I will be the first to admit that I love nerds. Growing up, I had an older brother who was four years my senior and the smartest person that I knew. He always had Christmas gifts that catered to his left-brained strengths – microscopes, science labs, and even an Apple IIc computer that sat on a footlocker in the corner of his bedroom. My parents separated when I was 10 and my father chose not to play an active role in our lives. My brother filled that void and was my father figure until he graduated and left for the Naval Academy. There’s an old adage that says a woman will date someone like her father, but for me it was my brother. In my world, there is nothing better than a cool nerd.
Date number seven was “Nerd-y”. When he first messaged me on Match, I ignored him, but he eventually circled back and hit me up again. I read his profile and I found him interesting. We had a lot in common and I sensed that he had an adventurous spirit. We exchanged a few emails and, after a few days, exchanged numbers and chatted on the phone. Our conversation flowed freely. He was an outdoorsman – he loved riding his road bike, hiking, skydiving, zip lining, and cruising on his motorcycle. I could definitely get down with his active lifestyle.
My original date seven canceled the night before (due to a frat meeting that he forgot about) and I was lucky that “my nerd” had mentioned us meeting up a few days earlier. He had plans to meet his friends for a late lunch at a new Persian restaurant and told me that he could meet at Atlantic Station afterwards in front of the movie theater. When I arrived, I called him and received no answer. I stood in front of the theater and did not see him. Eventually, I saw a guy who looked like his photo across the street. I decided to cross the street and as I was crossing, he decided to cross as well. I yelled out his name twice, no answer. Maybe this was the wrong dude? When I reached the other side of the street, I phoned him again. He finally answered and ran over to greet me.
He was much bigger than I anticipated. We awkwardly hugged and started walking with no particular destination in mind and he suggested that we should go to Meehan’s. Once we were seated, he unzipped his jacket and his true size was revealed. I can deal with a few extra pounds, but this dude had a stomach. I’m not talking about 10 to 15 pounds of winter weight, but a gut that reminded me of Santa Claus. Ho, ho, ho…Merry Christmas to me! I turned my head slightly, so the truth would not show on my face.
When the waiter arrived, he immediately ordered some French fries (didn’t he just leave a restaurant an hour ago). I passed on an appetizer and decided to get a glass of whatever cider beer they had on tap. I sensed that this was going to be a long date and a beer would serve as my coping mechanism.
To my surprise, I loved conversing with him. We talked about our careers and family, the Jordan Davis verdict (it made me second guess wanting to birth a son), our travel plans for the year, his love for biking and my love of running , hobbies and our experiences dating on Match. The ebb and flow of our conversation was unstrained and free of stiltedness. I laughed often and enjoyed his company. But… (there always seems to be a but), I couldn’t get over his weight. Not that I am the pillar of good health, but I have drawn an imaginary line in the mud and I know when I need to stop indulging on unhealthy food and start working out on a more consistent basis. Apparently, this dude did not share my same ideals on a healthy lifestyle.
I grabbed my phone out of my purse to check the time and an hour and a half had passed. Unconsciously, I sighed and his response made me realize that I had probably sighed out loud (I have a bad habit of doing this…so much that my last dog mimicked my behavior and I would constantly ask him “Why are you sighing?”). He reached for his jacket and I followed his lead. As he walked me to my car, I thanked him for the beer and told him that I enjoyed meeting him.
As we approached the stairwell to walk down to the parking garage, I caught a glimpse of a candy store to my left.
“Keep walking,” I mumbled to myself.
He obviously heard me because he insisted that we stop. “No,” I said, without much conviction.
“My treat,” he demanded as he opened the door to the candy store.
I acquiesced and entered the store knowing that I have a love hate relationship with candy. My addiction to sugar is real. I had a flashback of my former addictions to Twizzlers, Red Vines, Gobstoppers, Nerds, and Gummy Bears. Over the years, I sabotaged a number of workouts with an overindulgence of sugar. I walked around and quickly cherry-picked an assortment of my favorite flavors of Jelly Belly’s and Gummy Bears. He paid and we headed to the car.
We said our goodbyes and hugged briefly. As I drove home and munched on candy, I envisioned us together with full cheeks and rotund bellies looking like Mr. and Mrs. Claus. There are only so many dinners that you can share together where you watch someone indulge in whatever they desire, while you are feasting on healthy food void of any real flavor. Nah, that ain’t happening. If I only had the willpower to say strong, I would take the time to get to know him better.
Am I being too harsh? Maybe. But what I know about dating over 40 is that men and women are set in their ways and change only occurs if the individual wants to change. If I can’t accept him as he is now, it will never work. At this season in my life, I wouldn’t want him to end up resenting me for imposing my healthy lifestyle on him.
He appeared to be a good guy, but not quite the one for me and that’s okay.
My self-imposed challenge continues. One of these weeks, I will get it right.