In previous essays, I've written down my thoughts on love, marriage, and being single. Even now, I stand by each and every one of those essays. (But the writer in me wishes I had done a better job writing them!) However, there was always an underlying assumption in those works: I was on the outside looking in at the subject matter. While it is my contention that you can only get an objective assessment from OUTSIDE a situation, being INSIDE does afford one more detailed, and nuanced view of any given topic. And I've always believed that MORE information is better than less. That being said, I've been given a chance to re-examine my stance on the various facets of the romantic relationship from INSIDE one. Yes, my dear readers, I recently met a lovely young lady, and took her out on our first date.
Okay, now that you've gotten yourselves off the floor, and cleaned up that drool from the corner of your mouth that always happens when you pass out, here is the story.
For a long while now, I've known that going out and meeting women in the standard way goes against every single one of my strengths. Bars, or supermarkets, or whatever venue to which a man goes to pick up women all operate on an initial assessment of physical attractiveness that determines who women will talk to, who men try to pick up, etc. Any honest survey of my looks reveals that I'm not anywhere near what this country considers physically attractive. So, going out to meet women will just lead to unnecessary rejection. To counteract this, I played to my strengths and put up a profile on a couple of different online dating sites. I actively sent messages to women on these sites, and after about six months or so, I finally got a hit!
We emailed each other for a couple of days, and then started chatting on Yahoo Messenger. After 3-4 days of chatting online, she consented to meet in person for a date. Given the ever present dangers of meeting people who you've contacted online, I chose a public venue and daytime hour for our date. Our first date was for lunch at a local steakhouse, afterwards we would walk around a mall and chat, getting to know each other on a personal level. She agreed. Then I spent the next few days, in morbid anticipation of how many possible ways this date could go wrong.
Date day, or "D Day" as one of my literally inclined friends called it, arrived, and it was a bright sunny day. A good omen, I thought. I get to the steakhouse a few minutes early, only to receive a text that my date was caught in traffic and running late. Not a problem. Then she took a wrong exit and got lost. She ended up appearing at the restaurant about an hour late. For 30 minutes of that hour, I was trapped in a prison of pure psychological panic. Thoughts like "This is a sign", "She's making this up so she won't have to come.", and other such nonsense populated my mind. Then I put all that crap out of my head, and started listening to music and singing along to whatever was playing on my iPod. She showed up and parked next to me while I was in the middle of a song..... Talk about a great first impression!
I got out of my car, and since this was our first time meeting, I held out my hand and introduced myself. She'd already heard me singing, so now displaying good manners couldn't hurt. We walked in, sat down, and had a nice meal. Now, dear readers, you know that she & I had been chatting online prior to this, and she had told me she was extremely shy. During the date, this fact kept escaping my mind. So, throughout the meal, I'm being myself (Oh No!!) and chit-chatting away, and getting very little response. I work to keep the conversation going, try to keep things funny, and interesting. Meanwhile, everything I'm reading from her body language is telling me that she's SO not interested. Then we go to the mall, where I find out that I've run into one of the few women on the planet that DOESN'T like shopping. Not even window shopping. We talked a bit as we walked around, I found a Perfumania, which I led her into, remembering that she likes her guys with good smelling cologne. I find an old favorite, and much to my surprise, she likes it. We keep walking around the mall, and end up going to the Disney store where she picks up a gift for a young family member who was really into Buzz Lightyear. At this point, she's tired of the mall. So, not having anything else planned, I drive her back to her car, and we stay in my car parked outside the steakhouse and talk for another hour, hour and a half. Topics ranging from sports to kayaking, from karaoke to Glee. After awhile, she said she had to go, and I walked her to car. I gave her a hug good-bye (during which she said "Wow, you smell good!" Thank you Azzaro cologne!!), and a kiss on the cheek. And then she drove away.
And that's it. That was my first date in over two years.
My assessments after the date. She was completely bored, and regretting the whole time she was with me. But she didn't bail out early, which was mystifying. I was expecting the bail out call at any point during the date. Sometime in the couple of hours after the date, I remembered that she had told me she was really shy in person. At which point, my brain (no longer in the grips of crash & burn date panic), popped up all the times during the date she told me that she was having a good time, and that she was still kind of shy since we were just meeting for the first time.
A couple of days later, she and I chatted on instant messenger again, and we kind of did our own post-date breakdown. Turns out she had a blast!! She thought I was a great singer, and now understands why I enjoy karaoke so much. She thought I was nice and kind, and very gracious, especially when I introduced myself, and handsome! (Talk about seeing things from a different viewpoint!) That's something I *RARELY* hear from women, even though I keep telling them how hot I am! And much to my surprise, she agreed to go out on a SECOND date later this week!!
Well, dear readers? Thoughts??