As my dating journey continued, alongside my fitness journey, there was definitely a shift in the body types of the men I was dating and it didn’t suck. While they were obviously not too shabby to look at, I liked that for the most part it would also mean that the guy would understand that I wanted to work out five days a week and that it was important to me to eat fairly healthily, rather than have him trying to sabotage my efforts. But can you have all of that along with a genuine appreciation of gin?

It was the middle of summer, just before a girls trip to Vegas, when I matched with this super smiley, 31 year old Chinese Canadian guy on Bumble. He was a firefighter and had just opened his own weightlifting gym and so Asian Weightlifting Firefighter may have been one of the longer nicknames that came to fruition but it worked.

We met post-Vegas (and post-Vegas recovery days so I wasn’t a complete wreck) on a gorgeously sunny Sunday afternoon. From our texts leading up to the date he’d picked up on my love for gin, and so immediately got brownie points for his first date suggestion of drinks at a local gin distillery. He also stated that every first date should have alcohol, which is a sentiment I don’t totally disagree with.

It was a seriously great first date – and that is such an infrequently used phrase round here… We had multiple gin cocktails, while chatting easily, particularly while digging into our respective dating lives. It was a slightly surprising topic of conversation. Dating and past relationships might come up a bit on a first date, maybe more on a second or third, but we went all in. And it was actually comfortable and comforting. He clearly was looking for someone he could have a lot of fun with but that would equally support his professional life and challenge him personally. It seemed like a good balance.

From gin we went to a nearby restaurant for lunch (yes we went for gin pre-lunch, did I mention brownie points?) and sitting on the sun soaked waterside patio we talked about our childhoods, our jobs and our passions. He was a fun guy, who was obviously very driven at work (firefighting was his career, weightlifting was his passion he told me) and conversation was not hard to come by with him.

We had one sticky moment when he tried to do a Scottish accent, as we were sat on a dock by the water waiting for our table, but we/he quickly recovered when I told him it was terrible. I like a guy that can take criticism.

He also commented as we were taking a walk after lunch that he liked my nail polish colour and asked if my toenails matched. I confirmed they did and he stated that he likes a girl that takes care of herself. That’s a statement I’m never sure how to take. I mean, I don’t want to date a slob either, but when a guy says that to me I feel like sometimes there’s a sentiment attached that, as women, we’re supposed to make ourselves “pretty” for a man, even down to our toenails. And that doesn’t really sit well with me…

But I didn’t think too much into the nail colour chat at the time, the afternoon went by so quickly and when I got home the overriding feeling was being surprised by just how much fun I’d had, how easy it had been and how much I was hoping to see him again. It had been a while since I actually really wanted to see a date for a second time.

The following weekend we made plans to meet up again. It was one of the summer fireworks nights in the city and he suggested we get a picnic and go down to the beach to watch them. Again, a man with a plan and a pretty good date suggestion – it’s a rarity. We met up in the early evening and headed to the supermarket to buy food – always an interesting encounter with someone you don’t really know. But again it was easy and, with him, it was fun – we learnt a lot about Chinese and Scottish cultural differences!

He also raked in more brownie points when he not only produced two water bottles he’d brought for us to make up drinks in but also a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin to make the drinks with. I loved that he had so quickly come to realised that gin was the way to my heart. It was also a relief to me that despite his incredibly serious attitude towards fitness – it was a major part of both of his jobs, in fact the entirety of one of them – he was still more than happy to knock back drinks with abandon.

It was an incredibly fun date and a really memorable night. The fireworks were great, the conversation was still so easy, we laughed a lot and somewhere in amongst it all we had our first kiss, as the pyrotechnics went off overhead. It was like some cheesy Hollywood movie date and I didn’t mind it one bit.

We ended up being the very last people on the beach that night. Everyone else had cleared out and we found ourselves lying in the darkness, still talking. After a policeman passing on a bike informed us the beach was now closed, we reluctantly packed up our stuff to leave and Asian Weightlifting Firefighter insisted he wanted to walk me home. It was a bit of a trek from where we were but it was a balmy summer’s night and clearly neither of us were done talking yet.

Somewhere between the beach and my apartment it came up about him maybe staying over. At the time, he was living on the North Shore and for him to get home at that time would have been a pain in the ass for him. But I was the one that brought it up, not him. We didn’t make a call on it until we got to my building and just as I thought he was about to wish me goodnight and turn around, he said “ok, I’ll stay but I don’t want us to sleep together”. With any other guy I would have instantly thought that was just a line but from discussions we’d had I got the feeling he actually meant it.

Turns out, I was right, he did.

We shared a bed, there was definitely some light groping, there was a lot of kissing and just the right amount of cuddling that made me incredibly happy but that was the extent of it. Waking up in the morning with neither of us hungover, neither of us wanting to gnaw our arm off to escape without waking the other and neither of us still done talking, made for a pretty nice Sunday morning.

All it did was leave me wanting to see him again, and wonder what it would be like if/when we did have sex. There hadn’t been a whole lot of it at that point in my new dating life and what there had been, had been pretty much one and done’s. I was interested to see what it would be like with someone I was actually seeing on a more regular basis.

Two weeks later I was to find out when he came over to mine for dinner. I was going to cook but, in all honesty, I don’t like cooking for guys. I feel like that’s a part of me they have to earn. I feel that way about nothing else. But cooking for them? Oh yeah, they’ve got to work for that. I know, it makes no sense to me either.

Instead of giving away my culinary skills we ordered food from a local restaurant that he went to pick up and of course, he brought gin – this time a local Vancouver tiple. And seriously, guys! You will always win with the gin! After dinner, during which we had debated the best way to deal with sibling relationships, we threw on some Netflix and I guess you could say “Netflix and chill” ensued. Wow, my life is such a cliche…

But as an aside, who knew a conspiracy theory documentary could get you in the mood?

The sex was good. It wasn’t mind blowing, it was by no means awful. It was over kind of quickly, in that we barely made it to the bedroom. But I wondered if maybe we’d both ended up more nervous than necessary because we’d waited and it felt like there had been a bit of build up? Maybe it was one of those things that we would both settle into? Once we got to know each other better in that way? Wait, was I making excuses for mediocre sex? That couldn’t be a good thing, could it?

I’m going to need more gin.

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