“Good Southern men are slow movers,” Jason said between drinks of his miso soup.
We were sitting in a hole-in-the-wall sushi restaurant reputed to be one of Nashville’s best. A drunken tourist behind us interrupted loudly to ask the table across the way what their thoughts were on Broadway. “Should it be DONE?” The visible cringe on both members of the Tinder dates’ faces was priceless.
We looked at each other and laughed as he continued, “Southern men aren’t like the guys you’re accustomed to — the ones you’ve dated. I’m telling you…they’re sometimes just a little shy about the open.” I side-eyed him. It all seemed a little suspect to me.
Several weeks ago, I deleted Tinder and Bumble with the thought that maybe I could meet some nice guys in real life (first) to date.
This was not happening. It was becoming more and more apparent that I was unaware of where to even meet men in real life who might be interested in dating. The previous week I’d been out with Jason and a couple of his guy friends and I’d asked them where they had met women. One of them had been married so long, he couldn’t remember. The other said, “In traditional ways mostly.” When I asked what that meant the married one snickered like a ten year old boy, “Missionary style.” I rolled my eyes and brought us back to topic. “Bars,” the other bro said, “Oh, and weddings.”
Weddings. I’ve been avoiding them for the past couple of years. I don’t think I’m committed enough to meeting someone to go to weddings again. When I asked him where he met his fiancee, he paused and his grin became extra-large,”Ummm…Tinder.”
Ugh. *flips table* Welp. There you go.
Jason and I were sitting in that sushi restaurant talking about Southern men being slow movers because I’d met someone who I had a little crush on. Yes, I know it’s awkward and embarrassing for a thirty-four year old woman to have a crush on someone. But, hello, humans, this is real life. We all freakin’ get crushes on people. You probably have a crush on someone right now. Maybe it’s me. JK. JK. It’s probably one of my roommates. But, seriously, you know what a crush is like.
Unfortunately, I’ve been through the crush process so many times I recognize it immediately and know all its steps so it’s considerably less fun for me. I’m so dang jaded I pretty much start the thing with, “Well, this will run its course…” I think there’s the assumption in me that anyone I’d have a crush on isn’t someone I’m worthy of dating. (Whoa, put a pin in that to talk to my therapist about.)
And this is what I’d told Jason.
“When I talk to him,” I said, “he makes me wish I used Pinterest more. Like I wish I was one of those women who knew how to do chalkboard art and contour shit.” (To be clear, I literally wear one coat of mascara and a tiny bit of eyebrow pencil. Contouring shit would kill me.) Jason laughed. Hard. “Do you think Southern men aren’t interested in me because I say “fuck” and drink whiskey? I’m not changing that.” I wrinkled my nose, wanting to fold my arms like the five year old version of me. He laughed again.
“No, Melissa. I don’t think they care that you say “fuck” and drink whiskey. I think good Southern men are slow movers.”
Slow moving is hard for me to understand. At work I move 100mph in every direction. I don’t actually have an office because I’m never in one place long enough. I put my bag in Jason’s office and then sit at one desk and then a table then turn a trash can over and put my laptop on it then have a meeting then start all over again.
I am a whirling dervish. Slow is a difficult concept for me. But I want to understand it.
I tell him I just assume they’re not interested because that makes it easier for me to accept. Gently and firmly, he challenges that. He does that a lot actually.
It’s hard to believe the words he says, but I’m coming to trust him and his words. He’s earning it.
Living in Pleasantville with he and Jeremiah is good for my soul. They help me heal every day. My flaws live glaringly in the bright daylight but so much grace lives in the Handsome House too.
The trauma from my past hardened my edges and I learned to move quickly so I could survive storms. Here and now, in the presence of these “Good Southern men” I feel myself becoming a slow dance. I don’t hate it.
P.S. If you’re reading this, love you already. Mean it. P.P.S. If you’re reading this, I can’t actually dance, but I’m willing to take lessons. Also, I miss you, love. When will you arrive? I would like to know your face. Soon?