34 First Dates

I have to be honest, I was really not very enthused about going on this first date.  There were three main reasons for my lack of enthusiasm:  the previous date, it was a dinner date, and this guy had already taken liberties via text and called me “darlin'”.  I am nobody’s darlin’.  Not now, not ever.

But… as a friend of a friend was so motivated to set us up, I figured I owed it to myself, the world, and my readers to go on this first date.  He let me choose the restaurant (which normally irritates me because I wonder why a grown-up would be unable to make such a trivial decision, but didn’t this time because I had eaten a really big, heavy lunch earlier in the day and recently had a spate of non-stop out-of-town guests with whom I’d pretty well covered nearly every non-chain eating establishment in the area worth covering).  Nearly.  There were two left:  Greek or Thai/Sushi.  I know what you are thinking:  a place that serves Thai food and sushi must not be very good at either.  Well, you are wrong.  They make them both very well.  Very well.

I asked which of the two he preferred, and to my great pleasure, he selected Thai food.  I was also really pleased that he didn’t seem to mind meeting later in the evening, giving me plenty of time to walk the dogs, brush my hair, and watch just one more episode of Doctor Who [I have priorities].

We arrived at nearly the same moment, both combat loaded our vehicles [another good sign], and walked into the restaurant together.  There was a twenty minute wait, so we sat down and started chatting.  We didn’t stop for two-and-a-half hours.  He was a fantastic conversationalist.  And we covered all the taboo subjects:  politics, religion, racism, mental health, and constitutional amendments.

I was open about some of my struggles with ADHD, which gave him pause for a moment when he asked if it was genetically linked.  [It is, but it’s a combination of factors, rather than one specific gene mutation, so it can go either way with offspring.  I’m not worried.  I find more benefits than drawbacks most of the time.]  I figure that people are bound to find out sometime, and if it’s a deal breaker for someone, it’s better they find out early.  It’s not like it’s going to change anytime soon.

He asked what I preferred to be called, and I considered answering with, “Anything is preferable to darlin’,” but I opted to give him a more sincere answer.  I’m good like that.

Unfortunately, as enjoyable as this date happened to be, it doesn’t leave much blog fodder.  Of course, there’s always the possibility that this date wasn’t that great at all, but since my expectations were set so low after the last one that anyone would wind up looking like a rockstar.   But I don’t think so.  I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this date’s company.

Maybe I’ll give him a second date someday when my life slows down a bit.  2017 is still open [for now].  And at the rate I’m going lately, I may actually be finished with my 50 first dates by then.


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35 First Dates

This date happened a while ago (going on three months now).  I just haven’t had any desire to relive it through writing.  I still don’t, but I suppose if I am ever going to get to the end of this first dating series, then I need to 1) actually write about them and b) keep going on them.  Truth be told, I’m not really keen on either action right now.

I am not even sure how to begin writing about this first date.  My eye is actually twitching as I sit contemplating this post.  That might be a coincidence, though, because it was also twitching earlier today while I was at Walmart.  Although, come to think of it, that may not actually be a coincidence.  I kind of feel the same way about both experiences.  If only their interior paint wasn’t so affordable and so easily applied to walls.  And if their knock-off Ensure wasn’t so much more affordable than everywhere else.  Wow, this eye twitch thing is really irritating… which brings me back full circle to my first date.

I don’t like writing about first date fiascos.  I really don’t.  It makes me feel bad.  I mean, I believe that everyone has value, and when I can’t find things to appreciate about someone, then I feel like it’s my fault, not theirs.  I tried very hard to overlook the things that bothered me on this date to find the good in the person in front of me, but I was mostly just happy to drive home at the end of the evening.

We coordinated via online messaging and cellphone texting to meet for dinner and trivia night.  I tried very hard not to prejudge the experience based on our written interactions, but I think I may have failed.  I thought I’d remembered that he was a teacher, but he could hardly string a group of words together.  I worried that the state might be getting a bit desperate for public educators.  I tried to consider that perhaps he was a coach or industrial arts teacher, and perhaps he had worked hard to overcome a learning disability in order to teach and inspire his students.  This is precisely why I try to limit most pre-date interactions.  It makes it exceedingly difficult not to develop opinions which may not be totally accurate.

