perfect day to wipe the slate clean and begin again.

I wonder if that's how I really ended up with a new year, new man. I went to Mr. Unicorn's New Year's Eve house party without a single care in the world but instead with three bottles of champagne in my purse. I didn't care that I wasn't coupled up like most of the holiday revelers there. I was a lawyer, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I was young, I was pretty, I was employed, I had bubbly in my bag. Life was great. Let's celebrate.

Is that what Mr. U saw in me? A bright, happy, cheerful person full of hope and joy and possibility? Because, if that's true, can anyone out there tell me they wouldn't want to be around that or me? No wonder he was so enamored. No wonder he called me up and asked me out and no wonder he kept calling and taking me out. I was easy going and low maintenance and impressed and satisfied by everything. And with or without him, I'd continue on being the same way.

After a couple of dates I told Mr. U how hard year 27 had been for me. I told him how sick and I told him how unhappy I'd been. He said I should put 27 behind me. Like it had never happened. "This year is your year!" he said. "Forget 27. On with 28!"

But then I thought about it for a moment and I said: "Maybe I don't wanna forget it. After all, I met (or re-met) you when I was 27. I moved back to DC (a place I truly love) at 27. I chose to live at 27. I learned to live at 27. I became a better person at 27. Maybe, just maybe, after all the misery and all the failings, 27 was my best year ever. Not because it was easy (it wasn't) or successful (definitely not), but because I came out of all the blackness and muck and hardship, scraping my fingernails against the obstacles, pulling myself up and out and ending ultimately on the top. Different. Changed. Better. Happier. More Alive. And I can't thank year 27 enough for teaching me how much I have to be thankful for and how to live a full and fulfilling life.

When the last minute of January 26th, 2011 ticked down, I held up a glass of champagne alongside my parents. "I'm 27, 27, 27, 27..." And then counted down the seconds..."10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..."

"Happy Birthday!" we all three said together and clinked our glasses. "I love you," my mother said to me. "I love you too," I said back. "Good night honey," my father said to me, leaning down to kiss me on the cheek. My parents swished back the contents of their flutes and climbed the stairs and went to sleep. I remained downstairs, surrounded by candlelight, a little longer.

I whispered in the darkness to myself: "I'm 28. I'm 28. I'm 28." And then raised my flute and waved it in the air around me slowly like I was toasting an audience. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," I whispered again. To no one. To everyone. To the universe.

And so began, my twenty-eighth birthday. The first day of my 28th year. And it was Legend.... [wait for it]...................................................................................................................................

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Date with A Unicorn: Part 15

It's safe to say, dating Mr. Unicorn had been a rollercoaster with very high highs and very low lows, the kind of sudden dips that make your stomach flip flop and the kind of inexplicable twists and turns and warp speed that makes you feel euphorically alive.

After some of the most amazing dates of my life and also after some very honest conversations and necessary growing pains, Mr. U and I were set to have what would be our eighth and final "date."

This date was different than all the others. It was different because I had planned it, I would pay for it. And it had been all my idea.

We started the evening at Bar Pilar. A beautifully haunting bar, with small bites and interesting cocktails. Chandeliers fall brooding from the ceiling, couples flirt with one another across high wooden tables and the ultra hipster bartender chick with the dark eyeliner and checkered bandanna scarf concocts you a drink. As a super literature nerd, I love that this place is intended as an homage to Ernest Hemingway, hence the paintings of toreadors bull fighting, bizarre murals of half-naked mermaids at their best and a large depiction of the ragingly genius alcoholic himself.

I was a little nervous to see Mr. U. After all it had been a bit of a trying week. First with the difficult sleeping arrangements and then with the miscommunications over our relationship's biggest milestone to date. I wanted it all to go so well and as with most things in life, there was no guarantee they would.

He came in looking like he always looked. Bearded and classically, simply dressed, with a quiet confidence, soft glance and sweet smile aimed right at me. He'd been here before he told me, but enjoyed it and thought it was a good choice for a pre-punk concert dinner. We ordered octopus (unexpectedly AMAZING), italian meatballs and potatoes (delicious) and some green vegetable plate or another (which I didn't like but Mr. U did). I drank Dark and Stormy's (a dark rum, ginger beer mixture of some sort) while he drank whiskey.

While we drank and dined I told Mr. U how hard it was planning a date and that I had new respect for all guys everywhere having to do it all the time. "It's a lot of pressure," I admitted. "And as it turns out, I like being wooed a lot more than I like wooing. Go figure." "Don't worry," he assured me, "I'm not done wooing you yet." (Good man. What a good. man.) With that settled, we turned our thoughts to music and got totally pumped for the night's main event.

Mr. U is a HUGE fan of a local DC band whose two shows this weekend at the 930 Club (Saturday and Sunday) and another at the Black Cat (Friday) had been sold out for weeks. Mr. U had casually mentioned his disappointment at being unable to get a ticket to see them on one of our earliest dates. When I had thought to plan and pay for a date to celebrate his birthday, I instantly thought of getting these tickets some way, some how. It turned out to be easier than I would have thought. I called in a favor from a friend who manages a bunch of DC and Baltimore bands and coordinates shows at a variety of DMV venues. And we were all set! Just like that. As it turned out, a large group of my friends were ALSO planning on seeing the show and would be there the same night. I would finally be able to introduce Mr. U to some of my friends.

When I told Mr. U that I had obtained tickets, he hugged me so tight, I had to tell him to let go lest he crush my ribs. But I was thrilled that he was so excited. I had done good. And that felt great - to have hit the jackpot with my planning and efforts.

After Bar Pilar, we hopped in a cab and arrived at the 930 club a few short minutes later. They took our tickets and stamped our hands in heavy black ink. We stepped into the main room and looked around. It was still pretty early and my friends were no where in sight.

"So who all am I going to be meeting?" Mr. U asked as we stood in the back of the room facing each other with his arms around me. "Oh, just my friend J and some other people. They're cool." "I see," he said. "And do they know they are meeting me?" "Probably not actually," I answered back. "J has been out of town for awhile for work and we haven't really had a chance to catch up. And depending on who else shows up, none of them might have heard about you. But, you know, I'll introduce you as my 'friend' so don't worry. No pressure."

"Your 'friend' eh? Is that what I am? I'd say I'm more than a friend after 9 dates," he insisted with a mischievous look on his face. "Oh you know what I mean," I mumbled back. "And it's 8 dates, not 9," I corrected. "Pssh, 7, 8, 9- what difference does it make? You know what I think?" "No," I replied unsure of where he was going with this line of thought. "I think we should stop counting dates." "Okaaaaaay?" I answered still confused. "Which would mean we would no longer be dating." "Okaaaaaay?" I repeated. "I don't understand". "I don't think we should be dating anymore, because I think you should just be my girlfriend already." "Is that okay?"


Now despite the fact that I was internally giddy from head to toe and ear to ear, I am proud to say that I responded to this offer as cool as a frikkin cucumber. Meryl Streep herself couldn't have acted the part as unsuspecting, nonchalant and relaxed as I did. "Um, yeah, I guess we could do that." "Yeah?" he said. "Yes," I said.

Now because my head was about to explode right off of my neck, I had to reinforce these statements with some further validation, just to be sure I had heard correctly. "So...what you are saying is....when I introduce you tonight you want me to introduce you to my friends as my.........boyfriend???" "That's what I'm saying." "Okay," I said. "Okay," he said. EEP!

Shortly thereafter, my friends arrived, "the boyfriend" was introduced for the first time and the bands began to play. Mr. U stood behind me in the darkness with his fingers clinging to my belt loops. The music reverberated throughout our bodies and the concert lights washed over us as we danced and sang along to each familiar melody.

I was completely, utterly, senselessly, impossibly happy. Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy. No one seemed to notice that I couldn't stop smiling. That I was positively beaming. But I was just the same. I looked over my shoulder back at Mr. U and for some reason I thought to say above the noise: "We are going to have soo much fun!" He looked back at me and smiled wide. "You have no idea how much fun," he answered. ""

A Date with A Unicorn: Part 14

***A word to the wise, for my more hopelessly romantic readers: If you didn't like the last post, because it was a little too much reality, with a little too little whimsy, then you aren't going to like this entry any better. Let's just say, it's a bit dark***

Mr. Unicorn and I quickly return to newly-coupled dating bliss after a brief wrong turn down I-was-a-cranky-bitch-but-he-forgave-me Lane. We continued to spend time together frequently and sooner than I initially planned or intended things progressed to be "more serious." (Please be adults and interpret this last statement adequately so that I don't have to be more specific. Much obliged.)

And at this point, the two of us suffered yet another hitch in our giddy-up. After things got "more serious" or "more special" as it were, I didn't hear from him. For. two. days. I could have killed him. I was pissed off and also terrified beyond anxiety's belief that I'd been used and abused and made to believe in mythical creatures that promised happily ever after when in reality he was just another rabid dip shit dog of the male human variety.

