Unemployed aerospace guy, 49

“I’m that guy who has to say hello to all the dogs in the park.”

What a winning statement. Twelve absolutely wants to talk about my dog, even though he doesn’t have his own. He wants to talk about all the dogs, and he wants to talk to the people around us who have dogs, too. I am okay with this.

Let me back up.

This is my first Coronaverse date. He suggests we meet at a specific place in the park near my house. He lives in the neighborhood, it’s easy for both of us.

As I’m wandering under the gorgeous green trees I think, “Hey, this is all right. I don’t care if he shows.” I remember this is my rule — if I can have a good time on my own, it doesn’t matter if my date shows. I am so happy to be walking here, a cup of coffee in my hand, a cookie in my bag as consolation if I get stood up.

But I don’t get stood up. I run into Twelve when I get to the place where the trail meets the bluff. He’s better looking than his pictures, always a good thing, and has very bright blue eyes. He’s got African accented English. He’s Dutch but grew up in Kenya. He’s dressed like a North Face catalog model and he’s rail thin, something I didn’t know I wasn’t into, go figure.

We walk along the bluff and find a place to sit. It’s overcast, but it’s not cold. The conversation is a little stilted at first, but then we talk about bikes and work and the city and it just kind of opens up. He’s easy to talk to and also, because of where we are, he’s surprisingly easy to sit with in silence.

“I’m getting really tired of my own cooking,” he says, and I laugh.

“We’re all getting tired of our own cooking,” I say.

“I fucking hate to cook.”

Well, that’s a disappointment,” the voice in my head says. I don’t care about the swearing, I’m sweary as hell, but I want someone who doesn’t hate the kitchen. They don’t have to have a Michelin ranking, but this…

It’s too bad, he was scoring all kinds of points. I was thinking I’d totally go out with him again. It was no lightning strike, but it wasn’t a hard pass either. Plus, did I mention? The conversation was easy.

We talked for about an hour. There were bald eagles just off shore. We walked the bluff and he spotted a baby bunny in the undergrowth. “Look,” he said, and pointed it out, and there was the bunny, the size of my fist. He’s a keen observer. I like that.

He walked me to my car.

“It’s really nice to meet you. Thanks for getting me into the park. I sometimes forget how very beautiful this place is.”

“Next time you’ll bring the dog,” he replies.

Pro? He’s easy to talk with, nice to look at. Interesting. Smart. Checks the boxes on my fetish for outsiders, what with his not being American. He really likes dogs. A lot.

As far as dates go, it was a good one, even with the weirdness of the Coronaverse. I was a little more aware of the space between us than I would normally be, but it felt like a perfectly fine way to meet. I’d do that again.

Con? He fucking hates to cook.