The other day I emailed a coworker of mine who has been out of the office on military leave for the army to wish her a merry Christmas. I was delighted to hear that she was actually home for the holidays, and she was interested in getting together for lunch with me and our boss next week. We both told her that we’ll be around the office and would love to do lunch, so she emailed writing, “Where would you like to go, Mike’s? Ok. Excellent choice. : )” Mike’s is a restaurant we’ve gone to together as a team before, kind of a far drive out Virginia. But it is one of her very favorite restaurants, so she offered to pick us up and drive us there.

My coworker’s restaurant selection reminded me of a conversation we had together back when Kirios and I first started dating. We had just gone on our second date – a trip to the National Portrait Gallery followed by dinner at Matchbox, a regional gourmet pizza chain which is one of his favorite restaurants (as it’s much more affordable than Zaytinya, his very favorite we went to for his birthday). I had a great time – we were planning more dates and emailing each other throughout the day at work, you could definitely say that I was smitten. But like most of us sensible ladies, I was trying hard not to get ahead of myself – not to let my guard down just to find out he was a notorious playboy, a million dollars in debt and addicted to shopping, a borderline alcoholic, or already three girls’ baby daddy.

At some point in this process, I did the inevitable, and began Facebook stalking him. For those of you that know Kirios, you know he loves to take pictures and post them on Facebook, so there was a lot to see and learn. I tried to limit my peeking – I’d rather learn by getting to know him in person. Plus, who really likes to see pictures of their love interests with other women? Of course, it’s not his fault he was with the wrong women – he didn’t know me yet, so he didn’t know what he was missing out on!

Despite this, I looking at his pictures with past dates and girlfriends did upset me – I found pictures of him at the same museum and the same restaurant with at least two ladies. I thought about our impromptu photo-session in the museum courtyard. The cocktail he ordered at the restaurant, no longer featured on their menu. A trap, a sham! All of it, the skeezeball! Here I am, thinking we had a really special date, and now I see these pictures and feel really dumb. Just another girl falling for the same trick he’s used a million times.

Incredibly discouraged, I went over to my coworker’s cubicle to complain. I filled her in on everything, looking for sympathy. But she gave me a lot more than just that – she gave me a completely different perspective on the situation. “Remember that restaurant we went to, Mike’s? It’s one of my favorite restaurants, and I’ve taken a lot of different guys there. It doesn’t mean that I think the guys are all the same, it’s just that I know we’ll enjoy our meal there!” Maybe Kirios wasn’t a lazy date-recycling player, and instead, just a guy hoping to ensure that a second date would turn into a third with an itinerary with which he felt confident and comfortable. The only way to find out would be to continue to get to know him. So with a still cautious skeptical and skeptical attitude, but much more optimism and encouragement, courtesy of my coworker, I continued to see Kirios.

As it turned out, on date number three Kirios decided he was feeling comfortable enough with me to quit playing it safe (I had planned our first date) and take me to a restaurant with very good reviews and that he had never been to before – and it was a disaster! The restaurant was in a neighborhood of DC that I wouldn’t walk alone in at night, in the basement of a house. When we got there, we learned that they only accept patrons with advance reservations, because they have all of 3 tables. And there was a cat sitting on one of the tables. I was horribly sketched out. No doubt they have excellent food, we’ll have to try it for real one day, but that was NOT going to be the night! I’m sure Kirios was pretty embarrassed by the debacle, and he worked hard to act cool while thinking on his feet and find a perfectly lovely plan B restaurant. I was ecstatic – this was a unique experience we had shared together, one which we’ve been laughing about ever since.