The Craziest Thing I’ve Done for Love

 

After my date with Dream Guy I could not get him off my mind and I could not stop thinking “what if.” WHAT IF he was “the one?” What if we had more time to figure it out? I  might kick myself for the rest of my life if I didn’t find out.

The day after Christmas he asked me to be his date to a New Year’s Eve ball in San Francisco to celebrate 2016 and usher in 2017. How could I say “no” when he offered to pay for the whole trip, including the gas money to get there and back? So I said “yes” to the most romantic date in my life.

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First of all I must say it’s been a dream of mine to visit California since I was a little girl and I’ve only ever been to the LAX airport for a connecting flight which totally doesn’t count so this was a dream vacation of mine come true.

It took me nearly 14 hours to drive there but it was worth it when I got to hold him in my arms again and look into those bright, playful hazel eyes.

The first thing we did was wine tasting in Livermore Valley at Tenuta Vineyards. My favorite out of ten wines was a Syrah called “Black Mamba.”

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We took the Bart (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to San Fran and dropped our bags off at a gloriously posh hotel with funky, celebrity-designed suites called Hotel Triton. The decor was as unique and colorful as my personality.

 

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(For anyone concerned about what happened in said suite, don’t worry, he is a wholesome Christian gentleman with honorable biblical values. )

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The internet calls San Francisco’s #1 New Year’s Eve party the International Ball at the Palace Hotel,  which is ranked as one of the top luxury hotels in the world. It’s located in the heart of downtown with ten different world-renowned DJs playing top 40, hip hop, latin, dance, house, and techno music in separate opulently-decorated rooms. There were live performances by musical artists such as an electric violinist in the techno room and people in elaborate costumes walking around the dance floor on stilts. I grabbed a champagne and a screwdriver at the open bar and we danced for an hour and a half straight, people moving to make room for us and cheering us on as we tore up the dance floor.  I felt like no one in that whole room was having more fun than us. At the count down to midnight, thousands of balloons dropped from the soaring glass-domed ceiling as we shared our first kiss. Unless someone was getting engaged, no one in the whole world was having more fun than us at that moment.

He took my hand and guided me out of the room and next to a full-length mirror where we stood looking into each other’s eyes. He nodded his head toward our reflection.

“We look really great together, don’t we?” He asked, his eyes shining with excitement.

I looked at the two happy people in the mirror and I had to agree. “Yeah, we do.”

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“You’re my dream woman,” he said. I smiled. “I know it’s crazy because I live in Maryland but we could make it work. I swear it’s not the alcohol talking… but will you be my girlfriend?” I felt my eyebrows raise in surprise. I had imagined, of course, what my life might be like as his girlfriend, but I hadn’t spent much time considering it. I was mostly focused on just having a great time in San Francisco and I honestly didn’t think he’d ask me to be his girlfriend so soon in our brief relationship. We hadn’t yet spent a full 24 hours together at that point. There was so much I needed to know about him. For instance, in his Navy job, did he have deployments? How often were they and for what duration?  I’ve experienced the life of a Navy wife so I know just how hard it is. I searched his eyes trying to come up with a reply. The word “yes” dangled on the tip of my tongue but for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I hate to admit it but the face of my Ultimate Crush uninvitedly flashed into my mind. Saying “yes” would be saying goodbye to the possibility of ever having a chance with him, even though he’s made it clear he only feels friendship toward me. I also thought about how hard it would be to have a long distance relationship because I’ve done that, too, and it’s not always fun. “You still haven’t said yes,” he said in a hushed tone, waiting expectantly for my answer. “I need to pray about it,” I said finally. “Can I have a night to pray and sleep on it?” He didn’t seem too pleased but he respected my decision.

The next morning, we had brunch at an upscale American restaurant called Bluestem Brasserie.

We toured San Francisco and saw the Full House from the TV show of the same name and got chocolate on Beach Street where you could see ships in the harbor and the Golden Gate Bridge not too far away.

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He would go on to tell me that my hesitation killed the spark for him. I didn’t say it then but the truth is that if a little hesitation can kill a spark then it wasn’t a very strong spark to begin with. I’m afraid that we’re just not right for one another despite being so perfect on paper. If he had been the right man for me I probably would have shouted a resounding “yes” at the top of my lungs, Navy or no Navy, distance or not. Later on I discovered a dealbreaker. It wasn’t astronomical, it was something he could work on, but it was still something I want taken care of BEFORE I enter a commited relationship.

“I’m sorry, I’m an impulsive person.” He apologized. “I shouldn’t have asked you to be my girlfriend. It wasn’t fair to you since you just met me.”

