Seize the Date

This blog’s list of accomplishments will include:

  • Accepting a date in an awkward situation – asked out while wearing cotton and Saran Wrap works!
  • Online dating
  • Asking out a guy – randomly taking a chance

One thing we can probably all agree on is that dating can be awkward.  No matter where you are in your current relationship (single, married, divorced, taking a break, etc.) you have probably been on an unforgettable bad date.  At my age, most of my friends are either married or in a serious relationship, but there are a few of us rare birds that are still single, but it doesn’t get us down!  I receive advice from my hitched friends often:  Take your time!  Your life will never be the same.

I often get the question:  I don’t understand – why are you single?  It always reminds me of the infamous line: I’m single by choice.  Just not my choice.

The dating world has seemed to dramatically change in the last 5 years.  Finding a date is easy…finding a good guy worth dating is ridiculously challening.  In my 20’s I was never without a boyfriend or “talking” talk to a guy, but it was always a tumultuous relationship, riddled with emotional disagreements and earth-shattering breakups.  I was self-absorbed, immature and very insecure.  I did not really find myself until I turned 30.  When I realized that, at some point, dating could be fun, non-dramatic and…may end in marriage, which looking back in my 20’s I never really believed was for me.

I’m not the kind of girl that invests a lot of money in shoes, purses or designer dresses, but when it comes to hair I always like to make sure I’d never set a new trend with a bad cut.  I sat comfortablely  in a chair waiting for the color to work its magic: sitting Indian style, wearing my workout clothes, my hair sporting a mess of cotton and saran wrap while playing my favorite mindless pastime:  Candy crush (ugh…crushing jellies is a stressful nightmare).

My stylist walks in and spins the chair around, where I come face to face with a handsome guy, standing in front of me, nervously smiling and shifting his baseball cap between his hands.  Why the hell is this happening?  I look at the ground, avoiding eye contact and his shake hand as he introduces himself.  This is the guy my stylist has been trying to set me up with for a couple of years.  Here I was, face to face, my hair looks as if it’s a stuffed turkey, waiting for the oven on Thanksgiving Day and my makeup-less face not ready for the day, shielded slightly by my hands.

We end up grabbing a few beers but near the end of the date I realize this guy is not for me.  He’s 35, very ambitious, handsome, graduated from a high-ranking college and possesses all of the qualities any woman would be attracted to, but I’m just not feeling the chemistry.  I can hear it now – my friends:  UGH!!!  What is wrong with you!?  As he told me of an extremely, crazy drunken night he had that ended with him walking home in the rain, I lost immediate interest.  I’m all for a fun night out on the town, but if you forget your name at point in the night…there’s a bigger problem.

Me:  When was this?  Thinking this was back in his college days.

Date: Oh, just a few weeks ago.

11:30 PM rolls and around and, I think: time to do something off the Against Migraines list.  Bcycles!  We drive to the nearest station and hop on the bikes and ride around the area.  We shared a few texts when he returned from a trip and it eventually just fizzled.

Census Bureau’s Public Information Office released in 2010 that there were 92 million singles in the US (this is unmarried Americans that were 18 or older in 2010), and in September 2012, CBS stated that Houston happened to be one of the best places to meet singles and published a list of popular places to find a special mate:

Starbucks, sporting events, nightclubs and gyms

I have met plenty of guys at bars and a few at the gym so the obvious place to date to turn to, as a last resort: the Internet.  A handful of people have turned up their  up nose in disgust and shake their head with raised eyebrows when I’ve mentioned the words DATING and INTERNET in the same sentence:  I could never do that.  I commend you, they say, but secretly, they’re interested in what’s out there.

Personally, I don’t understand the foolishness behind the negative reactions.  I have seen the same people I work with on these sites and they’re decent people – I just now know they’re single.

I’m not saying the Internet is for everyone, of course, and it has proven not the greatest resource for me (at times).  Shirtless, toned, tanned, beer bellied, tattooed, hairy, hairless, bald, curly, straight haired men litter the selection.  Their broken record pastimes never set them apart from the crowd: drinking, lifting weights, going out, baseball, basketball, golf, football….blahblahblah.  The things they “can’t live without”: iPhone, good beer, A/C, Family Guy, Super Bowl, meat, great mexican food, margaritas, computers, caffeine…the list goes on.  Really?

My dates off these two particular websites have always reminded me of a simple fact:  there are a lot of turds in the punchbowl.

