50+ First Dates Didn’t Prepare Me for …
… dating at 50!
The Date 22nd June 2013
Looking back reflectively, perhaps l should have done more, but it was just a day out date, it wasn’t a romantic date, not like a courtship date, it was a mates day out – just because Suze was a girl, she was still just a mate. Okay, l will not deny that we did share a lot of common interests and l will not deny that there was a special something between us – but we were friends! The day out was to see if we were able to get along? A cynical Aspie and a lady who was cynical about relationships, l mean there is a lot to be said for cynicism. But that is how l was looking at it.
Suze would say in the following week, as well as l think l must have heard it at least a hundred times over the last five years “Why l didn’t run away after that first day, l will never know! I need a bloody medal! A Challenge, a challenge is easy, the word challenge didn’t even come close to you that day!”
Of course you may think that is me or her being overly dramatic and exaggerating and sadly it wasn’t or isn’t, she is constantly saying this, yes after all of these years – l still hear it!!! It’s really quite astonishing!
Suze was driving up from Kent that Saturday to where l was in Lincolnshire and we had agreed for her to arrive at around 11ish which thankfully the traffic up ,was kind to her and she made good time arriving at around 10ish.
She had booked a Travel Lodge, as we had decided that whatever happened it would be best for her and l to not jump into the sack but to get to know each other as people first! The Travel Lodge was in Peterborough a fair distance from where l was near Spalding and had planned to take me to dinner that night after our day out at the Seal Santuary in Skegness [because we both liked animals].
But also, because the seal sanctuary whilst being slightly busy on a Saturday was a fairly safe open spaced environment in case l had a ‘turn’- Suze was very very aware of my behavioural style which l have explained before as being somewhat ‘erratic and quirky’ – no that’s an understatement, but more on that later. She was somewhat concerned because l didn’t do that well in large crowds, for that matter l still don’t and whilst l am better now, l am only just better.
I mean 2 years ago, l suddenly woke up one morning and declared l wanted to go to Canterbury and revisit it as the last time l had been there was thirty years previous. I couldn’t get out quick enough, Canterbury as a city was busy in 1989, but in 2016 – bloody hell. I was nearly sobbing by the time l got back to the car!
Suze had a lot more to contend with than l did thinking back on it, and l had a lot of admiration for her – driving a bloody long journey up, meeting someone who at his own concession was a bit of an oddball who talked more to two dogs than his fellow human beings! As to me all l had to do was meet her at my house. Was l nervous? No. Was she? Oh my God at her own admittance she was terrified! She was so far out of her comfort zone it was remarkable! She would be able to meet me and take part in walking the dogs – Scrappy and Dora as they were my closest companions and if the dogs didn’t like her, well then, case closed. I was hoping that they would love her, as Dora had a tendency to be somewhat protective of me and if anything, l was more nervous of that!
She had left Kent very early, l reckoned for her to arrive at 10! She had spent time showering, doing her hair, hoovering the car out, dressing up nicely, packing her overnight bag. In 2013, the Suze of then was a very different person to the Suze l love and adore today. I freed her inner hippy, that was desperate to be released. But back then, she led a very orderly life, very efficient she worked in IT, and was involved in SAP and was a Business Analyst, very organised and functional. Back then, l lived with two female dogs, one male Aspergerian mind and me. I hardly spoke to anyone and was an avid gamer, was shell shocked after leaving my slave pen and was as said unbelievably cynical to relationships. But l was also incredibly insular in my bubble life. I wasn’t that well versed in how to look anymore with members of the opposite sex, as well … the horsey ones l had met were well, very horsey in their jodphurs, mud covered and scuffed riding boots and tops and Barbur jackets. They weren’t scruffy, but you don’t wear your Sunday best to ride a horse for a hack out!
So my idea of looking good and prepared was a far, far cry from the days as an example when l was a male escort in London or for that matter prior to the business with animals when l managed stores and headhunted professional people from their employers! The days of being suited and booted were long, long gone, but so too had the mentality. Working with animals since 1994 all the way through to working with horses which ended in 2012 addled my brain! Then add the Asperger’s diagnosis, on top of living in the middle of bloody nowhere in a caravan – trust me the smart dapper handsome dude of back then had been replaced with a black hearted cynical unkempt scruffian! That is ME being polite about myself!
So that morning, l had got up at 8am, taken the girls out for a walk, showered and not shaved, and then got ready and wore my for comfort clothing – which was a dreadful pair of beaten up brown khaki cargoes [they were best] with a few frays and holes, an oversized woolly jumper with a few holes, a tee shirt [frayed around neck], and a pair of shoes, non descript – hey at least it wasn’t my Wellingtons! But at least l had clean underwear and socks on! I was all for comfort!