At which point, I suffered yet another poor night of sleep wondering if this fairy tale romance had come to an end with me as the victim of a very very cruel joke delivered by the universe at large. When I realized I had about an hour or two before I had to start getting ready for work, and I hadn't slept a wink, I willed myself to get up, go downstairs, wrap a blanket around my shoulders, sit at the computer, and then I wrote the following, feeling numb and desperate:

"It's 4:21 a.m. and I can't sleep. This endless cold I've been enduring and too much food at a fancy dinner with my parents last night doesn't help. And then of course, there's you...

I'm so furious at you right now I can literally feel internal organs and veins and muscles seething with rage. I can also sense the worry in my face - behind my forehead and my cheekbones.

I didn't hear from you today. Not a text or an email or a phone call. Which normally would be fine. I've told you before I'm a "working girl" and I've got "things to do." Perhaps that was my mistake, but no, this time, the mistake is finally yours.

You men. You. men. Sometimes you men make me crazy. Make us girls crazy. And I just want to point my finger out into the universe at the lot of you clueless awful men. you, you, you, you...suck. So there.

Sex changes everything. Everything. It always does. You get it and stop being so nice all the time. Which disgusts me. Which pisses me off. Which hurts me. If you sleep with me then you better acknowledge my existence the next day. Or duly expect my wrath in timely fashion.

You're probably just really really busy. Just like me. And trying to play it somewhat cool. Just like me. And I know I'll see you in a couple of days and I know you know that too. But still...

I don't want to see you now. For this special night I planned. And I don't want to spend the night. And I don't want to continue to fall for you because the inevitable inevitably occurs - you let me down. And I am sad. And cannot sleep.

I suppose its some consolation that the moon is beaming over my head streamed with thick, swiftly moving clouds across the night sky. The man in the moon's head tilts just slightly to the right. His mouth is gaped wide at me, questioning. I could waggle my hand at him perhaps and feel better. You man. You men. I could blame you all for my insomniatic melancholy. But I think I'll just blame...him."

At which point, I closed my laptop, stood up slowly and walked back over to the kitchen. I stood in the shadows and made a pot of coffee. I poured myself a cup and wandered back to the den. Sipping my liquid cocaine slowly, I gazed out the window again, still wondering what the man in the moon might be trying to tell me. Then I got dressed and went to work and behaved the way the consummate professionalism might. At some point during the day, I wrote, and then posted, what I recall to be "A Date with A Unicorn: Part 10" which made me slightly miserable. While I wasn't thrilled describing how gosh darn dandy and wonderful he and everything else was not knowing whether it was all over or not, at the same time I still felt grateful for all the beauty and merriment and magic that I'd been given over the last several weeks. No matter what happened, I couldn't regret any of it or wish it undone.

I reached out to a friend to discuss the matter further. "Well what did you expect?" she asked me calmly. "Flowers, or something?" "No, of course not," I replied insistently. "But I did expect one god damn text or one god damn email. Just some acknowledgment of my existence." "I can understand that," she comforted me.

When I finally heard from was still not very satisfying. Instead of asking me how I was doing or saying anything nice or anything at all to acknowledge my existence or the fact that things had gotten "more special" or "more serious" and that that was a good thing, instead I got what was called "Unessential updates on my life", (no joke), which described what he had been up to and had in the days ahead of him, oh and also to ask me if we could push back our dinner date for Saturday an hour later because he had friends coming over in the afternoon. (Need I remind you that this was the special date that I had been scrupulously planning to the last detail and fretting over for weeks, which included dinner and a concert, and meeting some of my friends, as a thank you to him for all the amazing dates he had planned and paid for and also as a gift to celebrate his birthday.)

Let's just say, I didn't feel like responding to him. So I didn't.

When he hadn't heard back from me, he sent me another email. And another. And then finally, one that said: "What's going on? Why haven't I heard back from you?" And then when I still didn't answer, one that said: "Come over after work."

Had he really upset me. Or do I always do this? Block the very real and deep feelings I have for someone worthy, reverting back to my numb, stone-cold heart center, in order to defend myself against getting hurt? Is this why I have such impossible expectations of everyone, including myself? So that no one can ever live up to them and I therefore remain safely alone? I thought about just the other night when we sat in the car and I was kissing him. And he was saying how he didn't want the night to be over and I had said the same thing and there had been electricity between us- you know the way it feels when you're holding someone hands and it feels like the tenderness they feel for you is traveling along a line from their hand directly to your heart? I thought of this and then made my over to his house after work.

"What's going on?" he asked me when I got there. "You upset me," I answered plainly. "How?" he questioned calmly and seriously. "Well...(I struggled with my words)...the other was...a big deal..." "Yes...and?" (Then I found the courage to explain) " didn't even acknowledge my existence! for two days! Not a call or a text or an email. That made me feel awful. Can't you see that?" He pulled me against his chest and threw his arms around me. "I am so so sorry," he said. "I would never mean to hurt you like that. I'm crazy about you. I just thought you knew that. And we have our big date Saturday. I just...didn't think." "Well you need to think about it from now on. Whenever we're "together" like that, you need to acknowledge my existence the next day- in some way." "I can do that," he promised. "And while I'm happy to do that, and I will do that from now on, you must know that whether I did or not, I'm thinking of you every day." "Really?" I looked up at him. "Really."

And just like that, I was all in again. The whole deal.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Date with a Unicorn: Part 13

Okay, so you didn't really expect the perfect to last forever did you? Okay, so maybe I did and maybe you did too. But the spell had to break. And boy did it ever. Mr. Unicorn and I shared a couple of rocky days starting with a miserable night of sleep. Or perhaps I should say miserable night without sleep...

The first time I stayed over at Mr. U's on a night before a work day, neither of us slept a wink. We tossed and turned and tried to get comfortable. But couldn't. His apartment was too dry. I coughed. And coughed. And coughed. And then I coughed some more. He is always cold and likes things hot. The temperature in the room, the amount of blankets. The suffocating comforter. I fuckin' hate that comforter. I'd like to burn that comforter some day while Mr. U is at work. Which might have helped you guess, that in direct contrast, I am always hot and like things colder.

INSERT groan, moan, deep sigh, and primordial scream here. geeeeeeeeeeeeezus just let me get some shut eye!

After a restless night, I was exhausted. Not only had it been a long night, but it had been a long weekend before. I'd been traveling up north to ski and party with my old college friends for four days. The day before I'd gotten up, skied for 3 hours. Cleaned a country house. Packed up my belongings. Sat in a car crammed next to a travel companion while simultaneously being jabbed by metal ski equipment in my side for three hours. Then I'd gotten on a train for 3 and a half hours. Lugged my luggage on the DC Metro. And lastly mustered up every ounce of energy I had left to spend some quality time with Mr. U for several hours. After all that - I was running on fumes.

In the morning, it is safe to say I got up on the wrong side of the bed. I might as well have gotten up on the wrong side of the universe for all the hate and angry and ugly and cranky I had in my head and my heart. Needless to say, I wasn't the most pleasant person to be around as I got up at the crack of dawn and started getting ready for work. And to top it all off, it wasn't my space you know? Not my shower. Not my sink. Not my closet. Not my room. I was getting ready out of a suitcase jammed with big puffy made-for-snow ski clothes that seemed to drown out my normal work wear and every day items like my hair brush, pantyhose, etc. I couldn't find anything. I slipped in the shower. The lights were SO friggin bright too.

Alright, I'll just admit it. I. AM NOT. A MORNING PERSON. To begin with. If I haven't had my coffee yet - don't talk to me. On second thought, don't even come near me. Some crazy monster takes over my body. I'm like....I'll just say it....insane. And mean. This is not my best quality. Nor was this one of my best moments. By far.

Meanwhile, Mr. U goes into work about 2-3 hours later than me on average. The jerk. So he was all warm and cuddly in bed as I showered and got dressed. And he just lay there, all doe-eyed, watching me. It was. to say the least. annoying.

"Stop watching me," I barked at him. "But I like watching you," he said sleepily. "Well you're making me self-conscious. And its...annoying," I retorted back at him. "Okay," he said startled and turned over in the bed away from me.

What the fuck was my problem?? You know when you are being COMPLETELY awful? Like the worst version of yourself? And you do or say things or when its really bad DO and SAY things that are just so awful awful but you can't stop yourself? It's an out of body experience watching yourself be a jack ass willing yourself from your core to shut the eff up and not be hideous, but the train keeps flying towards the crash and ultimate wreckage. It can't be stopped. It just steam rolls ahead to shittiness.

And then it got worse.

