The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Hello, Vanessa. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining me today to tell me, and our listeners, about a first date that you went on.
Vanessa: It’s my pleasure.
Jodi: Why don’t we talk a bit about you before we talk about the date?
Vanessa: Okay. I am a 60-year-old woman. I’ve been divorced about six years now. I have gone on Match.com on a number of occasions to meet Mr. Right. I most recently moved to another city. So, I had to start meeting a brand new group of people, among them men.
Jodi: How’s that been going?
Vanessa: Oh, I’ve met some interesting men. The whole Match process is an interesting process, as other people have probably told you, but it’s gone very well. I’ve met some really good friends as well as had some relationships.
Jodi: The date that we’re going to talk about today, is that a date that came about because you met the guy on Match?
Vanessa: It is.
Jodi: What is this man’s name?
Vanessa: His name is Tony.
Jodi: How old is Tony?
Vanessa: Tony is a little bit older than me. He’s 61 at this point, but when we met he was 59.
Jodi: Did Tony contact you first? Did you contact Tony?
Vanessa: Tony contacted me. He sounded very interesting, different than my normal date type of guy. But I thought I would engage him and see where it led.
Jodi: What made him different from the others?
Vanessa: Well, he was an engineer and I hadn’t ventured into that kind of world of that kind of man, which I’ve since learned is very much fixer, and a little bit nerdy, and different kind of intellect than what I was used to –very smart, but a very different kind of intellect.
Jodi: What did he write in his email to you that caught your attention?
Vanessa: He was insightful, which I always appreciate on Match. It wasn’t a canned response of some sort. And I think he was kind of well-rounded. While he was not my type, there were little glimmers of information that made me think that there could be some potential in this relationship.
Jodi: Did the two of you talk before you actually met in person?
Vanessa: We did and he has kind of the voice of an engineer.
Jodi: What was that mean?
Vanessa: It wasn’t one of his most endearing qualities. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was going to meet him. He lived a good distance away, probably a 30-minute drive from where I live. It was going to be a geographically challenge relationship too. So, we sort of have some strikes against us going into the first date.
Jodi: But you decided to show up for it in a way?
Vanessa: I decided it was time to be open-minded and explore different types of people and see where it led. It couldn’t hurt.
Jodi: Where did you meet him for the first date?
Vanessa: Our first date ended up being at a really trendy restaurant. He had asked his millennial daughter for advice as to where we should go. He came and picked me up. On my first Match dates, I rarely, rarely, ever have someone pick me up. So that was a new thing for me as well. But I sort of got this feeling from him that I could trust him, which I don’t recommend for people on a Match date, on a first date. But, I did it. He came and picked me up.
He was in this van from work that was a work car. It was a delivery vehicle and it’s not like I’m not a gold digger. I’m not very impressed by things. But this was one of those things that sort of made you question. It was a little bit of a red flag. “Who is this guy taking me out on a date in a delivery van?” You know, that kind of thing.
Jodi: You went on a date in a delivery van?
Vanessa: Yeah. Yeah. First date, when you’re supposed to be giving the best first impression. I wasn’t sure that was it. But you know, again, I’m open-minded. I don’t judge.
Jodi: You get into his van and there’s a bunch of tech stuff all over? A lot of engineering equipment?
Vanessa: No, fortunately, he wasn’t driving around with hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment in it. But it was available should he need to do that.
Jodi: You drive up in the van.
Jodi: He parks the van.
Jodi: You walked up to the restaurant. Take me through what happened from there please.
Vanessa: Okay. We get to this beautiful little restaurant, a little neighborhood place, very small, very romantic actually. We get the best table on the house. It’s this quiet little table in a corner. We’re up against the wall. On a first Match date, where you’re starting to learn about each other, it’s kind of nice that you don’t have people eavesdropping because that’s uncomfortable. We had a table that’s perfect for that kind of a get together. We ordered a glass of wine, which I needed for a little bit of liquid courage, and he proceeded to talk. He was telling me a lot about what he did, which I didn’t understand. Two degrees didn’t help me at all to navigate my way through this dinner! He talked a lot and I was staring at him thinking, “Okay, it’s two different worlds. Maybe this isn’t right.” That’s what Match is all about – kind of assessing as you’re going through it.
He turned the conversation over to me and said, “So tell me about yourself,” and I couldn’t think of anything quite nearly as smart as he had said. But I was trying and digging deep and gesturing with my hands widely. As I was gesturing with my hands, I smacked over a glass. It hit the wall, since we were right against the wall. It shattered into little pieces and the wine dripped on the side of the wall, almost like a gunshot splatter on the wall! It was horrible!
Jodi: Oh my goodness!
Vanessa: The glass was everywhere…under my feet…little, teeny-tiny pieces! Everyone in the restaurant looked and the wait staff came running over with their sweepers and everything else. I’m lifting my legs so they can sweep underneath. That was kind of the start of the date.
Jodi: That was the start of the date? Your liquid courage was all over the wall dripping down on the floor! (Laughter)
Vanessa: How symbolic is that? (Laughter)
Jodi: What did you do? What did you say?
