Her

1. Tell her you need her. I love you is easy, telling her you need her and meaning it, life changing.

2. Brush her hair away from the corner of her mouth. Tuck that wild strand behind her ear. It’s a subtle touch from your fingers that she needs.

3. Touch her knee. Reach back when she is on the back of your motorcycle and rub her shin. Reach over in the car and rub her leg. Acknowledge her in this presence as your travel.

4. Lean into her and take a deep breathe. Inhale her hair; become intoxicated by the scent of her neck, then pull back. No kiss needed.

5. Tell her how beautiful her eyes are to you. 

6. Make love to her. Slowly but with strength and passion. She wants you to just be the man.

7. Make love to her on the kitchen table, in the woods, in the car, in the foyer, at your office. Love her anywhere and everywhere. She likes to be taken unexpectedly.

8. Be proud of her. She has accomplished so much in her short life time.

9. Tell others in your life about her. She wants to hear later how much you talk about her.

10. Take her to meet your family. She will feel special and loved when she knows she has been accepted by your mom.

11. Pay for stuff. Don’t worry, she will pick up the tab when necessary and when its her turn. Don’t keep score.

12. Tell her your deepest and darkest secrets. She will have your back and will defend your past actions until her dying breathe. 

13.  Be jealous. Just a little.

14.  Acknowledge the little things about her. The way she twirls her hair, that she bites her lip or that her cheeks flush when she is embarrassed.

14. Cook for her. She finds nothing sexier than you in the kitchen. Cooking. For her.

15. Don’t hold back, ever. Take her, love her, need her, want her. Be. With. Her.

 

 

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Location, Location, Location

How important is location? I am sitting in a hipster coffee shop in Dayton as Gritty grades a day’s worth of papers that should have been graded days earlier. He makes the statement that he would not be happier if he were sitting in a Starbuck’s in Oakwood but needs this  hipster coffee shop and its annoying patrons to keep him entertained as he places scribble on his student’s half-assed attempts to complete the written assignment he gave them earlier in the week.

The coffee shop has a sterile aesthetic and is minimally decorated. Black and white photographs of vegetables and plants have been placed in poster frames and adorn the walls. And there are plants everywhere, strategically placed in front of the windows and along the ledges to perhaps cycle out the hipster attitude and negativity that flows in and out of the establishment. The music is bad. Not your typical mix tape of Wilco hipster favorites, or Arcade Fire or even Modest Mouse just some steady stream of post-Morrissey self loathing noise.  At  least there is no television present. However the main conversation between the two baristas is the new season of Breaking Bad and some other new HBO/Showtime drama that I have never heard of and I should probably mention: I have never seen an episode of Breaking Bad.

As I approach hour three of observing the baristas and patrons uncomfortably interact with each other, I begin to disagree with Gritty’s earlier statement more and more. It’s not about location, it’s about the company. Most of the patrons have entered and left the coffee shop alone. Even the ones who are sitting at the bar reading or working on some school paper sit alone. No one looks especially happy here or even happy about their task at hand. I spied two young women sitting at a table in the back of the coffee shop, I over hear them reviewing the last yoga class they have just taken and what the differences in ashtanga and bikram are to them.  Both trying to still seem utterly unexcited and uninterested in either topic. Once again, a hipster trying too hard in order not to appear to be trying too hard. Would they be having the same conversation if they were seated at a Starbuck’s on UD’s campus? Sure. I am growing more confident that it really is all about the company and not about the location.

Gritty is grinning. He is flying through his second half of grading and has commented on how this batch are decent and that his students might have actually understood the assignment given. He pauses every twenty minutes or so to observe the new patrons walking in and out and to hum along to the newest Death Cab for Cutie song being played. Wait, I hear several drumsets, this must be the White Rabbits. Blergh. Would Gritty be this happy grading here at this particular coffee shop if I were not present? Maybe. But who would he roll his eyes to as the young hipster dudes in there straight leg pants, converse low tops and sling messenger bags walk through the door already searching for their iPhones to ensure they had not missed anything as they walked from the door to the counter? Or how about the occasional comment Gritty makes regarding a student’s writing style or lack thereof? Sure, he would generally just make those comments to himself or under his breathe but is it not much more enjoyable to make eye contact with another human being and share your thoughts out loud? All the more enjoyable when you like the person who is sitting next to you.