I arrived at the predetermined destination and we met on the sidewalk outside a bookstore.  His first words were confusing, “Your pictures do you justice.”  Huh?  As the date went on, it became clear to me that he had no recollection of the fact that we had met in person previously, and even carried on more than one conversation.  Of course, this also made me realize that I could easily have ignored his friend request without hurting his feelings (or even taking notice).  Apparently, I am not foremost on people’s minds, which was really strange and a little disconcerting for me to learn.  The next thing you know, I’m going to find out the the sun, earth, moon, and stars don’t all revolve around me, either.

Dinner was painful.  As we sat down his first question was, “Are you paying or am I?  Or are we going Dutch?”  It seemed like a very awkward beginning, but I guess it’s good to set expectations early.  I told him he could decide, and he opted for us to go Dutch.  For the record, when the bill arrives on any date, I always reach for my wallet because I do not have a problem paying for dates, but I am also comfortable with allowing a date to cover the bill if they offer or prefer.  I’ve never had a date start with a discussion of payment and the way he approached it was a little off-putting for me.

The issue of money came up again and again throughout the evening.  He made the comment that he sees himself as a “feminist” because he has no issue with a woman paying for things (we may have different definitions for the term “feminist”).  “If she is a doctor, and I am a teacher, I would expect her to pay for things because she makes more money.”  Never mind that being a very simplistic view… a doctor, especially one early in a career is probably not taking home a lot more than a teacher when you consider expensive student loan repayments, low starting pay, and medical malpractice insurance premiums.  I bit my tongue about that and merely nodded.  I couldn’t completely control my thoughts from spilling out of my mouth, though, and pointed out that, by his own logic, he really ought to have picked up the bill for the date because he is a teacher, and I was (at that time) unemployed.  He retorted that my unemployment was my own decision.  He never asked why I had recently left my job, apparently quality of life decisions are irrelevant, and I didn’t bother to discuss it with him.  For some reason I did not feel a lot of compassion radiating across the table.  I didn’t really feel a lot of anything radiating across the table.  It felt a little combative, actually.

After dinner, we made our way to the pub where it was trivia night.  We met up with a group of people he knew to play.  This part of the night was actually quite fun and engaging.  The others in the group were a fun bunch and very welcoming of my presence.  We laughed a lot and discussed our answers.  It was so much fun to debate and discuss trivia questions without a Google lifeline.  I had such a great time with the entire group that I was sad that I hadn’t enjoyed the company of my date more because I would love to have made a semi-regular appearance at trivia night.

I’m never sure how to end dates like this.  I mean, nobody wants to be strung along, but how do you say that you feel tremendous relief that the night is over and you are not interested in spending more time together?  It is especially challenging when people know I am going on 50 First Dates, as he did, because I don’t want people to ever feel like they are reduced to being a notch on a blog post (see what I did there?).  They aren’t.  It wasn’t that he was an awful person; he just was not a good fit for me.  He indicated that he was interested in more opportunities to spend time together and I gave a vague response about staying in touch.  We exchanged a few more messages, but eventually that tapered and we are no longer communicating.

Why oh why did I say 50 first dates and not 15 first dates?  I’d be finished already.  Instead I have 35 yet to go.  Well, technically 34, because I have already been on another one… stay tuned.  Or don’t.

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Ode to Moms Everywhere

I worked in a restaurant once.  I’ve always said that I have never worked so hard for so little.  But then I watched my friend’s kids for an hour today.  I am completely wiped out.  I honestly don’t know how moms do it all day every day; that is some seriously tough work.  Way to go moms!  [And dads.]

My friend had a parent-teacher orientation (henceforth known as PTO because I’m too lazy to type it out again) thing this evening and asked if I could watch her boys for about an hour since her husband was working late.  There are three male offspring ranging from somewhere between one and six years old.  How hard could it be?  I’ve babysat before, and remember clearly how it’s done:  Give the kids some pizza, put them to bed, turn on a Disney movie, fast forward it to the halfway point so you can pretend the kids picked the movie before bed (instead of the truth which is that you were scared by the quiet, dark house and – as everyone knows – kidnappers, thieves, and murderers can’t break into homes where Disney movies are actively playing), and wait for the parents to get home.  It’s almost too easy.

