What I Wish I Could Tell You On Our First Date

I’m the kind of girl who firmly believes that she should come with a disclaimer.

When we’re sitting on the couches of a local Starbucks or in the booths of an overcrowded Chipotle, and he’s anxiously trying to come up with small talk—something to keep the conversation going—there is so much I wish I could tell him.

It would start off with, “Are you sure you want to do this?” As if taking me out on a first date was as pivotal a moment to his life as the day he walks down the aisle. But truth be told, to me it is. I am a hopeless romantic who wears her heart on her sleeve, and I unapologetically seek out a picturesque romance from every first date, every encounter. I wish I could ask him if he’s ready for late night “tell you about my day” phone calls, and over-emotional “I miss you” texts. I wish I could ask him if he’s ready to constantly validate his affection for me and bare with me when I get upset over seemingly miniscule things—But I also wish I could ask him if he’s ready for midnight adventures and deep conversation, ready for having a new travel buddy and someone to share a mutual love of food with. I wish I could ask him if he’s ready for me, because there’s much more that comes with me than can be discovered on date number one.

I wish I could tell him how, despite the fact that I’m fiercely independent, I’m petrified of being alone. I fear the idea of not having a “person,” someone whom I consider my “go-to,” not only in times of tribulation but when I decide that I’m sick of stagnancy and one day want to cut my hair, or quit my job or move across the country, or better yet, the world. I want to ask him—Will you follow me, will you support me, will you be willing to change with me? Because never finding someone who will is a far-reaching fear I have fostered for years.

I wish it didn’t terrify me to want to tell him, “I won’t wait for you,” but at this point in my life, I’m not in the position to have someone else be my whole world. I have too many things I want to learn about, too much I want to experience, too many places I want to see—And I’m admittedly too selfish to give up those opportunities to compromise for the comfort or stability of someone else. I won’t wait for him to be ready to go on these life adventures with me, or wait for him to decide that he has something else in mind. Despite the unyielding way I may come across, as a girl in her early twenties, I refuse to “wait” for someone, or even wait with someone until they are in a position in their life to settle down. And to the contrary, I also refuse to let someone convince me to settle down—to postpone my dreams of traveling or writing or furthering my career to accommodate their desire to have a suburban house with a white-picket fence. I want to grow with him, to experience life with him, but I refuse to wait for him.

I wish I could tell him to not waste my time—to walk out now if he’s just interested in “having fun” or because I seem like “a really nice girl.” I wish I could tell him that just by agreeing to go out with him, I’ve already pictured the possibility of a life with him—And yes, it does petrify me. I wish I could tell him that while I may be the girl who falls fast and falls hard, I’m also the girl who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to admit it.

But while we’re sitting there, engaging in fake laughter and trivial conversation—he’s thinking of something witty to spout out, and I’m thinking of all the things that will go unsaid —I can’t help but wonder. Are you sure you want to do this?