I am concluding that Gritty is incorrect. (For once.) It is not always about location. It is about your company. If you enjoy the company you have and they make even the most mundane task go by with ease then maybe you should give more credit to them rather than the hipster coffee shop in which you sit. After all, if I could sit here for almost four hours and smile and joke with you in a coffee shop that I find ridiculous, then it must be about the company for me as well.

Trust, A Four Letter Word?

As you mature and become more confident with yourself and what you want, emotions like jealousy, envy, and angst, tend to move to the back seat as you drive your journey.  I am not insinuating that they will not resurface like a pot hole after the first winter’s storm but these emotions should and will be few and farther between. You would think.

I have seen way too many of my girlfriends torture themselves with jealousy issues. As  a voice of reason, I always asked them why they felt this way and why can’t they just get a hold of these out of control emotions. Dude’s with you, right? Even though the answer appears to be an astounding yes, that does not keep them from 1) checking call logs on phones 2) clicking through e-mail accounts and browsing internet history 3) doing drive-bys on “time off” nights 4) going through wallets and desk drawers and my all time favorite 5) using interrogation tactics when a story seems a bit hazy.

Is all this song and dance not exhausting? Wouldn’t your time be better spent 1) Loving this man? 2) Planning and doing sweet nothings for this man? 3) Hell, even pining for this man?

Yes. Yes. All those items above and a list of many others would be far better suited for a woman to spend her time doing rather than destroying her soul analyzing each and every word, action and previous scenario that her beau is, has, said or would have done. Trust me, it makes sense, it’s only logical, right, to only say, feel and do what is right. Right? Well, no. Is a little jealousy good? I mean even Matthew McConaughey gets jealous. He said so in an interview last year:

“Sure, I can get a little bit jealous. The good part about jealousy is that it comes from passion….”

Hell, any woman that says she wouldn’t swoon over that statement is full of shit. Yes,  I know it helps that it came from Matthew McConaughey’s lips, but what about from the man’s perspective? Do women think that a man finds jealousy a redeeming quality in a mate? The majority I have asked said, no. Well, hell no to be exact. Which comes to the question I have, when is jealousy a good thing?

Recently I have experienced this emotion first hand. My friends reading this are in disbelief, I’m sure. After all, I am the one who is usually their voice of reason or their performance critic. What do I mean? Well here’s that list: 1) No, don’t text him again, I am pretty sure he got your 10 previous texts. 2) No, do not call his office and see if he answers. 3) No, do not just “show up” at the bar where he is hanging out with his buds. 4) No, do not stalk his facebook page. And my all time favorite, 5) No, do not ask him how many woman he has slept with before you.

Sounds like reasonable items to stay away from, right? Most woman, however cannot…Where was I? Oh, back to me and my recent pot hole experiences regarding jealousy. Recently I have become somewhat committed. I mean I am in a RELATIONSHIP. Like six months now, I think. Over the course of this new found love, he has told me many times all the things he likes about me. Ready for another list? Why not: 1) I am smart. 2) I am beautiful. 3) I am kind and empathetic. 4) I have dark eyes. 5) I like to camp. 6) I appreciate silence. 7) I am a no-drama-mama. 8) I am from Kentucky. 9) I have an infectious laugh. And the one that matters for this post, 10) I am not jealous.

I went over scenario after scenario in my head of all the situations my girlfriends have been in when jealousy reared its ugly head. Most of them just did not warrant the behavior that was displayed. Another list? Sure. 1) Drinks poured over his head. 2) Car keyed. 3) His clothes thrown out the window. 4) Relationship called off suddenly. And the worst, 5) A full evening spent yelling and screaming only to awaken the next morning with shameful regret for what you said to him. So the question remains, is jealousy okay? Is it just one of those emotions that exist and if not released when felt will fester and blow up and out eventually?