I had pretty much turned off all the lights because they were so unbelievably bright my sensitive, non-caffeinated eyes couldn't take the exposure. When Mr. U got up, he started to turn on the lights. "No lights," I almost screached. "Well, what about if I put them on the dimmer..." "No lights," I said again firmly. "Whaaaaat-eeverrr," he mumbled and closed the door to the bathroom.

Oh....shit. I'd finally done it. I'd finally gone and shown my true colors, my worst version of myself, to Mr. U, and lets be honest - it was not a pretty sight.

When I finally got ready, I basically tapped my feet and looked at Mr. U and said: "Well aren't you going to walk me to the door?" "Yes! Yes, I was! I just didn't know you were ready." "I'm ready," I said. And I was. I was ready to get the eff out of there and get some coffee. (Mr. U doesn't drink coffee or tea and therefore had no stimulants what so ever in the apartment. This is the kind of lifestyle that makes me wonder if he is in fact a real live living breath human being because I of course am made up of 35% coffee surging through my veins, internal organs and skin pores at all times. At. all. times.)

"Good luck today" he said as he kissed me goodbye. "I don't need luck," I answered as I stepped out into the morning. "I just need coffee." The door shut behind me.

So what happened next? I got some coffee. A lot of coffee. I went to work. And I worked - hard - like super hard- (out of necessity) - for several hours. Finally I took another coffee break (okay I know I have a real problem but please don't judge me right now I'm baring my heart out here for you people) with one of my co-workers. I slumped into a chair in our lounge and it dawned on me. I was a bitch. I was a total and utter bitch. I was and am a complete fucking bitch. I have this perfect man. Who treats me like ridiculously amazing. Who is completely patient and kind and wonderful. And I go all bat shit crazy mega-bitch on him. Fuck me. Fuck my life. I'm a bitch. Fuck.

"What am I going to do?" I basically yelped to my co-worker. "What. am. I. going. to. do.? My perfect man has finally seen that I am a totally ridiculously bitchy awful person and I am never going to hear from him again. I am like, totally fucked. "

"T," she said calmly. "You're being overdramatic. Per usual. You probably weren't that bad." (Oh but we all know now that I was). "I'm sure you'll get some cute, sweet email or text from him in the next couple of hours and all will be forgotten." "You think so?" I asked desperately. "I do," she said.

But I didn't. I didn't get an email or a text or a phone call. It was silent.

Which was unusual for Mr. U who usually sent me an email or a text, albeit short and to the point, about every morning. "Have a good day." "Hope you are having a good day." "I'm thinking of you." "Looking forward to seeing you later." And so on. But this morning...and then this afternoon...for the first time. I got nothing. Nadda. Zilch. Zippidee-doo-dah-day. And I can't blame the guy. Like I said, I was a bitch. I wouldn't wanna talk to me either.

As the longest day I'd experienced in an even longer time ticked painstakingly by, tick-tock, tick-tock, minute by minute, hour by hour...I realized I would have to be the one to initiate contact. And apologize. Like really apologize.

So I did. I got on the computer and typed out the following email. "I'm sorry if I was cranky this morning. I. was and am. exhausted. But that's no excuse. Hope you are having a good and productive day and managing to stay awake yourself. T."

To which he replied, several hours later the following: "No worries about this morning. You are more than welcome (you are invited!) to stay again tonight."

To which I replied: "I think we need a good night sleep OR we will kill each other and all possibility of future sleepovers. It's hard sleeping with someone new initially."

To which he replied: "Agreed."

There you have it. The rose colored glasses came off. For both of us. I say with certainty that not everything is greener on the couple side of the grass. For example, sharing a bed sucks. At least at first. (I'll let you know if it gets any better in the future). And if you've read any of my earlier pre-Unicorn era posts when I talked about being single - spreading out over my entire cozy, deliciously soft and endlessly large bed - is and remains my favorite thing about being it. I love to sleep. I love to sleep long and often. And I prefer to sleep alone.

When I saw Mr. U later that evening, I apologized again for my childlike tantrums and he waved his hand in the air nonchalantly and assured me: "You really weren't that bad. I completely understand what you were saying about the lights. I really think you think you're less of a good person than you are sometimes."

Liar. He's a liar. I was awful. He knows it. And I know it. But he didn't want to upset me. He didn't want to dwell on it. And we both wanted to move on. After all, developing any kind of a relationship between two people (since no two people are exactly alike) requires ample amounts of patience, understanding and forgiveness. In this case, Mr. U displayed all three. And I couldn't be more thankful for that.

And he's lucky he did. Because not long thereafter, he needed a little patience, understanding and forgiveness, from yours truly.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Date with A Unicorn: Part 12

Does anyone recall Jersey Boy after all this unicorn insanity? Probably not. If you need a refresher you can go back and read my post from back in December here. The gist of it is that Jersey Boy and I are old college friends in a group of super tight old college friends. He and I have been friends, we have been more than friends and we have been just friends but also with some benefits. (I think we are all on the same page). I like him as a person. I enjoy his company. I care about him. I find him attractive. And we have chemistry. I think I can say with all likelihood that he feels the same about me. And its always been uncomplicated and fun and respectful. Our biggest obstacle was always geography and timing and then also the general consensus that we were better off friends than anything more. But I digress...

Now, why am I talking about Jersey Boy in a post about the now infamous Mr. Unicorn? That's because I spent the four days of MLK weekend skiing up north with Jersey Boy and some of our other friends. Did I tell Mr. Unicorn that I was skiing with a former lover? Err, no I did not. We hadn't been dating long enough for this to seem necessary. And to be honest, I didn't feel guilty about this omission at all. At this point in time, it wasn't any of Mr. U's business. On the other hand, there was quite a bit that could have been told...

Back in December, Jersey Boy had recently broken up with his long time girlfriend. And I, hadn't had a successful date or relationship in a very long time. It had been. a very. very. long time. If you know what I mean? (I think we're on the same page again). Jersey Boy had been inviting me up to NYC to see and stay with him with no doubt in either of our minds, what that invitation really meant. The two of us (and not our other friends) planned this ski trip so that we could be together. And then when Mr. U happened, well, things changed. Of course I was still going to ski with my friends. And was still looking forward to seeing Jersey. But since Mr. U and I had had the "we're exclusive" conversation (although we apparently weren't boyfriend and girlfriend yet either) the guidelines of how Jersey and I would interact had become a bit blurry.

At first, I wasn't tempted to ignite old flames. In fact, I spent most of the train ride up thinking of Mr. U and the dates we'd been on and the things he'd said to me during our time together. The song "the Dog Days are Over" murmured from my headphones as I spaced out looking through the window at the snow covered country side and woods entranced in a contented daze. I was happy. I couldn't wait to see my friends. I couldn't wait to ski. I couldn't believe Mr. U was back at home waiting for me.

And the whole weekend was one giant success. You know the kind of time where everyone gets along perfectly and everything goes right. You know the kind of friends that know you? Like really really really you and everything is an inside joke or a reference to a memory. We laughed so hard what seemed like every second of every day. We laughed so hard we cried. We laughed so hard we started to cough. And then as we all were coughing and laughing we laughed so much harder we coughed and then cried again. By the end of the weekend, I had laughed out every infinitesimal amount of stress in every molecule of my being. I felt like a million bucks. No, make that two million bucks. That's how good I felt.

And despite the fact that Mr. U and I had embarked on a whirlwind romance just weeks before, leading up to the the days before my trip, including the fact that I had been overwhelmingly infatuated with this person during most of that time, I didn't think of him much at all. I didn't miss him. I didn't wish I was somewhere else. I was happy with my friends. This began to make me worried. While ultimately I came to the conclusion that this was more a sign that Mr. U and I were developing a healthy relationship (versus an unhealthy codependent, obsessive scenario), at the same time, I began to worry and wonder if my feelings for him were as deep as I had previously thought.

And while distance might make the heart grow fonder for some, for me, its more likely that if you are out of sight you are out of mind. Fair or not. Nice or not. That's the way I've always been.

Combined with this confusing retraction of feelings for Mr. Unicorn, I was feeling the instant reinstatement of my connection with Jersey Boy. He knew me. Like an old friend. Like really really knew me. And we had the old banter and the old repertoire and all those good memories. On the drive up to the mountains we snuggled in the back seat of the car. Partially out of necessity, because the skis and other equipment took up most of the space. It had been a long day for me. I'd gone to work on Friday morning, then walked to the metro to take the metro to Union Station, then got a train and was now in for a long car ride. I put my arm around Jersey and lay my head on his shoulder and fell asleep. The rest of the weekend there were small moments like that one. Where we joked about a time we were together. Where we flirted with the idea of something happening again. We skied down a mountain side by side and we cooked breakfast in the morning together. We talked about his ex-girlfriend and we talked about Mr. U and we also talked about everything else in between. When the gang went out to some townie bars for the night, we danced with one another along with the rest of the group. After the bars, we came home and found ourselves the only ones still awake. We sat by the fire for hours on opposite couches divulging the deepest worries and reservations on our minds. It was so good to be with my friend. It would have been so easy to take his hand and lead him upstairs and find comfort that we'd found before in one another's arms. And I must admit, he looked so. damn. good. Better than I'd ever seen him. He just seems to get handsomer with time.

