I glossed over date two with tall, buff, blue-eyed, silver-haired, and gorgeous. (Tbbeshg?) Norfolkguy834 and I met at Tautogs, his suggestion, but one of my favorites. When I arrived, I saw him standing on the sidewalk in front of Tautogs. Because of its proximity to the beach, casual attire is perfectly acceptable; however, I was glad to see Norfolkguy834 had donned grey slacks and dress shoes. His winter jacket covered the upper layer. I parked and started around the front of the building to greet him, but he had recognized my car, and walked back to meet me with a huge grin on his face. I smiled in return and turned my cheek to accept his quick cheek kiss. Yes. That’s where he was aiming. I was impressed. He told me that there was a twenty-minute wait. We walked in to the waiting area. Even though the bar was filled, I wouldn’t have suggested sitting there because he had mentioned in our first conversation that he was a recovering alcoholic of 27 years! I would have called him cured after that amount of time, but he insisted that alcoholics are never cured. I demurred to his expertise on the matter.
Several empty tables were clearly visible on the porch area and through the window in the main room. Norfolkguy834 wondered at the wait. My friendship with a local sommelier and several servers at her restaurant allowed me to explain that the ability of the kitchen to meet serving demands also plays a role in seating at restaurants. We chatted amiably as we people watched. At one table, with one exception a group of eight twenty-somethings took turns going outside to smoke. The lone non-smoker texted on her phone while alone or with others. I am never surprised by the texting in company, but I remain surprised that this generation smokes, and I said so. Norfolkguy834 told me he had quit smoking only four weeks prior to our date. He still struggled with it. I mentioned that I never dated smokers; he laughed and said he had seen that in my profile.
Finally our table was called, and we were placed in the second of two main rooms. A large party of young women and one young man provided much people-watching entertainment. I ordered mussels, an appetizer, and Norfolkguy834 followed suit. I am one of those people who like to exchange food so we can try different dishes, but if he wanted mussels, I wasn’t going to talk him out of it. Tautogs does a good job steaming them in wine, garlic, and a little light tomato base. The flavor of the mussels is enhanced instead of buried under heavy flavors. Our conversation flowed easily as we finished the meal. We ordered tea instead of coffee as the large table cleared. Norfolkguy834 was easy to talk to; our conversation continued about a variety of subjects until I realized we were camping. We hadn’t ordered a thing in an hour, and no one was visible. Embarrassed, because I know how difficult this is for restaurant staff who just want to go home after everyone is fed, I suggested we leave to give the staff a break. Norfolkguy834 must have been enjoying the conversation as much as I; he looked through the window to the main room to announce two other tables remained. We continued chatting until I saw people walking out the door. He walked me to my car, kissed me gently, and then pulled me in for a more serious kiss. He kissed nicely, and bent down to alleviate the height difference that was there in spite of my 3” heels.
We texted and talked over the next few days. On Thursday, my sister came over to visit me for a girl’s night out. We started at Sonoma where my friend is a sommelier. Our goal was to continue elsewhere to hear some live music. While we were sipping our first drinks, Norfolkguy834 texted. My sister insisted that WE read his text. He was fishing for an invitation to join us. Curious, my sister insisted that he do so. I was driving, so I switched to a club soda with a twist of this or that… placed in a wine glass by one of my favorite servers. She grinned and said it looked more like wine that way. It took Norfolkguy834 only about a half hour to arrive at Sonoma. He walked toward us, looking just as fine as the last time I had seen him. Tonight, he had ditched the formal jacket and grey pants in favor of dark jeans and a windbreaker style jacket. A blue button-down, open at the neckline complimented his blue eyes. I smiled and waved him to the seat to my left. Unexpectedly, he came in for a full on kiss; I ducked and presented my cheek. His beard and moustache smelled of cigarettes. Strike one.
Norfolkguy834 turned his seat sideways, draped his arm around the back of my chair, and tilted his body toward mine. I felt trapped. I pushed my body against his arm and then pulled away in an attempt to hint that I wasn’t comfortable. He didn’t get it! Strike 2. My favorite bartender and my friend were casting questioning eyes at me wondering who the guy was. I mouthed to my friend; it’s 6’4”, the name I’d used when I discussed him as an interesting date who had potential for repeats. Reassured slightly, they continued to watch his encircling of me.
By this time, my sister was on her third drink, and a white-haired gentleman was sitting to her right and flirting outrageously with her. I squeezed her leg and gave her the “let’s go” look. She grinned and said, “No worries,” thinking I was running interference for her. As she rose to make a bathroom run, the old guy commented loudly, “Great! I get to watch you walk away!” That broke the tension for a few minutes as Norfolkguy834 and I laughed at the dumb line. My sister sent him an “Oh Honey!” look and walked off. I took Norfolkguy834’s right arm from the back of my chair and placed it in his lap.
My sister returned, and old dude continued to flirt as she explained she was a happily married woman. Norfolkguy834 leaned across me to tell her softly, “And even if you weren’t, a beautiful women like you wouldn’t bother with someone like that guy.” He returned to upright in his own seat, but once again his right arm draped the back of my chair, his full body was facing me, and his left arm was in my space on the bar! I felt TRAPPED!!! Strike 3.
I went to the bathroom. While there, I texted my sister.
Drink up. I am feeling encroached on. Let’s go to the next stop.
I returned to my seat. Norfolkguy834 had returned to his own space. A reprieve… and then my sister ordered another drink. Old dude insisted on buying us a round. I didn’t need another… didn’t want another, but old dude loudly ordered and the drinks were delivered quickly. My club soda and Norfolkguy834’s Sprite didn’t break the bank; nor did my sister’s Captain on the rocks. Norfolkguy834 was back to figuratively peeing a circle around me. After tapping her leg and saying let’s go, I excused myself to text my sister again: Let’s go. No response. Sigh
I returned to my seat determined to leave. I walked up to my sister and said, “It’s time for some sister chat time. I have champagne on ice at home. Let’s go. OK?”
With a big grin, she responded, “Absolutely!”
We paid our tabs, and my sister stood next to me to leave. Norfolkguy834 stood and walked us to my car. He came in for a kiss, and I gave my cheek again. He looked at me quizzically, but said only, “Good night.”
As the car warmed up, my sister dug in her purse and said, “Oh look! I have three texts from you.” As she read she burst out laughing, “Oooops!”
I have no idea what demons possessed Norfolkguy834, but his behavior toward me after only two dates screamed, “Mine! MINE! MINE!!!” I have no desire to meet or deal with those demons. He’s out!