The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Welcome, Olivia. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast.
Olivia: Thank you. It’s great to be here.
Jodi: Let’s start off with talking a bit about your background.
Olivia: Okay. Well, I am an urban dweller, as they say. I’m in my late 30s and I am currently in a relationship, but unmarried. I have a career in global health that has stemmed from my love of travel that I’ve had throughout my entire life. It allows me to go to places like Africa and Asia, professionally, to help contribute to alleviating diseases like malaria and HIV. But at the same time, it allows me to travel a lot for fun. I’ve met a lot of very interesting people along the way.
Jodi: Fabulous! The date we’re going to talk about, when did this date happen?
Olivia: This date happened about 10 months ago.
Jodi: Who is it that you met on this date?
Olivia: I met my current boyfriend, Max, on this date. It was very unexpected the way things evolved over the course of our first date.
Jodi: Well, let’s jump right into it then. How did the two of you meet?
Olivia: Well, we actually met through an app, the Bumble app. I was sort of new to the whole online dating world. I had been single for about four years, or so, after getting out of a very long-term serious relationship. I dated casually, but hadn’t really met anyone who I was excited about despite many of my friends’ best efforts to set me up and plenty of efforts of going out on the town. A few of my friends convinced me to just give it a shot. I was pretty skeptical at first and I didn’t really like the idea of meeting someone online. But I was open enough to try it out.
Jodi: This was your first time?
Olivia: It wasn’t my first date through that app, but I was still very new to it. I’ve gone on a few previous dates through Bumble. They were all fine but not terribly exciting. So, this was certainly my first very exciting date.
Jodi: How did that all come together? How did the two of you meet on Bumble?
Olivia: I’d had a very busy couple of months previously work-wise. I hadn’t even been thinking about dating. I had a sort of a lull in work where I had some time to actually think about my personal life and I went on the app and immediately saw someone I thought I’d be interested in. His profile was very simple and straightforward and not gimmicky, the way so many of them are. He seemed like a very genuine person, which of course is important to me. So, I approved of him and he had, apparently, already approved of me. We matched and then we started a conversation.
Jodi: Okay! Do you remember much about that conversation? It was 10 months ago, so chances are you do.
Olivia: It was 10 months ago. Yeah, sort of chitchat at first, you know, nothing too profound, which changed over the course of our relationship, but it was just sort of that awkward initial “Where are you from?” “Where are you from?,” “What do you do?” He was actually living in the city. He had recently moved from Germany. That was intriguing to me because I have a bit of a weakness for the “international type.” We just started a conversation around why he was here and what he was doing in the city.
Jodi: The conversation is underway…how did things move from conversation to a first date?
Olivia: Well, he took the initiative, which I like. I’ve found in the past, on the few experiences that I’ve had with online dating, that sometimes they just turned into lengthy endless conversations, which I wasn’t really interested in. I was on there to meet someone, potentially. So he fairly quickly suggested that we get together for a drink to further discuss our mutual interests and I agreed.
Jodi: That’s great! How did you feel getting ready for that date?
Olivia: Well, the funny thing was that even though I had agreed to it and I was looking forward to meeting him, I also did not have a lot of faith in the online dating medium. I think I was sort of tempering my expectations a bit. I was actually on the phone with my mother, just chatting, about an hour before the date. I had to rush and get off the phone with her in order to get ready. She asked me where I was going. I told her, but I said, “You know, I’m not expecting much. I’ll call you back in a couple of hours to tell you how it went and then we can continue to talk about our plans for the week.” Ultimately, that didn’t happen and she understood why. But we can delve into that more later.
Jodi: Wow! You mom already knew about the date!
Olivia: She did.
Jodi: And she was eager to hear how it turned out probably?
Olivia: She was.
Jodi: It sounds like you rushed out the door and met him. Where?
Olivia: I did. I rushed out the door, mainly because I tend to be 10 minutes late to everything, as many of my friends know. I rushed out the door. I had suggested that we meet at a bar right around the corner from my house because I was feeling, as I mentioned……I didn’t have high expectations for it. I thought it would be quick and that I’d be back home. It was a Sunday evening too and I had to work the next day. So I didn’t want to be out late. I took the lazy way out and suggested a bar right around the corner. I rushed out my door and ran around the corner and the bar was full. He was sitting on a bench on the sidewalk in front of the bar.
Jodi: You walked up and there he was!