But I didn't. And he didn't. And we didn't. The thing about falling for someone and being committed to someone - is that it doesn't make you a perfect, human specimen over night. You might still be tempted by the attractiveness or vibrancy or convenience of another. And therefore, I don't blame myself for feeling something for Jersey Boy. But I do commend myself for making the right choice. In another year, with another guy, I might have sabotaged a good potential relationship, by making the wrong choice. For fear of happiness. For fear of happiness and then loss. But not this time. This time, I was strong enough to choose the happiness. And to take the risks that come with it.

Though the mountains have very scarce cell phone reception and even less Internet, I did finally touch base with Mr. U. "So am I going to see you Monday?" he texted hopefully on Sunday afternoon right around the time I started to take off my ski layers at the end of a long day hitting the slopes. Despite our radio silence, and the emotional and physical distance I felt between us, the answer still came instantaneously and without thought. And what Mr. U still doesn't know is that instead of taking the $10 five hour bus ride that would've gotten me home far too late to see him, I bought a $131 train ticket for a 3 and 1/2 hour train ride (just an hour and a half shorter) at the last minute to ensure I got back in time to be with him before the work week began again. "Yes, I'm going to see you," I said when I called him to make our plans. "I'll spend the night too," I added. "Can't wait," he said.

I sort of hate myself for saying what I've said above. On the one hand it makes me feel like I don't deserve my unicorn. That I'd doubt what we might have or risk it or reject it. That I could ungratefully shun this gift that has appeared impossibly from the universe. For me. On the other hand, it makes me feel like I chose my unicorn. That I considered the alternatives. Really considered the alternatives that were readily available to me. What I wanted. How I felt. What was right for me. I didn't like Mr. Unicorn because he treated me like royalty or paid for all our dates. I liked him because he was a good person. Because he was always annoyingly and adorably freezing cold. Because he made me feel like I was home. Because he brought out the best version of myself and made me want that version to be even better. This was the real deal. And I was scared. To cross the point of no return.

I got off the train at Union station and found my way on the metro towards Mr. U's apartment. He met me at the nearest stop and helped me with my luggage. The night was miserably cold and slushy, the sleet pouring down icily on my face. Mr. U held an umbrella over both of us (though in reality it covered much more of me and very little of him). He pointed out every puddle in my path. He wasn't the dream I had envisioned on the train. He was more. So much more. Because he was real.

When we got to his apartment, he had wine and takeout Chinese waiting for us. After a long trip, he couldn't have guessed better, what I needed. We caught up with one another about our activities over the weekend, ate our food, drank our wine and snuggled on the couch.

Later, we climbed into bed and the rest just happened. I had made my decision. And there was no turning back. He had the power to hurt me now. To hurt me to my very core. The way I hadn't let myself be hurt in years. But when you find someone as great as that. Someone you could see yourself falling in love with - you take the risk. You place your bet. And you hope it pays off.

Holding each other close that night, I looked at Mr. U for a long time looking back at me. I could still see the sheen of the unicorn, somewhere beyond his stare and encircling the space around him. But more than a mythical creature, I saw him for what he was. Just a man. Not a perfect person or impossible icon but merely a good man. A good man who saw me for who I was. And was risking his heart and his bets, on a regular girl. And that girl was me.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Date with A Unicorn: Part 11

After a deliciously casual impromptu Monday night dinner, Tuesday came and went without pomp or circumstance. Then Wednesday arrived and with it my fifth date with Mr. Unicorn.

Earlier in the week, Mr. U shot me an email asking me if I might be up for trivia for our Wednesday night date.

I quickly shot him a reply which stated the following: "Yes trivia. And on that note, I think as we continue to date there is something you should know about me...I. Heart. Trivia. Like a lot. Like a lot a lot. It's scandalous how much I heart trivia. I might even like trivia more than your beard. They may have to duke it out for my attention this evening. How ever will I decide.?"

To which he countered: "I heart trivia too, and never do it. So let's make it happen. I'll be headed to the gym after work then we can meet after? Also, I'm beginning to be a little troubled by your obsession with my beard. Even starting to think you only like me for the beard. What would happen if I shaved it?"

And I answered: "Don't shave it. If you do, I make no promises. And don't worry, I don't like you just for your beard. A lot of it has to do with your biceps too...Now, how am I supposed to get anything done at the office after thinking of those ridiculously jacked arms being rocked at the gym? You tell me..."

He concluded the conversation with: "Easy-You're not. See you Wednesday."

SWOON. Enough said.

On Wednesday, I worked all day in a fog. Nothing seems to get done anymore on days when I'm going to see Mr. U. I'm restless all day long. It's a terrible distraction. Something's gotta give at some point - or I'll be happily coupled up but unhappily unemployed. This is a problem.

I was wearing a black dress, black patterned tights and black high heeled knee-high boots. I wear black a lot I must admit. But I look good in black. And can get away with being slightly more casual at work, when its all donned in a serious, unassuming black. So there you go.

I got out of work and hopped a cab to P street. I arrived at Stoney's a few minutes earlier than our scheduled meeting time. I headed upstairs, where they hold trivia night, and headed straight for the bar to get a cocktail. Let's just say it had been a really long week. And it was only Wednesday. After all, that's what hump day is for right? Mr. U shot me a text that said he was on his way. I asked him what he wanted to drink and he shot back "Bourbon and soda." I absolutely love that that is exactly what I had already ordered - for myself just moments earlier. I ordered another Makers and soda and literally the moment I went to hand over my credit card to the bartender, Mr. U was next to me out of nowhere, pushing my hand out of the way. "I'll put it down," he said casually. "Remember," he said. "Saturday is your day to pay. Not today." (On our last date, I had insisted he must let me plan and pay for a whole date during his birthday week, since his paying for everything was getting out of hand and making me feel guilty. It's not like I'm a starving artist. I'm a lawyer. I'm all for being wined and dined and being a traditionalist and letting a man take care of and provide for me. But still...I'm not a gold digging mooch either.)

By the time we arrived, there were no remaining seats. Stoney's was oober crowded. Mostly with seemingly younger 20-somethings. Perhaps even college students. Grad students. And some hill intern types. Not that we stood out by any means. It just seemed that the other participants had all night to do as they liked, hadn't been working all day and didn't have to schlep to work in the early morning. We on the other hand, had been and had to and didn't have the luxury of complete reckless, drunken abandon. Sigh.

It immediately became apparent to me, that Mr. U was exhausted. He looked like he hadn't slept much the last couple of nights and his conversational participation was sub par his usual enthusiasm. "Tired?" I asked him. "Utterly," he admitted. "But I'm really glad to be here with you." "Me, too," I said. "And don't worry about being lively," I added. "I'm tired too. We can just take it all in quietly and just be together." "Thanks for getting it," he said. "Of course," I said.

This may not seem like a momentous conversation or moment in our relationship. But I would have to disagree. When you can just be with someone, without any expectations or requirements or efforts or conversation or activity and be perfectly content - you've found something special. We didn't need to talk. We didn't need to interact. We just needed to just be with one another.

On the other hand, I'll admit, this was the first time I realized that Mr. Unicorn was, yes, still a unicorn, but also just a man. A man who worked. A man who got tired. A man who couldn't always give his 100% best game. He wasn't perfect. But he was there with me. Doing his darnedest, to muster up the energy to enjoy an evening of trivia with me. Which I appreciated. So we ordered some food to share and leaned against the wall, taking in the revelry of the other patrons. Then the trivia began...

At this point, while I hate to diss Stoney's, a great local watering hole, I cannot help but comment- that Stoney's awful. They ask about one question every 25 minutes. And it goes on, and on, and on, and on...until the college students, with no responsibilities in sight, are completely wasted and screaming out profane and humorous responses to the proctor. Round 1. Round 2. Round 3. Round 4. Round 5. Round 6. Round 7. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? It was miserable. And endless. And Mr. U and I grew more and more fatigued with every 25 minute break in questions. And less patient. And less interested. Don't get me wrong, we were cheerful at first. We both have a great sense of geography and local DC knowledge. Mr. U has politics and history down. And I was able to show off my extensive background in literature, obsession with sports and pleasure in pop culture and entertainment. We made a good team. We weren't even close to the best of the bunch. But we were well above the average point scores. And there were only two of us versus dozens of teams of 4 people or more. We'll take it.

The highlight of the trivia experience came when they offered a bonus question with a prize of a free round of drinks for an exact, correct answer. The question: How many dairy cows are there in the entire state of Wisconsin, to the decimal point? To which I said: "I don't know. 5 million?" And Mr. U said: "No. No. More like 100,000." And then I thought, "There's more than that. And did you notice he said 'to the exact decimal point.' Which means there's a decimal point...Let's million." "Alright, 1.2. million it is," he agreed.