“Please don’t be sorry. You did what you thought was right in the moment. You were just following your heart.” He assured me that I was beautiful and wonderful and that he knew I would make someone an amazing wife someday but it wasn’t him. We embraced and went our separate ways.

Before I drove back to Tucson I visited my pen pal since I was twelve who only lives half an hour from San Francisco. American Girl Magazine hooked us up back in 1997 and the last time we saw each other was 2011 in New York City so it was a long time coming. We trash talked each other in an epic game of Scrabble over wine (in which I won by 9 points!) and it was such a great night.

Now I am sitting at home writing this with with a head cold. The whole weekend was spectacularly magical and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It was the best New Year’s I’ve ever had with one of the most amazing men I’ve ever met who gave me a romantic night to remember for always. Someday I’ll tell my grandchildren that I drove all the way to California for a man I just met in the hopes that maybe I would find the love of my life.

Sometimes you have to follow your heart and sometimes it’s not meant to be, but I can’t let disappointments keep me from playing the Game of Love.

To sweeten up this bittersweet ending, Corvette Guy is setting up a blind date for me and his roommate in whom he claims is “perfect” for me so I am looking forward to that but first I have to get rid of this cold and feel better.

“Don’t be deceived by merely the flutter of a heart. Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about. It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.”

–Ravi Zacharias

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Episode III in Dating Adventures & an Epiphany

Me: I am a spirited, fun-loving, outgoing, bubbly, affectionate, fiesty personality.

But I am also a deeply introspective individual who loves to have passionately intense spiritual, philosophical,  and intellectual conversations.

I am perceptive and intuitive of intentions and attitudes but also very accepting and nonjudgmental. People who build walls to protect themselves from getting hurt feel intimidated by me because I won’t let them hide behind their defense mechanism.

I’m very self-aware and I know exactly what I want. For some, I’m just too much woman to handle.

Because of this, I’ve learned to temper myself. It feels inauthentic to hold myself back, but as my Ultimate Crush of 2016 jokes, “Don’t go full Dannielle right away. You don’t want to scare him.”

I have heard every variation in the book of the classic “It’s not you, it’s me” line including: “You’re too good for me.” “You’re out of my league.” “You deserve someone better.” “I wish I were, but I could never be what you’re looking for.”

Most of these excuses reek of a self-depricating attitude and reflect a low evaluation of his own worth. I was exhausted from hearing these phrases but I had an epiphany a couple days ago after a super fun date with a quirky fireman who took me for a spin in his Daytona Sunrise Metallic Orange Corvette Z06.

When I asked him why he hadn’t called for a second date after he said he’d call, he was refreshingly straightforward when he replied,”Your personality is not what I’ve envisioned marrying.”

I think that’s the most honest reason I’ve ever heard. I also think it’s what all the others meant when they said I deserved better. They were just trying to be “nice” so as to not hurt my feelings. I really would rather they be as frank as Corvette Guy instead of spoonfeeding me insincere, sugary sweet nonsense.

Corvette guy said, “You’re an awesome person and our date was one of the best I’ve had in a while. But I also know I’m not what you’re looking for, either.” What a breath of fresh air to hear him tell me straight up that he knew what he wanted and it wasn’t me. I was so thankful to hear him say this because I knew I would be spared from being dragged into yet another relationship where the guy knew I wasn’t what he really wanted but strung me along anyway because he was too selfish to let me go.

I think I had been holding on to some secret chagrin with my Ultimate Crush of 2016. It bothered me that he said, “I can’t really put my finger on why exactly but I just feel in my gut that you’re not the one.” Funny, because I’ve always felt in my gut that he WAS. Every time I asked him “why not” he had a different reason and I called him out on it because I felt it was invalid.  I told him, “You better figure out what you want because if you don’t know then she’ll walk right past you and you won’t even recognize her.”

But after my encounter with Corvette Guy, I think I FINALLY understand and respect his reasoning.

Feelings are lighthouses in the ocean of our being. They cut through the fog of confusion and doubt, illuminating our needs, and lead us the way home.

Although feelings can be deceitful, sometimes they are all you have when evaluating a decision and you have to trust them.

“You need to be more picky” Corvette Guy said. “WHAT!?” I replied. “I’m already so picky as it is!” And he responded, “You need to be even more.”