Unfortunately, the PTO was scheduled early enough in the evening that the kids probably wouldn’t require dinner until after Mom returned home, which also meant that putting them to bed immediately was also not a viable course of action.

After my friend left, I conducted a quick survey of the apartment.  Her youngest was very helpful with that by pointing out everything for which he had the proper vocabulary:  cat, pillow, book, mine (as in the possessive, not the bomb), milk, potty, water, Daddy (unfortunately, it was only his picture and later his shirt, so I wasn’t off the hook so easily), blanket, sock, and shoe.  I noticed the couch and love seat cushions, a couple of blankets, and some pillows, so I called out to the older two boys in the bedroom and asked if they wanted to build a fort.  Stupid question.  Of course they wanted to build a fort.  What person, child or adult, doesn’t want to build a fort?

We pulled all the cushions to the floor, the boys brought in about 30 blankets and an extra pillow or two, and we began construction on our fort.  It was grueling labor.  The cushions didn’t want to stand up on their own, so we called for reinforcements, and out came the stuffed animals.  When we lowered the blanket roof onto the walls, the fort caved in, and we were forced to reconstruct several segments.  Eventually we scrapped the blanket roof, citing substandard building materials, and elected to use the more durable cushions from the back of the couch.  Of course, this made our fort dimensions smaller, which made it a little more challenging for me to fit.  It turns out that our fort was constructed next to a hot lava bed, a shark pit, and quicksand, so when it collapsed for the final time, we had to jump carefully from one cushion to the next so we weren’t killed.  My foot slipped on a pillow step and I barely caught myself with one foot on a cushion, and both hands on another, bridging the molten lava.  It was a precarious situation to be sure.  My only salvation came when the youngest boy pleaded for milk.  As the only adult in residence, I was forced to abandon the adventure in order to placate the desires of a toddler.

The middle child discovered the pile of clean laundry on the end of the couch, and started throwing it around the room.  I’m not sure what took place during the milk run that caused such aggression, but I wasn’t about to surrender to his violent attack.  I shouted to my new ally to grab a shield and we diligently used pillows and couch cushions to protect ourselves from sock bullets, shirt grenades, towel bombs, and underwear artillery.  I was amazed at the amount of ammunition the enemy had in his arsenal.  The onslaught continued until he ran short, at which point we fired back in his direction.  War dragged on for what felt like hours, and at the end, I surveyed the damage to the land.  It was devastating.  I worried that my friend might come home at any moment and discover the carnage, so I convinced the boys to help me clean up the mess.

By “help me” of course I mean that they occupied themselves with other toys while I folded blankets, returned couch cushions to their rightful places, and dug laundry out from behind (and under) furniture.  When I was finished with my chores, the oldest wanted to play “Sharks and Minerals” [sic], but everyone else voted for Hide and Seek.

For Hide and Seek, I was nominated to be “It” first and was instructed to count to 100, until they realized that would take more than 15 seconds.  We negotiated and eventually settled on 30.  We played several rounds, all but the youngest taking turns with the hiding and the counting.  I learned three things from this game:  1.  Little boys cheat.  B.  Children ruin all the best hiding spots.  3.  It takes less than 12 seconds for a toddler to remove his clothing.

After the eighth round of Hide and Seek, I checked the clock; the PTO must have been running over.  I sighed when I realized my friend had only been gone about 13 minutes* by this point.  That’s when I realized I was in way over my head.  How in the world do you people do this?!

We found a board game and played until Mom walked in the door.  I discovered that the competitive side I thought I had maturely buried, is actually triggered by six-year-old boys and takes no prisoners.  My friend’s arrival was perfect:  I was winning and that was also the exact moment when the youngest informed me that he needed to go to the potty.

As I gathered my things to leave, the middle child ran to the door to grab my leg and offered informatively, “You aren’t going nowhere.”  I offered to let him come to my house where he was welcome to sleep in a crate with one of my dogs, and he promptly let go so I could make my escape.  I assume the brief attempt to hold me captive means I didn’t mess up too much.  Also, no children were harmed in the writing of this blog post, so I think we can all agree to call that a success.  And seriously… kudos to all your mothers out there; I really do not know how you do it.

*13 minutes might be a slight exaggeration, but I distinctly remember that not nearly enough time had passed for us to have made and cleaned up as many messes as we did.  The only explanation I can come up with is that time passes much slower for children than adults, so they are capable of doing a lot more (especially things of the mess making variety) in a lot less time.

