After my summer when I fell in unrequited love with Jenny, I returned to graudate school feeling miserable and still maybe somewhat suicidal. I tried to take up smoking, because I figured if I couldn't kill myself quickly, at least I could do it slowly. Fortunately for my health, I was never able to get the hang of it. When classmates saw me smoking, maybe it did just a little to shed my virginal nice guy image. Or maybe everyone saw right through that.
I decided that, if I couldn't have Jenny, the next best thing would be to find some other girl to love. Of course I had always been deathly afraid to approach a girl, but my relationship with Jenny revealed that at least a girl might be interested in talking to me. And it filled me with a great fear. I was afraid that I would never recapture the feeling of love, and although I have accepted that now, back then it was dreadful.
For a while this fear was greater than my regular fear of girls. I went out to a bar with some classmates, and I spotted a beautiful girl in the bar (yes, I know now that it was a mistake to only go after the pretty ones), and I caught her eye, smiled at her, she smiled back, and I engaged her in a conversation. She was a receptionist for a dentist. How lovely! How awesome it would be to have a beautiful non-college educated girlfriend. But alas, she made up some excuse about going to the bathroom, and I said something like "well you have to give me your phone number then," and she smiled and said no thanks. I didn't get a phone number, but at least I felt good about myself for going into battle.
I found out that there was going to be a social gathering at a campus religious organization. I don't think I ever really believed in the religion, but this was supposed to be a good way to meet girls. Once again, the fear of being alone the rest of my life proplled me to action. I felt like I was in a zone that evening, talking to all the girls at the social gathering, and collecting not one, but two phone numbers. Wow, I had never done that before.
But which girl should I call? My big mistake, of course, was not calling both of them. Dating is a game of percentages. But I was new to it. I had never been on a real date before. I called the girl who was the prettier of the two, a really cute undergraduate student with blonde hair and blue eyes, about 5'6" and 135 pounds. Her name was Madison. How cute.
It's hard to describe how overjoyed I was when I called Madison, and she actually agreed to go to dinner with me. After the phone conversation, I fretted over where to take her. I discovered a restaurant at a local resort hotel with singing waiters.
I suppose I overdid it. The waiters sang in a fun way not a romantic way, but nevertheless this may have been too much for a first date.
The date took a horrible downward spiral when the check came, and she didn't want me to pay for her dinner. Somehow, I knew this was a rejection. I argued over her with it until we agreed that she would pay the tip.
Thinking back on that date, it was so touching that she actually felt bad about getting a free dinner. These hardened bitches in their mid thirties in New York City, such as Sarah, have no problem with enjoying expensive meals from men that they have no interest in.
Madison hung out with me on the grounds of the hotel after the dinner, and while we were sitting by the pool, with palm trees around us, we were both looking up at the sky and we saw a shooting star. This was the first and last time in my life that I ever saw a shooting star. It really helped to mark the evening as special.
Looking back on all the dates I've been on since then, my first date ever was also my best date ever. I think that some of the love I felt for Jenny I was able to transfer to Madison, so this date was the closest I ever came to going out for a romantic evening with someone I loved.
When I dropped her off at her apartment, I tried to kiss her on her lips, but all she gave me was her cheek.
Madison didn't want to see me again after that.
My fear of being alone subsided shortly after that and once again became less than my fear of girls. Once again I was too afraid to ask girls out on dates. I was never again able to recover that strange feeling of fear and hopelessness that gave me courage.