Back to me. Recently, I have been victim of this horrible emotion. It infected me. It consumed me. Was it warranted? Would I have dismissed this emotion if it were being felt by one of my girlfriends instead of me? Probably. What have I learned from all this? I have learned that jealousy, at times cannot be prevented. I thought I was incapable of feeling such a ridiculous soul scorcher. But, I am not. Even at this moment, I battle with the decision to hold on to my jealousy or let it go. Do I hold on to it because it is my body’s own defense mechanism and my intuition is telling me that my lover is not true? Or is my jealousy a mere mental and emotional instability that is making an appearance due to something from my past failed relationships or my fear of getting older and/or decline in self confidence?  This is a whole lot more complicated than I could ever have imagined.

Conclusion? I don’t have one. I do know that presenting these emotions calmly and cautiously as soon as they arise seems to be a step in one direction. Whether it’s the right direction, I still don’t know. And just letting these emotions go? But what if THEY ARE WARRANTED?  What if I (and you) are indeed being played? For now, I will leave you with one last list. 1) Forgive yourself if you get jealous. 2) Talk about with him. Calmly. Try to stay rational. 3) Ask yourself, why do I feel this way? 4) Let it go. Once it has been addressed, move on. 5) Just love him anyway. He may just love the jealous-side of you, too.

Oktoberfest

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I attended my first ever German Oktoberfest this weekend in Cincinnati, OH. The festival sponsored by the Germania Society was a celebration of beer, brats, metts, lederhosen and polka music. The Germania Society promotes the event as the most original and authentic German celebration in Cincinnati.

I attended the event with Gritty who boasted his German heritage and how great the polka music was going to be  for him and the beer selection would be at its finest for this kraut laden event. Did I mention that I am not even the slightest of German? I was apprehensive, intimidated to a point. Would they be checking papers at the entry gate? Would they let this Irish/Spaniard through the gates to drink from their beer spewing fountains?

As most Cincinnati festivals have adopted, we took the shuttle over from the local middle school. The bus was filled to capacity and I mean capacity. Gritty and I were standing in the front of the bus.  No, not in the aisle but in the front, with the driver, in front of the door awaiting to be ejected out the side of the swinging door and onto the hot, black, August pavement. The driver was very jolly. She was a young, African American woman who asked me several times on our journey if I was okay and holding on tight enough. She was charming and in her own way eased my mind slightly on the upcoming festivities.

Dropped off at the door and ready to drink, we walked to the entrance of the festival hand-in-hand. The ambassadors at the gates took our six bucks and told us to have a great time. Whew. I was in.

Gritty knew right where he wanted to go first: The Beer Garden, I mean, The Bier Garten? We walked up to the beer tent and I anticipated seeing row after row of the best German beers available and beers that were in adherence to the Reinheitsgebot order; Hefeweisbier, Spaten, or Einbecker.  No, remember, this is Cincinnati. No, the German beer on tap was Warsteiner. Yes, still a German brewed beer and Warsteiner is Germany’s largest privately owned brewery but I can get one of those at the Lucky Duck Pub in Northern Kentucky. Let’s not forget to give an honorable mention to the bottles of Budweiser and Miller Lite that were being slung out by the hundreds to this very thirsty crowd. Were they too expecting a more elite selection of beers and thought it best to throw back a 4 dollar domestic than pay the 7 bucks for a Warsteiner? Nah, you can’t get the 12 dollar souvenir mug and not drink the featured beer on tap, can you?

One of two things that did not disappoint this Irish belle was the food. Now when it comes to festival food, all rules are off. You are not eating healthy, you are not eating vegan or vegetarian and any laws that follow health department code are non-existent. I ordered a mettworst and potato pancakes and Gritty ordered a hot mett. Both of our sausages came perfectly encased in a steamed roll and topped with the most delicious sauerkraut I have ever eaten. The small round potato pancakes were a hit and even more enjoyable as Gritty loaded them with horseradish. I really must stock my fridge with this newly discovered condiment. Not just for bloody mary’s any longer. I will be putting that shit on everything!