NOTE:  This was originally written as a guest post for another (real-live) blog, but guest posting was suspended before publication… so I am posting it here for your reading pleasure (also because I am too lazy to write up my most recent date; I am really slacking).

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36 First Dates

How do you make a 14-year-old girl extremely jealous?  Simple: Go on a date with one of her biggest crushes.  Yes.  Yes, I did.

Once upon a time, I thought it was remarkable that someone waited over a year to take me on a first date.  Not so much anymore.  This first date waited 20 years to ask me on a first date.  You read that correctly.  Two entire decades.  That’s right.  The envious 14-year-old girl is actually me… because I finally did something she never could.

A little background information:

When I was in 8th grade, I had a crush on a boy who was in several of my classes.  We occasionally exchanged notes [I still have a few of them].  We drew on each other’s legs during English [I have no idea why, but it must have seemed like a good idea at the time].  We even got married once on the bus on the way home from a “Language Day” trip for school.  I think.  I don’t actually recollect how or when it happened; I just have the notes we passed back and forth frequently threatening one another with divorce [it was clearly a very healthy relationship].  I continued to crush on him into high school until the 10th grade, but nothing ever came of it…

Enter Facebook and fast forward until 2013 when I was suddenly very curious about what happened to some of my classmates.  I tracked down a number of them virtually, only to discover that my older siblings had been right all along.  They had told me to stick with the nerds and the geeks because they were only going to get better with age.  And everyone did.  Except me.  The only thing I got was new shoes.  Seriously.  I posted a picture of a group of us on Facebook from 9th grade and one of my current friends posted the following comment which illustrates this fact:


Exactly the same.  Except for the shoes, of course.  To be fair, my friend couldn’t see my shoes in the picture, so he wouldn’t have known they were new.

At any rate, I made contact with Ye Olde Crush, and we casually interacted (read:  hardly at all) for about a year until we suddenly found ourselves in the same city on the same weekend…

The Date:

This may come as a shock to most of you, but I was late for this date.  I thought I was going to be pretty close to on time, but I wasn’t.  Not even a little bit.  I am, apparently, [way] less than 10% smarter than the new parking meters that were installed downtown.  It took me well over 30 minutes to make the payment.  Fortunately, he was riveted by a giant textbook, the title of which alone requires a membership in MENSA to comprehend, and hardly noticed my tardiness.  Okay, that isn’t true.  Not the part about the book, the part about my beyond-fashionably late arrival.  He totally noticed, although he did his best to forgive me.  I would have called ahead to give him notice that I was running late, except I didn’t have a phone number for him, and I was stuck using my phone to communicate with an automated system that kept insisting I don’t have a valid Canadian postal code, even though I’d conceded that point the first time she brought it up.

We met at some little restaurant that I don’t recommend unless you are really jonesing for some beet juice.  Everything else on the menu was pretty forgettable.  And not just because they didn’t serve meat.  Although that alone is reason enough for me – at least until they figure out how to cultivate steak trees.  But don’t just take my word for it; he was unimpressed by this place as well.  Looking back, you would think it would have been obvious to avoid; I mean, the restaurant was named after a bar of soap.

It turns out my school-days crush is now a vegan hippy and almost 180 degrees my opposite.  I cannot pretend to understand (especially since I didn’t ask) what makes someone walk away from red meat and bacon, but I support those people 100%.  It leaves more for me, just like my aversion to chocolate leaves more for those who love it.

After chatting for a couple of hours, we moved to his brother’s coffee shop so we could both go to work.  It was easily one of the coolest coffee shops I’ve ever been inside (granted, that isn’t saying much because I don’t spend much time in coffee shops, but I’d bet that even if I did, this one would rank really high on the list).  His brother gave us a tour of the shop before we sat down, and I learned more about coffee in five minutes than I’d ever heard the rest of my life combined.  I still wouldn’t trust me to make a cup, though.  It sounds way too complicated to get it right.

We set up shop and immediately set to work on our individual projects.  At some point that afternoon, his sister arrived, and later his mother.  Wow.  From a 20-year-old crush, followed by a 17-year absence, to a first date, and now meeting the family.  Just look at me now, fourteen-year-old me, who spells her name with a silent “Q”.  Our date ended rather abruptly because his mom said he had to go home.  Or somewhere.  We made tentative plans to get together again the next day to go hiking.

