I failed chemistry in high school. Twice. The first time I blame on getting mono as missing two weeks of school throws you for a loop. The second time I blame on the fact they gave me the same teacher, which I’m pretty sure is against the rules, and she wrote me off before we even started. (And then I got pneumonia and missed almost 3 weeks of class… plus I just didn’t like the class.)
Clearly not a fan of the periodic table of elements there are other types of chemistry I have come to more than appreciate. (Yes, this is a dating story …. no, it isn’t a bad one … so far.)
I took a break from dating for a while, choosing to just spend time with my girlfriends and my family. After the holidays I decided to jump back in and while I’ve done pretty well at finding the time I’ve yet to find a person where the circumstances make sense or the chemistry is so off the charts it doesn’t matter if they’re not. I’ve dated older, I’ve dated younger, I’ve dated new and I’ve dated people I’ve dated before. I’ve come to enjoy dating just to date, not as something I’m ultimately hoping leads to a relationship. I believe that will happen when all of the pieces fall into place without being forced and when I’m ready to let it lead to that.
Recently I found myself on a date. It wasn’t necessarily planned although we both knew there was a mutual interest. Our first kiss was one of those that makes the world stop spinning, the choirs sing, takes your breath away and all that fun stuff. Chemistry … the good kind and the kind that is hard to come by.
At our last stop of the evening we found ourselves at a table by the window at Barcelona in New Haven. I always prefer to sit at the bar, chairs turned towards each other, but in this case the bar and tables next to it were full. We didn’t mind our romantic little table for two.
We chatted, we sipped, we smiled a lot. About 30 minutes after getting there he excused himself to use the restroom. I took out my phone to check on the kids and as I looked up suddenly there was a woman in his seat. She had a smirk on her face and she looked at me mischievously and asked if he and I were on a date. Apparently she and her friends had been watching us intently trying to figure out the dynamic. (This is something we all do … people watch. I find I do it all the time, watching and trying to guess if a couple is on a first date .. I consider it a misery loves company thing.)
I told her it appeared I was on a date and gave a brief history of how we met and how the evening had progressed. I then went over to the table where she and her friends were sitting and asked what their dynamic was. I learned one of them is getting married soon so I passed along my condolences and we continued chatting about the chemistry these ladies were sensing coming from my table. As we chatted the table next to them started to listen in and seemingly the interest in what was going on on my date was growing.
Then came what might be the best dating moment of my life. A movie moment. Something you’d expect in a romantic comedy, possibly starring Cameron Diaz or Kate Hudson. (I once peed in the stall next to Cameron Diaz … on the set of There’s Something About Mary … and I sat in the room as Kate Hudson did a strip tease … but I digress.)
I walked back over to my table and told my date about how the woman had approached me and that they had taken an interest in us. I was standing in front of him, my back to everyone in the bar, when we leaned in for the kiss. As his lips touched mine the clapping started … then cheering … I think some people even stood up. (This is what he said as he was the one facing in their direction.) Instinctively I raised my arms to signal victory and the cheering got a little louder. We continued to kiss. Chemistry.
The extenuating circumstances are not ideal and we lead very different lives. Perhaps this was just a moment to remind me chemistry like that does still exist … perhaps it is more … I have no idea. I know I have made some new friends in the ladies at the table. Facebook brings us all closer together and I’ve learned more about what they felt they were witnessing that night. I know he and I will smile every time we think of that moment … be it together or apart.
I’ve been on dates where I wish someone would sweep in and save me. I’ve locked eyes with a girl who looked like she needed that, too. I’ve seen people hold hands for the first time, nervously laughing at the stranger they are studying and analyzing. I’ve had guys give me their numbers when their date goes to the bathroom. (At some point I might have even given my number to someone else when my date went to the bathroom.) Dating can be brutal. On this night it was momentarily amazing and I thank everyone in that bar for helping to restore my faith.
I took chemistry again as an adult when I lived in Vermont. I was a young-ish mother with two babies, a business to run, and another job on the side … and I got an A.