Vanessa: What can you do? I laughed. I said, “You know, you’ve been gesturing as you’ve been talking, I guess I was just mimicking your style and getting enthusiastic about what I had to say and I apologize for making a scene, but let’s order another glass and start again.”
Jodi: Absolutely! What did he say when all of that happen?
Vanessa: He was kind. He stared a lot, but he was kind about it and we kind of moved on. I was thinking, “Engineering, different worlds, delivery van, glass against the wall – I don’t know.” He’s probably not my type, and clearly now I’m probably not his type. I was kind of going through that whole, “It was a Match date. It’s going to end. I’ll move on. Next Match date.”
Jodi: What happened next?
Vanessa: At the end of the meal, we went back into his delivery van and he took me home. He offered to walk me in, which again, I kind of have a first date rule: you don’t pick them up and you certainly don’t invite them in. I allowed him to walk me to the door and waited for that Match date kiss that you’ll normally get, which sometimes you turn your cheek to and decided to let him plant one on my lips.
I don’t know what happened. But there’s that whole chemistry thing that people talk about. There it was! And I melted. I thought, “Mr. Engineer, what just happened? Mr. Delivery Man?” It was a really, really strange thing. I was married and I’ve dated, but that chemistry, it really struck me. It was something new for me.
Jodi: That’s incredible!
Vanessa: Yeah, it was.
Jodi: It sounds like you didn’t see it coming at all.
Vanessa: Oh gosh no. Gosh no. I was ready to walk in and say, “Well, that was a disaster.”
Jodi: How did you handle that moment? You were just in shock?
Vanessa: I was.
Jodi: You were staring at him in shock?
Vanessa: I was. I honestly said to him, “That was really nice. You better go.” (Laughter)
Jodi: That was your automatic response? To say goodbye?
Vanessa: Yeah, “That was really nice. You better go.”
Vanessa: I think I was just so thrown off by the whole thing. We had been, what appeared to be, on a disastrous date and I had already in my head said, “No… there’s someone else…keep looking.”
But that (moment) just surprised me and scared me. I really, honestly, didn’t even know what was going to happen after that. I didn’t know if I was even going to get another date after I destroyed the wall of a restaurant that he had so carefully selected. I guess, a lot of lessons learned from that experience.
Jodi: What happened next?
Vanessa: The next day I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. It was really interesting, and maybe this is a good dating tip for men. He sent me an email the next day. He said, “I really enjoyed the evening and I’d like to give you a Top 10 list of why I enjoyed our date.” Number 5 on the list was “I love the way you handled yourself when you broke the glass and you laughed at yourself and you got over it. That was wonderful.”
Vanessa: I remember, tenth on his list was the kiss. So I gather that it meant as much to him as it did to me. And so that was the post-date conversation.
Jodi: That is very sweet.
Vanessa: It is. It is.
Jodi: It took him a lot of time, I guess. That’s an engineer who’s actually quite creative.
Vanessa: Yes. Yes. Again, a little surprising that there are other sides to a person than what you might otherwise expect.
Jodi: You were peeling back the proverbial onion, I guess.
Vanessa: Yes. There was a flower beneath.
Jodi: And there was flower beneath! It must have struck you in a kind of meaningful way when you saw that list.
Vanessa: Yeah, it was because it made me aware that he was paying attention during the evening. He was present. He was documenting in his head, much like I was. But, little did he know what my documentation was…“I’m done. This is ridiculous. What am I doing here?” It turned out to be a good relationship for quite some time.
Jodi: Did you and Tony date for a while afterwards?
Vanessa: We did. We had a relationship for over a year. It was a really great one. It started out as a relationship where you show your flaws and your weaknesses and that you’re not perfect. It actually turned into a good relationship because we could be that way around each other and I enjoyed that very much. Tony showed me a lot of new things, new interests, new areas because we were so different. I really am glad that I opened up my mind to that because I think I grew a lot as a person from that relationship.
Jodi: Since your experience with Tony, how has the way you approach dating changed?
Vanessa: Well, again, open-mindedness is key. Not needing to be perfect is huge because I learned from smashing a wine glass on a first date that you have to approach this as two people meeting each other and learning about each other and that neither one of you was going to be perfect at all times. If they’re looking for perfect, then they got the wrong girl because I’m not and I know that.
Jodi: No one is.
Vanessa: Right. Right! But some men are looking for the perfect woman in their head. So, I guess if I had advice for people, it’s to just experiment. Try what you think you might be looking for, might not be exactly what you’re looking for. That there’s so much that you can learn from people who aren’t like all the men you’ve ever dated. It’s really about that real human connection and that’s what we’re all looking for, right? So that’s what grew out of this strange encounter with the delivery man guy. (Laughter)
Jodi: Thank you very much, Vanessa, for taking us through that story and for the wisdom that you took away from your first date experience with Tony.
Vanessa: Well, thank you. It was fun to talk to you.
Jodi: It has been fun for me as well.