We didn’t go hiking on Saturday.  We decided to go dancing that evening instead.  My atrophied dancing skills aside, it was a lot of fun.  I think I only stepped on his feet five or six times after he kicked off his shoes [See what I mean? Total hippy].  Conversation never lagged; it was kind of surreal how easy it was to talk to someone I never really knew.

After dancing, we drove up to the top of one of the canyons to stare at stars (oh yeah, he’s an astronomy nerd, too).  That didn’t last long.  It was cold and way past my curfew.   He drove me back to my dad’s house and helped me walk the boys.  As we said goodbye, we decided we might as well go for broke and get together one last time before he had to leave town and made plans to get breakfast on Monday.

We didn’t get breakfast.  One would think we’d have learned from our previous experience of making plans in advance, and not even bother with the formality.  But we didn’t; we pretended to solidify breakfast plans, and then we went hiking instead.  But not really hiking.  More like trail walking and rock scrambling.  It was a fun little excursion up to a bunch of rocks overlooking the valley from an angle I’d never seen.  Never one to time a good time, we sat up there way longer than our schedules permitted.  We scuttled the rest of our tentative plans in exchange for a lunch, which also lasted longer than intended.  Welcome to every day of my life.

After lunch, we found ourselves back at the coffee shop, where his mother broke up our date (again) to take him to the airport.  I’m starting to think she doesn’t like me very much.

And that makes 14.  Just 36 to go…

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37 First Dates

I’ve said before that my sexy stock is consistently on the rise, but I have never really considered myself to be an actual form of currency.  I mean, a group of soldiers may have been involved in negotiations to exchange me for a herd of goats at one point, but goat meat is such an acquired taste, and the potential husband seemed a bit sketchy, so the deal was never brokered.  I was set up on this date; however, as a method of payment for sprinkler repair.  Really.  I don’t even know what the cash equivalency would be for that, but apparently, this guy earned the opportunity to take me to breakfast by performing manual labor.  He was comfortable with the terms of payment.  I don’t want to think too hard about what that might make me because hey!  Free breakfast.

I distinctly remember making a rule about first dates which require the setting of an alarm.  But I’ve never been very good at following rules.  Besides, he worked the night shift at the hospital; I figured the least I could do was set an alarm and meet him just after his shift ended.

He chose the restaurant, and despite my best time management efforts, I was late.  Naturally.  But not extremely.  He didn’t seem too upset by my tardiness (or even at all).

He recommended a dish called “The Pile” which was basically just a hodge podge of breakfast foods thrown on top of a plate.  I read the first few ingredients from a list that went on and on and on, and it sounded good to me (although it was way too early for me to be eating breakfast; I typically don’t eat until several hours after I wake up).  I ordered it based on his recommendation, and when it arrived it really was just a large pile of food.  To be honest, it was a bit on the bland side.  It took me a while to figure out what was wrong with it.  At first I was thinking that it might just need salt, but then I realized, there was no bacon.  Or sausage.  Or meat of any kind.  That’s not breakfast.  I probably would have done well to read the entire ingredient list before I placed my order.  Then I would have known that I needed to order a side of breakfast meat.  I finished about half of it, and boxed the rest to take home.  Only I didn’t go home.  I went to my sister’s house to train her dog and fell asleep on her couch.  But she was kind enough to cook bacon for me so I could finish my breakfast as it was meant to be eaten.

This was actually a double date (with the couple who set us up).  I seem to be doing that lately.  I think it’s because people read about how much fun first-dating is and they want to be a part of it.  Who can blame them?  I certainly can’t.

Apart from his terrible taste in breakfast food, it was an enjoyable experience.  We all laughed a lot, and we each laughed a lot.  He offered to be the couple’s personal handyman in exchange for more dates.  At the time I wasn’t sure if he meant more dates with me, or just more dates in general.  He followed up with them later, and apparently it’s the former.  While I’m flattered by the offer, I don’t particular want to be payment for unclogging an overflowing toilet.

That would be a lot of dates.
That would be a lot of dates.  Photo shamelessly taken from here.

That makes 13.  Just 37 to go.   That’s  still a lot of first dates.


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