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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