I’ve gone completely crazy. Me, the dating adviser. It’s been 4 months since starting to work with a therapist for 9-11 trauma, and I’ve been blessed by the presence of amazing people who have been supportive. Trauma itself is difficult to overcome. Your brain gets foggy. Events get confused. Memories are like dreams. Feelings are intense. At times I’ve had to leave work early because I could no longer think straight.
Today, it’s not the trauma that’s messing with my head. It’s that combination of chemicals in the brain that Helen Fisher talks about: adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. It’s like being high on cocaine. And it’s all one guy’s fault.
How It Began
I love motorcycles. Riding and wrenching are my favorite pastimes. This year I hope to get on the race track and surpass my current street top speed of 95 mph. That’s pretty fast on a 30 year old motorcycle. So, the International Motorcycle Show comes around and I go. There, at one of exhibits, I meet a nice-looking, average-build man with a dark beard – a motorcycle mechanic who is working the exhibit. We had a conversation about owning 30-year-old bikes, and how he can help me with mine at his shop in upstate New York. I thought little of the meeting, took his card, said bye. I just wanted to see more exhibits.
A few weeks after the show, I get a Facebook message. It’s him. I remembered him, not because he was a good looking guy… scratch that. I remembered him partly because he had these eyes that seemed to look straight through me, and because of those eyes I remembered that he was easy on my eyes. But mostly because he was a mechanic not too far away who offered to help me with my bike, and that I could just stop by. I was not attracted to him at all. My head at the show was thinking about work. I was there as press and had been interviewing exhibitors about their products. I was not thinking about his body language, or the fact that his offer was an outright invitation to get to know him better. Nor did I think that the Facebook message was strange, since I gave him my card… oh no, but I didn’t. I didn’t give him anything but the bookmark that advertises the AlphaDog book. No email address, no phone number. And he gets on Facebook and finds me?!
He told me about a bike for sale. It didn’t take long to meet him again.
Was That a Date?
These days I don’t care about dating. I don’t pursue it. Drawing on past experiences to write about dating and relationships is enough. So, when the mechanic offers to help me with the carburetors on my motorcycle in exchange for dating advice, of course I take the offer. I didn’t have cash for a new bike, nor money to spend on maintenance I could do myself. Why not let someone else help out?
So, I ride up to drop off my bike. He shows me around the garage. Since I’m hungry, we go to a restaurant and sit down.
Then he spills the beans.
“You realize that I made that offer to get you to come up here.”
It didn’t register.
I change the subject, “When you ask that girl out, don’t ask for permission.”
He obliges and talks about this girl he had a crush on in high school. Her Facebook page doesn’t say she’s in a relationship.
We finished dinner and headed to the train, since I’d left the bike at his garage to work on a few things. But I missed the train.
Instead of waiting for the next train, he insists on driving me home, 40 miles away.
Tasting the Medicine
I don’t usually tell guys I date to read my book. They all know about it. It’s up to them. Then again, I didn’t consider the mechanic someone I was dating. He was someone who needed dating advice. So, of course I told him he should read my book. And he did.
A few weeks later, I call to get my bike. He offers to drive down to pick me up. “It’s no big deal,” he said.
At the garage he tells me that his high school crush has a boyfriend. He asks questions about how he can be an alpha without the cash. And he points out little things he fixed on my bike. They were totally unexpected. Blinders removed, I came out of denial. I didn’t know what to think or how I felt.
He asks to keep the bike one more week. “Okay,” I said, not sure if I really wanted to make another 40 mile trip.
The next weekend, I thought long and hard about the mechanic’s pursuit. We met in January. It’s now March. I was about to see him for the fourth time. Would I allow myself to be attracted to him? It didn’t matter that he has no college degree, or that his house is small, or that my income is nearly twice his. What stuck out was his tenacity, respect, patience, and his brains. In spite of having no college degree, he is still a lot smarter than most people. To me, that’s hot. It helped knowing that his personality type is “perceiving”, meaning he likes to keep his options open, and has a hard time making big life decisions. Hey, just like me.
Once again, he made the 40 mile drive to pick me up. Instead of going to the garage, we went for food. Everything was changing.
He was thinner than the first time I met him. His beard was neatly trimmed. We sat at the bar and talked. I don’t remember what we talked about. I only remember looking at him, attracted.
The next day, the chemicals overtook. I could not stop thinking about how well we connected, his openness, and the fun we had riding his motorcycle as he showed me around his neck of the woods. At one point of our ride, he took my hand to get me to hold on tighter to him before he accelerated into the highway. After the ride, I got on my own bike to go home. It was cold that evening, so he gave me fleece to wear for the ride.
The mechanic accomplished exactly what my book had laid out: getting a woman to go from a gray area to either black or white, or yes or no. I’m in the yes zone.