Our Guest blogger returns, here to tell us about her first date, checkout the background story here. As always Gertie will comment in pink and add a little spice to the story.
First dates can be tricky, especially if it’s been a few years since you’ve been on one. FYI, it's been seven and a half years to be exact. Even more so, if you’re not sure if it’s a date or a friend thing. This is where I found myself last week. Mr. Hockey and I had been texting back and forth one night, when out of the blue he asked me if I wanted to go to a hockey game. I know that he happens to be a season ticket holder for this hockey team and takes our mutual married friend to games all the time. This is where texting sucks! You can’t read tone and intent in a text message. Had we just reached a level of friendship where he was comfortable taking me to the game as “one of the guys” or was he asking me out on a date? I didn’t have an answer to this question, but I was willing to go to the game to figure it out.
We agreed to meet at a neutral location near my home. It was a little out of his way as he normally goes straight from work to the game, but I took it as a good sign that he was willing to deviate from his routine to meet me and drive in together.(I personally feel and expressed at the time it was in his way to pick you up, as a gentleman should) I was dressed in a team jersey, boot cut jeans, and my favorite pair of Converse sneakers. I kept the make-up light, on the good advice of Gertie that more is less. In case I had misread the text and this was a friend thing, just some mascara and lip gloss. Mr. Hockey was in a polo shirt and jeans. His jersey was in the back seat and wouldn’t be worn until we reached the city. I caught a whiff of cologne as I got in the car and noticed that the baseball cap that normally rides his head every weekend was missing. I took these as more good signs that this was a date. Gertie thinks they may have something to do with coming from work, but applauds your optimism.
We chatted easily all the way into the city. That is the only way I can think to describe it, it was easy to talk to him. None of the first date nerves that normally make me babble like an idiot, no lapses into silence while we each tried to figure out what to talk about next, it was so easy. We have tons in common and the more we talked the more commonalities we found.
We arrived in the city and here is where having background information on him through mutual friends was a huge help. From the married friends, I knew that Mr. Hockey had a whole pregame ritual that he goes through for every home game. He goes to his favorite watering hole a block away from the sports arena, meets up with his game friends (the other season ticket holders who sit in his section), has a meal and a few beers, and then heads into the arena. I was expecting this to happen and it did.
We were the first in the group to arrive at the watering hole, so we ordered and settled in. Over the next forty minutes, a string of attractive single men between the ages of 28 and 38 strolled into the bar and over to our table. Next time can I get an invite for a predate drink, and most of them had girlfriends or fiancee according to the version I was told. Apparently, the watering hole closest to a sports arena is where all women should go to find attractive single men. I was completely surrounded by them! Plus, as many of them were friends and/or acquaintances of Mr. Hockey, they were all making an effort to talk to me (find out what I did for a living, where I lived, if I’d ever been to a game before, etc.). I noticed that Mr. Hockey got a little quiet when the group around the table got larger and handsomer, so I made an effort to hang back with him and observe more than take center stage.
There seemed to be a pattern to the way Mr. Hockey introduced me around. When introduced to close friends, it was “This is Pon Farr”. When he was introducing me to acquaintances, it was “This is my friend, Pon Farr”. The friend intro made me worry that we might be crossing over into “friends hanging out” territory. I think he should have introduced you as the love of his life, possibly his future wife....jk but the"friend label" is a little iffy IMO.
Eventually, it was time to head in to the game. Mr. Hockey called for the check and paid it before I even had time to reach for my purse, another point scored for this being a date. We departed before most of the crew and walked alone to the arena. Now, we were back to easy conversation and laughter. For all that Mr. Hockey loves being in the crowd at games, I think socializing in such a large group was a little taxing for him. I earned some bonus points when I shared with him that I had grown up living next door to a former player from his favorite hockey team and that my childhood experiences at hockey games were from sitting in the players’ wives and sweethearts section. I was the sweetheart, of course. I even have the former player’s autographed picture calling me his sweetheart.
Right before the game started, Mr. Hockey asked if I wanted a bottle of water as he was going to get one for himself. I said yes and he took off before I even had time to reach for the cash in my pocket. This was looking more and more like a date, what with him paying for everything (not that I always expect the guy to pay for everything on a date, but as date indicators go, that is a solid one). He returned swiftly with a cold bottle of overpriced water for each of us and the game began.
I immediately noticed that Mr. Hockey went into “the zone” during the game. Conversation was out the window unless I was able to quote hockey statistics with accuracy and insight, which of course his game friends could do. The game friends were discussing the players, the coaches, the opposing team’s season, et cetera and I was left out. It was really starting to get on my nerves when the period ended and Mr. Hockey reverted to a normal human capable of non-hockey related conversation. As I had almost finished my water during his time “in the zone”, I took the opportunity to head to the ladies room and apparently missed one of his favorite parts of the game, when little kids from a local hockey team are allowed onto the ice during intermission for a brief exhibition game.
Mr. Hockey shared his vision of someday seeing his kid down there playing in the kiddie exhibition game and I softened towards him enough to overlook his behavior in the first period. However, when the second period began he went back into “the zone”. By this point, I was thinking “To hell with it, if he’s going to ignore me then I’m going to ignore him and enjoy the game.” I have been told by some that my behavior at sporting events can get a bit boisterous. I have a mean whistle that I bust out to cheer on my teams which makes my brother’s ears ring. Plus, I’m not the type of girl who sits there asking what happened because I don’t know anything about sports. I can keep track of the players, follow the score, and cheer accordingly.
This was the turning point in the date, though I didn’t realize it at the time. The more vocal I got in cheering on the team, the more Mr. Hockey started talking to me and ignoring his friends. The more I squealed and screamed at ever save the goalie made, the more smiles of approval I got from the game friends. Before I knew it, two things had happened. One, I was legitimately having fun with Mr. Hockey at the game and two, I was being included in the high fives and group celebration after every goal the home team scored. I guess I just needed to relax a little and let my inner sports fan loose. Um Gertie would like to point out here from the first blog that he enjoyed you cheering for your team while watching football, so watching you scream like the sports fan that you are is a turn on for him, DUH! Besides everyone loves a little team spirit.
Apparently, the game friends conferred at some point without my knowing and okayed my future attendance because by the end of the second period, I was asked back for a second game. I found this surprising considering our team was losing and knowing how superstitious Mr. Hockey and the game friends were about changes in routine. I had secretly feared that if the team lost I would be labeled a jinx and never invited to another game.
The game ended in an overtime loss and I walked out of the stadium and back to the car with a saddened Mr. Hockey. During the drive home, Mr. Hockey started asking more pointed questions about me, filling in some of the details we still hadn’t learned about each other. Another good sign, he was curious about me. We arrived back at the parking lot where I had left my car earlier and the date ended with an “I had a great time tonight,” but no goodnight kiss. The man took months to ask you out, do you really think he's a closer? I think you should have mentioned that he left before you started your car and was not as chivalrous as a gentleman should be. Albeit he may have been nervous, Gertie throws hammers at boys that leave girls in an abandoned parking lot at night. Apparently, Mr. Hockey moves slowly, really slowly. But that is a blog for another day.
Until the second date....Watch out for hammers,
Gertie & Pon Farr