Sunday, June 10, 2012

Real 1st dates.

I can honestly count the number of "real" first dates I've had on one hand (and a thumb). And by real, I mean those dates where you don't really know the person (if at all). I don't say that to illicit pity- I've had lots of dates, and great love in my life. But now in my forty (ish) years, and finding myself suddenly single, I'm just realizing how incredibly inexperienced I am in this new world, and it mostly sucks. And those real first dates have been mostly disastrous.

Let's start with the boys.

There was Larry Ling (real name), who I went to some formal dance with in college. With his blonde afro, powder blue ruffled tuxedo and me in my Gunne Sax dress recycled from my high school prom (hey, it was the 80's- they are vintage now. *sigh*). I had a lousy time. To his credit, however, he worked for a local beverage distributor, and I did get several cases of diet Pepsi out of the deal.

Then there was Adam the Frenchman, who I met on the beach in southern California (also during college- when I was thin and tan). He had that accent that I immediately fell for, and lavished attention on me. Honestly, I think I was more flattered that this exotic guy was paying attention to me, more than really attracted to him. My roommate at the time IMPLORED me not to go out with him (which was odd, because she had absolutely no scruples then, and was a terrible influence on me. Again, I stress then- she's now all corporate and boring). Still I went. And on the way to some random restaurant I lost one of my contact lenses and spent the evening in this weird, dizzying, blind state (which was complicated by one too many saki’s). This was not good, because this was way before cell phones (and I think even cordless phones), so I couldn't call anyone for back up lenses or for general rescuing. Turns out he just wanted to have his way with me on the beach, and I was just too stupid to have figured that out beforehand. My roommate was right.

And then there was Woody, who was just as charming as his name suggests. I've mostly just blocked him out.

The rest of my 'boy' dates throughout my early years were with friends, or guys in my classes, or boyfriends of friends (which I’m still sorry for, by the way) or gay men. None spectacular (obviously), but fine. And when it turned out that I was gay (duh), my relationships were with those women that I fell in love with- slowly through friendships and agonizing self-discovery. I've been lucky to have had two such long term loves in my life.

Suffice it to say that my last real first date was a long long time ago.

Now I'm back in that world and have decided to try online dating. What a joke.

I've had three "dates." Each mostly horrifying.

The first I met for lunch (and I’m leaving out the names here because they live in my same state, and it just seems safer this way). She looked nothing like her profile picture and we had nothing in common. When I joked that what I really wanted was a drink, she, in all seriousness said: “but it’s not even Friday.” I should have just walked away. When lunch was finally over, we said our goodbyes and went on our way. I was more than just a little indignant that she didn’t even bother to text or email to say “thanks” (truthfully, I had no intention of doing it either), but I was even more pissed that she apparently deleted her entire profile after having lunch with me (it could be, I was reminded later, that she just blocked me). Whatever.

Then there was the Buddhist-Reiki therapist- bus riding- free-university massage therapist student- intuitive. None of those things, I should mention, are problematic by themselves- I am open to all kinds of possibilities- but mix in a little mental instability and low intelligence and it’s a crazy cake waiting to be baked. Fail.

And finally, there was my latest. Truly nice enough, and attractive (but I should mention that she also looked nothing like her profile picture- there should be a rule). Met in a decent restaurant for breakfast way out in the suburbs, and we had fairly good conversation. Up until the moment when she mentioned a story about her childhood that she “wasn’t going to tell right now.” I suspect, however, that it had something to do with the 28 year old girlfriend that she had when she was 14. It had middle school teacher (or for our people, gym coach) scandal written all over it. Crap.   

So here I am trying to figure out what path I should travel down. Should I continue to explore the “real first date” scene?

I’m thinking hell no… I’ve had much more success in the clueless stumbling, and I prefer it, thank you.

But here’s the problem- I have surrounded myself with mostly straight and/or taken friends. And they are fantastic. They are like a huge Snuggie wrapped around me keeping me safe and warm, providing endless encouragement, laughing at my stupid jokes, graciously tolerating my needy texts/emails and pretending not to know how extremely vulnerable and insecure I really am. All while keeping my wine glass filled. 

Honestly, I would date any of them. They are all beautiful and smart and talented and wonderfully irreverent and I love them dearly. I would love to seamlessly slip into the kind of relationship that I’ve always had with any of them. And did I mention that they are all straight and/or taken?

And perhaps that’s the lesson that they are here to teach me. That I can’t do that very thing that makes me the most comfortable anymore. That I have a different lesson to learn this time around.  That it’s time for me to step out and be a brave grown-up girl and experience a different side of life and try to make the most of more real first dates. That it’s time to be able to count dates on the rest of my fingers and toes.


But they had better have a glass of wine waiting, because mostly, it still sucks.

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