“Where do you see yourself in five years?” The stranger from across the table looked at me with careful consideration; like someone who isn’t asked that question often but appreciates when it is asked (but definitely weird in this setting). This wasn’t a job interview, and he wasn’t a candidate for said job. Nope, it was actually a first date.
We had first exchanged messages on a popular online dating website. This was back in the era of “happy to lie about how we met.” Internet dating wasn’t as widely accepted as it is these days. Back then, the very idea of relying on a dating application to help you find a mate signified quiet desperation (at least to those who were having to resort to that medium). While my closest friends and distant acquaintances were getting loved up and married off, I was still kicking dirt and single as ever. It was becoming increasingly hard to meet available mates around my age who had decent jobs and a good head on their shoulders. I found myself going through hopeful date after hopeful date, only for my positive outlook to be diminished each time.
I grew tired of the game. I just wanted to cut to the chase; get down to brass tacks. “Look, I’m at the prime childbearing age, you wanna get married eventually or not?” is what I really wanted to ask them right out of the gate. Obviously, I didn’t. But I got to a certain point where I told myself to cut the charades and weed out the weak. I deduced that it was highly unlikely to find that one needle in a haystack by only observing and calculating moves from afar. I knew the faster I dove in and filtered the irrelevant, the faster I’d get to
the man who would donate his sperm my soulmate.
So that was precisely where my state of mind was at while sitting across from the guy I was on a first date with. As far as first dates went, things were going well. He checked off all the invisible boxes one tends to create for a meeting with an online suitor:
- His face and body matched his profile picture
- He was indeed the height he claimed to be
- He was the appropriate age
Chemistry is a tricky thing. If you have it with someone, it’s almost imperceptible because everything just seems so natural. But if you don’t have that je ne sais quoi, it’s the biggest elephant in the room. Luckily for us, that chemistry was there from the beginning. I felt an instant mutual attraction and I knew I wanted to get to know him more.
We had actually connected online months earlier (banter emails back and forth only), but timing didn’t allow us to meet right then. A few months went by without any communication, and out of the blue he messaged me to see if I’d be interested in meeting up. I thought, “What the heck, sure!” Therefore, the day we met, I had all but forgotten the basic details of his life (i.e., age, occupation, the general area in which he lived, etc). But this didn’t faze me, I was excited to get to know him again (in-person).
When we started to circle back to basic get-to-know-me questions, age naturally came up. Right before I took a nervous sip of my water, I had asked him his age. To my shock and horror, he proceeded to tell me he was three years younger than me. In that moment, two things shot through my mind. Holy crap, I almost accidentally spat out my water at him. And then: Oh damn, I wonder if he knows how old I am?
Fortunately, he remembered my age from my profile and had no issues with the minor age difference. But that fact coupled with where I was in my life (no more bullcrap dating games), gave me the courage I needed to get straight to the point. And that’s when I blurted out the question. Something in me, I guess, just couldn’t allow myself to go down another road of wasted effort.
“So, where do you see yourself in five years?”
I wish I could tell you his answer was magical and topped off with a neatly wrapped bow, but it was everything but. The guy actually answered: “Hmm.. no idea; maybe move in with someone?” It took everything out of me to stay seated and not run for the hills. The only word that was emblazoned in my brain thereafter was: maybe. MAYBE? Maybe move in with someone in five years?!
So, naturally, I did what any single woman of that age does in this kind of situation: I chased him down (figuratively) until he was ready to love me the way I knew he could. Ha, just kidding (but not really). In actuality, the date ended without much fanfare and then I let him walk me home.
I wish I could tell you how that guy is doing but I can’t, simply because I have no idea. But sometimes I hear him whimpering in the basement. And that’s how I met my husband. It’s been almost nine years since the day we met, and I am happy to say we celebrated our five year wedding anniversary last August. More importantly, we are indeed living together.
Do you have a funny or memorable story of how you met your significant other (past or current)?
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