My long history of on-line dating has provided me with a perspective that enables me to do more of it with little effort. I know how to handle myself, the safeguards I must keep in place in order to stay out of trouble, and how to turn even the most unfortunate experiences into something that I can eventually use.
I consider myself fortunate because of my thick skin, my ability to be direct, and my relative openness to new experiences. I have come to the realization that most people don't have this vast expanse of wisdom to draw upon and might not be as well prepared or suited to date as one who has, like me, gone out with hundreds of men.
Let me just say that in these situations, when you have gone out with several people who all seem to be the exact opposite of what you are looking for, it is important to remember that all it takes is one good date to basically wipe all the challenging experiences out of your mind. In fact, that one good date can very often make you feel more accomplished if you have persevered through much seemingly meaningless and painful first dates.
To illustrate my point, I am re-posting a blog I wrote several years ago about one of my dates that went very, very well. I have a strange feeling that some of you might need it right now, and hell, I love this story. It gives me hope. It is from my 20 Dates in 20 Weekends project that I completed in order to pull myself up from rock bottom. For the record, I do realize it is a strange idea to go on dates with strangers in order to pull oneself out of a deep and hideous morass. All I can tell you is that it worked, and here, if you are interested, is a piece of tasty fruit that resulted from my heavy labor:
Lucky Number Seven
Date Seven did not start out well. It was the Monday after a weekend where I had dates on both days, and I was a bit tired. I even had brief moments where I thought I might cancel, but I decided not to, as this date would put me closer to my goal. I was supposed to meet Number Seven at 8:30 at the Laurelthirst Pub to listen to music. I figured if I got home from work in enough time, I could take a nap and still have plenty of time to get down there on my bike. Of course, because I had to return a few phone calls, this got postponed. One of the calls I had to return was to Grampa Tom, my date from Saturday. I was calling him to let him know I would not be going to the Mariners game with him the following Monday.
The conversation went well until he told me he wanted to ask me something and I might not like it. This guy and his stupid sentence intros. You would think that after a person has lived a bit of a life, they would shake the need to qualify and introduce, but no. He evidently still felt the need to not only inflict pain with a question, but to set me up to feel anxiety beforehand as well. Foolishly, I told him to go ahead and ask. “Do you ever wear make-up?” Oysh. I had not worn make-up on our date because I had ridden my bike downtown, roughly a 14 mile ride, and then supposed that we were going to go kayaking. Neither activity was conducive to make-up wear. I replied that I did, but did not that day for the reasons I just mentioned. He then went into how he had spoken to a friend of his and wondered to her why I hadn’t worn make-up. I added that the way I look without make-up is the way I look, so if he didn’t like it, it might be an issue.
He also mentioned that he was surprised that I was so willing to talk about sex. I replied that it was an important part of a relationship and that not talking about it is the dumbest thing you can do, especially if you want to enjoy the sex you might or might not be having eventually. He agreed. After some small talk, the call ended and I was able to take a cat nap before my ride into town.
When I awoke, I felt somewhat groggy, but I knew that the ride would wake me up. As I was dressing, I noticed that it had started raining. Not great news, given the conversation I had just had with gramps. So, I left the house, hoping that it would let up on my way to the pub. It did not. In fact, at some points, the rain poured down on my bike helmet so hard that I considered waiting under an overpass or a tree until it let up. As I live in Portland, Oregon, I knew that I could wait forever for that to happen, so I kept going. About half way there, my right eye started stinging, badly. I kept wiping it, wondering what the hell was going on, then I remembered I had not washed the make-up off of my face that I had worn to work that day before I left on my date. I had to keep it closed most of the time, so there I was, riding my bike at night in the rain with one eye open. Not my proudest moment.
Then, as I came within about a mile of my destination, my other eye started stinging. As there was no way I could ride with both eyes closed, I kept stopping and trying to wipe all of the make-up off of my eyes, which was basically impossible. I started to hope that he wouldn’t show up so I could take the Max home and go to bed. It was a Monday anyway, I figured, it didn’t really count either way.