We made our way inside in search of the Polka Woodstock that Gritty had so kindly chattered about between bites of sausage. The room had promise. The tables were packed with sausage devouring patrons drinking from their 64 ounce souvenir mugs.  The building alone was magical. It was adorned with wood paneling around every wall and a faux stucco-like finish covered the top portion of the beer splattered walls.  Wrought iron (real?) chandeliers hung every foot or so from the foam tiled ceiling. With a grin, Gritty looked at me and asked if we ever get married, could we have the reception there? I was too entranced by the actual thought of one day marrying Gritty to come back with any sassy and/or sarcastic remark.

Seated at the front of the room appeared to be Kenny Rogers. Of course it wasn’t but he sure looked like Kenny! German Kenny was playing his accordion, wearing a Hawaiian style shirt, cargo shorts and brown sandals.   He was playing The Gambler.  No fucking joke, I was witnessing an accordion playing, country music singing German catastrophe! I glanced at Gritty to see his expression. Gritty doesn’t have a very good poker face and the writing, er music was on the wall. We, (I) suffered through several more songs even after a lederhosen clad senior walked up to the stage and started fiddling with a base guitar. When German Kenny started belting out Jimmy Buffet, we couldn’t run fast enough to the Exit sign.

Out and about around the festival grounds we strolled, my Gritty and me. The second thing that did not disappoint was, the crowd. A mix of Cincinnati drunken west siders and drunken east siders who looked like and probably felt like they were on safari at the west side event. (Thanks Gritty for that insight.) One thing was clear, all were German today!

We walked over to a picnic area where outside party lights were draped from every tree and tent standing. Another musical majesty awaited us. We perched on a small bench that was actually a tree stump and tuned in to the key board playing, tall and blond entertainer, straight from Vegas! Not only was it bad, it was downright hysterical. The twinkling party lights reflected off his black leather pants perfectly as he belted his best version of Lionel Richie’s, I just Called to Say I Love You.  I glanced at Gritty and got just what I expected, his look of disbelief. How is there no fucking polka? Our attention then shifted to the other festival goers seated at the rows of picnic tables. We played name their hometown, name their high school and so on. It was fun. It was mean fun, but hey, coming from Gritty and sassy Esme, we tend to play a little mean.

We made our way back out to the crowds and went for second supper. Gritty got a coke and a Limburger sandwich and I opted for the Curry Mett and giant pickle. The limburger sandwich took my breath away. Not because it was awesome but because it was so strong. Served on rye bread with rings of sliced onion it was hard not to gasp for air after my first bite. I decided another bite would be wise since Gritty was eating it and I would hopefully be kissing him later that evening. The pickle and curry dog did not disappoint. I easily could have eaten another pickle and then another slathered in horseradish all while dipping it in my Warsteiner.

We made our way back to our future reception site to give the polka music one last chance. Jack Pot! He was there, the long awaited authentic, polka playing King! Gritty smiled a huge, limburger smelling smile!

We watched as old couples danced across the floor and gazed into each other’s eyes while they listened to the polka play on. Patrons lined up to have their mugs and steins refilled and others graced the dessert lines for their favorite fudge, strudel and puffs.

As we left the festival and boarded the yellow bus to the middle school lot, I glanced back to watch the crowds as they filtered in and out of the gates. The crowds of people were exactly what Cincinnati is and will always be, folks just looking for a good time for themselves, their friends and their families. Like the editing of this post, they are not perfect, nor do they want to be. Tonight I was German and I enjoyed every minute of it. Prost!

Sophie

Sophie (Click link to listen)

I am not going to lie and tell you that I first heard this song at some college party as I stared at some cute guy across the room. I first heard it where all 1990’s graduates heard it, on Beverly Hills 90210.