This comment made me think of a gentleman I dated in October. He had an uncanny resemblance to Wolverine and that’s precisely the name I put him in my phone contacts as. On our date he gave two sandwiches to a homeless couple and shared the gospel with them. I was blown away by this and couldn’t believe what a man I had encountered. He was just as into theatre as I am and ended our date with an incredibly amazing massage and told me there was more where that came from. The date was LITERALLY PERFECT and I can’t say one single thing wrong with how it unfolded from start to finish. But there was something missing… I hope it doesn’t seem shallow but we didn’t connect the way I wanted to and it’s my guess that’s because he’s a sensing personality and I’m intuitive. I REALLY wanted to like him so bad because he’s handsome and charming and a driven go-getter and so many things on my list. Hanging out with him felt like catching up with an old friend from childhood. But I haven’t really thrown him out of the picture yet for whatever reason but I think I have to, as wonderful as he is.

I let what Corvette Guy said sink it and I discovered he is right. I really do need to be more picky. Even my Ultimate Crush wasn’t absolutely EVERYTHING on my list that I wanted. But he was so damn close and no one else I’d ever met in my entire life came that close.

All of this changed last night when I met someone we shall refer to from this point onward as Dream Guy.

I was COMPLETELY myself around Dream Guy from the moment I met him because I thought, “What have I got to lose?” And he not only accepted me, he was smitten with me just exactly as I am, and he even called me out on the date when I was feeling self-conscious and not being my true self. I told him today that the best gift he gave me last night was the permission to feel safe in my own skin. When someone gives you room to relax and be yourself, you don’t believe you have to shrink so others won’t feel insecure. He made me feel that I was more than enough just the way I am and that made me feel invincible and irresistible.

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So it all started with a message on OK Cupid from a handsome Hispanic man playing a guitar in his profile pic. His interests were all the same as mine: poetry,  dancing, theatre, learning languages, specific movies we had in common, and even the fact that he wanted to do foster care. Here’s his message:

I’ve been reading your profile multiple times now and I just can’t believe how amazing you sound. You karaoke? Game nights? You’re writing a book? For teens? That’s incredible! I have a passion for mentoring teens myself. Salsa? I was literally born to salsa. And you’re in love with God, that’s the best thing of all.

So here’s the catch, I wasn’t going to message you at all, because I live and work in Maryland. I’m just visiting my sister in Tucson for a week or so. But I jumped on this app for whatever reason, saw your profile, and seriously thought I’d regret it if I didn’t at least try to see if it could work between us. Either way, it sounds like you’re doing great things and I hope you’ll continue to bless the people around you.

And also merry Christmas!

Get this… it turns out he was less than a minute’s walk away from me… his sister was my neighbor! So we got together for karaoke.

I was flipping through the music list to pick a song as a guy named “Coach” with a voice like Tony Bennet was singing an old-school love song when I felt a warm hand gently slip into my own and confidently guide me out onto the floor. Before I could process what was happening, we were swing dancing together. It was the most perfect moment… just like a scene out of a romance film. I have been asked to dance so many times in my life I cannot count them but I’ve never been led out to dance like he knew it was exactly what I was unaware I even wanted.

“When you sang Crazy by Patsy Cline, I was blown away. Actually, every song you sang was absolutely beautiful,” He said. I knew he meant it because he’s a musician in a band and has a a gorgeous voice himself.

We talked a lot about Jesus and danced in the parking lot some more. Then we went back to my apartment and played a card game my sister gave me for Christmas called Oregon Trail. We both got cholera and then I traded all my supplies including my extra oxen to buy medicine for him so he wouldn’t die of typhoid. The very next turn our oxen died and since we didn’t have any extra we were stranded along the trail and died. We laughed until our sides hurt and we didn’t want the night to end so we got cozy and watched Bruce Almighty. His flight was leaving the next day so he had to leave and get some rest. I squeezed him and said, “NO! I finally found you- I’m not letting you go!” And he replied, “What should we do? I can’t just ask you to move to Maryland after one date…” We were stuck. No one finds their soulmate after just one date, right? But we both had this sense that we were done looking. We exchanged phone numbers and decided to “See where the Lord would lead things.”

What happened last night was pure MAGIC. After a night like that I will never accept watered down, mediocre versions of the real thing. Why settle for luke warm when I could have FIRE!?

Whether this works out or not, meeting Dream Guy gave me valuable insight I will keep with me forever:

♥ Always love yourself and be yourself because if you don’t, you’ll always be chasing after people who don’t love you, either.

♥ Love that isn’t freely given isn’t worth having.

♥ Find someone who loves the same way you do.

♥ Don’t EVER settle for less than exactly what you want. It’s not selfish to ask God for what you want. Ask, believe, and receive.

♥ Who would you be if you weren’t afraid of what people would think? To be yourself and believe you are worthy is to be truly beautful.

♥ Someone giving you less doesn’t mean try harder. If they don’t love you for who you are, they aren’t for you.

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