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The Literary Girlfriend: First Date

July 18, 2013

Literary Jane

In my years of dating women who liked to read books, I’d never gone out with anybody who took a book with her on a first date.  Now I was on my first outing with Danielle, a woman who had made it clear that she didn’t read books, and she was bringing my copy of Sense and Sensibility with her.  Of course, she had just announced to me that she was quite literary.  With her thick black glasses on and her hair pulled back (plus she was finally wearing a socially acceptable outfit), she looked like she might read.

We left my apartment in a hurry because she had to work that night.  Danielle did her usual thing, hogging the sidewalk and forcing me to either walk on the grass or cling to the edge and allow our sides to brush.  I chose to cling to the sidewalk because I liked brushing up against her.

It was a quiet walk.  Danielle usually initiated a lot of conversation, but now she wasn’t saying anything.  It felt weird.  After all the other conversations we’d had in bizarre situations, this was the first time she didn’t say much.  I always had a tough time maintaining conversations anyway, so having a silent Danielle started to stress me out.  I’d had my share of awkward, disastrous dates.  I really didn’t want this to be one of them.

When we reached the covered parking for apartment residents, Danielle stopped.

“This is yours?” she said, looking at my car like it was a roach on the wall.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.  My car wasn’t fancy, but it was reliable and paid for.

“We can do better,” she said.  She took my hand and led me halfway across the parking lot.  My mind locked in on that she was holding my hand.  I didn’t care that we weren’t talking; she was holding my hand.   We stopped in front of a black sports car.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“Nice,” I said.  I remembered the car she had driven a few weeks ago when I had given her panties back to her.  “Didn’t this used to be red?”

“I switched cars,” she said and handed me the keys.  “You wanna drive?”

I stood holding the keys while she went to the passenger side.  “I kind of feel funny driving somebody else’s car,” I said.

“You’ll like it.”  She sounded so confident.

I got in, but it was kind of cramped, and even when I shifted the seat back, I felt scrunched and I had to tilt my head. Then I saw that it was a manual transmission.

“Are you surprised that I can drive a stick?” she asked.

There was no way to answer that without sounding either vulgar or genderist, so I just started the car.

I stalled out a couple times backing out.  Danielle didn’t laugh, but I could tell she was amused by my frustration.  I finally figured out her clutch on the third try and got us out of the parking lot smoothly after that.

She told me the name of the Italian place she wanted to go to (and I agreed, of course).  When I took the side streets, Danielle told me it would be faster to take the freeway, but I knew that on Saturday evenings a couple of the exit ramps we’d need would get backed up, and the side streets wouldn’t take much longer.  Danielle said it was her car so she should decide how to get there, but I said that I was driving so the decision was mine.  We got stopped at a few red lights, and Danielle huffed every time, but I could tell she didn’t really mean it.  We agreed on the radio station, and that was important.  And both of us liked driving with the windows down.

When we got to the restaurant, we were told there would be a 15 minute wait.

“Should have taken the freeway,” Danielle said in a sing-song voice.

“It wouldn’t have been much faster,” I said in the same tone, but with more masculinity.

We sat side-by-side on one of the loungers in the front waiting area with other customers, (a couple families and a few couples that looked like they were on their own first dates).  A few minutes into the wait, Danielle got up and strolled past the hostess into the dining area.  Danielle talked to a waiter, the waiter talked to the hostess, and a minute later, we were getting seated.

A couple people ahead of us looked pissed (I would have been too), but Danielle said, “We’re meeting some friends inside,” and they seemed to accept her explanation.

I almost asked Danielle what she had said to the waiter, but I figured she was Danielle.  Whatever she had said wouldn’t have worked for me if I ever tried it.

During dinner I expected lulls in our conversation, but we didn’t have many.  We talked about football for a long time.  We were fans of the home football team, which was underperforming but still had a shot at the playoffs.  I thought the players we had were overrated.  She thought our coaches were overrated.  Luckily, we both hated Dallas and Buffalo (this was in the early 1990s when both teams were relevant).  Nothing helps a potential relationship like a common enemy.

Danielle ate more than any woman I had ever seen.  She devoured her pasta, made her salad disappear almost instantly, and took almost all the bread.  I really liked that bread.  She chewed with her mouth closed, and she didn’t talk when she ate.  She only talked when she took a break from eating.  Even better, she didn’t ask questions while I was chewing.  She asked the waiter for more bread and then let me have most of it.  I appreciated that.

“So,” Danielle said, leaning forward after we’d finished the meal.  “You’ve never read Sense and Sensibility.”  This was the book she had picked up from my apartment.  She pulled it out of her purse/bag/big thing she carried with her.

I looked down at my side of the table.  “No, I haven’t.”

“But you have it on your book shelf.  Are you ever going to read it?”

“Probably not.”

“Then why do you keep it on your book shelf?”

I paused.  “So people think that I’ve read it.”

“What do you know about it?”

“The main character is named Emma, I think, and…”

Danielle flipped through the pages.  “I don’t see anybody named Emma.”

“That’s because Jane Austen wrote a book called Emma,” I said slowly.  “I think Emma is in that one.”

“Do you read at all?” Danielle asked.

I nodded.

“How do I know if you’ve read a book or not?” she asked.

“If it’s on my book shelf in the living room, I probably haven’t read it.  If it’s in my second bedroom, I’ve either read it or I’m getting to it.”

“The second bedroom,” she said.  “The mystery bedroom.  Maybe I’ll see it sometime.”

“You really don’t want to,” I said.

“I could make you show me if I really wanted to.”  She smiled and raised her eyebrows a couple times.

I don’t remember what we talked about after that, but it was an easygoing conversation.  I kept reminding myself that her job was to make guys feel comfortable around her, so I didn’t want to make too big a deal over this, but it still felt good.  Danielle was the kind of woman who could choose any guy she wanted, and for some reason I seemed to be her choice.

But the date wasn’t over yet.

*****

To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: First Date, Part 2.

And to read “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning, start here.

4 Comments
  1. Your story got me hooked – so I hope you have no plans for quitting it halfway.:)

  2. She eats with her mouth closed—a keeper! And that is not sarcasm, this is a rarity. Do I smell wedding bells? I’m pining for the end of this story, as you can obviously tell.

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