And wouldn't you know it-the answer was 1.2 million!!! Oh joy! How much fun was that. Forget passing the bar exam, this was exhilarating. Truly. We went nuts when he called our team name as having had the right answer. And that guy leading the trivia couldn't believe we got it either. Neither could the bar filled with people. It. was. awesome. After all friends, its the little things. Is it not? We proudly marched over to the bar and ordered our free drinks. Everything tastes better free. And we. were. ecstatic.

However, even the bonus round beverages couldn't keep us from wanting this trivia night to come to an end. And soon. For realz. Ergo, before it even ended, we skipped out on the final few rounds and headed out. Mr. U's apartment was on the walk between the bar and the metro (my destination to head home) and it was freezing. Besides that, it had been several days and now two dates, since the first night I'd gone home with him and we hadn't had an opportunity for "private time." Which we wanted. Forget being tired. (Some things are just worth rallying for. Just sayin'.)

We got back to Mr. U's apartment and spent some of that special time together. "You know I'll wait," he said. "Of course I'm gonna wait. But I gotta admit it's gonna be hard. Because you are so sexy. And I can't keep my hands off of you." "I know you can't," I said. (Which was an understatement). "But you're just going to have to," I said matter of fact. "Yes, of course," he said.

We decided the temptations were just to tempting and headed back out into the cold and towards the metro. I had a busy Thursday the next day ahead of me and then Friday I was headed out of town to go skiing for the long MLK weekend with my oldest and dearest friends. When Mr. U asked me when he'd see me again, I said I honestly didn't know. "What about Monday night when you get back?" he asked. I said I couldn't promise anything. I was traveling with a whole bunch of people and our group tried to be somewhat scheduled but also somewhat flexible and we'd have to decide as a group whether or not we'd ski Monday morning and what time we'd drive back from the mountains. I told him I'd keep him posted and I'd try to see him as soon as I got back if I could. Otherwise, we'd figure something out soon thereafter. He told me he'd miss me and to have a great time. I told him the same and once against descended the metro escalator.

As I left him this time, I had no doubts. No worries about where we stood or what he thought about me or what would happen with us in the nearest future. We'd been on five wonderful dates. Drinks, dinners, trivia, museums and house parties. Formal and informal. Public and private. One thing was constant throughout our time together - it was easy to be together, we wanted to be together, and something, somewhere, in the back of it all, there was this feeling like we were still on track for something special. We had only been dating for two weeks, but it already felt like two months.

I went home and packed for my vacation, excited to see my friends, content with the total confidence, that when I returned, Mr. U would be there waiting for me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Date with a Unicorn: Part 10

When I arrived at the Commissary, he was already there, sitting on a stool at the bar facing me standing in the doorway. Dressed down in a sweater and jeans (and not the usual suit and tie) I don't think I'd ever seen him look so sexy.

"Do you want to sit at the bar or get a table" he asked me. "Let's do the bar," I suggested. "We're 'bar people' after all," I said. "We are indeed bar people," he agreed.

And there we sat. Bodies turned towards each other on our stools. He sat with his thighs framing the outsides of my own legs closed together, gently squeezing inward. He leaned over and rested his hands on my shoulders.

And there we sat for hours, our faces only inches apart, talking softly in the dimly lit restaurant. Only parting to give our server our orders and to eat. We both got Steak and Eggs, which I recall being good but don't really remember eating it. There was only him. And me. And being together.

I couldn't tell you what we talked about. How we'd spent our weekends. A few stories of past travels. I told him about my favorite bridge in Venice, "Ponte de Sospiri" - The Bridge of Sighs - a spot historically known for painful and beautiful tragedies. He told me how he'd gotten lost in a field once in Thailand and befriended a local man who drew him a map to find his way home. And I kept thinking that I could listen to him talk forever... Had anyone ever captivated my attention like this?

Already I could feel us getting closer. I was no longer being wined and dined and introduced to friends, while we dawned our best outfits and thought of clever things to say. Instead, we were meeting at a late hour, at the last minute, after long work days, to find comfort and a breath, in the company of one another. In our street clothes. At our bar stools. His thighs wrapped tightly around mine. His hands on my shoulders.

When it came time to pay, Mr. Unicorn once again refused to let me contribute. And as honored and grateful and touched I continued to be at his adamant and continued generosity, I was starting to feel guilty at his unselfishness. I finally spoke up: "You really aren't going to let me pay?" "No, he said." "Really, I said?" "Really," he said. "You have to let me pay for something," I insisted. "No, I don't." He was resolute. "Okay.." I pondered. "What about, if for your birthday, I get to plan a date for you. I do all the planning and all the paying. For one night. How about that?" "That would be nice," he said. So that was that.

Towards the end of the evening I admitted my hesitance at accepting his last minute dinner invitation. "I shouldn't have said yes to this tonight," I explained calmly. "It was so last minute." "And I shouldn't be seeing you this often, if I were acting the way I usually do with new girls," he countered. "Well, I've decided I'm not going to play games with you," I nervously continued. "You better not," he replied and smiled. He picked up his glass and clinked it against mine. "To no games," he said. "We just don't need them."

Then we finished our drinks and left the restaurant linked arm and arm and walked to my car. I gave him a ride back to his apartment, put the car in park and leaned over to kiss him. We continued slowly and sweetly and tenderly with one another for several minutes. "I don't want to say good night," he said. "Neither do I," I said. He squeezed my hand and got out. I watched him walk to his door and shut it behind him. Then I slowly drove down his street and exhaled a long breath. Lucky, lucky me, I thought. Lucky me. With a soft smile on my lips, musing dreamily on this wonderful man, I eventually found my way home through the quiet and empty streets of the city.

Guest Post: The Layers by Andy White

*Finally, some male perspective on this, my undeniably neurotic, female blog. @andywhitedc is a DC resident, author and social media manager. In response to my frustrations with dating and recent Mr. Unicorn posts we've shared some lively discussions regarding the apparent wealth of eligible men in DC that my female cohorts and I are overlooking and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the problem may instead be that some of us girls aren't all that we are cracked up to be. Some of the time, anyways. Please check it out, comments are always appreciated and thanks to Andy for being my first guest post. Enjoy.*

By Andy White

The layers is a bold move. It's an elaborate routine devised solely to avoid paying the check, and to carry it out successfully requires timing and a flagrant disregard for both the truth and your fellow man. It has only happened to me once and my cap is still doffed in her general direction.

The hour of 7:30pm is about 25 minutes too early to play the 'it's late' card. You could hold off for those additional minutes, keep nodding and smiling and pretending to give a shit, but sometimes enough is absolutely enough. Even on a second date, apparently. Look outside for a moment. It's DC. It's winter. It's cold. What to do? Oh, look, you have a number of items around you: hat, scarf, coat. In other words, you have layers to attend to.

"Do you mind if I start the process of putting on my layers now, I have quite a number to attend to?" she said.

Through pursed lips I managed a cold smile and a half-nod, and the charade immediately began. The layers, they indeed began to be placed upon the body. The body that up until 25 seconds earlier I did indeed somewhat covet.

The process of attending to the layers - of which I will readily admit there were several - lasted a good minute. Maybe a minute 15 seconds at a push. I watched as she put them on, and she watched me watching her. Giving her the benefit of the doubt and the sheer number of items now adorned, that took us right up to 7:32pm. She looked somewhat fatigued following her exertion. It was late.

"It's late," she said.

Again, the pursed lips and the half-nod from yours truly.

"It's cold out," she said delivering a succinct barrage of small talk that was at the same time admirable and somewhat obvious given her multiple layers. "I'm going to head on out then," she said curtly, already moving towards the door that led out to the cold and freedom.

I looked down on the table at the wine and the conspicuous lack of a check. Then I looked up again. She was gone, leaving me alone with my thoughts. Said thoughts ran the gamut, but tended to circumnavigate the word 'bitch'.

Five minutes later the check arrived. It was 7:40pm. It was late.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Date With A Unicorn: Part 9

After my first overnight with Mr. Unicorn, I wasn't supposed to see him again until the following Wednesday. Once again, I loved that we planned all our future dates, in person, at the end of our currently going rendezvous. It made things so much easier. No wondering. No worrying. I could go on with the rest of my life - work, friends, fun, downtime - and still know that I was going to see him again and already be confident that he liked me enough to see me yet again. If we hadn't planned our next date, I wouldn't have had the answers to those questions so decidedly in advance. Instead, it was all-No stress. No drama. Easy. Everything with Mr. Unicorn had been easy. Did he create this relaxed interaction between us all on his own? Or was it the combination of our certainty for one another matched with our full, balanced and busy individual lives, separate from each other, that made it such an uncomplicated joy to date this man?