Synopsis of a few dates:

#1 – Mr. Greedy Weedy  

One guy gets drunk off a bottle of wine he shares with himself, almost offering me a drop but realizes he drank it all, “Damn!  How did that happen,” he looked at me with a puzzled face.  He barfs from his drunken stupor at my friend’s house (did I forget to mention he smoked an illegal substance?), laid in it and my friend’s dog played cleanup as I recorded the entire episode with my camera.  Let me note that I do NOT, have not, will not smoke anything: cigarettes, cigars, illegal substances…even meat.

#2 – Assly Cooper

I met up with one guy in a popular coffee hangout in town.  I think I’ve been asked on a dozen dates to this location.  I could already tell that this actor and I were not going to ever see each other again five minutes into the date.

“I’m different from other guys.  I see something, I go after it, I get it,” he bragged.  He was/is a local actor (an actor…in Houston…Texas….no) – I tried it once, and unless Hollywood, brash comments, constant let downs, waiting tables and never being perfect top your list of things to achieve in your life, this may not be your calling.  I noticed a guy in the coffeehouse that had been my waiter a handful of times at my favorite, local restaurant – he is also a local actor, but with much more character and charisma than this guy.  He makes his way over to our table to say hi (let’s call him Adam) and is surprised to see that Mr. Date bares the mug of a famous actor.

Adam: You look like someone, like an actor…who is it?  Who is it??

Mr. Date smiles, an assertive, jackass grin, because he knows it’s on the tip of Adam’s tongue, and I know who it is because Mr. Date told me at least 5 times that everyone thinks he looks like Bradley Cooper.

“Bradley Cooper,” Adam smiles and clasps his hands together, congratulating himself.

Holy crap, I’m thinking…this may launch Mr. Date into a 45 minute conversation.  I drink my latte as fast as I possibly can without burning my mouth.  Adam says his goodbyes and Mr. Date is overjoyed that someone affirmed that he is Bradley Cooper’s doppelgänger, looks at me and smiles, shrugs, “You can’t make this stuff up,” his coy smile seems to last for hours.

Conversation went on and, as if all his bragging made playing in heavy traffic sound more appealing, he started asking me my stance on abortion, religion and politics.  No.

#3 – French Twisted

Generally I like to talk to a guy before I meet him, but I went against tradition, swapped a few emails with a guy that seemed short on words, but thought I’d give it a try.  As I drove up to a popular wine bar I saw a guy leaning against a post, dressed in a light grey suit, power tie, perfect hair, perfect tan, perfect nose, perfect, perfect and even more perfect than perfect.  I walked toward him and I could tell he was judging my every move.  When he greeted me I could tell he had a strong accent.  When we sat down and he ordered a bottle of wine I could tell it was more than just an accent.  This guy literally just moved to Houston from FRANCE two weeks from the date!  His broken english made any type of conversation completely impossible.  He scrolled through emails on his Blackberry and scanned the bar, looking bored.

“I have to go,” he said in his French accent as he stood up abruptly.  He went to the bar, gave them his card and as they ran it I looked uncomfortably around the crowded bar: am I on candid camera, I thought.

No.  I was being ditched.  The wine hadn’t even made its way to our table.  He gave me a half wave and left.  The waitress set two glasses on the table before me.  I snapped back into reality, “Just cork it, please.”

#4 – DW-Bye

I meet this guy at a wine bar (reluctantly, but trying to keep an open mind), when I walk in I text him asking him where he is inside the bar.  He tells me he’s at the end of the bar and I spot a guy staring at his phone sitting in the back.  He hops off the stool and I immediately take notice that he’s a few inches shorter than his profile stated (this never happens…).  This is why I never wear high heels on a date…no, who the hell am I kidding?  I never wear high heels.

The bartender comes over to take our order as he scans the drink menu.  He starts spouting off various beers and the bartender crushes his alcoholic desires almost immediately as she says, “No, we don’t have that, or that…nope…not that either.  What’s on the menu is what we have,” she reiterates, annoyingly drumming her fingernails on the bar.

My date sighs in frustration and orders a very generic American beer.  He closes the menu, pushes it toward her and looks at me, “So what’s up?”

The bartender sits there for a few seconds and my date looks back at her, “Yes?”

Bartender:  Ma’am, would you like something?

I’m so appalled my date didn’t even realize I didn’t order that I’m ready to go, “I’ll take a water, thanks.”

Date: Water?  That’s all?  We came to a bar and you’re going to drink water?

Two women sitting next to us look over in our direction, my date shaking his head in disagreement with my choice of beverage.  Usually I’m a pretty good date.  Not to toot my own horn but there’s only been a couple of times when I have not scored a second date.  I’m attentive, polite, always have something to talk about, offer to pay my own bill, etc.  When I run into someone that is obviously rude and self-centered, though, my mind tends to wander.  I looked around the bar, surveying the clientele which I thought was bizarre for the time of night.