Turn it up, dance with yourself around your living room and crush on Dillon or Brandon. After all, they were way hotter than Edward and Jacob and they were here first.

Belle Is Back

Belle has been on hiatus for some time but she is finally back. I have stacks of unfinished thoughts (mostly written on bar napkins) that need to be set to page and popping up on your must read blog lists.

The last few months have been tough for this Belle. I have shed some tears, broken some hearts, gambled on life and learned some valuable lessons along the way. So readers, sit back, pour a glass of whiskey lemonade and enjoy. We have lots of catching up to do.

Love Me

I have always thought that you should guard your heart like it is the most valuable possession in the entire universe. And in many ways, okay every way, this Belle still does. Sure, things have softened my guard over the years; the loss of a good friend, the birth of my petite, a divorce and a pending full time career change but I still keep the guards up and they are heavily armed. For many souls who come across Belle this is a perplexing contradiction. Belle is very loving, Belle is a care-taker of sorts, Belle is a hugger and smoocher and Belle is far from a small talker. She wants to know all of you. She wants to ask you questions like; Are you really happy? Do you love recklessly? Have you surrendered, yet? How can someone who feels so strongly about guarding her own heart expect others to let her in so easily and without any hesitation?

I recently answered these questions for Belle. I was on the cusp of this discovery for so long and it came to me after making a certain and what was thought unobtainable connection and decision. I was always careful about who I trusted completely. I practice the mantra, be careful who you trust, remember the devil was once an angel. In a future post we can relive some of Belle’s heartaches but for this one I want to focus on the now and how Belle is doing with love, new life realizations and of course, Gritty.

Where was I? Oh yes, how Belle could be all of those unguarded adjectives above, yet in all honesty, is really keeping people (potential loves) at arm’s length. It’s easy to explain; Belle loves and extends her light superficially. This is not an insult to Belle and I don’t mean it in a shallow context but rather in a just on the surface definition. All is fine with love and caring as long as no one gets hurt, right? Especially Belle. As my yoga practice intensifies and I gravitate more towards it being not only my practice but my way of living, teaching and well…just existing I have realized that I deserve just as much of the loving, care-taking, affection and meaningful conversations as I bestow on others. As the Dali Lama said, “If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.” I thought I had all this mastered already. But I was lacking, and Belle was lacking the most important part…self-love.

What happens when you identify self-love as your one and only un-penetrated defense? You bust through the wall yourself. You stand up for yourself, you set boundaries with those who enabled your walls to be built rock solid in the first place and maybe just maybe the timing will be fortuitous and love will stumble in all at the same time.

And in walks Gritty…

Gritty in all traditional definitions is completely wrong for Belle. As a self-professed, “Rambling Man” who just wants to travel, and perhaps eventually “pay off his debts” in order to travel more should be the last man in the deck that Belle allows to “favorite” her. What is so special about this man that has Belle singing and strumming a different tune? What is so mesmerizing about Gritty that has allowed him to captivate Belle and take over the well-written and perfectly strummed melodies within her heart, body and mind? I have asked this question time and time again to myself since the first moment he said hello. Belle knows now that to be completely loved one most love her-self but is she ready for the hurt and heart ache that this could potentially cause her? Is it already predetermined and forecasted in the stars that Gritty will in the end hurt Belle? Maybe. As calculated as Gritty is regarding his rides, his runs, his lectures, hell– even his clothes, how could he not already have a good idea of how this all would/will end? As the three earth shattering words left his lips…I LOVE YOU….Belle wondered how sincere they really could be. After all, he had offered little about his past life to her; he handed out his compliments to her sparingly and saved most of his affection for the moonlight when he would love her body raw. How is this supposed to ever be a fulfilling, nurturing reciprocated TRUE LOVE scenario for our Belle?

