A Date, a Decade, a Second Date, Dementia, a Third Date, Redemption

I received a lovely email from a reader named Howard.  He enjoys my blog, lives in Los Angeles, and decided to reach out and see if I would like to have dinner.  He was funny and quite charming, even forwarded me a picture and his full name so I could Google him and make sure he was safe.

I was hesitant because you never know.  The last time I agreed to meet a reader it was Jeff, and for those who read my column you know he turned out to be a religious maniac who hated everyone who was not just like him.  I was nervous, but he checked out, so I agreed to meet.

I figure if I can’t meet a nice guy on a certain lame Jewish based dating site, then I might as well allow my blog to be matchmaker right?  Plus, he reads the blog, is okay with it, and was willing to go out knowing he was going to probably be written about, so kudos to him.  It was a date.

We met Saturday for dinner at 7:00.  I met him at the restaurant, got there early, and was impressed to see he was already there.  We said hello, he gave me a sweet hug, and we sat down to get to know each other.  It took about 4 minutes for me to realize we had been on a date before.

Ten years ago I went on a date with Howard.  Once it clicked in, I remembered our date, where we went, what we did, and what his deal was.  Clearly I did not leave a great first impression because he had absolutely no idea who I was.  Not a clue.  For him, this was our very first date.

When we went out the first time he was 44, had a 21 year old son, had been divorced for 6 years, owned his own company, was a casual smoker and quite attractive.  I was 35, divorced for about 4 years, my son was 4 years old and I hoped to have another one.

I remember telling him smoke was a deal breaker.  I also recall he was not interested in raising another child.  His son was about to go off on his own and he wanted the freedom to travel.  It was a nice date I suppose because I remembered it, but in the end just not a match.

I kept dropping hints we had met before but he was not getting it.  I mentioned the college his son went to, where we went for dinner, still nothing.  At one point he told me I had beautiful hair and I made a joke that he made me feel 10 years younger.  He had no clue.

I gave up trying to get him to remember and for whatever reason I didn’t want to tell him.  He was kind and I thought it might embarrass him that he forgot, so I let it go.  Turns out things had changed for Howard over the last 10 years.  Everyone has a story and a decade is a long time.

He quit smoking, get remarried, had another baby, got divorced, and got married a third time.  The man that was excited to travel and be free was now divorced three times, had a 31 year old son, and a son who is only 7.  It’s amazing how off track things can get when we plan too hard.

I came to terms with the fact Howard had no clue who I was, felt bad that at 54 he was dealing with dating dementia, and got ready to call it a night.  We had a nice time and I was glad I went out with a reader.  He walked me to me car and as we strolled he asked me out again.

I must have given him a weird look, or hesitated for a second too long because before I could respond to the invitation, it all came rushing back.  He looked at me and said he remembered me.  He asked if we had gone out before.  He actually started to remember a lot about our date.

We laughed, he was embarrassed but glad he remembered.  He went back over my jokes and hints about the past ten years and we were in stitches.  He then insisted that we had a million things to talk about and should now go out on our third date and have a coffee and dessert.

We left our cars and walked to another restaurant for a coffee, which turned out to be a cosmo.  Our third date was great.  We were oddly comfortable with each other and laughed a lot.  We talked about the past ten years, how much had changed and how different things turned out.

I suppose it’s possible we met the first time at the wrong time, and our meeting this time was not by accident, but rather better timing.  It could be our meeting then, and now, was a fluke and meant nothing at all.  Perhaps we both just needed a good date, and it was meant to be.

I have no idea what it all means.  What I know is that Howard is a good man.  I know you’re reading Howard so hello friend. You are lovely and I am glad there was only ten minutes between our second and third date, not ten years like it was between our first and second one.

I don’t know if it’s a love connection, but I look forward to finding out. I might not have left a lasting first impression, but the second impression led to a third date so better late than never I guess.  Instead of planning so much, I might just let things flow and focus on keeping the faith.