I was reflecting on my first ever date…and decided to write a short memior on the experience…enjoy.
I was hoping for it to be a memoir, I really wanted it to, something I could relate to my children fondly, nostalgically in years to come, but it didn’t turn out like that.
The last few minutes are the worst. I was in the back of the house just waiting, pacing. My chest ached, my stomach traveled upward and clenched and unclenched itself in varying intervals. My body would randomly freeze and then slowly unfreeze itself. I was fine, really I was.
I looked down at my shoes. I was wearing my brown Aldo cockroach killers. They made my ankles look awesome; pretty impressive with such a low heel, only two inches, nothing compared to my usual 3 ¾ inch stacked pumps.
Suddenly, I didn’t know how to walk in heels.
Why didn’t I walk out of the shoe?
How did it stay on?
How do I walk in a straight line?
What about balance?
Funny, my walk in heels is legendary, I’ve taught so many friends how to keep themselves poised, balanced, and elegant in heels, yet, I was now a pubescent 13 year old taking her first teetering steps. I could almost hear the awful grating of the heel against pavement.
What was wrong with me?
How would I not fall?
What should I do about the threshold, how high do I have to raise my foot?
Three more minutes to D-day, literally. D, meaning date, my first, EVER.
It’s the oddest thing really, because it’s just not my type. I’m the cocky confident, never-get-phased girl. I’m the girl who actually walks out of the classroom when the class agrees that if the teacher kicks one of out, we’d all leave. I’m the girl who runs up the down escalator, and stops soldiers to thank them for their service to our country. I don’t get affected by these things.
I am not a cliché-I refuse to be.
And there I was, quivering in my size 8 heels.
These things come out of nowhere. One day you’re a little girl imagining, dreaming of your first date, what you’ll wear, what you’ll say, how you’ll act, what to say, what not to say. Then there is a phone call. It can be a cousin, an aunt, a family friend, a friends mother, a professional shadchan, anyone really. In my case, it was my grandmother’s first cousin, I’m not even sure of the technical term for our relationship, something something removed. Probably. In any case, I went from girl to women in seconds; it was scary. No more fantasies, it was now an anticipated reality.
They said yes already, and for the next few days, it was just a flurry of phone calls. I heard the name, but tried not to focus on the fact that it actually represented a person. Everything sounded good, and I started to listen to what they were saying.
“He’s a budding Talmud Chacham”
“Very opinionated and worldly”
“Not your typical, excellent middos”
Everything I was looking for.
I tried his name on for size. It didn’t sound so bad, maybe even had a certain je ne sais quas.
The more information, the more I tried on.
“He’s very articulate.”
“If his family wants you, grab it”
By the time my parents had given a yes, a date had been arranged and I was dressed waiting for him to arrive for our first date, we were married with five children.
The doorbell rang.
My father calmly went to answer it; I’m his third girl and he knows the routine cold. I heard padded footsteps on the carpeted stairs.
My chest was closing in.
Breathe, I told myself.
I counted down five minutes to myself, that was enough time for my parents to interrogate him, right? I inhaled deeply and stretched my arms out in front of me. They creaked. I practiced my smile in bathroom mirror. It reflected a pale fake. It was amazing how not me I was. I took a few hesitant steps toward the dining room. In my head I was saying,
“Oh my G-d, Leah, you loser, it’s a date for G-d sake.” So much for a pep talk. My pace picked up as I put on my “confidence walk” as my friend calls it. It’s really more of a strut, and I made my entrance.
The moment I entered, and saw him sitting there awkwardly at my dining room table, our five kids were gone, and instead my vain self went Oh G-d no!
So much for the nerves, the anxiety, and anticipation.