Was that last paragraph hard to swallow? It was even for me during editing. Love to me and love for our Belle is desired to be sweet and smooth, almost refreshing after what Belle has been through her entire life when it came to love and loyalty. I want it to be like sweet, whiskey lemonade on a hot southern July afternoon. Is Gritty too gritty? Is he too jaded to drink in the sweet love and smooth decadent that our Belle so longs to offer him? Why is Belle unable to play the game for him and leave him lusting, wanting and needing more of her? I will tell you why. That is what happens when you surrender, not only to a man or a woman or any other passion but with life in general. Once and only once that you surrender completely will you know how capable you are of not only loving yourself, as Belle as recently discovered, but how capable you are of loving someone else. For now, Belle will continue down this newly discovered trail and will love openly, honestly and freely. She will offer up no apologies, not any more. She was created and her body was warmed to give love and to be loved. I have no doubts about this statement. And as for Gritty, long passionate kisses from strong handsome lips, breathing him in, all of him as he exhales, and watching him ride away from me every few days will have to be a reminder that these experiences I have with him are the result of me loving myself and allowing the possibility for something to happen that may be beyond mine and Belle’s wildest and grittiest dreams. Getting hurt in the end may just be part of the sweet ride.

Gratitude for Notes

Since my love life has been so challenging over the last few years many ask how Belle stays so positive and hopeful when it comes to love. The answer to that question has not always been easy to articulate. My answers have ranged from, 1) Oh, I’m just a hopeful romantic. 2) What would Elizabeth Bennett have me do? 3) I am still writing my love story. 4) No guy can keep up with me, yet! And lastly 5) Ed Norton and I have yet to be introduced….

In all seriousness dearest southern love followers, Belle does get discouraged. More here lately since Spring is in the air and the flowers are blooming and the world itself is just capital R, romantic. I think most can relate when I say that sometimes we feel most disconnected with love and romance when we actually do have potential partners within reach. We analyze the dates, the interactions, the other person’s responses to our statements, their behaviors to the social interactions we place them in and it all becomes a little too much. Ultimately, we just want to be loved, right? One thing for sure that Belle decided when officially committing to this new quest for love is that it had to come naturally this time. Belle is to be cherished. My love and light is important, too. Not just his.

Where am I going with this post, well I will tell you and make this one short and oh so very sweet. The true reason I stay so positive and so hopeful for my future love and light is because of the folks that have surrounded me with love and positive reinforcements. They tell me I deserve love, that I am loved and that He will find me some day and LIGHT me.

I hope these few darlings are okay that I share some excerpts from notes they have written to me to keep me afloat on my sea of love’s uncertainties. Thank you for your notes. I reread them often, thank you, again and again, over and over.

A dear friend and mentor sent me this note after he found out about my divorce. He is one of the most warm and brilliant folks I know. We had not been in contact for years:

“truth be told I was wondering why such a fine diamond did not have a similar gemstone husband. do you have a new guy in your life? I love your pic and the way your hair looks, good job. long hair hid your true beauty. you are full of great energy warmth and have a very keen sense of all of those around you. this is why I always loved being around you my friend.”

Another friend, this one who knew me before cell phones, before DVDs and who knew me way before I was a yogi. We have not seen each other in almost 20 years:

“Still the adventurousness girl I remember and that is a great thing the love for life and bright smile that was always there……something in your eyes that always intrigued me and always told me you would push for more out of life than to be the girl next door. And here you are.”

“I keep thinking about you and hope each day gets easier. I am glad you found some avenues that help you through the difficulties. That light in your soul is a bright one indeed. The very being of that lovely girl I know was powerfull when we were young and obviously still is. The strength in your eyes always had me in awe and beauty when I see in you is pure magic, something disney only dreamed of.”

Someone who only new me briefly. Also a woman of few words, who never, ever sends notes or talks in social situations:


“if you EVER need to talk I’m here for you. Thank you for reaching out to me when no one else saw that I was in need. Text me, message me on here or if it’s after 11 on week nights and you need to just talk, let me know. I hope everything works out for you too. You are such a beautiful person inside and out. You are amazing. You deserve everything from the depths of a man’s soul. And now I know I do too. Love you girl!!”

A fellow yogi:

“I love you and you are good.”