Olivia: Yes, there he was. I recognized him from his picture. He recognized me. What I was not expecting was that –when he stood out to shake my hand– he’d be extremely tall. Even though I was wearing heels, I sort of had to look way up at him. That was kind of a fun surprise.
Jodi: You like taller men?
Olivia: I do. I do! I’ve never discriminated, but it certainly didn’t work against him.
Jodi: What happened next?
Olivia: Well, since the bar I had suggested was full and he was new to the area, new to the country really, I suggested another bar down the street. We walked down the street. At that time, we were having a huge heat wave, so it was extremely hot. We found a cute little table right outside of this French restaurant on a corner down the street. But unfortunately, when we sat down, he was facing into the sun. I was facing away from the sun. I could see him perfectly, but he was really squinting and sort of struggling to see me and to shade himself, which made for kind of an interesting conversation.
Jodi: No sunglasses?
Olivia: No sunglasses. I think he was expecting to be in a dark bar, which…
Jodi: You don’t need sunglasses for.
Olivia: You don’t need sunglasses for, exactly. Instead, he was staring directly into the hot sun. But he was a very good sport and a very interesting conversationalist. An hour just flew by.
Jodi: How many glasses of wine did you both have?
Olivia: We started with one of course. I was only expecting to have one. Then we moved on to wine glass number two and someone that I knew walked by right as we are in the middle of our date. It was that awkward moment when you don’t know how to introduce somebody. It was kind of funny, actually. He was very comfortable with the whole thing, kind of laughed. I temporarily forgot his name, just for a second!
Jodi: You did? (Laughter)
Olivia: Yes, it was a bit awkward, but he was a good sport about it. Two glasses of wine, later, he suggested we get dinner. His favorite food is Thai food. That was very convenient because there was a great Thai restaurant a block away. I suggested we go there and we did.
Jodi: Nice! How were you feeling about the date as it moved from part one to part two?
Olivia: Yeah, I will admit I was quite surprised. I had such low expectations. I knew right away that I thought he was attractive. There was chemistry of course, but I was sort surprised that I was sacrificing my Sunday night in to go have dinner with this guy. But I was excited about it! There was something there and I could tell that pretty quickly. I didn’t want the date to end right away.
Jodi: Tell us how dinner went.
Olivia: Dinner was good. It was funny. I have my favorite Thai dish. I order the same thing every single time I go to Thai food. He does the same thing, but he suggested we branch out and try some new dishes and we did. So I had some interesting new dishes that I hadn’t had before. That actually has been something throughout our whole relationship that has been fun. We both really like to eat and we like trying new things together. That was kind of nice. Dinner went very well. I think he got a bit more nervous during dinner than he was earlier in the evening Later he told me –much later, months later — that he was starting to really realize how much he liked me and he was getting more nervous as the date went on.
Jodi: Could you tell he was getting nervous?
Olivia: A bit, yes. I could tell he was getting a bit nervous, but it was cute. He wasn’t acting strange. I could just tell he was sort of sitting back and really thinking about the whole situation, in a way that you don’t always for that first second when you sit down. You meet someone new. You’re just getting to know each other. I think as some time goes by, and you realize you really like the person or you’re interested in them, then you start to get self-conscious a bit and start to get more nervous about saying or doing the wrong thing. I could see that that was happening for him. It wasn’t really happening for me. But, I could sense it was from him a bit. So I was going a bit beyond what was expected to try to make him comfortable and relaxed.
Jodi: Women often do that on dates, when we see that our dates are not quite in the groove, or not feeling so comfortable.
Jodi: I knew a lot of women who do that and I’d do that myself.
Olivia: Trying to be accommodating.
Jodi: How do you feel about that?
Olivia: I think if it’s coming from a place, if you’re trying to accommodate someone who’s a bit nervous but genuine and sweet, I think it’s okay. I’ve also experienced dates where I’ve tried to accommodate someone who is being a bit aggressive, or mildly inappropriate, and I very quickly realized, “Why am I doing this? I shouldn’t accommodate this person.” But I think if it’s someone who’s clearly in a place where they are nervous because they like you and it’s sort of a sweet inclination on their part, then I think it’s fine to be accommodating. But we do do this. We do this in our professional lives. We do this dating. Women are very good at trying to make the other person comfortable and at ease.
Jodi: True. Now you and Max are out and you’ve made him feel more at ease. Where did things go from there?
