My last blog was about the impact anyone can have on your life. Call it bad luck, fate, or just how life rolls, but 20 somethings continue to be the only women in my life it seems. There really is nothing wrong with that, because I don’t discriminate by age, because nobody every treated me that way when I was a 20 something. In fact, my best friend was 39 when I was 20. And since the whole point of this blog, is to get twenty seconds of courage to meet the woman of my dreams, I figure I should be able to talk to anyone, if I can talk to 20 year olds.
I spent the month of January working away from home, living the hotel life, eating out daily, which sucks more than you would believe, accompanied with trips to the hotel gym with little effect as always. When the temperature is steady around -22, most do not venture far from the hotel for meals, but it also means seeing the same servers at the same restaurants night after night. Funny enough, one can sometimes only deal with what they are presented with, and like at home, I am presented with 20 something servers. I know from experience, that the restaurant/bar job is often a temporary one for them, often paying for school, or because they are unable to find work in their chosen field. This often means indifference for the customer, and they want nothing more than a tip; the very kind of service at our chosen restaurant the first week in town.
But then IT happened. We discovered a new place to have lunch and dinner that was closer to the hotel, and offered better service. IT all started one night with a peer that said he could determine a woman’s age by looking at her hands so we put him to the test with the staff that night. I soon found myself playing along, challenging his guesses. To my surprise, I was guessing closer than he was. But I cheated. Men that really know me, will agree I have very different taste in women. Many men out there will call bullshit on this, but the most important feature a woman has to me is her eyes. So while ‘predicting’ the servers ages by looking at their hands, I was really looking into their eyes. And dammit, I was close or bang on every time!
Of course this was an awesome icebreaker for a shy introvert but not sure I could ever attempt it again without someone else opening the door. There was shy Sierra, whose name I only mention so that I remember it when I return there. There was the bartending staff, which included James and Janeen, Mark and Megan, all perhaps a little older than 22. They welcomed us into their bar, and extended their friendly hospitality beyond the walls of where they worked. Little did they know how much business we would provide them in the weeks to come. For that matter, little did we know how much business we would provide them, some days, both lunch and dinner. Yet it led to meeting some awesome people that treated me well, far beyond good service, actually more like friends hosting me in their home. I am not sure this is a good thing, but I felt like Norm from the old tv show Cheers, instead of my usual Raj from Big Bang Theory. (Sadly, I look more like Norm, but hoping diet and exercise change that!)
A little bit of liquid courage one night had me heading over to the incredible Steph. And yes, I mean incredible. Well, as incredible as a 23 year old fitness and dance instructor can be. Even in a dark bar, her eyes were welcoming and friendly. And contrary to my peers who were advising me against talking to her, and a bartender that suggested she didn’t even like me, I found myself compelled to go talk to her while she waited for her meal. Understand, this is VERY out of character for me, so I really cannot explain why I would still go over there when I was advised it was a bad idea…….And this was before I knew she was a fitness and dance instructor! At first impression, it is quite possible I have not met a more kind and perhaps tolerant 23 yr old in my life. I told stories, listened intently to hers, and we laughed. According to my friends, we actually talked for an hour even though I gave her several opportunities to brush me off. After all, she was in her workplace, and we were customers, so I did not want her to feel obligated to talk to me, and I told her so. But she told me she liked my stories so I hoped we would talk again.
But as the days wore on, I started to believe that my friends and a bartender were likely correct, and she was nothing more than a polite employee in the place she worked. I pretty much could not get the time of day out of her, getting little acknowledgement even when she was sitting beside me a few days later. I wasn’t looking for marriage or even a date but I thank her, because I grew some confidence from the opportunity of stepping outside my comfort zone each time I saw her. I have never been one for games, but I definitely see playing ‘hard to get’ the next time I am there! Why not, she might not even notice! (Epilogue – we have since been back, and Stephanie approached me with a huge smile and warm welcome. Did I play hard to get? Of course not! I only had one more day in town. Instead I gave her my number and asked her to come out with us before we left! Yeah, I know what you are thinking……)
Let’s be honest, talking to servers that are working is pretty easy……getting them to talk to you on their own time, well, that is a bigger challenge. However, James, Janeen, Meagan, Megan, and Janna all gave up personal time to get to know me better and each brought me out of my shell in their own way. I am pretty sure they would tell you I am lying about being shy and insecure, but there is a reason I am at home on a Saturday night. Although…….if I could find a restaurant near my home with staff like them, I might never leave.
I can honestly say that all of these experiences took me well beyond 20 seconds of courage. I can also say that I have used these experiences in the past few weeks I have been home, albeit most of my courage is with strangers on Twitter….. a subject for another blog. And let me be clear…..I don’t want to date a 23 year old, as I have very different priorities in life. I will be the first one to say that would be a little creepy and frankly, short lived, but I have come to know a few people that truly are great people, regardless of their age. (Epilogue – almost all the staff we had come to know, came out with us on our last night. They are all great people, some of whom I would now consider friends.)
I believe every experience helps shape us into who we are and who we become, and while I am trying to shape myself into a more confident person, a date is still just a date; A chance to learn more about someone else, and yourself, and the lost art of conversation instead of tweeting and texting. Yes, I am one of those that misses conversation, and I find it so easy to be misunderstood in a text or tweet. Humour does not always come across as well in written form, as you thought it was in your head. This blog just might be another example of that.
In the meantime, I have tickets for Calgary Flames games, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi in the weeks and months ahead, and I will need a little courage, or I am going alone. Older than 23, apply within :)
Thanks for following my journey. I would love to hear your support, comments and criticism, but I have not mastered WordPress to get the reply box to display :( Right under the title of the blog is the published date with // beside it and a number. If you click on the number, it will produce a comment box. Alternatively, feel free to email me at DivorcednotDead@shaw.ca