Loveliest of the lovelies:

More Christmas retailing last night, but finally, it's done! Under normal circumstances, I don't think too much about the fact that I'm very not rich, but skating through Soho on my little shopping expedition last night, I sure was wishing I made the big bucks. (If anyone is wondering what to get ME, I'd like this little number from Top Shop, only in gray. Maybe a small, or medium? I also need a new winter hat.) ... What made my night was the adorable older man who asked me for directions. Who knows why--maybe because it was cold, and he was a big man, and people didn't want to stop for him?--but he was so grateful that he said "God bless you" about four times, kind of bowing after each one, before wishing me a Merry Christmas with a big smile on his face.

I'm not entirely convinced just yet that it's a wonderful life, but I definitely believe it's a wonderful city.

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I GET HIT ON ...

The other small thing that happened to me yesterday that is perhaps worth mentioning is this: I was at my favorite coffee shop when one of the regulars--an older dude who always gets his joe to go--came in. Back in the summer time, if he was outside on the bench when I rolled up on my bike, he and I would chat a bit. Anyway, he's very sweet so I'm always very friendly with him. I never ever thought that what I was doing was flirting with him, because he's seriously about 63! But apparently he thinks that's what I was doing, because today, he made a point of returning to the coffee shop, after we'd chatted for a bit, to give me HIS CARD, saying I should get in touch. ... Not exactly knowing what to make of this, I asked my buddy the barista (after the elder gent had left) what was up. He told me the last woman our 60-something-year-old friend had dated was *25.*

Oh dear.

* * *

Anyway, I'm rambling today, hmm?

So ... I'm going on a second date tonight with a very smart, interesting person ... and I'm sort of dreading it.

A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF PHERMONES: CHEMICALS THAT HELP US FALL IN LOVE

Let me say, before I go any further, that this guy is basically WAY over-qualified to be my boyfriend. Which is to say I am WAY under-qualified to be his girlfriend. The dude is incredibly impressive: He has two Ph.D.'s--one in biology and one in philosophy. Even better, he can talk about all that stuff in a way that's really interesting and engaging.

On our first date, we had an excellent discussion about ways that people try to create (or look for) meaning in their lives. The topic of romantico-erotic love came up in turn--because, of course, many of us believe that falling in love will add meaning to our lives. We went on to discuss the factors that make a person fall in love with another one, including phermones--the chemicals that we can smell (on what you might call a subconscious level), which transmit certain information about an individual's genetic make-up.

In case you want to know more about this phermone business: Mr. Professor was explaining to me that the people who are most attractive to us are the ones who have an immune system that complements our own--and our bodies get information about the kind of immune system another person has through his phermones. Why do we like people with complementary immune systems? It's an evolutionary thng: Those are the people with whom we will make babies who have a pretty good shot at surviving. Whereas if I, for instance, mated with someone who had the same immune-system strengths, he and I would have babies that had immunological weaknesses in a bunch of areas.

Mr. Prof. said that often, when we talk about feeling "chemistry," what we're often talking about is, quite literally, body chemistry--about our response to a person's phermones.

A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF WHY I SAID I DIDN'T FEEL ANY CHEMISTRY

Anyway ... after our first date, when he followed up with a very nice email, asking if he could take me out to dinner, I responded with my (somewhat typical) message. I said to him: "I think you're great and I'd love to hang out again." Which, incidentally, was true. And which I don't say to every dude who asks me on a second date. But I really did like Mr. Prof.; and I really did want to talk more with him. "We're probably better off as friends, though. We must have mismatched immune systems, because despite the fact that our conversation was more interesting than any I've had in a long time, I didn't feel a huge spark."

I think part of the problem might be that he is TEN YEARS
older than I am. Which, to me, is practically geriatric. But for
whatever reason--as I don't have to tell most of you--I like the babies. Especially when they are baby firemen. (By the way, I've developed a theory about why I'm such a cradle-robber; remind me to lay it on you sometime.)

Mr. Prof. wrote back to say that he had a good time with me, too; that he liked the way my mind worked and that he liked my looks, too ... but that he hadn't felt a spark either. All the same, he said, the times in the past when he has felt an enormous and immediate spark, it has always led to tumultuous relationships. So, he argued, we should really give things another chance to develop.

As it happened, he hit on a topic that's been popular with my shrink and me lately: Am I very all or nothing when it comes to romance--and is that wise? Does it have to be heavy, crazy passion--or nada? Do I freak out and lose my nerve if a guy doesn't come on in an ineluctable way--and yet when he does come on that strongly, doesn't it always mean that things are too intense to be sustained for very long? Am I too anxious to let things unfold in a natural way?

Short story long ... I said yes to the second date.

Unfortunately, however, now that the time has come for it, I'm not feeling very open-minded. I just get very uncomfortable when I feel like I owe a person something--even if it's only affection. I can just feel very trapped in situations where I feel like a person wants an emotional response from me that I am incapable of giving.

Anway, peeps, please tell me to stop being a jerk and to just chillax and look forward to the surely lovely dinner I will have. Also, please tell me your stories about second dates that went surprisingly well, where all your expectations were overturned.

xxx

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dear commenters:

-Fancy! sister, where ya been?

-DC: Absolutely, yes. (And check out the comments from Wednesday--you're the second one to mention that quote.)

-J-Dub: You owe it to yourself to talk to that guy at the hospital! One way or the other, you need to find out what's going on with him--and then move forward, either together or solo. Doncha think? (Anyway, I love that you love the blog; it means a lot to me.)

-Chess: Yes, lady, cheers!

-Secret Agent: I'm sorry you cried. But don't be so hard on yourself. You invited the dude over for a study session, didn't you? That was taking a huge risk, right there. It's all right. You're doing great!

-Osu: Nice job! I like the stories of your adventures. I think I also like your Frye boots. (Where in TX, you Lone Star?)

What Do You Think?