Whenever I visit a new city, I love to get the view from above. It’s a new perspective. Instead of walking the streets and seeing the individual faces of the city, I get to digest it as a whole – as one living, breathing entity. The punctuated flow of intersections and crosswalks has a fluidity that’s almost mechanic. With so many moving parts constantly in flux, how does anyone have the chance to make a meaningful connection?
The Bro Next Door is a traveler. Not because of his career, but because of his competitive nature. He’s deep in the points game. He already has the Chase Sapphire Reserve. He even admitted to taking a day trip across the country and back just to get the miles. It’s his passion to collect points.
We had our second date on a Friday, but he was leaving for a trip on Wednesday morning. We are both busy people who don’t like weekday dates, so we said our goodbyes Friday evening.
One funny shift in our relationship has been texting. At first, he was a horrible texter… or so I thought. He has read receipts on, so I can see when he’s read my texts. He would go hours without reading them. I figured he was a busy guy who didn’t prioritize his phone.
But after our second date, he became the most responsive person I know. We spent all of that Sunday texting about insignificant topics. I went to work on Monday and we texted all morning about Nacho Week.
First of all, let me express my love for nachos. They are the perfect food – a crunchy, salty base with a variety of creamy, savory, sour, and melty toppings. Each bite can be as different as you layer it. But, I never eat nachos unless I’m drunk. They just aren’t healthy!
The Bro Next Door and I were fangirling over the Portland nacho options when he said “I know I just saw you and we have a date lined up for next Sunday, but I really don’t want to wait that long. Want to get nachos tonight?”
Impromptu dates are NOT my thing. Most of the time I already have gym plans and I need ample time to shower and get ready. Plus I like going to bed early! But with him, I was thrilled. I agreed and we picked our favorite nacho spots to try. Luckily they were both on Division – Stella Taco and Salt and Straw!
The New Bro Pros
Not afraid to seem eager to see me. Refreshing!
He thinks my kisses > the threat of a viral infection
He finally paid!
I showed up at 8:15, our agreed upon time. I had just finished working out at 7:45 and had rushed to get there on time. I waited. I loitered. I read the menu posted on the window. He was running behind. Lame. Especially considering he finished working out at 7 and had so much time!
He finally showed up 15 minutes late and was appropriately apologetic. He blamed his roommate. Hmph. We ordered 1 plate of nachos to share and 2 coconut avocado margaritas. We split it down the middle. Again.
The nachos were great but the conversation was only okay. It felt a little forced and awkward. Maybe because we were in public when we were used to being alone in his apartment, but it just wasn’t as great as I had hyped it to be. We were the last people left in the restaurant at closing time, but only because he was explaining the ins and outs of his airline rewards program and it took FOREVER. Who knew there were 10 different kinds of miles?!
We walked to Salt and Straw. He didn’t hold my hand, but he did pay! The first thing he paid for! The nachos were interesting – olive oil ice cream, cinnamon pita nachos, candies jalapeños. We shared it and it was messy but cute. Halfway through, he started acting really on edge and he kept glancing at a woman in line. I asked “Hey, are you ok? You seem on edge!” He explained that the woman was a Tinder/Bumble match he was supposed to have a date with awhile back, but she ghosted at the last minute.
Luckily she left quickly, but I was still bothered by how similar she looked to me. We had the same body type, hair color, and style. Was that his thing? I guess we all are attracted to the same type of person. I tried not to think about it. We all know I’ve been on my fair share of dates over the last two years, but I never run into them. How popular did that make him?!
The New Bro Cons
Has some prior dating baggage (can I even judge him for that? We’re all guilty)
He committed the ultimate sin of being late!
Our comfort/conversation is entirely dependent on the amount of alcohol we have consumed.
He travels every 3-4 weeks. That’s a lot of time spent out of Portland!
We finished our nachos and started to walk down Division. It was a chilly night and his arms were crossed, but I had had enough. I reached over and grabbed his hand. He seemed pleasantly surprised. We continued walking and holding hands. He asked, “So how are you doing on time?” I replied, “I have all the time in the world!”
We went to Richmond Bar and sat outside by the fire pit. It was pretty romantic despite the two drunk couples nearby. He put his arm around me and we touched legs as we talked about everything from college experiences to travel plans to the timing of our match on Bumble.
We realized that, if we had matched a week later, a first date probably wouldn’t have happened. He was traveling to NYC and returning on Sunday. I was leaving Tuesday to fly home for my brother’s wedding. No one makes time for a Monday night date, so we likely would have matched and then fizzled out due to scheduling difficulties. It was a realization that timing is everything.
The Bar Pros
Great location on Division. Not many other bars nearby.
Reasonably priced drinks! Amazing happy hour!
They have an amazing hidden patio and fire pit!
Never empty, never too crowded.
The Bar Cons
Why does the patio close so early?!
Not a great crowd to mingle in. Mostly couples or older dudes.
Parking on Division is a nightmare.
There’s only one bathroom stall for the entire bar – men AND women.
We stayed until they closed the patio. It was midnight and we both had to work the following day. He walked me to my car and said, “I know you might still be sick, but I think this is worth it,” and he kissed me.
We were saying our goodbyes and I asked if he would be posting about his trip on Snapchat. He said yes so I shyly asked, “Is it okay if I add you?” He laughed, as if the answer was a given, and said, “Yes, of course you can add me on Snapchat!”
What had started as a mediocre date had ended in great conversation and our first social media connection. It felt like progress.
As I drove home, I wondered if we would have met if his NYC trip had been sooner. He was one of my first matches when I got back into the dating game. What if he was out of town that wee and I had agreed to go on a date with someone else? Was it fate or coincidence that our lives intersected at the perfect moment when we were both open to a new relationship? Are relationships just the product of good timing?
Sometimes the big picture is overwhelming and you forget to appreciate the little details. Questions like “Where Is this going? Am I ready for a real relationship? Do I deserve this great person?” can overshadow the simple pleasures like having a warm hand to hold on a cold autumn night. Sometimes you have to find your focus and savour the little things while they last.
So for now, I’m just enjoying the view.
(Update! Read about our 4th date here!)