As I arrived at Nationals Park, I smiled as I recognized some of the men working security. (I used to be a regular at Washington Wizards games, and many of the guys also worked at the Verizon Center.) I exchanged a few pleasantries with two of the men who remembered me, and a thought crossed my mind:
Could I give up dating black men indefinitely to pursue my relationship with Improv Boy, a white guy?
For many, that wouldn’t be an issue. But, I’m different. I know and respect my type.
My phone vibrated with a text from Improv Boy, indicating that he, too, had just arrived at the park. I texted him my location and noticed him before he noticed me. I tried not to show my surprise at his attire. Improv Boy was wearing:
A soft denim Washington Nationals baseball cap;
A Hawaiian-style shirt from Old Navy; and
High-waisted, baggy, light denim jeans with red stitching and a couple of holes in the legs that were not put there by the jeans company.
I realize that I might sound like a snob, and that’s not my intention. It wasn’t about how much money he spent on his clothes or that he was wearing jeans and a shirt. (We were at a baseball game, after all.) But rather, it seemed like Improv Boy didn’t care much about his appearance. He had mentioned to me before that he’s a “minimalist.” But, there’s a difference between being a minimalist and looking like you just came from a keg party.
When Abigail, our mutual friend, saw Improv Boy, she asked:
What’s up with the Blossom jeans?
The pre-game activities were a bit of sensory overload for me. Add sensory overload to my already heightened senses â€“ thanks, Post-Concussion Syndrome â€“ and I was sick within three minutes of entering the park. I let Improv Boy know that he could enjoy beers and live music with the group, but he insisted on walking me to our seats and lovingly holding my head. He stayed just like that for 20 minutes, refusing to get up even though he was starving and needed to go to the bathroom.
Maybe I could handle the Blossom jeans, after all?
With each inning, I began to feel better. Improv Boy continued to take care of me and was kind to my friends, buying them a round of drinks. Improv Boy also gave me space so I could socialize. Quite a few people in the group commented that they could tell how much Improv Boy liked me by how well he treated me. That was nice to hear, even though deep down, I already knew that!
At certain points during the game, Improv Boy and I relaxed and talked while we watched the Nationals hold their own. We discussed going to the beach later in the summer, watching World Cup and NFL games together, and a few naughty items that were on our to-do list ;)! That part of the evening was fun and easy.
But, some of the evening was rather awkward. During the game, Improv Boy sat between Abigail and me. Four of my girlfriends were seated in front of us. In the first inning, Improv Boy asked us:
So…how do you play this game?
[One girlfriend and I look at him with a confused expression on our faces.]
Where do you kick the ball?
I realized that he was joking and rolled my eyes at him. I also made a comment that he might not want to say that in front of a group of girls who know their sports.
But, that didn’t stop him from repeating that bit again in the fourth inning…and the eighth…to the same audience! I let him know that it wasn’t funny the first time.
I also noticed that every 10 minutes or so, he would say something to the group to try to get their attention or make them laugh. That worked about 20% of the time. The rest of the time, I saw the girls in the row in front of me, rolling their eyes and biting their tongues.
Improv Boy was so much fun to be around at the Happy Hour at Clyde’s, but tonight, it felt like he was trying too hard. I wondered which side of his personality was the more dominant. If I’m dating a guy, I’d like him to be able to join me in a variety of social settings without having to worry that he’ll annoy people.
As the game ended, Improv Boy and I moved to the bar to watch the fireworks over Nationals Park. He put one arm around my waist and massaged my neck with his other hand. We chatted to one of my friends about the meal that I made for him. Improv Boy complimented my cooking and said that he would gladly make the next dinner for us.
There were some ups and downs to the evening, but the night seemed to end on a high note. Little did I know that there would be more fireworks in store for me â€“ outside of the park.
To be continued…