When Suze arrived and l met her in my drive, l think she hid her shock somewhat well! Very well! She met the dogs and thankfully they adored her! Then after a bit of fussing about, a cup of coffee, a chat , a friendly hug, you know the one, check out the bumps and bulges hug!
When we were getting ready to go to Skegness, Suze did ask if l was changing? She was met with an astonished stare. “Get changed, these are my good clothes as is. All my really nice clothing got wasted in the caravan l don’t have anything else except these apart from the most terrible pair of jeans known to mankind!”
“What’s wrong with them?” She asked.
“Oh grief, they are really horrible, they are scratchy and if that’s not bad enough – they are light blue, like YUK!!” I answered.
Not wishing to delay me further, she put on a smile and said “Okay then, let’s go and see some seals, this is after all your birthday treat, you’re not 50 every year.”
So l said goodbye to Scrappy and Dora, told them l would be back soon, and went out for my adventure with Suze!
I learned a few things about me on the drive to Skegness that day, that l had never realised about me, and sadly so too did Suze who whilst l didn’t know then was incredibly nervous about this strange man she had agreed to take out on a mates day out for his 50th. For starters l had checked …………… briefly on line the directions to get to the seal sancturay, but l hadn’t really taken stock of everything! So we sort of got lost which was somewhat forgiveable l mean at least the weather was truly beautiful! Also I hadn’t really realised just how very little confidence l had and how much l no longer valued who l was!
But more importantly l NEVER realised how much of a fidget l had become in the car, my legs were doing River Dance, my top half was raving and my mouth was like a non stop talking donkey like Shrek’s mate! I mean thank goodness l was funny!
It was like all the talking l had in me prior to the caravan years and only really talking to dogs and horses decided to visit now, with Suze trying to concentrate on the roads, and the fact that we were lost and me suddenly appearing to have a full on tourettes meltdown whilst waving my hands in front of her eyes, shouting STOP and laughing like a deranged hyena and Suze’s looks of horror!
Ironically, the video above is pretty similiar to how l was, as in both Shrek and Donkey combined!
The seal sanctuary was quietish, there were some people there, and Suze was stuck to me like glue, as l said that sometimes l just wandered off, so you can imagine her horror when she lost me as l went into the Butterfly house and didn’t tell her! I think Suze was a nervous wreck by the time we left as it became pretty clear that l most assuredly wasn’t used to being around lots of people, for l would sort of freeze up in they came too close!
Furthermore talking of ‘freeze’, l also forgot to tell her about what happens when l eat cold ice cream! She soon discovered when l was eating my cone and suddenly out of nowhere, l start stamping my feet and slamming my back against brickwalls, cars, telepgraph poles – because the pain in my back is sometimes so intense for around 2-3 minutes that the only way l know how to stop the pain is ensure l cause myself a back injury!
Watching Suze’s reaction was astonishing, she looked like her own head was going to fall off her shoulders and when people passed by looking at me, the human cartwheel – she would say “Mm, don’t mind him, he’s err, um, well l don’t know actually!” Whilst she was trying to find out what on earth was wrong with her ‘date’, and trying so very hard to not go into the deepest of darkest red blushes. just when she thought l was going to drop dead, l stopped and simply said “That’s better, sorry ice cream does that sometimes, now what were you saying?”
After ice cream , it was time to leave and get home to the dogs!
The car journey back was simpler and Suze simply asked me to NOT give her any directions, to TRY and stop waving my arms about, to NOT yell out and to remember to most ASSUREDLY not stamp my feet down like we were going into an emergency stop! But above everything to NOT INTERFERE with the driver! I thought she was being funny, l learned a few weeks later that she was close to throttling me and she was being serious!
However she likened the journey back to sitting next to the Tasmanian Devil wrapped up in sellotape and more so with the ‘jumper incident!’ Now you may remember l was wearing this oversized woolly jumper? Well trying to not fidget was bloody hard work, let me tell you, but worse as l was confined by the seatbelt and l was starting to sweat buckets as the heat had picked up and l was getting really hot and frustrated.
The jumper had to come off, but l was technically not allowed to move. So l slowly and gently started to remove the jumper and got stuck and caught up in the seatbelt. My head had somehow got trapped in an arm, and my right arm was entangled in the seat belt whilst my left arm was caught up in the neck hole and well l panicked and all no movement and sound restrictions were in full swing!
