The whole world in our hands

Let’s all have a moment of silence for our Patriots friends. Emperor Bellichick and Darth Brady couldn’t pull it off this year. What a shame. And I’m perfectly fine with that. Philly did the damn thing, congrats to them. Sick plays all around.

Let us recount Friday, the scene of date #2 with Ms. Smarty Pants (SP for short). Also the scene where I learned that vegan food, if done right, can be pretty damn tasty. Go figure. I’m actually shocked that I even conceived of that sentence with as much dairy I consume. Which made it infinitely funnier when the waitress asked if we wanted bread and I said yes out of habit — totally forgetting that Ms. Smarty Pants, gluten, and dairy (casein specifically) don’t get along, at all. This lapse didn’t get in me trouble though, she said I could have as much bread and milk as I wanted, but not expect to share her drinks in that case. Tough decision.

I also discovered that kombucha (look it up) is weird and delicious. Well, up to the point where I swallowed what I could only assume was a large piece of snot. Still was tasty though. Definitely gave me some Fear Factor flashbacks. I had the coconut curry and she had the baba ganoush (eggplant). I had an “Aha!” moment thinking about that Courage the Cowardly Dog episode with the angry eggplants and the leader eggplant was named Bobby Ganoush. It all made sense now. Yeah I’m fucking weird, sue me. And she paid for dinner, which touched me a bit. I did pay last time, but her thanking me for offering then picking up the bill was a class act. Nothing gets me hotter than reciprocation.

We finish up dinner, chat until we overstay our welcome at the restaurant, and figure out what to do next. Mind you, the plan was to hit the cigar bar (again) which I wasn’t too crazy about, but I figure to try a different cigar this time. Fortunately, one of our buddies was much too drunk to make over there so we settled for a night of bar hopping with him. Pretty standard stuff until we got to the mead bar which was awesome. I finally learned what I was drinking in all those hours of playing Skyrim: fermented honey. And it was delicious. I thought cider was the only savior for a beer hater such as myself, but I can now add mead to my list of alternatives. Then we played some game that was like verbal charades and I thought Ms. Smarty Pants and I would have the advantage considering I live and die by the English language. We got rocked, but the second game was close. All in good fun though.

Our final stop of the night was one to remember as the drinks were very strong and the conversation was even stronger. I’m feeling the alcohol, but I’m nowhere near tipsy per se. I was going to follow the lead of SP with her fancy vodka drink, but I had a really bad experience with vodka so if I taste it, it’s a wrap. I opt for the rum cocktail that was probably 98% rum. That bar tender wanted me to feel it like Mr. Krabs for sure. So, at this point I’m sure we’re all feeling it and the conversation gets very, real very fast. A legit flashback to my college days in philosophy classes debating everything under the sun. It was great. And naturally I’m sitting next to SP, addressing the conversation from both sides as her and I were in the middle of the homeboys. SP asks me to describe the pretzel bites that were ordered as she and her brother cannot eat them. I don’t think I’ve ever described pretzels and hot mustard cheese with such detail and reverence, but I had her dying of laughter so fuck it, I went all the way in with it.

We were all vibing and it was amazing. Then I get this urge to hold her hand. I don’t know why, it just felt like the right things to do, 2nd date or not. So I go for it and… TO BE CONTINUED.

Just kidding. I go in for the hand-hold and she grabs my hand as though I should have done it a long-ass time ago. It was great. So we’re holding hands under this dirty-ass bar table that probably has three generations worth of gum under it, but we clearly don’t give a shit. After about five minutes, I go for another move: the intertwined hand-hold, fingers and all. Boom, she’s all for it. I won’t lie, I got really hot and I was fluttering pretty hard inside. I felt like I was in some PG Disney movie; it low-key pissed me off how boyish I was feeling. Like the first time a girl mentioned I was “cute.” I got hot, flustered then mad at my embarrassment. Vulnerability is hard.

 “Dude, you’re just holding her hand, it’s not a big deal.”

True, to some hand holding is nothing special, but when you’re someone like me, who treats personal space as a literal interstellar frigate, it’s a huge deal. I’m not very physical person unless I’m confident I can be. If I’m getting hailed from a female vessel, I will dock immediately and go with the flow. But if I’m not sure, they’ll be lucky to get a side hug. I’m so serious about this. But the Great Hand Holding of 2018 is much more friends.

The last time I held anyone’s hand in a romantic fashion was over a year ago. But it was nothing like what I experience on Friday with SP. Back then, I went in for it and the girl I was “dating” for some months let it happen, but didn’t even close her fingers onto the back of my hand. They just sat there half bent like one of those mannequins in Macy’s or JC Penney.

What I was looking for then was for her to match my grip, so I knew everything was going to be okay because I wasn’t okay. I was looking for an answer to that situationship. I wanted some assurance with a simple gesture. When she didn’t reciprocate and eventually pulled away as we were staring at historical artworks in this museum, it hurt like hell. Not because she was a terrible person, but because the reality of what I was doing set in. I was looking for validation and some semblance of happiness that I couldn’t find in myself at the time.

When it came to holding SP’s hand on Friday night, it was a completely different thing. Not only did she reciprocate and firmly held my hand, we stayed that way for at least another 30-45 minutes until I had to pee. Beyond that, I am perfectly okay, content, and accepting of my life as it is now, unlike a year ago. I don’t need female validation or attention to make it feel as though I’m worthy of something. Through all the madness of 2017, I came out ahead and now I’m established with no real problems outside of the lack of Thai Tea in my life (seriously what the hell Amazon).

So, even if SP would have rejected my hand-holding attempt, I wouldn’t have been too mad about it. It was bold second date attempt honestly. Even if she told me to fuck off after that night and to lose her number, I would have been fine. I find strength and security in myself 95% of the time, unlike the tail end of 2016 and beginning of 2017.

What’s more is that moment was raw emotion and affection crystallized. I could have taken that instance and framed it. That’s how pure it was. Forget about mutual attraction, future dating goals and all that. That moment, in and of itself, was pure and unadulterated love between two people that are doing just fine. And I use love very loosely here. Nothing romantic, nothing that has ulterior motives, nothing with expectations. It was two people, giving a shit about each other in the moment. Two people that wanted to feel what it’s like to care.

And that’s the power of physicality that some don’t understand and that’s fine. I like SP a lot, make no mistake. I hope this all pans out for the better, but that was such a beautiful moment not only for me, but just in general. Being a part of a rare moment of positive energy in a world marred by madness and negativity on what seems like a daily basis, was sobering. Not even just the hand holding itself; all four of us were just vibing. The energy was so palpable.

The night ends, we all part ways and I drive back to my place with SP in tow. Mind you, it’s windy and freezing so we do a semi-long hug in my complex’s parking lot, but she rests her head in my chest for a bit. Wondering if we’re gonna do this make-out thing in 10 degree weather, I look down at her in slight preparation. She steps back then we hug one more time and I see to it that she gets in her car alright. I never force anything. I’m all about the natural order. Plus, there’s no romance in getting hypothermia.