Olivia: Well, apparently he felt enough at ease by the end of dinner to invite me back to his rooftop for a drink. (Laughter)
Jodi: You did a very good job of making him feel at ease! (Laughter)
Olivia: He went from 60 to 0 and back to 60 maybe! Yes. We finished dinner and because he had just moved to the city, he was staying at a friend’s apartment. He was subletting and it was this very modern building with 30 or 50 stories and there was a beautiful rooftop that he told me about. He said, “You have to see the view. It’s really magical and I have a great bottle wine,” What a coincidence! (Laughter)
He lived quite close actually. That was another nice coincidence. He really only lived less than 10 minutes from where I lived in. In a larger city, that can be quite a coincidence. We walked over to his building and we went up to the roof. He went down to his apartment to get the bottle of wine. We sat up on the roof, opened the bottle of wine, and they have this very conveniently placed hanging chair, sort of like a cocoon, a bit of a cocoon chair. You see it sometimes at resorts, a sort of ’70s style chair where it’s hanging from a hook.
Jodi: The kind that’s often made of wicker?
Olivia: It’s often made of wicker, exactly.
Jodi: And it’s got a little cushion?
Olivia: Cushion, yeah. It’s kind of like a little bubble, so very cozy.
Jodi: Yes, those are very cozy chairs!
Olivia: Yes. Of course, I had to wonder, “Did he scope out the roof before our date?” But, it didn’t matter to me because I was having a great time.
We sat in the cute little cocoon chair and shared some wine and talked and talked. Hours went by. It was amazing, especially for a Sunday night, which I’m usually pretty disciplined about keeping for myself.
Jodi: You got really comfortable with him really fast!
Olivia: Yeah. We just clicked. There was a connection there that I had not had with anyone for a really long time. He felt the same way. It just felt so natural. By the end of our date, or as the night went on, it felt like we’d known each other for weeks, that this was not our first date. It felt much more like a third or a fourth date.
Jodi: How did the date end?
Olivia: Well, he was a gentleman and knew that I had to work the next morning, as he did. So, he suggested we get together later in the week and I said, “Yes, I would love that. That sounds great. We’ll talk tomorrow.” I walked home. When I got home it was far too late to call my mom to give her an update. I got in bed and the second I woke up the next morning, I was thinking about him. I forced myself to go to work and concentrate. I was definitely looking forward to hearing from him. He did follow-up with me that morning for our second date.
Jodi: He wasted no time.
Olivia: None whatsoever.
Jodi: You called your mom the next day?
Olivia: I did.
Jodi: What did you tell her?
Olivia: She was very happy. She said she just assumed when she didn’t hear back from me that the date was going well. I told her she was correct.
Jodi: Now, please fill us in on the rest of the story.
Olivia: Well, there’s quite a lot to the story. I will give you the “nutshell version.” We have had a few journeys, both literally and metaphorically, since then. We had our second date two days later, our third date two days after that, and things just progressed from there. He was living in the city for only two and a half months. It was a short-term work transfer. Two and a half months after we met and had been dating seriously, he had to move back to Germany. So, we began a long distance relationship.
For the last six to seven months, we have been doing long distance. Fortunately, with my global health work, I travel frequently. I have been able to manage long layovers where I work remotely from Germany, while spending time with him. And while in Germany a few months ago, we decided that he should move back to the US. So he is on his way back currently and moving in with me in a few weeks!
Jodi: That is so exciting! That is so fabulous!
Olivia: It’s really exciting! I’m thrilled. He’s thrilled.
Jodi: I wish you all the best. Everybody listening is probably thinking, “Yay! Yay for her. This is a great story and it could be my story.” Help them make it their story. What did you learn from this experience?
Olivia: I would say first to just be open to alternative ways of meeting people. I really did not think I would meet someone through an app. It felt disingenuous to me. It felt like an altered reality. It felt, frankly, a bit superficial because you’re more or less picking someone based on how they look and a sentence or two that they write about themselves. How much can that actually mean? But, when you think about it, it’s not all that different from just meeting someone in person, at a bar, or at a work event, or at a friend’s party. You see someone and you either have chemistry, or some level of interest in them, or you don’t.
I would say, just be open, not necessarily to apps or to online dating, but just to anything that seems a bit out of your own personal ordinary. I think it’s good to be open, and certainly open to someone who may not be a local, someone who may not have the type of job you envisioned him having. Just be open to what comes your way and I think that can really create a lot of happiness.
Jodi: We never know with whom we’ll find that chemistry and connection. So be open to opportunities to meet them and all sorts of different people who may come your way.
Olivia: Absolutely! Thank you.
Jodi: Thank you, Olivia, and best of luck to you and Max!
Olivia: Thank you so much.