DATING EXPERIENCE 1: Valentine’s Day








INTRO: It seems fitting that Rick is Date #1—he would want to be. The question is, is this because of Short Man’s Syndrome or real confidence? Or both?

NARRATIVE: I arrived at this casual outdoor/indoor bar, such a typical example of this common venue in my City. A tall, old wooden fence surrounding the outdoor area, with rustic benches and tables contained alongside it. Inside, a DJ and a badly proportioned room that is too small for the crowd.

My first goal on arrival was food: protein to feed this beast. So I fought my way up to the bar to order and was standing by a guy who on first glance looked like Jemaine Clement (HOT!!) from Flight of the Concords but later did NOT look like him. (If it had been JC, I would’ve married him on the spot—if he’d have me—and forgotten this whole dating shenanigan of an experiment.) JC-NOT-look-alike politely let me order first as I had been standing there a few seconds before him. In response, I made the faux pas of saying I was there a little bit before him and making a weird measuring gesture with my finger. I think he thought I was being sarcastic, although I wasn’t. Oops, one mistake already and I had been there all of five minutes. The best things about this interaction were that 1)I dipped my toe in the water and had at least spoken to a member of the male species 2)since he turned out to be a poorly dressed schmuck with a dorky backpack and not like JC, I didn’t feel too sad about not getting to talk to him again. (Ah, the judgment comes out so soon! But if I’m going to do this blog, it’s got to be honest observation. And don’t worry Gentle Reader, I will be ever so harsh on myself later as well.

After this transitional Faux Pas Point, I was now ready to find a place (somewhere else) to go. Scouting out the bar I had an inner monologue moment: “Not a lot of options—inside, outside, hmmmmmm. Try not to look like a lonely dweeb. Remember, everyone here is probably a lonely dweeb—after all we are single at a non-Valentine’s Valentine party.” Were we all Barbie & Ken, we’d be driving through the dusk in the pink Corvette to make mad passionate love in the penthouse ‘til at least 2 A.M. And the perk the next morning would be waking up with peppermint breath and perfect makeup.

So at this point, I decide to walk around and scout where to Be, to exist unobtrusively. “Nope, still the same scene. Still alone, dang.” Noticing everyone as a Potential. Make notes of how attractive/non-creepy each individual is. Then, try not to think this because it only adds to my feeling of social awkwardness. “Should’ve stayed home and watched Netflix this weekend for the 64th time running!” Anxiety. “Ok, calm down.” Talk my brain down from the jump off the balcony—go on auto pilot. Pick a table outside, sit, wait for food. Pretend to be nonchalant, watch people enter from sidewalk.

Enter: Rick. Shiny bald head, he’s short but looks fairly built, wearing jeans, button-up black shirt. Eye contact. He asks me a question about the event, I answer. He smiles, walks inside.

Again, alone and awkward, I get my food, thank God! Start snarfing and Rick comes back and asks if he can sit with me. Double relief. I’m flattered.

Next words out of his mouth are about his career/job. It’s a perfect funny moment to me as I realize this is just like in The Science of Sex Appeal which I watched as a dating-prep movie the day before. It is apparently important to the majority of men to give a potential mate their career information because of the biological drive to show themselves as capable providers. And maybe it’s working just a little on me as I check out his capable, strong looking forearms protruding from the black sleeves and his tough-looking tattoos. For all of his 5’7” build (he says he is 5’8”), he has a strong jaw and a great 5 o’clock shadow. And that bald, tough guy thing! Whew. Sadly, I think of Jean-Luc Picard, a.k.a. Patrick Stewart (God, I am such a nerd!) Someone once told me that women like his head because it looks like a large penis tip. (Read into this what you will but go easy on me, please.)

So, Rick and I end up talking, a lot. Luckily, in the five hours we spend together, the conversation was a pretty good interchange. We found out that we have weird personality quirks in common—like an affinity for cleanliness, over-organization and minimalism.