When asked by a fellow tweep how much texting and calling was taking place between Mr. U and I when we weren't physically together (I believe in an attempt to gauge the "normalcy" or lack thereof of the amount of texting and calling that was going on between himself and a new girl he was dating) I could honestly answer - next to none. We'd spoken on the phone once to confirm plan details the night before a date, texted a few "Did you make it home okay?" and "Hope you're having a good day," and had a few flirty email interchanges while at work involving some innocent jokes about showing each other our "briefs" i.e. legal briefs (or not) but overall the total amount of conversation was extremely moderate in the several day time spans between our dates. We were opting instead to tell each other about our days apart on our actual dates which allowed us to let each other live our lives mostly uninterrupted in between.

All this considered, I was very surprised to find an email from Mr. U on Monday afternoon (after a weekend without contact and a date planned for Wednesday) that cheerfully and briefly updated me about his recent going-ons, hoping I had been well, asking me if I might like to do trivia for our Wednesday night date and then suggesting the following: "If you're stuck in the office for a while, and want to meet me for a late dinner text me."

Hmm. What's this? A last minute date. This was SO not our M.O. This change in our pattern of planning reminded me that Mr. U was just another guy and that we were just dating and how was I supposed to act again when I was dating just another guy? Should I go out with him last minute on a Monday when we had plans for Wednesday? Was this spending too much time together too soon having had a date Friday overnight through late Saturday morning then having dinner dates Monday and Wednesday too? It seemed like a lot.

I did what any smart, single, social media conscious (or addicted) girl would do to solve a problem like this. I picked up my phone and sent out a distress signal to my tweeps: "I need girl advice! Mr. U and I made plans to see each other again this Wednesday but..." "He's just emailed me and wants to do dinner tnight! In addition to Wednesday I guess." "Too much too soon? Too last minute? Or should I just go with it?"

I knew the blogging and tweeting community was really and truly a community. But I never expect the flood of helpful responses that I immediately received and the dialogue that ensued amongst the lot of us.

@whatagrandworld: My advice is not that it's too much too soon, but here's where a little bit of game playing is okay.
Me: @whatagrandworld ooh now I'm intrigued? Game playing how? Do go on..."

: I think you should tell him you have other plans!

@mepper: if it's beyond 2nd date and you really like him and you're free then it's fine...

: It's not a "last minute" date, it's just a "casual" date. Just something more low-key.

@KellyAlysia: don't play games, do what feels right.

@WashingTina No games, do what you want, be yourself and just go with it.

Me: I'm leaning towards waiting to remind myself and him that I HAVE A LIFE!!!!
Me: i haaaaate that Im not getting any work done!!! #justbemyboyfriendalready so I can get back to normal!!!!!
Me: But I must admit I'm dying to see him.
@whatagrandworld Hahah I'm not saying I'm much better, but I love that nervous feeling. Until about the hour before the date. Then it sucks.
Me: hahaha me too!

@TheOceanFactory guy perspective- he's excited to see you. And wants to. Reality- sometimes things take time...
Me:@TheOceanFactory yay guy perspective thanks! know im being lame girl but ive actually been a coldhearted atty for yrs. Never expected this!
@TheOceanFactory: exciting I'm sure! Important not to lose who you are. I can be v aggressive but believe somethings you have to LET happen
Me: But its fun to be excited as long as i leave the insanity for my gurrls in talk and bring a rationality to my acts
@TheOceanFactory But do what feels right to you. Trust your instincts. Don't overthink it!
Me: @TheOceanFactory ok i wont.


Ultimately, the conversations came down to a couple different line of thoughts.
(1) Was it presumptuous for Mr. Unicorn to think that I would be available last night to hang out with him? Didn't I have a life before him? Didn't I still have a life? Shouldn't he think that my time was precious and full and that in order to see me he needed to plan dates well in advance as common courtesy would insist?
(2) Even if his last minute date wasn't presumptuous and instead was appropriate and only well-intentioned, wasn't it a good thing to slow things down, not go too fast and to allow ourselves to miss each other and feel that excitement of anticipation while waiting for the next meeting to arrive?
(3) Perhaps I should be playing hard to get and not show too much interest too soon lest he think I was too desperate or too serious.
(4) If I wanted to see him, I should just see him. Because we wanted to see each other.
(5) Girls think way too much about way too much.
(6) One thing was clear- I really, really, really, really liked this guy. A lot. Like, really. A. lot.

I hadn't made up my mind about seeing Mr. Unicorn. I don't know why I was so conflicted. I think that everything had just been moving soooo fast. And everything had been soooo perfect. And I began to worry that if I made this decision or that decision that I would somehow screw it up or ruin it. I just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

After hours of considering the options, I still hadn't gotten back to Mr. Unicorn to accept or decline his dinner invitation. In hindsight, this was somewhat rude and not at all like me. I pride myself on my strict adherence to rules of etiquette and constant intent to be considerate of others, aquaintances and strangers alike. I left the office without a reply. I received another message from Mr. U: "Ok-heading out now - text or call later if you want to meet for dinner later." I wondered if he wondered what my hold up was. I wondered if he was annoyed that I hadn't gotten back to him. But still I remained bent on silent indecision. I walked to the metro and road the redline 6 stops. I walked 100 steps up the broken metro escalator and stepped out into the cold slightly out of breath. I climbed onto the bus and sat in the back my cheek pressed against the window. The bus rumbled up the hill and came to a halt. Back into the frigid air, I slipped along the icy streets and made my way towards my front porch steps. Why did I feel so unsettled?

As I walked through my front door into the dark house I had a moment of clarity in the cold, empty silence. "I want to see him. I'm going to see him. Screw the rules." I fumbled around with my coat and purse in the black foyer trying to find my phone. I quickly sent off a text. "Yes. Dinner. I'm in. I'll already be in the U Street/Logan Circle area meeting a friend earlier. So... 9:15 somewhere around there?" He immediately responded "9:15-perfect. What about Commissary?" "Love it!" I said. "You've got yourself a date."

About 7 hours later I sent out another tweet...
"Out and about, but am I with #MrUnicorn?"

And I was.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Date With A Unicorn: Part 8

When Mr. Unicorn asked me to come home with him, I was initially hesitant. Thinking it was way too soon. That this romance had taken on a tornado-like fury and needed to subside to something more manageable. But then - something stood out it my mind. Earlier in the evening, while I'd been busy getting to know "the girlfriends" I'd overheard Mr. Unicorn talking about me to one of his friends.

"She is so fuckin smart!" I heard him say as if with pride. I looked over my shoulder at the pair of them. "She is so fuckin smart," he said again, shaking his head and smiling. I don't know why this seemed so important to me at the time, but those words rang in my ear. She's so fuckin smart.

Maybe because "smart" isn't the kind of quality you expect a guy to look for or care about in a hook-up or a fling and therefore it was logical that Mr. U didn't view me that way. Maybe because so many other guys often seem intimidated or disinterested or disapproving of the fact that I'm a lawyer. And the fact that I often display all the other characteristics that often come with that title - opinionated, engaged, passionate, talkative, independent, ambitious, contentious, stubborn, hard-working, busy and sometimes even brash. Or maybe it was because here he was bragging to his friend about me and that's what he chose to say: "She's so fuckin smart." I don't know whether it was the intellectual ego stroke or the intuition that this guy liked me for the right reasons, but I said yes. "Yes, let's go," I said.

We went back to Mr. U's apartment, the site of the infamous New Year's Eve kiss and didn't waste much time. If I were less of a prude (I'm not), I might be inclined to give you more details (I'm not). I can honestly and satisfactorily report back, however, that I stuck to my word, and he stuck to his word. There's was just enough fooling around to confirm our baffling chemistry and not much more. While he wasn't a perfect gentleman, he was, to his credit, reasonably well behaved. So there you have it.

In the morning, I woke up and looked down at the shirt he had given me to wear. "What?" I seemed to shout inside my own thoughts. "What? am I wearing?" I hit him with a pillow. "Does this shirt say 'Booty Squad'" I yelled at him incredulously. "Am I or am I not wearing a shirt that says muther fuckin 'Booty Squad'?" "No," he laughed, and pulled the t-shirt down flat so it became easier to read. It said, "Footy Squad." Something to do with a British soccer or rugby team. "Oh," I said. "Sorry." We laughed. "I guess you're awake," he said. "And I know I'm awake." "Breakfast?" he asked. "Coffee," I groaned.

And then, this man, who couldn't get any more perfect (in my eyes) did the unthinkable. He got up. Got dressed. And went out - in the cold - to get me coffee. And breakfast. (To any guy readers that are hoping this guy stops being so great because he's making you look bad - sorry - but it can't be helped. This is just un-fucking-believable).