I eventually made it there, on time too, which was pretty much a miracle, and then realized that I would not even know him if I saw him, as the only picture I had was a side pose of him, which I had looked at roughly two weeks before. I was soaking- my hair, feet, face, everything was absolutely and miserably drenched.
Then he walked in. Number Seven was handsome, with dark features and broad shoulders. I wished fleetingly that I could hide, but then I decided better of it and took a step toward him. He looked at me, kind of unsure, and then we both introduced ourselves. “Yeah, I got kinda wet”, I said, dripping from every angle. He actually smiled at me and said he was sorry and felt bad that he hadn’t given me a ride, and then he gave me a hug.
Now, I am not a hugger. I do not like hugging people I know well, much less someone I am meeting for the first time. I am well known for my “space bubble” that I must have between myself and anyone around me. But when he hugged me, it just felt like such a relief, I actually enjoyed it, and found myself wishing it wasn’t a Monday.
I went to the bathroom to clean up and he ordered us a couple of beers. I wiped all the make-up and mud off of my face and changed into my warm three-layered after-biking get-up: two long underwear shirts and my OCAC hoodie. I had brought a skirt to change into, but I figured that was a bad idea as all I had to wear on my feet was what I had on: a pair of drenched wool socks, my bike shoes and my shoe covers. At least the top half of me would be warm. I tried to dry my hair off under the hand dryer, but the most I could do was dry my bangs, so I got all my stuff together and left the bathroom to look for Number Seven.
I found him in the room next to where the band was playing, going to shut the door so I wouldn’t be cold. There were two beers sitting on a table, so I sat down, and though I felt very awkward, I started talking. It was an easy conversation, and he was really smiley and laughed a lot. He said he was a critical care nurse, a part-time dad, and in his spare time went to a lot of music festivals, drank beer, and made stuff, like a quilt he had made for his bed out of old shirts. Clearly, he was a hippie, but I did not care at all, mostly because I was so distracted by how great his smile was.
I told Seven about some of my dates, what I was trying to do in my research, and how I handled some of the things people said to me. Of course, I was starving from the long and wet bike ride so I ordered a BLT and a cup of chili. He had already eaten, so I devoured my food while we talked. He seemed really interested in my project and what it was like going on so many dates. He had not dated much in the last few years which he thought was due to his height. Sadly, shorter men have a hard time being with taller women. Oh well, more for me.
After a while we went into the room where the band was playing and the people were dancing. He said hi to some of the people at the bar and then we sat and shared a beer. We had to sit very close together so we could hear each other. It was horrible because I could smell him and he smelled so good; like soap and grass and beer. I couldn’t believe it was a fuckin’ Monday- just my luck. I kept looking at him and had to force thoughts of sex with him out of my head so that I could listen to what he was saying. It was awful. After the band stopped playing he offered to drive me home. I was so happy to hear those words, I almost cried as my pants and socks were still soaking and my jacket and gloves were dripping wet.
We gathered our things and headed out to his car. He had a minivan with some huge hula hoops in it. I told him I wanted to see him hula-hoop, so he stood there in the rain on Glisan Avenue, hula hooping. It was hysterical. After we loaded my bike in the car, he told me, “don’t move, stay right there,” and then he kissed me. It was a great kiss. It was so great that I hated it, and started wondering about the wisdom of not counting dates that occurred during the week. We got in his minivan and kept talking. I was so happy to be going home in a car and so happy that this was such a good date, I was completely unconcerned that it was 11:30 on a school night.
We got to my place and he helped me bring my stuff up to my apartment. I was nervous and really excited. I was weighing the pros and cons of having him stay for a while, and decided that if this was to be our only date, I should really make the most of the time I had. It was the best way to end an amazing date, and as I slipped into sleep much later that evening, I thought it made sense that he had been my Lucky Number Seven.
So, there you have it. Hope in even the most desperate of places: The Craigslist Personals. If you want to read more of this 20 Date undertaking HERE is the link.
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