I'm happy to report that the date with the ex from 7 years ago was quite pleasant.
I'll refer to him from now on as The Bartender- or TB for short. I met him while I was a bartender too; years and years ago I started out as a cocktail waitress in a Harley motorcyle bar/club here in Tulsa. I was 23 or 24 at the time and really had it going on- working in this bar. The kinds of riders that came in there weren't like- gang "Hells Angels" types, they were doctors and lawyers; rich guys that bought bikes and rode them on the weekends for fun. So because I was a cute young thing, the money was AWESOME. All the girls were cocktail waitresses, and all the guys were bartenders, and I became really good friends with this guy that worked there (Jesse). Anyway Jesse left that bar and went on to open one of the fanciest (in my opinion THE fanciest) seafood bar and grill joints in town. We had all types of amazing foods that were higher priced than your average restaurant and a killer ambience. The bar top was a deep, dark, thick cherry wood and there were huge plush booths on both sides of the bar with curtains (with fancy chandeliers everywhere). Dark wood floors- BEAUTIFUL. I left the Harley bar to go work as a bartender for Jesse because to me it was a huge step up from cocktail waitressing (even though the money was a little better at the Harley bar as you can imagine). That's where I started working with TB.
TB decided early on that he wanted to get to know me- I wasn't really interested at first. Eventually he won me over though because he was so fun and always made me laugh. We had a blast together always. TB and I immediately became the "it couple", and from the very beginning, everyone wanted to be around us. Alone I tend to be shy and quiet, but with the right guy, I come out of my shell and become the woman I know I am deep down- witty and sharp, social, hilarious. FUN. COOL. TB was the first boyfriend I've had that helped me realize this about myself. We were always being invited to parties and to go on double dates with other couples. People would bring us gifts in the bar; like, nice expensive gifts. All the time, this guy receives gifts- it's not normal.
I remember this one time we were in Vegas having an intense conversation in a lounge at the Mirage about where "we" were going (serious relationship talk) and these people would not stop coming up to us (mostly him- there is just something about this guy) and I was getting so annoyed. It was not the time! But he always handled it so well. We were a good looking couple too- but mostly because TB is so handsome. Dark brown hair and eyes, he had a great body from working out all the time (still does). Girls FLOCK(ed) to him constantly; sometimes it would be unnerving, except he was never interested in anyone but me when we were together. From the beginning he made it clear that he wanted to be around me and only me. Girls would come and try to sit in his lap (I'm not making this up), and he would push them away and pull me closer. I LOVED being this guy's girlfriend.
When we worked the bar together, we were on fire. Literally the bar would be so crowded sometimes that I would start to panic and then all the sudden I would feel his big hand squeeze my hand under the bar top while he was joking with a customer and I would be right back at it- cracking jokes too and winking at people. Sometimes he would grab me in the cooler and we'd make out for 2 minutes, before going back out there. It was so fun! Our boss Jesse quickly caught on that we were the "it couple" and we started covering the bar Friday nights because we would rake it in. It was about 10 months of fun, laughter, and overall bliss.
Needless to say- it didn't work out. Of course I was in love with him and wanted it to work; about 10 months in he got scared and decided he wanted to date this random girl that he used to know in college. I was heartbroken, but I let him go because I had been through this before and already knew what this meant (my previous boyfriend did this same thing but behind my back- which meant cheating and uncertainty and I just couldn't stomach going through that again. It rocked my self esteem twice). It was awkward and hard to work in the bar with him after that, especially Friday nights. Luckily for me though I was just finishing up massage school and as soon as I graduated, I left the bar to got a job as a massage therapist in an acupuncture clinic.
About 2 years later he called me while I was living in Salt Lake City to tell me he had made the biggest mistake of his life- letting me go. He explained to me that it was so scary for him at the time because it wasn't what he had expected and it rocked him to his core. He knew he was in love with me back then, he was just scared. I thought it was sweet, everything he was saying, but I thank my lucky stars every night that that relationship, as much as it hurt, didn't work out. And it was the best feeeling in the world to tell him that- thank you, that means a lot to me, but I've moved on. I'm sorry. I'm not coming back to Tulsa.
When things fell apart with TB, I started going to church for the first time in 7 years because I was so depressed and literally felt like I had NOTHING. I became reconverted to my religion and I have found a happiness and peace and joy in my life that I don't think that relationship or anything else could have ever brought me. I finished college and became independent and started making more money; if we would've stayed together I don't think I ever would've done those things or found the happiness I have now. TB and I still talk about once every six months or so- he has since moved to Florida and is still single and I (obviously) live in So Cal now.
Anyway, he called me to see if I was coming home for Christmas since he would be here too for the holidays. He wanted to see me (and my mom, how nice is he?)- so he asked me to go out with him and catch up; maybe catch a movie and dinner or something. Of course I said I would; it's been about 4 or 5 years since I've seen him. Before he got to my house- I thought- TB...I was so in love with this guy once. But I have NO feelings for him; part of me didn't even want to go really. I mean, what's the point, right? As soon as I opened the door though, I was so happy that I agreed to go. He looked so good; he smelled so good. We had a good time laughing and catching up and reminiscing about old times. I was kind of surprised actually, because he really was a good catch and I have forgotten how wonderful he is and seeing him the other night reminded me of that. He sent me the sweetest text the next morning just to say thank you for seeing him and he missed me and he hopes we can see each other again sometime soon. He told me his work is transferring him back to Oklahoma, and even though he loves Florida and doesn't want to come back, the money is too good to pass up. I know it's only a matter of time until this guy finds the perfect girl.
It makes me happy to know such good people. I'm so thankful I dated TB at one point in my life. I'm so thankful I'm single now and trying to go to grad school and that I have the opportunity to live in Southern CA and do the things I get to do. I know experiences like that have brought me to where I am now, and will propel me into great things in the future. I've since learned that every guy I date is better than the last guy. And I've also learned that I don't need a guy to make me happy. I would like to date someone, sure. Finding someone to be your significant other is a genuine desire that I think all of us feel, and it can fill a place in your heart that nothing else can fill. But I don't need someone to be happy or feel good about myself.
So here's to 2011! I hope it's the best year yet!!! I hope I get into grad school, and get out of debt, and become more and more comfortable in my own skin. What do you wish for?