Having dumped last boyfriend, I was absolutely ready to play the field. I took a lot of glamorous selfies, and refreshed my profiles on my favored dating websites.
A week later, I am sitting on a flight, travelling out of town for work. When I noticed the man next to me is translating French to English. That was unusual for a Monday morning flight, my curiosity is piqued.
Without even thinking he might be dating material, I couldn’t help but ask him what on earth he is doing. It turned out he is doing a PhD at an Ivy league University, having graduated two years previously after a 30-year business career.
He is clearly in his 50s. We discover we both live in the same neighbourhood and are both divorced. Every time we claim that we must get on with our work, we erupt in chat again. After a pleasant hour we go our separate ways.
He Googles Me And Asks For A Date
Later that afternoon, I get a message from him in my inbox inviting me out for a glass of wine to chat about our exes. I realize he must have seen my name on my boarding pass and, after a bit of Internet stalking, got my email address from the company website. I don’t know whether to be scared or impressed by that.
I decide to be impressed as we had had such an interesting chat, but as I can’t meet at the time he suggests I decline, saying maybe another time. Nothing returns.
He’s Persistent And I’m Glad
Several days later, just as the summer gets going, I got another email proposing that we take his plane up at the weekend, as the weather is forecast to be great. HIS PLANE? And I can’t bloody go. I am committed to a friend’s wedding.
How do you write an encouraging refusal? Well, I do my best. Wow … I am being Internet stalked by a guy with his own plane … who I met on a plane. And Plane Man is a mastermind and minted.
Nothing more from Plane Man for two weeks. Not that surprising after two refusals. I decide that expecting someone to ask you out a third time is probably a bit much, so I send him a very affable invitation to dinner at a really nice restaurant in town. An acceptance arrives within minutes. Scarily keen. But I have a date. With a man with a plane. How intriguing.
First Date With A New Man
The evening of the date arrived. He was already at the pub. He stood up and, my God! He is kind, he is also tall! I had only met him sitting down on the plane, so I had not established whether my minimum height requirement of six foot two had been met.
Like most first dinner dates, it’s really all about exchanging information. He is an amazing and interesting man. His mum died when he was born, and he had a very poor upbringing with a single father. He got into grammar school and was top of the class, but had to go to work at 18 rather than university as it simply couldn’t be afforded.
He had always longed to be a teacher, but decided he wanted to make money first. He worked for a big corporation and was relocated to Atlanta. He opened his own tech firm there, which he sold 10 years later. Divorced, three sons, one long relationship since.
He is also interested in me and what I do, and he makes very good conversation. He accuses me of playing hard to get. I riposte: “I’m not playing, I am hard to get”. (Rather pleased with that one, actually, as I usually think of smart replies on my way home!)
He treats the staff at the pub very nicely, a key indicator of good-egg-dom in my book. It is, by all definitions, a good first date.
Despite my belief that it never happens, I am gobsmacked that I seem to have met a nice man in real life. OK, it’s one date. But he looks like a catch, so I’ll take it.
I don’t know if there is a lesson in this. Maybe to be always open to the odd chat, with the odd bloke, in the odd situation.
I do know that you are more likely to meet and date a random stranger than any one of your friends will introduce you to anyone. After two years apart from my husband, not a dickie-bird on the introductions. You are on your own. That much I know.