Long Post Alert
I've been on a lot of dates in my life. Some good. Some bad. Most mediocre. I realize I have a lot of first dates in my future (probably) but I can safely say that my first date with Tori on Friday night was the best first date of my entire life. Maybe even the best date ever... first or otherwise.
One of the best parts of our evening was the fact that I had spoken with Tori about all of my "first date" preparations. It made for easy dialogue throughout the night. For example, when we were walking into the restaurant for dinner, as we stepped onto the curb from the parking lot and into the front doors, I made my first physical contact of the evening. I gently placed my hand on the small of her back... only for a few seconds. (On Thursday, when I talked to Tori on the phone, I mentioned that I usually get pretty nervous when it comes to physical flirtation. I explained how I'm pretty good with the flirty conversations, but I freeze up when verbal flirting turns to physical flirting. She seemed surprised that I was telling her what to expect on our first date, but also seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the honesty. I told her that I'd at least put my hand on her back a few times to warm her up. She said something like, "Well... that's a good start.")
So after we had spoken to the hostess, Tori looked at me, smiled, leaned in little bit and asked, "Did you put your hand on my back as we were coming in?" She moved out far enough to see me nod my head in feigned embarrassment. She leaned back in. "Nice move, Calvin." I replied, "Thanks. It was harder than I made it look."
Conversation was great during dinner. I don't think I realized just how popular she is. She only graduated from high school a few months ago and so she still hangs out with all of her high school friends... like, all the time. I acted like I cared about her friends even though I really just wanted to hear about her. I asked a lot of questions and I tried really hard to listen to and absorb her answers. I wanted to be able to ask more specific questions later on that night just to point out how attentive I'd been to our original conversation.
After dinner we went to Laffing Stock. I like to take dates there pretty often so I can get a feel for their sense of humor as well as hear their genuine, intense belly laugh. It worked perfectly. Tori was laughing at everything that I was laughing at. She really got a kick out of the bodily function humor, which was definitely a plus. Several times during the show, I scanned her arm/hand placement. I noticed early on that Tori had placed her hand on the armrest between us. No matter how much she laughed or how much she readjusted her position in the seat, Tori's hand was almost always in the same place. It was like it was screaming, "Hold me, Calvin. Reach out and put your hand on top of me... please!" I don't know why I didn't, but I was petrified. It was, like, the perfect hand-hold greenlight and I didn't take it. One time, near the end, I actually noticed her hand was palm up. Holy crap, Calvin! What's your problem?
The comedy show ended and Tori and I started walking the two blocks to my truck. We were talking quietly about the hilariousness of the show. I noticed that she was walking really close to me and her hand kept bumping into my hand. I got chills down my spine every time it bumped. Finally, when we were about 20 yards away from my truck, I went for it. As soon as my hand bumped hers, (with open fingers) she grabbed it and started laughing. "Holy cow, Calvin! What took you so long?" I started laughing (and blushing... thank goodness for darkness). "I'm so sorry, Tori. I'm such a spaz." "I was giving you some serious greenlights. Didn't you see them?" "I saw them, Tori. I don't know what my problem is." Just then we got to the truck. I took my keys out of my pocket and unlocked her door. She was waiting for me to open her door, but I just stood there looking at our intertwined fingers, both of us stroking each other's hands as best we could while still periodically squeezing the other's hand.
"What's the problem?" My reply: "Yeah. When I open your door, I'm going to have to let go of your hand. I'm not sure if I'm ready to do that yet." I realized after I'd said it that it must have sounded like I was the cheesiest, homo-est person in the world. Tori smiled at me and didn't say anything. I waited five seconds, sighed and opened her door. "Ok, Tori. I'm ready now." Tori climbed in the car, but when I tried to let go of her hand, she squeezed tighter preventing me from letting go. She looked up at me and said, "I'm not sure if I'm ready, either." Trust me. It sounds much stupider as I'm typing it, but at the time it was the most amazing thing she could have said.
She let go eventually and I asked if she wanted to come to my work. I told her that I had roof access and we could go to the top of my building for while and talk, since it was relatively early. We went to the roof of my building and we talked for about 45 minutes. It was a great opportunity for me to ask all of the follow up questions regarding her family and friends that I'd been planning. We got pretty cold, though, and the whole "let's go to the roof" thing was spontaneous so I didn't come prepared with a blanket (mental note: always have a blanket in the truck). We left and I started to drive her home.
On the way home, Tori remembered the other things I'd told her I do to prepare for first dates. She reached behind the passenger seat and found my Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal. (I always try to strategically place in my vehicle something from my childhood. It shows my date that I have a sensitive, child-like innocence. It also says that I have the capability to "attach" to something, and that ability to "attach" can easily transfer from an inanimate stuffed animal to a long-term, committed relationship.) She laughed at the lengths I was going to in order to impress her. Then I sprung a new one on her. I asked Tori if she would grab me a piece of gum out of the glove box. She opened it up and couldn't help but notice a laminated copy of my Patriarchal Blessing sitting atop my pack of Pina Colada Orbit. "What's this?", she asks. "Oh sorry, Tori. That must be the copy of my Patriarchal blessing that I carry around with me for when I'm having a bad day. Don't read it, though. It might say something about you." That was probably the highlight of the evening. She laughed like it was the funniest thing anyone had ever said to her.
When we got to her house, we ended up just sitting in the driveway talking. Tori lives with her parents and siblings so we didn't really have anywhere else to go. We sat there for another hour, talking, laughing, holding hands... sometimes even dozing it seemed. She was tickling the back of my hand and I was moving my thumb across her thumb. It was the most sensual episode of hand holding I've had since I got back from Ireland. I also had my right hand above her head rest playing with her hair. She was closing her eyes breathing deeply while I ran my fingers through her hair over and over.
After the hour had passed, we both looked at the clock and noticed it was approaching 2am. I told Tori that I should probably go and let her get some sleep. She didn't say anything. She just looked down at our hands. After a couple of minutes, without looking up, Tori said, "Calvin, can you do something for me? It might seem like a weird request, but just think about it before you answer." I answered, "Tori, this date has gone so amazingly well, you can ask me to do anything and I'll do it." She hesitated for a few seconds and then asked, "Will you come inside with me and play with my hair while I fall asleep?"
I did not hesitate in my reply. In fact, I think I might have started answering before she had finished asking the question. "There is nothing I would rather do than play with your hair while you fall asleep, Tori." I was filled with nervous excitement. I was so nervous I could barely hide my quivering voice.
I sat on a chair next to Tori's bed while she got ready. I didn't snoop. I just surveyed as best I could from my vantage point. It was a pretty surreal experience. I watched her take her pajama's into the bathroom. I heard her brushing her teeth. She came back into the room wearing a tank top and some long pink plaid bottoms. It was easily one of the sexiest things I'd ever seen. She laid down in bed and I sat on the edge of her bed and we started talking again. She smelled like toothpaste. I don't think I'll ever forget that. She kept telling me how much fun she had on our date. She told me that I'm better than my dad had said. She told me that I'm hilarious. She told me that she can't wait to see me again. Each one of these statements got quieter and quieter, until she stopped talking. I played with Tori's hair for a few more minutes and then I walked out to my truck. I actually sat in my truck for about 20 minutes trying to decide if I'd just dreamed the whole entire date... beginning to end.
I tried not to think about how many guys she'd invited to play with her hair in the past. In fact, it didn't even cross my mind until Jake asked me. I don't even want to know.