I went to the Playground with work people again on this particular Thursday. As we got there, I did the usual lap around the bar to establish the best place to sit, and what kind of talent we had in the bar this evening. As I did, I saw the most dashing man.
Now, Thursday nights in this establishment are known as Suit Night. This particular man however stood out from the crowd for a few reasons: He was rather tall. He had the most amazing eyes. He was in jeans, a t-shirt and a beanie (I have a thing for beanie-wearing men!). And this man had a smile that could light up the entire room.
As I walked past, I kept eye contact, smiled, and walked on by. As I completed my lap, my lovely Blond Girlfriend (affectionately know as Cougar 1) asked whether there was anything worthwhile around. I relayed my amazement at The Shark, and she wanted to see such a thing for herself, so she took me by the arm and off we went again, drink in hand.
As we passed by the second time (this was within the space of five minutes mind you) I made eye contact again, and grinned at him unashamedly. As I passed him by he took a hold at my arm, telling me that I didn't get to look at him like that and just keep walking. So C1 and I stopped, introduced ourselves, and settled in for a while.
My usual topic of conversation at this point is around occupation, it's an easy ice-breaker. But as soon as the question had slipped passed my lips, I immediately retracted it. He looked at me, slightly baffled. I responded with something along the lines of "I really am not fussed with what you do for a living, so long as what you do makes you happy". And that was that.
For once in my life my nonchalance paid off. He was so impressed that I didn't care about his vocation, even more so, we made a pact to talk about anything but work. And it was refreshing. It was so nice to not have someone grill me on what I do for a living, and the attitudes that usually correspond with my vocation.
We spend the rest of the night drinking and talking. I left at about 1. He kissed me goodnight and put me in a taxi.
We met up for a couple of dates after that. We went and played some pool, drank some cider. We went for dinner at his local Thai, a nice intimate place. It was a great night. These times we went out he held my hand, kissed me every now and then, particularly when he bid me farewell. Then we went to the Botanical Gardens, hung out for a day. It was a great laid back day. And then, as I dropped him home, he kissed me on the cheek. Hmmm.
So, I took the hint, I backed off. But he persisted with catching up, going down to the pub and playing pool and drinking cider (favourite past time of mine thanks to The Kid). But the affection had definitely backed down to 'mates' status. I learnt a lot about him in this time though. I learnt that he excelled to professional snooker level at the age of 9. He'd left school and played snooker his entire life. It's all he knew. He worked a 'normal' job, but never an office job, but he loved nothing more than to hustle.
The one thing that I kept from The Shark the entire time was that I was a mum. He lived this carefree lifestyle that was so far from my life, so contrasted from everything I knew, I didn't know how to bring it into the conversation. I dropped hints, suggesting that there were parts of my life that were so different to the parts that he saw.
He liked my high energy levels, and in contrast, I loved spending time with him for his calming nature. I think we fed off each other. After spending a chunk of time at his place, I finally invited him over for dinner. Cooked him my famous Spaghetti Bolognese. My eight year olds bike was on the front veranda when we walked into the house. He said "nice bike" and just kept walking. It wasn't until after about a half hour when he saw my five year olds reading words written on the glass door that he asked about them. I pointed out the fridge (covered in drawing and certificates from school). Then the penny dropped. He simply responded "Oh, so you're a mum". And that was it.
The amount of times now that we've spend days together drinking wine and dancing around the lounge room in the comfort and ease of each others' company still baffles me to this day. We spend time together and he never seems to want it to end, often asking if I can stay a bit longer. I can honestly say I find it hard to leave. Spending time with him is easy. But we're mates now. That's what we are, and that's what we'll be. I'm not sure what happened to get us from 'dating' to mates, I'm not even sure that we'll ever have that conversation, but what I have now is an amazing person in my life that I wouldn't trade for the world.
And it sure is nice that he's not trying to get in my pants ;)