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Bikini - Strings Attached
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In the office we were recently discussing Valentine's Day and got on the topic of first dates. It's now been over four years since I've been on a first date. After having known each other for several months, this guy I'd met had finally asked me out.

I have to set this up a little more so you'll understand ... I've been single for a long time, so I've dated a lot. Married friends of mine have lived vicariously through me for years, listening to me regale them with tales of dating - the good, the bad, and the ugly. So nothing really fazes me much when it comes to dating, I've pretty much seen and heard it all. And because of my experience and wisdom in this area, no one makes me nervous.

At least, not until I met this guy. The moment I laid eyes on him it hit me. I wasn't looking to meet someone special and decided it was best to keep my feelings to myself. I was just friendly, not flirtatious.

But once he asked, I agreed to go on a date with him and he made reservations for us at a nice restaurant.

At the time, I was house sitting for some friends who were out of town. It was early September, the evenings were warm and they had a swimming pool and spa in their backyard. I told this new guy that he should bring his swim trunks and we could take a swim after dinner. I knew him well enough and I was in great physical condition so I felt comfortable in a swimsuit in front of him.

As I was getting ready for my date at my friends' house, I started running behind and then my nerves started getting the best of me. By the time he arrived, I felt harried and was full of butterflies, but did my best to feign confidence and ease.

When I answered the door, he gave me flowers. As cliché as some of you may think that is, I believe you'd be quite surprised to know that very few men out there show up with flowers for a first date.

He and I made our way to the kitchen and I was relieved when he agreed to have a glass of wine because I felt it would help calm my nerves. As I poured our glasses, my body betrayed my cool façade. I was shaking so badly that I think as much wine ended up on the counter as in the glasses. My trembling was really noticeable and I couldn't understand what was wrong with me, but he didn't say a word. Trying to shake off my nervousness only made it worse, and as we toasted I nearly dropped my glass.

We got to the restaurant and had a great corner table in the back. We started to relax a little more, but he was nervous too and didn't talk a whole lot. Afterward, as we walked back to his car, I asked if he'd brought something to swim in. He had not. The night was still "young" but it was too late to go anywhere to buy swimwear - except Wal-Mart.

Now remember, it was September so the summer stuff was cleared out and fall attire was on the racks. So there we were, walking the aisles of Wal-Mart in our nice dinner attire, looking for swimsuits.

We managed to find a single clearance rack with a few pairs of swim shorts on it. It was clear why these swim trunks were the ones that were left over.

There was one pair in his size. They were red with bright yellow Hawaiian flowers on them. He's a very conservative guy, but he bit the bullet and took them to the checkout - it was either that or miss out on seeing me in a swimsuit.

He chose wisely.

We got back to the house and changed into our suits. At the time I had this lime green bikini and when I came out with that on, this look came over his face - like he'd been hit over the head with a two-by-four.

His ensemble consisted of the bright Hawaiian print shorts and a white Hanes undershirt. The juxtaposition of the two of us at that moment made clear the differences in our personalities. I jumped in and thankfully he removed the T-shirt before he followed me. He was a perfect gentleman but made sure that he didn't leave without a goodnight kiss.

He still talks about my green bikini to this day. I have to say that was the most memorable and cherished first date I've ever had.

Now a few years later, he's planning to take me to a very nice restaurant for Valentine's Day, but it's too cold to wear a bikini in February. However, I think it's time for me to pull out some stops, as I'm hoping again for something memorable and cherished.

I rather like that hit-on-the-head-with-a-two-by-four look.

Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.