1. professor: opposites attract

Yours truly is back, after a winter dating sabbatical, with a brand new dating dissertation to dissect. I want to introduce you to my current beau, with no promises on how long I will write about him, but also without too much ado, so … class is in session:

Meet the Professor.

  • The professor is occupationally just that, with his additional time spent doing medical research; which is to say without saying too much, that he’s academically decorated, and extremely intelligent. (And ludicrously humble about it.)
  • The professor is 12 years my senior, extensively traveled, and passionate about sports, craft beer and fine dining.
  • The professor is the oldest of three brothers and a father of boys whom he has majority custody of.
  • The professor lives in metropolitan-adjacent suburbia just shy of an hour’s drive from me.
  • The professor has proven to be a consummate gentleman, endlessly interesting, a skosh romantic, patient, and consistent.

To say that we are different might be an understatement.

  • I work in a creative role in a financial firm and I romanticize my cutesy career, flitting around boardrooms full of three-piece suits with a scrunchie in my hair and a quip on my tongue. My office has just one honours college diploma on the wall.
  • I’m a 32 year old that spends the majority of my time writing, reading poetry, eating tacos, dieting, and drinking an ungodly amount of coffee.
  • I’m the youngest of three sisters and a mother to one daughter, whom I only have half of the time.
  • I moved back in with my parents after selling my condo last year and squirreling away equity to begin living an intentionally nomadic sort of lifestyle in my time without my daughter.
  • I described myself to him as awkward, fearful, with a penchant to over-analyze but since we’ve been together he’s referred to me as a humble, witty, sweet, outgoing, funny, unpredictable, and a really intellectually deep girl.

To say our differences make all the difference is absolutely an understatement.

The professor is Roman Catholic; I post a picture of my tarot card each morning to my Instagram story. The professor likes hair bands from the 80’s; I listen to electronic bops and pop. The professor showed me travel photos from beaches in Hawaii and ski hills across the continent; I showed him my Instagram feed of downtown Detroit, margaritas and dive bar dancing. The professor wears button up shirts every day and loves his Sketchers; I wear ripped jeans (that he bashfully admitted he thinks are sexy) and almost exclusively wear Timberlands. The professor is an unbelievable chef, literally astounding; I had to try three times to rip into the foil wrapper of my protein bar last week. The professor won’t put stickers on his laptop; I have tattoos because “it’s just a body.” The professor looked at me in wistful astonishment over dinner one night and said “I’ve never met anyone who thinks the way you do”; when I was feeling particularly amorous one night I told him “You’re my jam, P.” I feel unequivocally his equal opposite.

In one text conversation shortly before we met I said to him: “I’m going to try to ruin this … what’s your sign?” “Cancer.” “No you’re not. You’re one of the signs I’m supposed to be looking for.” And over the next few days the professor, who knew nothing about astrology, sent me screenshots and asked questions or commented to quantify our traits, through astrology. He got to know me, through the lens he knew I’d use to analyze us. He’s left me utterly speechless, more times than I can count, for efforts just like this.
yin yang

I knew then that what we had could be what yin/yang feels like:
small parts of sameness reaching into mirrored opposites. I have to admit I was geeked that the ’69’ symbol for cancer, looks the same.

 

How I met the Professor.

“I remember reading your profile. You are interesting and funny which made you stand out. I was talking to a few girls … but then I started talking to you and I didn’t bother writing them back. I felt bad but … I was just too smitten by your witty sass.”

When the professor first contacted me on Match.com he was outside of my distance settings and I was staunchly against messaging men first. I had spent the majority of that first week on the app liking profiles and then backing out of the ensuring lackluster banter until this came through:

“Hey I’m [Professor] … I’m new to this but thought I’d reach out. Your profile is really clever. Mine, not so much. I am a bit #hockeylife but like all sports, and for some reason hot dogs as well. Did you grow up in [city]?”

I’ve since told the professor that this first message was exactly what I wanted to receive. Why? It felt like what I’d want a man to say if he approached me in real life. Direct, honest, casually compliment, a chance to connect. Despite my admission of being terrible at math, the professor noticed I view a lot of the aspects of life as an algebraic equation, I’ve since wrote the following in a journal:

Each chance at love is just x’s and y’s being added by circumstance, multiplied by attraction, subtracted by deal-breakers, and divided by intent. 

I don’t think I’ve been without a text from him in any day since that first message. We met online just before spring break, taking us both out of our respective cities with our children. We exchanged phone numbers on the eve of his departure:

Prof: Anyways, I’m leaving tomorrow on the mystical journey and I would feel much safer knowing that I had a potential lunch or dinner date lined up with a girl called Mimi. So hopefully you’ll consider it and get back to me if you don’t get a better offer before.
Me: Pack your bag. I will see you when you’re back.
Prof: Is that a yes? Very cavalier.
Me: It’s a fuck yes. I didn’t mean to be cavalier, cheeky yes … my penance … [my number].
Prof: Cheekyness appreciated. In case you need to get ahold of me [his number]. Can I text you?
Me: Of course you can.

The professor and I spent the next week of evenings, a province between us, our kids tucked in bed, sharing our days, interests, extended families and bonding over parent’y nonsense like Mariokart and the bland carby diet that children live on (I call it “beige food”). And after agreeing we were both monogamous relationship types, he said:

Prof: I’m not on Tinder.
Me: I’ve never been on Tinder.
Prof: I’m not a parallel dater.

It was another check in his favour; one that he offered without knowing I would require it to proceed past date one. We discussed how online dating was bizarre, and the parts we couldn’t wrap our heads around. We concluded we were both very picky with dates and at morally at odds with the sincerity of casual dating. I’d always wanted to meet someone who was “new school” enough to online date but “old school” enough to date one person at a time, you know, like 2005.

How the Professor asked to meet me in real life.

The professor made good on his promise the night he got home, offering up a date to drink a tea he was fond of or a meal he knew I liked. I was geeked on this approach as it showed enough interest to do an entire meal, while offering the casual investment of a café meeting.

Prof: Now that I’m back to reality life, I’ve got a hankering for a London Fog, and I was hoping you’d like to get one at your favourite Seattle establishment … or a burger caesar at your favourite place.
Me: Yea of course. Whatever wherever! What’s between us? [Halfway City?]
Prof: I’ll come to [my city]. It’s close. The question is when … are you busy this weekend?
Prof: And don’t reply too quickly … and hold back the excitement.
Me: Stop it. I’m doing my Virgo nervous thing. Let me, lol. But yes I can make time this weekend for sure.
Prof: Pfew. I was preparing for the big rejection. My Saturday is sort of crazy, can you do Friday or Sunday?
Me: I have a cousin visiting Saturday, so that lines up. Sunday fun day?
Prof: For sure! Today is shaping up good. Need a lottery ticket. Catch you in a bit.

And that, dear readers, is where I’ll leave us off. I’m excited to share a bit about our dates with you in the coming blogs because they’re without a doubt the best dates I’ve ever been on in my life. You’ll see why … until next time.

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