He came back with breakfast and coffee and a paper and we sat up in bed and did crosswords, sang along to music playing on his laptop and talked and kissed a little more. It was perfect. It felt so normal to wake up there and just hang out with him. Like it was the most natural thing in the world.

At the same time though, it still felt as though the universe had shifted. Things were different. I could tell. To all those people who say that being physical with someone or going home with someone too soon doesn't matter or change anything is wrong. Not because this act or that act was done. Or not. It has nothing to do with any of that. It's just a deeper kind of intimacy. A familiarity. A closeness. What some one's place looks like. What books they read. Wearing their clothes. Knowing what they sleep in. Sleeping next to them. He wasn't my boyfriend. But it felt like that. What people in a relationship would do. Wake up. Drink coffee. Read the paper. And that is what I want. Obviously. I'm not trying to play cool here. Obviously. I clearly think that's where this is leading. But we aren't there yet. And we aren't supposed to be there yet. And why were we rushing it? With the exponential increase in intimacy, we lost some of that electric mystery and newness. I felt less giddy and more comfortable. Less excited and more content.

"What are you thinking about," he asked me. "Oh, just about last night," I answered. "Still not sure whether or not it was a good idea." "I'm sorry you feel that way," he said. "I'm glad you came." "It was nice," I insisted. "It really was. I just hope it was the right thing." He looked at me worried. "It was definitely hot!" I assured him. "It was definitely hot!" he echoed back. "We know we have chemistry," I concluded. "Oh, we have chemistry," he agreed. And then I kissed him.

Later on, Mr. Unicorn walked me to the metro and kissed me goodbye. "When I'm I going to see you again?" he asked me. "Wednesday," I said. "Till Wednesday then," he said. As I made my way down the escalator, I watched Mr. U walking away from me on the sidewalk freshly dusted with snow. I couldn't help but wonder if staying the night had changed the way he saw me, or where we were headed. I could only hope that it hadn't and wait - with bated breath - till Wednesday then.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Date with A Unicorn Pt7: The Third Date

As the cab approached Adams Morgan I wondered where we were going. I knew Mr. Unicorn was a big fan of Adams Morgan. I had been too. Once upon a time- between the ages of 14 (with an excellent fake ID back when anyone could get in anywhere) and about the age of 25. I love Adam's Morgan. I really do. It's a beautiful neighborhood and nothing quite beats a French martini on the roof of the Reef in the late Spring or early Fall and I have danced my soul out at Madam's Organ to the right band or ended a night burning that sweet sweet Hookah in my lungs. But sometimes it feels as those the men keep getting older, the women keep getting younger and the bars just stay the same. Let's just say I was beginning to get really tired of being confused with a regular every day AdMo Skank. Frankly, my DDD boobs are a masterpiece and I don't take too kindly to strangers getting their dirty paws on them uninvited. It'd be like rubbing your hands across the Mona Lisa. I'm convinced the greasy fingerprints might cause them to sag or something like the painting might slowly disintegrate. But I digress...

Mr. Unicorn loves Adam's Morgan. I was growing tired of it. Little did I know that he decided to kill two birds (or possibly three) with one night of drinking. He decided to take me somewhere I've never been (which is hard to do for a girl that's lived in DC for her entire life), (2) take me somewhere that would change my mind about AdMo and (3) take me to a place that he really liked and spent a lot of his time so that I could learn and experience something about him. Where did he take me then?

He took me to Bourbon. What a smart, smart man he is ain't he? In case you hadn't noticed, my name is Toddy. Bourbon, Toddy. And I'm not some girl that thinks it's cool to say I like Bourbon. No, no, I could suck a bottle of Maker's down like it was my bottle. Hold the nog, heavy on the bourbon. Woodford Reserve me baby, I'm done. Or just getting started...

Bourbon has an extensive collection of...shockingly enough...BOURBON!!!! And bourbon wasn't the only thing waiting for me at this bar, but several of Mr. U's "couple friends." Yes ladies and gents, it was only the third date, but I had found myself in the be approved by the friends zone. Deep breath girl. Deep breath.

But all my anxiety was unfounded. Before I knew it, I was in the center of the girls. Asking them questions and talking about the boys like we were in 6th grade passing notes and writing our initials in hearts on our pink binders. Occasionally Mr. U or the other beaus would come over to check on us. We would squeal and insist, "Get out of here. We're talking about you." They'd say, "I bet you are," and duck away. The men over there talking about who knows what. Me and the girlfriends, talking about what color one was painting the apartment she and her boyfriend just bought and moved into in their dining room. The only other time the men bothered us was to bring us drinks, then quickly dart away. Now to be fair, they were clearly escaping the insanity of female conversation. But on the other hand, that "checking in," that hand on the back, that bringing me another drink without asking. I felt taken care of. And I felt like I was in a group of men who deeply cared about the women they were with. Beyond sex. Beyond status symbols. It was like being in a room full of Unicorns.

Oh my god, I thought to myself in a bar full of noise and dark lights and shuffling. I've been doing it all wrong. I've been with the wrong crowd - these - are my people. It's not that I don't like the friends I've met and those I've interacted with in the last year. But they go clubbing. They troll for sex. They make out on the dance floor with complete strangers. They go home with complete strangers. And they eat chicken fingers every damn day and chug pitchers of Miller Lite - out of the god damn pitcher. Every. god. damn. day. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this choice. There isn't. But I like chicken fingers on Saturday. Filet mignon on Sunday. I like a good bourbon and I like a craft-brewed beer. I like my life filled with beauty and experiences and culture, not just good ol' American debauchery. Because why the hell not? I had to get out of the revolving door of my friends who were 30 going on 21 and start spending some time with some 26-30 year olds who were going on 35. I needed some more "couple friends." But first, I needed to be in a "couple."

Now if you aren't too pissed at me for my last few paragraphs of sentiment, I would tell you that the couples went next door to Peyote to sing karaoke. For the first time in the entire night, I took control of my own fate. "We'll meet you there shortly," I said, "we're gonna get one more round here."

"What's up?" Mr. U said, when the rest of the crowd had dispersed. "I just wanted you to myself again," I told him. We kissed a little bit and got another round. The truth is, I absolutely abhor PDA but somehow with Mr. U I just can't stop myself. My embarrassment is overcome by my need to be as close to him as possible.

Mr. U took me up the stairs. Apparently Bourbon is a series of bars, one on top of the other. The bourbon was taking its intended affect and so I couldn't tell you whether they are different bars or the same bar with levels. We went to the very top bar where a crowd of drunken revelers were dancing in a circle. We found a couch in the corner and proceeded to make out with reckless abandon.

Eventually, I stopped him. "I'm not just some girl," I said. "I'm not just some girl you met in a bar, you know." "I know it," he said. And then we had a talk that I neither intended nor even now agree with. It was too soon for me to stake my claim on him or him on me, but somehow we agreed not to see other people. He was sort of seeing some other women. I had sort of been seeing some other guys. "But I don't wanna see anybody but you," he said. "I don't wanna see anyone but you either," I said. "So we won't then," he decided. "So we won't then," I agreed.

"But I'm not going to sleep you for awhile," I continued.

That single statement ignited a conversation that made me blush in the unlit corner and that I still feel burning my cheeks as I type these words. And no, just like the lie that I told Mr. U and came clean about over dinner, I'm not going to tell you about this either. Suffice to say, being in a serious, committed relationship were my terms. And not just a serious, committed relationship in theory and in "words," lackadaisically spoken. We would actually have to be in one. He didn't have to prove it to me, but we had to have proof of it. And he accepted the deal. I haven't always been that way. But it's the only way I've ever really and truly been satisfied with the outcome. And this man, wasn't one to go off-script with expecting the same results. I wanted to sleep with him. More than anything. But I wanted this to last. Even more, than more than anything.

We went and rejoined the others at Peyote next door and the karaoke warbling was in FULL swing. At sight of Mr. U's friend belting out their favorite tunes, I was able to have a couple of beers and finally let my guard down. I danced and sang with the best of them and let my freak flag fly. This night wouldn't let me down. It belonged to me.

Mr. Unicorn sang more than once. And he was terrible. I mean awfully and truly terrible. I think part of him knows he is bad, but part of him still thinks he is awesomely good. And the dancing. Oh the dancing. Dear god the dancing. He does this thing, where he turns out his toes and he shakes his shoulders. Dear. God. Despite the horror, it's also completely endearing and adorable and a kind of confidence that can only be described as utterly sexy.

The night had been a complete success and the lot of us tumbled out onto the shivery sidewalk to bid our goodbyes.

"You know you could come home with me," he said. "I just want to be with you, just keep spending time with you. I heard what you said and I respect it. This thing of ours, we have time for all of that. But this night is ours. Let's see it through."

