Trying Too Hard To Be Normal: An Awkward Start to a Lovely Story

A Valentine’s Day post.

For whatever reason, several weeks ago at dinner, Andrew and I were talking about first impressions. “Well, what was your first impression of me?” I asked.

“Well, if you must know, I thought it seemed like you were trying too hard. Like you were trying to act normal and nonchalant, but it really wasn’t working for you.”

I wasn’t even offended because this assessment of our first “date” was spot on. After googling it and wading through 5000 pages on how to know if a date is a real date, and indeed, trying way to hard at acting normal, I was still clueless as to how to proceed as I sat in the parking lot touching up my makeup.

All I knew was that my friend Linsey had asked if she could connect the two of us via Facebook, we had spent a lot of evenings into late nights chatting on messenger, and we’d finally agreed to meet. And, I knew that across from me sat the warmest smile I’d ever seen, the kindest eyes, the longest lashes for a boy (good heavens). I knew I was enjoying listening to a pleasantly deep voice tell me about the biggest bookstore in the country, the time he met Shane Claiborne, his grandmothers and his family.

“He likes grannies, that’s good.” I thought to myself as I tried to take a sip of water without missing my straw on the first attempt or spilling some on me. Fail on both counts, BTW…

We had met at Barnes and Noble earlier, and I was thinking it was a good sign that most of our time was spent in the religious and music sections. A musician, theology nerd with classy glasses and a snappy shirt. This could be good.

We walked to Chuys for dinner, where we ate and awkwardly navigated the end of the meal (who pays, and how do you decide??), and then out to the parking lot.

“Well this was fun,” I said. “We should do it again soon. I think I’ll go to the container store.” (Don’t ask. I literally have no idea why I said any of those things)

He said he’d never been in the container store, and would come with me to look around. I asked him that night at dinner as we were talking about first impressions, “you didn’t really want to go into the container store did you?”

“No. Of course not. I wanted to spend more time with you.”

“What made you decide to call again after that awkward first meeting?” I asked.

“Well, I saw something in you that I thought I liked. It was a genuine quirkiness that seemed like a lot of fun; and I thought if I gave you a chance to let that out, I might have a better idea of who you really were.”

I’m so glad he gave me a second chance. And a third, and that he refused to let me talk him out of dating me – though I tried my very hardest. I finally embraced that this was real, this was a good thing, this was ok to be ok with and let the guard down a bit.

And so, I did. And now, six months after that first meeting, I still miss my straw as I’m trying to take a sip of my water, and sometimes I spill it if I’m too excitedly talking about something.

I still tell cheesy jokes and fully expect (not pity) laughter… and get irritated if that expectation is not met; nay, EXCEEDED.

We talk about everything, we pray for each other, and we love Star Wars (which greatly tipped the scales in my favor early on). In short, we have lots of fun. All because a great guy chose not to write off one awkward encounter (which, if you know me, became every encounter) and took a chance on me.

Because I’m sure someone will ask, my first impression of Andrew was that he seemed kind and fun; the kind of nerdy I get along great with and that he had an amazing smile.




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