We spent the entire Event together except for a few interruptions. The longer the night went on the more drinks he kept going back for (eek!) and a couple guys stepped up to talk to me. I felt conflicted between wanting to mingle and act open and ready to talk to other people and trying to be polite to Rick, plus having a desire to be exclusive with him. I let my urge for exclusivity take over because I was enjoying his company and because I suppose it was easier than getting rid of him or introducing myself to new people all over. It’s also difficult to tear yourself away from someone when you have immediate chemistry and are having fun with them. And what is the first date supposed to be if not fun?? It may be good to practice letting something unfold with someone a bit on a date and then pulling back and playing the field again the next time up. There are obviously different angles to examine in this learning process. My self-analysis for this week includes fully acknowledging that I have consistently had a problem pulling back and establishing boundaries I am comfortable with when a guy shows more interest in me than I am ready to return. I am also aware that this may be the point at which my problem begins—why I end up in a relationship wherein the other person is in love and I am not. These are inevitably committed relationships, so usually stay with the person for a year or more and then cut and run. On some level, I am ok with playing a part, as much as I hate to admit it. It took me a long time to own that responsibility; for one thing there are so many things one can blame a bad relationship on that have to do with the other person. I also hate to admit this actor-like quality in myself because when it comes to breaking hearts, it becomes despicable. I am soft-hearted enough to hate hurting someone in the short-term, so much so that I become a coward and won’t get out of the relationship, even though I know it is all wrong. Then, when it’s time to finally let go of my frustration—and consequently Mr. Wrong—I am frustrated and hard-hearted enough to go through with it. So this dating experiment and blog is all about not falling into this trap again.

I want to know why I put so much pressure on myself to return an equal amount of interest in a guy that I don’t necessarily feel. Partly out of cowardice but also partly out of insecurity? A fear of rejection if I don’t return the interest and then he turns away and rejects me? An urge to be so nice that everyone will always like me? Maybe. This is something that will require more thought as the experiment continues.

Back to Rick. So, I felt apprehensive when he asked me what my plans were over the next couple days. I immediately felt the urge for more space. The flip side to this is that I was already charmed by his looks and sense of humor and knew I wanted to continue getting to know him. Plus, there is a definite rush of flattery when someone texts you “good morning” the next day and then calls later and asks you to go on a hike with he and his friend. (Hope they are not freaky-deaky axe murderers!) I was relieved, however, by the fact that I was unable to go due to time constraints, what with my need for space. We decided to get together again when he moves here in about two weeks. Now I am realizing that maybe I’m just a Commitment-Phobe hiding in an Over-Committers clothing, which is confusing.

The conclusion of the date was the bar gradually emptying out and Rick getting more interested in talking to a group of girls whose dance skills he was impressed by. I had no one to talk to and felt kind of punished for not wanting to dance due to self-consciousness.

A little later, when I got tired, he walked me back to my car and I gave him a ride back to the bar. I felt that in talking and being silly jumping on some weird fake turf on the sidewalk that we re-connected a bit. Dropping him off in front of the bar was a pragmatic operation involving a narrow street with nowhere to park. We shook hands, which felt a little weird, but hugging or kissing would’ve felt awkward under the circumstances.

Overall, I’d say it was a good introduction to the experiment—had some fun and got a little dolled up. Met someone I had some chemistry with and got a dose of some pitfalls (anticipated or not). Just getting out and getting started is a huge positive.

Rating Him:

Face shape: 8

Body: 6.5

Eyes: 6

Hair or lack thereof/Facial hair or lack thereof: 9

Voice: 9 (great phone voice)

Sexiness: 7.5

Overall Physical Attractiveness: 8

Fashion: 9.5

IT-ness (the IT factor, you either have IT or you don’t): 9

Deportment: 10

Charm: 9 (sense of humor adds a lot)

Amiable: 7

Polite: 7 (got me water, lost points talking to the girls w/o including me in the conversation)

Interesting: 7

Kiss-o-meter: N/A 

Rating Myself:

Face: 8 (makeup started out great, smudged by end of night)

Body: 7.5 (dress was loose around waist, felt a little overweight & thick around the middle)

Smell: 8.5 (I was not sweaty & did not stink)

Fashion: 6 (see Body)

Overall Physical Attractiveness: 8 (the most effective part of my outfit was apparently the low-cut top, caught Rick checking out the girls)

Deportment: 9 (I carried myself well)

Amiable: 7 (I lost points for not jumping in to dance)

Confidence: 6

Polite: 10