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Grant is a divorced 42-year-old administrator who lives in the west end. He says “Getting back in the dating scene was a challenge. After going on several dates through social media and dating apps, and meeting women who have been online dating for...

Dating Diaries: Grant and Joanne | Toronto Star

Grant is a divorced 42-year-old administrator who lives in the west end. He says “Getting back in the dating scene was a challenge. After going on several dates through social media and dating apps, and meeting women who have been online dating for...

Dating Diaries: Grant and Joanne | Toronto Star

Grant is a divorced 42-year-old administrator who lives in the west end. He says “Getting back in the dating scene was a challenge. After going on several dates through social media and dating apps, and meeting women who have been online dating for years, I discovered a whole class of people who are basically ‘professional daters.’” Grant describes himself as “bookish, introspective, intelligent, sensitive and thoughtful.” He likes biking, hiking, skiing, adventure travel, and attending film festivals. He adds “I’m a hopeless romantic.” Grant wants to date someone who is “soulful, youthful, and not afraid to try new things. I want someone who is looking for love, and not just a partner in life. I want to find someone I can adore.”

I met Joanne through a dating app. I liked her smile, and the look in her eyes, as well as her adventurous spirit. I was immediately infatuated with her.

After meeting online, we exchanged numerous emails, and after exchanging numbers, we arranged to meet up. Around this time, I had to attend a conference out of town for a week. I texted Joanne when I got back, but she responded in an aloof, businesslike manner; it really caught me off-guard after our initial connection. We agreed to meet the next week. She told me later that many guys use a “business trip” as an excuse to delay meeting, or simply to disappear.

We went to a cool pub in her neighbourhood. There was a festival happening nearby, so there was a fun atmosphere around us. When we met in front of the pub, she introduced herself and marched right inside without any regard for whether I was following her, or where I wanted to sit. It’s like she bee-lined for a particular table. My first impression was that she was impulsive, and enigmatic. I was intrigued.

We met up after we’d both already eaten, so we just ordered beer and some snacks. We fell into talking about our pasts. Joanne told me about her solo backpacking trip through Europe, and I shared my experience of travelling through India alone by train. Joanne had been on the dating scene for quite a long time, and she shared many of her experiences. She said you get better at reading people with time. For example, you can tell when a guy is actually not single — when he’s never available on weekends.

There was never a dull moment on the date, or a moment of awkwardness or disinterest. I felt more and more drawn to Joanne, especially to her smile, her voice and her laugh. Sometimes you meet someone and you just effortlessly like them. I wouldn’t call it love at first sight, but there was definitely some good chemistry happening. There was just something in her eyes that captivated me as much as it bewildered me.

The date lasted about two hours. Joanne said that two hours was unusually long for a first date. As we left, she insisted that she walk me to my car. We moved through the festival together, and while we were walking I asked her if she’d like to go out again. On some dates, you don’t ask for a second date right away because you want some time to think about it, and let the date sink in. With Joanne, I knew I’d have fun seeing her again. She agreed, with a smile. I said “Yes!” to myself, in my head. We shared a warm hug and I promised I’d contact her. I was smitten. I drove home after the date, thinking of all of the interesting things that I could do for the second date.

It turned out that her behaviour when we got to the pub — announcing herself, and then scurrying off before I could say a word — would become a theme.For our second date, we planned to attend a music festival, but she ended up standing me up. I felt deflated and hurt, and wrote her a long text message expressing my disappointment. Normally, this would have been the end of things, but she texted me back and we eventually met for our “real” second date, which was a day trip out of town. This theme continues in our relationship. While she usually shows up, she is elusive in other ways.

In a way, it’s the best kind of romance, but also the worst: the excitement never ends, but it makes the heart grow weary. I think that first impressions tend to be accurate, but I’m hoping I’m wrong about this one.

Grant rates his date (out of 10): 9

Want to be a dating diarist? Email datingdiariescontact@gmail.com

Want to be a dating diarist? Email datingdiariescontact@gmail.com

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