In my hidden mess, l suddenly heard Suze yell “Oh for goodness sake, this is all JUST TOO MUCH bloody madness for a bloody date!!!” The car screeched to a halt and l suddenly felt myself flattened against the dashboard.
“What on earth are you trying to do?” Suze demanded of me.
“Gwet myn jwumpah off!” I mumbled through the woolliness of the fabraic “Itz stwuck!!”
“Then get out of the car you fool!” Suze unclipped my belt and l hobbled out of the car and removed my jumper and then got back in, belted myself back up, and then didn’t say another word as the car started off again.
After fifteen minutes of silence, Suze asked “Are you now not speaking?”
“You told me to not interfere with the driver, and speaking is most assuredly doing just that!” I answered.
Suze looked across at me and said “This is really who you are isn’t it? It’s not a joke, this clumsy man, who takes things too literally is really, truly and deep down this very same man sitting in my car?”
“If this is one of those trick questions, l am not sure how to answer. Do l say yes, or do l say no?” I asked.
“Don’t worry you have already answered it.” She remarked. “You can talk you know Rory.”
So we talked on the way home, with me very deliberately trying not to over fidget!
When we got home to my house it was about 5pm. Suze said that she would be back at around 7pm to take me to dinner, but she had to travel back to Peterborough to the Travel Lodge, get changed, showered and ready for the evening. So she dropped me off, l walked the girls quickly. Realised l didn’t need to either reshower or change but l did shave, and helped myself to a rather large glass of Wild Turkey bourbon which Suze had bought me for my birthday. The first bit of alcohol l had had since 2009. It was beautiful, after the first had gone, l did a bit of gaming, had myself a second glass and awaited for Suze’s return.
So when 7.25pm arrived and still no Suze l was somewhat worse for wear, tipsy plus drunk! Suze turned up at 7.30, l told the girls l would see them later, locked the door and wobbled down my pathway to Suze waiting in the car. “Have you changed?” She asked.
“No, should l have done?” I answered.“I shaved though.” I answered smiling.
“Oh right, you really are something else, anyway get in, we are late l booked the table for 7.45 and it’s 25 minutes away!”
The moment the car door shut, Suze took off like a bat out of hell at 100 mph!
I giggled all the way, and asked her why she was speeding, because if were already late, why rush, we were late? Plus the country lanes we were travelling down at warp speed were bumpy as buggery, with grass growing up through the surface!
“Good lord, are you plastered to boot?” Suze asked when l giggled stupidly. “What kind of date are you??”
“Not so much now, the wind from the open window, the speed and the bumps are sort of making me clear headed again, shall l be serious now?”
Suze performed a classic move l had seen many a time performed by girls l had been with ……. yes the palm slap to the forehead. which was jolly impressive considering the speed her car was doing on a bumpy road.
We arrived at the restaurant at the incredible time of 7.47pm!!? Which was equally more impressive considering she didn’t know the area l thought.
We had a great meal, some good laughs and the only small hitch was that l sat next to her on her pew rather than across from her, which she said was strange, but that was the story of my life, so nothing new there!
She dropped me off and said she should see me the next day, as she had to do some serious thinking. I went inside and slept well. I had a great time, but l did wonder if l would 1] see Suze the next day and 2] ever hear from her again?
Which l did on the 23rd June. She turned up at the door and said “Right if we are going to work, there needs to be some changes ……….. and the first one is to sort out your bloody wardrobe!”
Five plus years on since that first ‘date’ l still wonder what this lovely woman sees in me, l really do. Back then l was terribly Aspergian, a loner, technically a hermit with no social graces or etiquette. I talked to dogs and l had some very strange traits about me. We didn’t start living together until April 2015, and we have been through many tough challenges as a couple.
How do we work? How did we work? Well l can’t give everything away, not today anyway – but we are mates, she’s the best mate l have next to Scrappy, she is my best friend. She was the first woman who didn’t run away from me [and she wanted to as well], and my quirky ways. Admittedly, she was luckier than any previous girlfriends, in so far as she knew of the Asperger’s so that was way easier. Suze is everything to me, she literally completed me and for a good while she was my absolute bloody hero. I admire her more than she knows and she always thinks l am being funny when l say she saved me from myself .. but she did. But l saved her too. That’s why we work.
However, as said, l still wonder how we are together!! I am NOT easy to live with now, my Asperger’s as l am aging is getting worse, but l am 100 times better now than l was when she and l first went out for our mates day out date 🙂