Monday, November 22, 2010

Rounding first... Or, The 30 Year Old Virgin

I love going on first dates.  I love deciding where to go (even if it is Applebee's), picking an outfit, getting my hair just perfect and the nervousness before the date.  I thrive on that feeling.  Although I have been on more first dates than I care to recount, I still love the anticipation.

I went on a first date last week.  The date was actually really nice - dinner, great conversation, zero expectations.  The strike is still in effect - but the most important thing is I am venturing out, trying dating from a different angle.  Instead of the anxiety of trying to figure out whether or not he's "the one" I just enjoyed the date for what it was.  This is a breakthrough for me, as I usually meet someone, go on the first date and by the end of the evening, I've dated, married and divorced the person by the time the check comes (in my  head, of course).  

The first date is always tricky.  I can't reveal too much (I have a feeling that "hi, you may end up in my blog" or "I am on strike, just so you know" aren't good openers) but if I hold back too much, then I feel like it isn't really "me" on the date... although there have definitely been times that even the right balance of "me" is too much for some people to take. 

A few years ago, I ran into someone I knew back in high school.  When I knew Zach* way back then, he was really nice, a really big nerd and kind of shy.  I never really hung out with him but he was someone I considered to be a friend.  When I saw him all these years later, I thought "wow, he's really gotten handsome!" in that Patrick Dempsy sort of way - you know, he was pretty geeky in movies like Can't Buy Me Love but with age he turned McDreamy on us.  Well, it was the same with Zach - and while he still had the same shy nice nerd thing going on, he was really easy on the eyes.  We exchanged numbers and went to dinner about a week later.    

When I arrived at the restaurant, he was already there.  I sat down and we made pleasant chit chat - mostly about work and catching up.  The usual "have you seen so and so?" and "did you that so and so got married?"  conversation.  He kept staring at my face, slightly puzzled.  Finally, he asked "so, when did you get your nose pierced?"  From the tone in his voice, I'm pretty sure he didn't think of my piercing as sexy.  Then I casually mentioned my tattoo (at the time I only had one; now I have three).  He was shocked.  Imagine his surprise when he found out I drink - and that I drank in high school (he claimed he had never even tasted alcohol besides wine at communion.  I swear I am not making this up).

He seemed to have this notion that I was above all of that - that I was somehow "pure" and didn't have any sort of vices (according to him.  Drinking, piercings and tattoos are very normal in my eyes) and he thought that I was "a really nice girl."  I ignored that comment and tried to change the subject.  He went on.  He talked a lot about his values and he came off as really judgmental.  I was a little surprised at this - in high school, he never seemed that way at all.  I guess we didn't really know each other as well as we thought we did.  I just wanted him to stop talking and eat faster, but he just kept talking about religion and his conservative politics, and his terrible taste in music, movies and television.  He didn't drink, smoke or listen to music that has cuss words.  He didn't dance or play pool or even watch sports.  I felt like I was on date with a Puritan and I'm pretty sure he saw me as the Anti-Christ.

It gets better.

He mentioned that people always asked him how he managed to  make it to age 30 without having children and he said "you know, I just don't do anything that will put me at risk."  I wanted him to elaborate but at that point I was just trying to get through the meal.  Later, however, when I was reporting the evening back to my friend C., I realized that I had been on a date with the 30 Year Old Virgin.  

Okay, granted, I don't have kids either, and technically he didn't say he was a virgin; he said he didn't "risk it," but it was kind of hard not to see him as a prude, and boring, and someone that I could never date.  I knew that I didn't want a second date with him, but he never called me again.  What?  Wait a minute - I was supposed to be the one to reject him!  My pride was a little wounded but I recovered quickly.  Truth is, it didn't really matter much that he never called again, because I knew for sure I didn't want to date him, but what about the ones I do want second dates with?  What about when they don't call?  

There is a breakdown in communication when it comes to dating.  Instead of saying what we really feel - I like you, you're nice, I don't think this is going to work out, WHATEVER it is, we avoid the other person, or we keep pushing ourselves to date someone we really don't want to date all because we don't want to TALK about it.  I am not above this; I have definitely avoided and even gone so far as to change names in my phone to "DO NOT ANSWER" rather than answer, be straight forward and say "I'm sorry, I don't think this will work out."

At some point when we begin dating, we learn a lot about what "not" to do on dates - don't talk too much, don't swear, don't give it up too quickly, don't spend more than two hours on a first date, don't tell him about your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, etc. but we never talk about what we should do: be honest.  Be real.  Eat more than a side salad.  Be yourself.  As my niece D. often reminds me - if they can't handle who I really am, why would I want to date them?  Now, I'm not saying to just lay it all out there - boundaries are important, but it isn't wise to present myself as something I'm not.  In the end, I'm only cheating myself and my date.

I've never tracked anyone down to ask them why they don't call for a second date.  I'm afraid I'm going to ask "what's wrong with me?" and I'm afraid of the answer I'll get, but in all reality - there is nothing wrong with me.  I'm not mean or malicious and while I have my baggage, I'm not spilling it out all over the table - I tend to un-pack one item at a time.  No, I'm not the problem and neither is he - things just don't always work out and although that's a bitter pill to swallow, it's true.  As much as I hate to say it (especially because I hate when people say it to me), when a person is the right one for me, I'll know, and it will be effortless and there won't be any wondering or what if.

Maybe the most recent first date will lead to a second date, or maybe it was just one really good date.  Either way, I was my sparkly, dazzling self and all in all, that makes for a pretty good evening - piercings, tattoos and all.

Next time: What's In A Name?

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the pure


  1. Their ain't nobody pure in this world. And you should have asked your date, if he doesn't place himself in those types of situations than how did he get that stick up his ass? Sorry couldn't help myself.

  2. Hahahahaha, that's a good one, and if I ever get the opportunity, I will... but he hasn't called yet, and it's been two years. I'm beginning to think he isn't going to...

  3. Wow, this was actually kind of fun to read, though I came about it because of your Patrick Dempsey photo.
    Your friend seemed extremely judgemental, and I don't think it had a lot to do with his upbringing. Sorry to say, but he obviously either didn't go to college or went to a pristine religiously affiliated one where they still require lights out at 10 in dorms. Such disdainful behaviour and lack of tolerance only happens in guys who spend their social life online looking for other socially awkward creatures that share their views. Its been proven in psych experiments, that time spent on electronic communication is directly related to level of tolerance of other people, or perhaps he just has an undiagnosed personality disorder, and lives with his mommy. He's gonna be playing with a sock for a very long time.