My college rival:

 

“We should send in an audition tape for the Amazing Race!”

 

Love & Light

I often go out of my way to ensure those around me feel loved, cherished, accepted and most importantly lighted. What does that mean exactly to me? It means many things. If you have light, you have warmth. When you have light you are able to see the world around you as it has actually been created for you to see. If you have light, you can see the greenest of greens throughout the forests and the plants that surround you all while inhaling the love and life they offer to you. 

My scientific romantics appreciate light’s gift’s for maintaining our body’s circadian rhythms. Light is a mood booster and a natural energy enhancer. So put down that cup of joe you are about to gulp and open a shade or perhaps even step outside. 

A signal of light can alert you that your JEEP needs petro or that your iphone needs a charge. It can even assist you in approaching that cute guy across the bar, “got a light?” Which of course leads to a great witty first time conversation because he doesn’t smoke either but will think you are incredibly sassy for thinking of that perfect, vintage pick up line. Go ahead, try it!

I hope now you see the importance of having light and all its variation in your life. Some time back, I started greeting people with that statement. A simple, “Love and light to you.” Now I say it for just about anything. To say hello, goodbye, or just to show some love mid conversation. Some people get it, some don’t.

I hope each of you has some love and light in your lives. If you do not: seek it, find it, love it, cherish it, accept it (all forms of it), and light it….

 Namaste

Meeting Gritty

I sat nervously at the little cafe table on the corner of excited and anxious streets awaiting Gritty to arrive. Yes, I purposely arrived first. I did this for several reasons. One, so I could select my seating preference. You see, I wanted to sit outside even though the air was a tad brisk for the day. I have a tendency to feel claustrophobic and didn’t want that interfering with my ability to, well, talk and focus on the complete stranger that I was about to meet. Second, I didn’t have to make a “grand entrance” when walking up to him. I am rather graceful in my ways, this Belle is a yogi after all but I have the distinct talent for moments of sheer non elegant brilliance. For example, tripping over a curb, falling off my shoe, tucking the bottom of my skirt into my underwear and let’s not forget the so uncool wave and smile at a person who you think is doing the same to you but they are actually greeting the person behind you. I was taking no chances today and had all my bases covered.

I glanced in the cafe window front to check my hair and outfit. I am not usually a mirror checker unless it has to do with my teeth after I have eaten or I am working on my drishti but once again I wanted no detail left unscrutinized for this first meeting. I stared at my reflection and began to second guess my outfit. I was vintage Belle today. I wore a groovy patterned tank dress that was fitted at the top and swishy at the bottom. The colors were questionable for my skintone though… The dress was cream/orange/blue and black. I wore a vintage fitted levi’s jean jacket over the dress and finished my look with brown riding boots and one of my handmade necklaces.  Hair always slightly windblown and never exactly in place, very minimal makeup and my favorite Burt’s Bee’s lip stick. I soon had to accept that this was as good as it was going to get and if I worried too much about it I would soon be back on the train to “way too nervous” town instead of just sitting at a cafe table on the corner of Excited and Anxious streets.

I knew Gritty had a bike. No folks, not a bicycle, but a real bike, a motorcycle. No offence to you Tour de France trainees out there  but that is a huge turn off to Belle. If I meet a gentleman and he is into cycling, it is an immediate turn off. I watched as bike after bike drove by and that train began to approach my subconscious mind again. What the hell am I doing here? As each biker drove by, their appearance became more and more questionable. I know you should not judge a book by it’s cover and I am a huge advocate of this belief but I am on a first date here.  Feel some compassion for my insecurities folks!

 I new he was there before he even said my name. Now this could mean something or it could just be that I am sensitive to feeling other’s energy presences better than others. He walked up from the street behind me and I had just a moment to inhale before Gritty said, “Hello Jessica”.

 Yowsa. Who dressed this guy? Remember, from his photos I already had a clothes crush on him. Now it was confirmed, even if we didn’t hit it off, I would still be kissing his beautiful grey sweater, dark denim levi’s and leather motorcycle jacket good night regardless of how I felt about him. Wonder if he would give me a minute with just his jacket? Dammit. I just noticed his grey boots. Belle was in trouble.

