Saturday, April 23, 2011
The thing about dating is, you get into a rut. Into a routine. First dates start to follow the same pattern: keep it casual, meet for a coffee at a random coffee shop, chat informally, the end. It gets to become so familiar that, well, you get bored, even if the person sitting across from you changes.
I get it, I do. The whole "meet and greet" coffee date is not high-stakes. You don't have to shell out a lot of money or time to meet someone you might despise. You don't have to dress up, or bring flowers, or spend more than an hour in a relative stranger's company. But - why can't a first date be high stakes? How much can you impress over a cappuccino? My experience has been, it's limited.
I meet a lot of pleasant men on these coffee dates. But no one who sets my heart a-flutter over my mug, you know?
Take the Mathematician, for instance. I met him online a few months ago and we traded emails. He was funny, witty, self-deprecating, intelligent - he checked all the boxes, from a correspondence perspective. We lost a little bit of momentum over the past month or so, but he got back in touch and insisted that we meet up soon, for coffee. And we did, yesterday.
He was perfectly nice. Well dressed, in jeans and a Lacoste golf shirt. He was pleasant and polite, if a little restrained and shy. Where was the witty self-deprecation of his emails? Partly, I think it's because it would have seemed odd for him to get too raucous at Starbucks at 3 in the afternoon, you know? I suspect there might be a really fun party boy under the polite veneer, but darned if I could see it.
And so the verdict was...meh. His choice of date really didn't fit the personality I had suspected he had, but he had chosen the perfectly safe, perfectly acceptable "first date" location. And as a result, I only got the Coffee Shop Edition of the Mathematician, and I could kind of care less if I see him again.
So - what's wrong with high stakes? Let's take a cooking class, or go to a comedy night, anything other than sitting politely facing each other at a too-small table, over too-big coffees. Show me your crazy, and maybe, just maybe, you'll get a second date.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
So I've been trying for years to get my high school sweetheart and first love, B, to add me on Facebook. He's rejected me numerous times, and when I sent him a message to say, "Stop it, you're being silly," he actually blocked me for awhile. Anyways, when I saw that he had added some mutual friends who he had never been close with, I thought maybe he had become less discriminating in his Facebook friendships, and tried again. And lo and behold, he added me.
This doesn't mean we've communicated at all. But it is comforting to be able to cyber-stalk B; to know where he is and what's he's up to, even in the most general terms. He was my first love and will always hold a special place in my heart. (Editor's note: who the fuck am I kidding, if he showed up tomorrow and asked me to marry him, I would. *End crazy RCC confessional*).
Since B added me, I've been thinking about our first time. It was the blind leading the blind, really, but I couldn't have asked for a better first experience.
It was Valentines' Day (I know, I know). We had not talked about it being our first time, or anything like that. But it was Valentines' Day, we were 16 and 17, respectively, and in love. And horny. It was bound to happen, really. B had originally, and without my knowledge, booked a hotel room with a jacuzzi. However, the hotel had called his house to confirm. His dad, who has the same name, had answered. Plan thwarted. B had immediately put a back-up plan into action.
He came to pick me up at my house carrying flowers and a heart, carved out of tofu and wrapped in tinfoil. It sounds gross, but I had bitterly complained, as only a 16 year old girl can do, that eating a chocolate one would "make me fat." He had brought me a chocolate one, too, but this mess of tinfoil and tofu was infinitely more precious.
We hopped in B's car, and drove out to where his family's boat was moored - B had stolen the key from his parents. When I stepped onto the boat, I saw that B had decorated the ceiling with glow in the dark stars. The Beatles (my favourite) were playing on the stereo. My favourite Chinese take-out was waiting. A new volume of Nikki Giovanni love poems sat on the bed, surrounded by rose petals. It was, for me, perfect. We fed each other chow mein, read poetry aloud, and lay together silently looking at the glowing stars as the boat gently rocked back and forth.
And, being teenagers, it happened. Was it good? Not particularly, as far as I can recall, although the exact details are lost to me now. All I remember now is B tentatively pulling out a box of condoms, a sheepish look on his face, and both of us confessing how, yes, we thought tonight would be the night. That yes, we loved each other (out loud, finally). I remember how much love I felt for B, how loved I felt. How I never wanted to leave our little marine oasis. I remember driving home in his car in the wee hours of the morning, and way past my curfew, leaning my head against the window and watching trees and streetlights pass, listening to "Graduation Day" by Chris Isaak (one of B's favourites) on the stereo:
Watching the headlights in the rain
Funny how things change
Think of the good times
Wishing you were still with me
The way it used to be
Watching the stars fall
A million dreams have all gone bad
Think of all we had
I knew it all then
Thought you loved me, I was wrong
Life goes on
Thinking of the time when everything was right
Thinking of the time with only you and I
Makes me sorry that it had to end that way
Learned my lesson, now there's nothing left to say
Ironically, our relationship ended (or at least the death throes began) with B's graduation day. The Beatles CD has long been lost, the Nikki Giovanni poems grow dusty on my shelf. When we broke up, in a fit of teenage hysteria I threw my journal at B, and he kept it. I'm sure it's long gone, now. So what I have left of us is the fading memory, and that song.