I stood on the curb, the cold hurrying my thought process. I wanted to be with him too, but I knew I should just go home. That's what nice girls do on a second and third date. That's what I had planned to do on this date too. And shouldn't he, as perfect a unicorn as he was, not try to get me to go home with him this early on? Shouldn't he be insisting I get in a cab, just like he always insists on never letting me pay?

A cab pulled over and he held open the door for me. I slided in across the seat and stared back up at him having made my decision.

To be continued...


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Date with a Unicorn Pt6: The Second Date Concluded

It was all too wonderful to bear. The flickering of the candlelight, the sheen of the chandeliers, my reflection in his eyes. He was being so honest and open with me and we were really connecting and suddenly my heart filled with dread and became anxious with guilt. "I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!!" (I had interrupted him and blurted out, unable to hold in my secret anymore). "I've lied to you, about something," I said. "I've lied to you and I feel terrible about it." "Okay," he said, looking at me confused and uncertain as how to react to my sudden and unexplained outburst. "Okay", he said...what is it?" I took a breath and looked down at my lap, unable to look him in the eyes.

It wasn't a big lie. By any measure it had been a small one.. One of vanity and pride. But I'd lied about something just the same. And to Mr. Unicorn- the first guy I'd really liked in a really, really long time.

Mr. Unicorn leaned across the table, took my hand in his and he said, "T, it's okay, Really it's fine." "No, it's not fine," I said. "I feel terrible. I don't know why I did it. It's was so stupid. But I just thought you were some guy from 6th grade I didn't even remember and I didn't want you to go around telling everyone I was a loser or something. I just didn't expect to like you so much." I was still staring at my lap at not at him. I was a complete imbecile stuck in the 7th grade when I used to get picked on. I was not acting like a mature woman and for this display of childlike falsehood I perfectly deserved to never have this perfect perfect man ever hang out with me again for being so lame and for being such a sham.

"T," he said my name gently. "T, it's okay. You told me the truth and you feel terrible and I forgive you. I understand. I didn't expect to like you so much either. But no more lying okay? About anything." (Great, was this the moment where I was supposed to fess up to the fact that I had a blog out in the world depicting every detail of our dates? Perhaps it was, but the moment passed. I could only hope that somewhere in the future, the Unicorn could find it in his heart to forgive me of that one too.)

How do you describe a moment like that? The feeling that he gave me? I think it felt something like feeling safe. Like who I was was okay. That I could mess up and I would still be okay. That he really genuinely liked me for who I was and I didn't have to pretend or be on my best behavior or say and do all the right things. I could just relax and be myself because this was real and we were something. And a man like him, patient and kind and honest really cared for me, just me, whoever that was. The security in such a realization was profound.

What can I say about that dinner? That dinner was amazing. It was perfect. Not because we were "perfect" (we all know I wasn't) but because we were perfect together.

When the waiter came with the dessert menu, Mr. Unicorn waved it off. "Not feelin' it," I said? "We have somewhere else to be", he replied. "Besides, I have all the sweets I need sitting across from me." (Trust me fellas, even really corny compliments work. In fact, anything that can be technically deemed a compliment, is going to work."

We left the restaurant and got in a cab and headed out to our next adventure. The museum, the incredible dinner and now what? The night was full of possibilities. In fact, that's all I was thinking about Mr. Unicorn. That he made my life feel FULL...of possibilities.

To be continued...


Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Date With A Unicorn Pt5: The Second Date Continued

After the Spy Museum, Mr. Unicorn told me we were heading to dinner within walking distance. He held my hand and we walked down the chilly streets of Chinatown. As we approach Zaytinya from down the block he emphasized that we were NOT going there. It was probably nothing but it made me curious. Did he not like Zaytinia? Because I loved that place. The food. The wine. The service. The atmosphere. I'd been on at least one first date there awhile ago, a large birthday dinner party and for many hh cocktails with friends. I wondered if he thought it was too trendy, or not trendy enough or maybe that it had been trendy but was past its prime. "Stop it, T, I told myself. You're overthinking everything again. Shut up and just talk to him. "So where ARE you taking me," I asked. "Somewhere that's good to go to from time to time," he replied. Shit. Shit. Shit. SHIT. I thought. He's taking me somewhere really nice. Meaning expensive. I was starting to feel really guilty about all the money he was shelling out on me. Not to mention all this lavish attention was making me embarrassed almost. Exposed. Pressured. Am I worth all this? What does he expect in return? Ugh.

I nervously told him that I hoped he wasn't taking me anywhere too nice because I wasn't dressed for it (I'd just come from work. I looked fine in a purple sleeveless dress, black cardigan, black tights and black ballet flats but I wasn't formal at all.) He calmed all my insecurities when he said, "Don't be crazy. You look beautiful."

Mr. Unicorn open the doors of Oya for me and it was incredible inside. I told him in all my time I'd lived in DC I couldn't believe I had never been there and I was excited to try a new and different restaurant. On that note, Oya is stunning. It is a large dimly lit room with glass chandeliers, faux fire that runs along the length of one wall, a cascading waterfall that hides the otherwise open kitchen and large white pillars that seem to emulate bubbles or wind or both. Its a truly dark, ethereal and romantically transformative environment and I was thrilled to be in this lovely place. If he was trying to please and impress me he didn't need to go any further. Signed, sealed, delivered- I'm yours. (And the dinner hadn't even started yet.)

I let Mr. U lead the way behind the hostess to our table. He started to sit down at the seat facing outward from the wall. Before he got there I interrupted, "Actually, can I sit there?" At first he seemed accommodating like no problem but then I could tell that when he realized he'd be staring at the wall all night instead of the deliciously stimulating surroundings he was momentarily visibly perturbed. Oh ho ho, I thought. What do we have here? Mr Unicorn has an actual flaw? My, my. I was wondering when they would show up. "I'm sorry," I told him. "I hate that you have to stare at the wall all night, but Ive never been here before and I really wanna look at everything." "It's fine," he said. I wished I believed him but I didn't. However, I couldn't dwell on it too long. I'd gotten what I wanted hadn't I? I couldn't further penalize him for something so trivial.

We picked up our menus and everything looked amazing. My brain was fried though from a long week at work. The thought of sifting through more options exhausted me. At work I make decisions all day. Every minute. And for the most part, I make those decisions without a blink of hesitation. But somehow when I get off work, the ability to proactively navigate life's options exhausts me. What bar should we go to? What kind of food should we eat? What movie should we rent? I told him all of this, that everything looked too good and this was making it hard to pick. Since he'd been there before, I asked him what he recommended. "Would you like me to choose for you," he asked. That would be great I said and gave another sigh, this one of relief.

Some girls might hate that - having a man order for them. It might seem too outdated or traditional but I couldn't have been happier to let him take the reins on this one. It's not that I was trying to be girly or anything like that. I genuinely didn't feel like making decisions and he got it. He got me. And he provided me with what I needed in that instance. Again, I don't know if that makes me sound lame - unable to decide my own entree - no choice would've been wrong - but I was tired, I commented I couldn't decide, he took over. End of story. It was easy and remarkable.

He picked wonderful things too. A bottle of Malbec. Lobster pineapple rolls, crunch tuna and spicy salmon. Perfection. "Can we handle a whole bottle," he asked before ordering? "Oh, I think we can," I responded with a mischievous smile.

The wine came. The food came. It was delicate and delectable. I couldn't have chosen better. The conversation, once again came and came without hesitation or silence or disinterest. It was lively. It was back and forth. It was personal.

Each topic became more and more complex, more and more serious. I felt like we should turn back to superficial things. Where we liked to eat and drink and go out in D.C. What work was like. What college had been like. Places we had traveled. But it was too late and there was no turning back. We talked about politics and then religion. Religion in extreme depth. Unusual or painful relationships with family members. I even told him how sick I'd been last year and all the other obstacles I'd come across that had made it the complete year from hell and how I'd pulled myself out of the 2010 quicksand to a better person ready to face a better 2011. It was a fast-moving train that couldn't be stopped. One conversation propelled another. One emotional revelation led way to a more revealing memory. And not one thing he told me made me like him less. Or question him more. Or doubt our compatibility. He only became more and more interesting and fascinating and worthy of investigation. Who is this guy and where did he come from? What an interesting life! What great perspective on his experiences! I just wanted to know more, more, more. I could only hope, that across the table, he was thinking and feeling the same things about me.

It was all too wonderful to bear. The flickering of the candlelight, the sheen of the chandeliers, my reflection in his eyes. He was being so honest and open with me and we were really continuing to hit it off and connect and suddenly my heart filled with dread and became anxious with guilt. "I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!!" (I had interrupted him and blurted out, unable to hold in my secret anymore). "I've lied to you, about something," I said. "I've lied to you and I feel terrible about it." "Okay," he said, looking at me confused and uncertain as how to react to my sudden and unexplained outburst. "Okay", he said...what is it?" I took a breath and looked down at my lap, unable to look him in the eyes.

To be continued...