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My date was just a few minutes late picking me up. I was ready and waiting and met him at the door. I was a little disappointed when I opened the door and saw him; he looked much older than age 48.

Name: South

Met on: OK Cupid

48 years old, food broker, never married, no kids

South and I made small-talk about the traffic and my neighborhood. I noticed that it had suddenly become foggy. We wouldn’t be able to see the sunset, after all.

He sweetly opened the car door for me. His car was very clean – the vacuum lines in the interior carpet were still visible.

As we drove toward the beach, the fog became thicker. South had made reservations at Sutro’s at the Cliff House, a swanky albeit touristy restaurant.

While walking to the restaurant, I noticed South had a limp and walked slowly. I specifically stated in my profile that I am active and fit and expect my partner to be the same. Things were slowly stacking up against him.

The weather was now a chilly 51 degrees and, once at Sutro’s, the fog was so thick we could barely even see Seal Rock (less than 100′ from the restaurant) from the dining room.

Sutro’s is an expensive restaurant. It was a bold move for him to bring a first date here. The food is overpriced; you’re essentially paying for ambiance and the ocean view.

I could tell South was disappointed that the sun had disappeared. He had planned for us to watch the sunset together before dinner but, instead, we got a table in the bar to kill time until our dinner reservation. I learned that he was a recovering addict and is 2 years sober. He ordered gingerale; I ordered a watermelon wheat beer.

We had pleasant conversation. I asked about his experience with online dating and how long he’d been single. I was shocked when he said he hadn’t been on a date in a year. I was also shocked to hear the circumstances of his last relationship – she sounded like a total deadbeat and was grossly neglectful of her pre-teen son. Maybe I was being judge-y but it made me wonder what the hell he was thinking. He was even considering marrying her at one point. Was he in an alcohol daze?

Once seated in the dining room, we perused the menu and had a hard time deciding what to order. I was ravenous by then. It was 8:30; I usually eat at 6:30! We decided to share the crab cakes, the pork chops, and the asparagus ravioli. All were delicious. We drank water.

There wasn’t any chemistry. It was obvious. I couldn’t imagine kissing him – a bad sign.

During dinner, the fire alarm went off inside the restaurant. Our server explained that the kitchen’s exhaust hood had broken and that the fire department was on their way to turn off the alarms. The flashing lights and alarm went on for about 10 minutes… then off… then on. Repeat. It was a comedy of errors. The restaurant had opened all the doors and windows to air out the smoke, making it chilly inside.

When the bill came, I offered to split it but he insisted on picking up the tab. Thank god. I only offered because I felt it was the polite thing to do… but I wouldn’t have chosen the restaurant and I would have been pretty disgruntled had he accepted my offer.

South suggested we stop and get coffee somewhere but I declined, saying I had been awake since 5:30 am, had had an unusually busy workweek, and was exhausted. He understood.

In the car on the way back to my house, I looked over at him in the dimly lit car. He looked elderly. He’s only 6 months older than my Irish Twin brother! Time has not been kind to him. He moved slowly and talked slowly, and admitted that he didn’t feel comfortable with technology. What is he… 70?!

He parked in front of my house and asked if he could walk me to my door. Oh no. I hoped he wasn’t angling for a good night kiss! Once at the door, he asked if he could see me again this weekend since I won’t have my kids until Sunday night. I told him it was unlikely but would check my calendar, and gave him a hug good night.

I went to bed early and got a good night’s sleep. When I woke up, I knew I’d have to tell South I didn’t feel a romantic connection. As I was getting ready for work, he beat me to it. He sent me a long, sweet text telling me that he didn’t feel any chemistry but that he’d love to pursue a friendship.

I was relieved. We made tentative plans to meet for coffee after his AA meeting on Saturday morning.

I originally had a 1st date scheduled for tonight but didn’t contact my date today to confirm. Neither did he. I welcomed a night to myself. I took a hot bath, did some computer work I’d been neglecting, and gave myself a pedicure. I now have baby blue polish on my toenails.

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. Hayden and I are going out for Mexican food and margaritas.

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