Mary is a health care worker in her 40s who lives in the Beaches. She says “My style is ‘cute and comfy’ and includes jumpsuits, track suits, jeans … I believe Crocs go with anything, despite what my friends think.” She says “I have a great sense of humour, I’m helpful and generous, and I’m quiet at times, but always thinking.” Before COVID-19, Mary liked going out every week with her friends “to discuss the latest in reality TV.” She also likes going on walks around her neighbourhood, spending time with her godchildren, and adventure travel.
I gave myself one year to try online dating. A male friend of mine was online, and I thought, he’s a nice guy, so there must be at least one more of them on there. After many unsuccessful and depressing dates, and approaching Week 50 of this experiment, feeling slightly defeated, I received a message from Gilbert. He had a straightforward profile, and you could tell he wasn’t a professional online dater. We hit it off while texting, where he was friendly and didn’t step over any boundaries.
If I learned anything from my year of online dating, it was to meet a man in person as soon as possible in order to keep everyone’s expectations realistic. When Gilbert asked me to meet, I suggested lunch at a restaurant near my place. I always suggested the same place, and always lunch. It felt safe.
One thing that everyone knows about me is that I’m always early. Much to my surprise, when I arrived, Gilbert was already there. I had never been second to arrive anywhere, and thought to myself, wow, I may have met my match! I knew it was him, not because I recognized him from his photo, but because he was holding a flower for me. He was much cuter than his photo, actually, and I thought, oh no, he is much too cute, I’ll probably never hear from him again!
Gilbert was unbelievably polite on our date, and in such a genuine way. Very big turn on. We talked about music, gardening and work. It was a hot day, but he was dressed in a short-sleeved button-down shirt, not just a throw-on T-shirt. You could tell he had made an effort for me. He was polite to the wait staff, which is always a good sign. The whole date had the feeling that something exciting was happening. He asked what I wanted, then ordered it for me. That struck me as the most gentlemanly thing I had ever seen. He treated me like I was very important and special. He was also really and truly interested in what I had to say.
At the end of the meal Gilbert asked if he could please pay and then he went and got the bill. I thought it was again a very gentlemanly approach to what can sometimes be an awkward moment. After lunch, we went for a walk together. My nerves got the best of me and of course I tripped. After that, he walked me to the streetcar stop and kissed me on the cheek. A kiss didn’t even occur to me before then, because I thought, nah, this guy would not kiss on the first date, but he surprised me again. Very appropriate and sweet.
He went to get his car from the parking lot while I was still waiting for the streetcar, so he drove by and honked. I was actually a bit disappointed that I liked him, because the way online dating had been going for me, I presumed I would never hear from him again.
Much to my delight, I did hear from Gilbert. We made plans for the following weekend to meet at a board-game café. When I arrived I didn’t see him, and thought, what a relief that I beat him here this time!
After about 20 minutes, Gilbert still wasn’t there. If he hadn’t been so wonderful on our first date, I may have assumed I was being stood up! Then, I got a text from him asking me where I was. It turns out there were at least two board-game cafés, and we had gone to different ones. Gilbert told me to wait where I was, and he would come to me. Ever since then, it’s only gotten better.
Mary rates her date (out of 10): 10
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