I stood up to shake his hand which is what I always intend to do when I meet someone for the first time but I always let the “real” me take over and I typically hug-tackle. Gritty must have seen it coming because he was ready for my full frontal assault hello hug. He smelled nice. No cologne, no cheap over powering soap, he just smelled good, earthy, natural, gritty… I totally get how women like their men wearing cologne but Belle likes a more natural approach from her man. Since my alter ego is Patchouli Moonbeam Basil and I am guilty of not showering for a day or two it is important that my guy is not too into product or styling.

Gritty had a bit of a Hugh Jackman look going on today. Dammit. He had dark brown hair that was messy. Obviously from his helmet but I had a quick mini fantasy pop into my mind of how similar it would look after….Well, anyway back to the date. His initial smile was infectious and warm. The golden flecks that radiated from his eyes in the on-line photos were even more brilliant in real life. I gave him my biggest and brightest smile without even thinking about it. I am such a dork.

Gritty dove right into conversation. Obviously not new to this dating thing or the on-line dating hook up he sat back confidently and left me sitting on the corner of excited and anxious streets. He talked about extremely fascinating things like his work, his running, his stint as a preacher’s wife (more on that one later) and about all the places he had traveled. At first he asked very little of me and I was beginning to fear that he found me dull and uninteresting. I also crossed over the street to his side which seemed to be Narcissistic and Egocentric lanes. Still, there was something about Gritty. I wanted to touch his face and look deep into his eyes and see Him.

After a bite to eat we decided to take a walk and continue our afternoon date. The weather was a bit chilly but my choice of clothing ended up a perfect ensemble for our walk. We stopped in one of the local bars and had a pint. He ordered a craft beer, no Budlight, Coorslight, or gawd forbid Miller. I sipped my Guinness and chatted a bit more about myself and we exchanged the dreaded tales of our ended marriages. His by far more interesting than mine! Later, I promise…

We continued our stroll and as I was just about to point out a house that I had resided in back in my youth, a woman’s voice interrupted my fantasy of mine and Gritty’s future house and rooftop garden love-making….

“Seth?” (No, not his real name.) She said his name excitedly, almost thrilled to see him. She was also surprised to see him. The way she looked at him told me that he was someone she had a past with, had made love with, had cried with and maybe even had made her own future plans with in some first date outrageous fantasy. He smiled shyly, hugged her quickly and began to answer her barrage of questions. When she asked what his was doing “down this way”, he smiled brightly and looked directly at me. Score 1 for me, 0 for ex-girlfriend. As if on que I launched into my warm introduction, (no I didn’t hug her) but I asked her about her work and added a few points on the topic that she was attempting to discuss with my date, her ex, in passing standing on the sidewalk. She then realized she perhaps was over stepping comfort zones and immediately asked Gritty to call her for coffee. After all, she had so much to tell him!

We walked on as Gritty commented how uncomfortable that was and how he did not expect to run in to his ex while we were on our first date. Now this was a first for Belle and I was trying to determine if the date had just become an EPIC fail or if it could recover. I recovered fairly quickly from the run in with Gritty’s ex-girlfriend. I can now add it to my list of etiquette accomplishments. I was polite, charming and had fresh lip gloss on my lips to highlight my gorgeous smile. Mamma would be so proud!  

 

Our stroll through town was just as enchanted as it had begun with Gritty leading the way and captivating me with his stories of past and obscure family anecdotes. The afternoon sun filtering through the buildings we passed lighted his face and I couldn’t help but feel my heart skip a beat. He held my hand and at other times placed his hand in the small of my back as he guided me further into town and our exploration of each other and the small city streets.  

 

As we headed back, I knew I wanted to see him again and I felt a twinge of sadness as I came to realize that he may not feel the same way. He walked me to my car and without hesitation (or permission) kissed me more passionately than I have ever been kissed.