Date: Hello?  You there?

Me:  I’m sorry, what were you saying?

Date:  I said, where did you just come from?

Me:  Oh, my friend had a baby shower

Date:  Ugh.  Babies.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point

Me: That’s unfortunate.  You’re a little rude.

My date looked totally stunned.  I excused myself and went to the bathroom and when I returned he was scrolling through his address book on his cell phone.  He didn’t even look up from his phone, careful not to break his concentration, “I didn’t think you were going to come back,” he said.  I was beginning to think that sounded like a good idea and I should have taken the opportunity.

He input a number and held the phone to his ear, “Yeah, man…can you come get me?  Thanks, see you in 10.”

Date:  Well, you’re free to go.

Me:  You didn’t drive here yourself?

Date:  No…I don’t drink and drive, do you?

I got up from the bar and left.  Later when I Googled the guy I read that he was arrested for driving while intoxicated and convicted and lost his chance to practice in Houston.  He continued to text me throughout the night, telling me he couldn’t let me have the last word.

#5 Lettuce Not Forget…

Aaron* was a brillant intellect – traveling the world as a professional speaker.  He was dedicated to his job and inspired by the young minds of American college kids.  As a motivational speaker he seized every opportunity – dramatizing every single thing.  On our date he touched upon every controversial subject you could possibly think of – religion, politics, divorce and third world countries.  As Aaron spoke, he ate his sandwich, pausing every few moments to make a point…of something…anything.  He was 6’7″ and used his “tower power” to win over the masses.

I tried to be interested in Aaron’s conversations but he wanted to debate about every subject on earth.  He took a bite into his sandwich and a glop of mayonnaise and small piece of lettuce stuck to his cheek. Now, I have learned from my friends that it is proper etiquette to let the victim know they have something stuck in their teeth…but what about on their cheek?  I brushed my right cheek with the back of my hand, hoping Aaron would get my subtle hint.  No.  The mayo acted like glue, keeping the lettuce on his face.  I had a choice: I could interrupt his amazing story and tell him, let nature take its course and let him find out on his own.  Of course I chose the latter.  Aaron excused himself to go to the bathroom and when he returned he looked perturbed.

Aaron:  I had food on my face!

Me:  Oh, yeah…(a laughed a little)

Aaron: You could have told me…biotch.

Biotch? Really?

Later I would email Aaron to apologize, but not without sending a picture of a man who had painted his entire face and shaped his hair, spray painting it green to resemble a head of iceberg lettuce (actual picture sent):

lettuceImage1

I can’t say that all my online dates were all so bad and these were the ABSOLUTE worst.  I met some amazing, caring, thoughtful, sweet, dependable, honest, humorous and humble guys that just didn’t work out for some reason or another…and a couple that got away.  Since September 2012, I really started looking at my life differently – revaluing friendships, desires and goals, pushing dating to the side, and casually taking it as it comes.  When I started my blog, however, I made a promise to myself that I would go outside my comfort zone.

The Eledate:

On a particularly bad day this past May, nothing seemed to be going right.  I started out the morning spilling coffee on my blouse and changing four times before leaving for work, only to get caught in a rainstorm later.  As I came back from lunch with my mom, I  fiddled with my phone in the lobby of our building, waiting for the elevator to come. I was so consumed in a text message that I didn’t realize someone was holding the door for me, “You going up?”  I looked up to find a handsome, smiling face and thought: Yes, I am.

We talked on the way up and I felt that this was my chance to take hold of a situation and ask this dude out .

I gave him my card and he emailed me that day.  Our first meeting I asked if he would want to come with me to my (in my opinion…I know any Crossfit junkie would disagree) most challenging workout classes.  He didn’t let me down – he showed – ready to go!  He was in amazing shape and I briefly doubted myself.

We powered through the Pilates and ballet style techniques during the sixty minute arm toning, butt tightening, inner/outer thigh strengthening and ab ripping workout.  Through pirouettes, ront de jambes and burning chair poses on our tiptoes, we exchanged smiles while sweat rolled down our faces.  I think it was mid-class during our squats routine that I thought: hey, this person may turn out to be cool.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up, though.

