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The First Date

I’ve always been that girl who hangs out with all the guys. I love my girlfriends, but when the boys are watching football or going out to the clubs, I like to tag along. Sometimes hanging out with the boys is just easier-OK, and maybe since I’m single it fills that romantic-companion void. It’s like having a great relationship without all the messiness that comes with sex and commitment.Recently, however, I have been the subject of an ongoing intervention. A few of my girlfriends and even my mom-who’s so not one of those moms-have been trying to convince me to “go girlie.” That means losing my usual weekend uniform of baseball hat and green Doors zip-up. I guess that puts me somewhere between PJ Franklin from the cute new TBS series My Boys and Sex and the City’s ever-so-clich‚d Carrie Bradshaw (both are writers, too, btw). I always thought the girl-next-door look worked for me at times, but when you’re in your 30s (I’m 32 and a freakin’ half!), looking that young starts to get very old. Speaking of old, I had back surgery recently. A microdiscectomy, to be exact. Basically, I had a bulging disc removed that was pinching nerves down my leg, making it nearly impossible to walk-much less keep up my eight-nights-a-week bar-hopping habit. So, after more than a month-long hiatus from the nightlife scene, my first night out was, coincidentally, a first date with an orthopedic surgeon. Not the doctor who did my surgery, of course, but the first spine surgeon I saw when I was weighing my options. The day of my appointment with him, I was in one of my girl-next-door moods. My hair might have even been in braids, and my parents were there (how hot is that?). When Dr. McMaybe walked in to introduce himself, I knew I couldn’t have this guy do my surgery, no matter how impressive his credentials. That would mean he’d have to see my bare butt! To make a long story short, I Googled the good doctor after the appointment and did some subsequent homework on him. I found out we have a mutual friend who’s a physical therapist, and that’s how the set-up happened. I figured, even in my excruciatingly painful state, a single girl needs to have a little fun! He e-mailed and called, and date No. 1 finally happened my first night on the town after a two-week medical leave. It was a Saturday, and we went to Mirai, a great date spot and one of my favorites for sushi. We were both giddy, and he was wearing glasses that hid his light blue eyes. When he took them off midway through dinner, I felt like Lois Lane the first time Clark Kent revealed himself to be Superman. (As much as I can be totally cynical about this dating stuff, I’m also a hopeless romantic.) It could have been the camel-colored, cable-knit sweater dress my mom made me wear (though I would have normally gone with the typical designer jeans and cleavage-bearing camisole, she thought this was even sexier), but I was feeling serious chemistry right off the bat. He said he was happy when our mutual friend e-mailed him for the set-up and that he had actually turned my chart over after my appointment to see if I was single. Even if it was just a line, I fell for it. If you’ve ever dated a doctor (or are one yourself), you know how intense they can be about what they do. I wouldn’t say he has a God complex-but he talked a lot about what he does. Since I had just gone through my own surgery, I was particularly interested in his stories. And he asked me all about my work, too-a good sign. After dinner, we headed to InnJoy down the street for more cocktails and flirting. The bar was so crowded, we had to talk into each other’s ears. A little hand-grazing, some footsy under the table … was I feeling the heat? Was he? As much as it would be nice to finally meet someone with potential, letting my guard down can be unnerving. Sometimes I think it’s easier being single than dealing with the intensity of a new relationship. But even though I’ve never been one of those girls whose goal it is to land a husband, the more I watch my close friends get married (and pregnant), the more I’m starting to feel a twinge to pursue the things that will lead me down that same path. I guess it’s time to face the fact that my 4 a.m. club nights haven’t exactly been helping this plan along. Maybe my parents’ words are finally sinking in: “You’ll never meet a nice boy at a bar.” Our night ended with a little hand holding and some innocent kisses. McMaybe was a perfect gentleman, but we’ll see if he has the stuff to be Dr. McRight.

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