We grabbed dinner after and as he talked I learned that he was this enthusiastic, young, smart guy.  Eight years my junior, he seemed completely mature and ahead of his time.  He was just what I needed in that moment: a unwavering, energetic optimist.  Mark* was different – he had reshaped his life, turning to God for answers to the life’s burning questions, but there was only one answer to everything:  God.  I started feeling a little unholy as he went on about scripture and the meaning of everything.  I decided not shut him down, though.  I believe, I can dig it…

It seemed his religious beliefs came with a lot of restrictions, though (little did I know).  No stranger to the religious scene, but not fully up to speed on all the rules I asked ridiculous questions:  Are you allowed to dance, can you drink, etc.

The following day I received a text message video from a shirtless Mark, dancing wildly (while driving), fist-pumping to what sounded like a religious rock band, who was mentally preparing himself for his exciting weekend at the river.  Well, that answers that…dancing isn’t against the rules.  I went to my friends for advice but they were of little help: Dude…no…don’t go out with this guy, and what he is doing is dangerous anyway.  It didn’t matter to them that Mark was cute, seemed to have a great personality and could introduce me to this Biblical world, they saw a red flag and they thought he was off.

Me: Do you always drive shirtless?

Mark:  Clothes are optional in the car.

Maybe he’s edgy, I thought…where’s God in all this, I wondered.

We went on a few “dates” after that, I met his parents and some of his friends in the very short weeks that we knew each other.  While I drove through his neighborhood, a sedan was behind me, aggressively riding my ass.  Nothing is worse when you’re trying to have Siri guide you through a war zone of traffic, and it makes matters worse when an impatient driver is on your tail.  I weaved through the neighborhood and pulled up, the car zooming around me and speeding into the driveway.  Mark came out to greet me and introduced me to the Ass Pirate that had been trailing me, who never looked up to acknowledge my presence.  I couldn’t say my feelings were hurt.

Mark:  You in a hurry?

Ass Pirate: Yes

Mark apologized on his behalf told me he met the guy at church (it’s one of his roommates)…it’s amazing to me who people turn into when they’re driving.  I try not to pass judgement but I’m pretty disappointed that this church-goer was so rude.

I heard music streaming out of the front door, and when I came in Mark’s roommates were in the living room singing and strumming their guitars.  They were actually really good – praise band, Mark told me.  His room was modest – no TV, no computer…all material was religious in nature.  I felt completely out of place.  Sitting on Mark’s bed even made me uncomfortable.  Ass Pirate later apologized for his peculiar behavior, his bland mannered girlfriend stuck to his side, saying nothing.  His other roommate was glued to the TV, playing games.  What was this?  Who are these kids that proclaim to be these great church goers, teaching people about the Bible?  Their normal lives and quirky attitudes convinced me that it wasn’t a place where I wanted to belong.

I was hesitant to give up on Mark – he was the first guy I had asked out since high school and he was smart, he had a ton of energy, he was young, cute, but his faith ruled everything in his world.  His mixed signals were more than I could handle, too.  The hand holding, texts, invites and phone calls felt like flirtatious behavior that implied interest, but I didn’t want to jump the gun like I had in the past.  It was four in the morning, we had dinner with my friends, shared a bottle of wine and left the bar around 1:30, and we had talked for almost three hours in an empty high school baseball field.  I felt like a teenager breaking curfew.  He walked me to my car and we exchanged a very long hug, letting go and bringing his face to mine I asked:  Are you ever going to kiss me?

He looked at me, smiled – this was the moment, I thought, “On the mouth,” he asked, looking at the ground and back at me.  My smile quickly faded as a what-in-the-hell moment ran through my mind – it was the first time in my life, on any date, that I a) had to ask b) it didn’t happen.  I got into my car and he squatted down to come level with my face.  There was nothing I could say.

I envied Mark – not because he was young and adventurous, but because he could easily let go…because he had the strongest safety net breaking his fall…saving him from grief, failure, loss and loneliness:  his faith. I envied him because he found it at 25 years old -the parachute that would never fail him.  His faith rescued him, gave him sweet relief, fulfillment…I wondered if he ever found himself in his bed, laying awake at night thinking…what if…?  Probably not.  His faith gives me hope, though.

In a text to Mark I told him it would be best if we didn’t see each other again.  I didn’t feel any humiliation…I lost to Deity and respected his beliefs…and it was geniuine.  Mark apologized -saying it was wrong and he got caught up in a moment of weakness.  Whatever it was or wasn’t would probably not cross his mind again.  What’s more tragic for people like Mark (at least to me) is the moments of weakness I have experienced in my life have been moments of pure exhilaration, resulting in a lesson learned that I wouldn’t take back.  That sometimes I don’t want a safety net to come between me and experiences when I fall from my tightrope.

Actual matches:

photo-37

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