Friday, August 22, 2008

First Dates

So I have a date tonight. A couple I'm friends with set it up, and I've met the girl a few times now. She's cool and funny and pretty and level-headed, so it should be a good time.

But that isn't the point of this post.

As I was thinking about dates and, particularly, first dates, I started trying to remember some of my previous first dates. Most of them I can't remember at all, some events I can remember but not the person, some girlfriends I remember but am clueless as to what we did.

I'm firmly in the camp that says your first date doesn't have to be a somewhat more laid-back reincarnation of prom. You don't need to go to somewhere fancy, just do something cool.

The best first date I ever had was during college. The girl's name was Tisha, she was a couple years older and I still lived in the dorms. She picked me up, and we went to McDonalds to get fountain cokes. It was a blast. More importantly, it introduced me to the glory of the medium-sized McDonalds fountain coke. We only hung out a little bit more after that, she got back with her ex-boyfriend, but a few months later we actually became roommates for a couple of months. I lost touch with her after that, but it was a great first date.

Another great first date was also in college, when this girl I had passed on the quad so many times and I finally had a random chat, which lasted through lunch and the afternoon. We decided to meet up later for laundry, which was the most fun I've ever had cleaning anything in my life. We ended up dating for several more months, but then moved back to our respective states for the summer and things fizzled out. We are still friends, and she has recently been married and had her first child. It made me happy a couple weeks ago to send her a present for the baby.

Another time, actually the girl I was dating immediately before I met the one who I went on the laundry date with, ended up being a visit to the local nature preserve. We made out a bit in the grass, only to discover we had gotten bitten to shit by some insects. I ended up being vaguely allergic to those insects, as I woke up with hives all over my hands and feet, arms and legs, and face. Not a good thing, as we had decided to have date #2 the next night. Fortunately, I went in to work and the sage woman that was my friend and confidante there told me to get some benadryl and it would go away. I was 19 at the time, and so as she went to the store to score me some booze for the date she also picked up the benadryl. She failed to warn me that I shouldn't use both products at the same time -- I guess that's a lesson one is doomed to learn the hard way -- and the date ended (predictably) with my passed out and my roommate walking my now ex-date home. I saw her one more time after that - a random stop by during the Super Bowl when my roommate and I were home watching the game and feeling sorry for ourselves that everyone we invited over already had (much cooler) plans.

My only Cleveland first date was about as casual. We went to the Phoenix in Cleveland Heights, had coffees and lunch and just hung out for a few hours. A week or so later we had our first night-time date, which some consider a key component of the first date, which was a stroll around the Tremont art-walk.

My first date in Texas, where I lived before here, was dinner and a movie, an event only made unique by the fact that my brother tagged along. There were many other first dates in Texas, some laid back and others were fancy, but I don't really remember very many, neither the places nor the people. Funny how that happens.

When I was in college I developed a pretty standard first date -- the first three examples in this post were actually deviations from it. It involved an afternoon walk down the cool commercial district, the bar/head shop/funky cheap ethnic restaurant strip. I spent a lot more time on that strip than most others and knew it like the back of my hand. We'd stop in the Koffee Kup (a dirty-ass half cafe/half Vietnamese restaurant) for Vietnamese coffees, then hit up the record store where the single smartest music guy ever lived -- dude never steered me wrong. Then we'd hit up the used bookstore, where I'd pay attention to what kinds of books she liked. If the didn't fit my standards, the date would end shortly after that (I know, I'm a smug dick and my romantic bad luck is nothing more than karma paying me back for this type of shit), but if it was impressive we'd keep heading down the street, getting something tasty at Boo-Boo's Dawg House or a fish sandwich at Lunker's. Those dates were usually successful (at least those that made it past the bookstore) because they included lots of fun (and usually new things for my dates) to do but also gave us the chance to talk. It wasn't super high pressure, because there were things to look at or interact with or think about, yet it always seemed like, at the end of the afternoon, they had fun and thought I was interesting. Then again, I always seemed to date a certain kind of girl - bookish and alternative with a smoothable edge. I have no doubt that many others would think me cheap or boring or lame or whatever.

During my Master's degree, first dates ran from shooting pool and drinking beer at a campus pub before meeting up with a group of our fellow students to crashing an undergraduate party to going to a party thrown by my friend Tony. I also continued my generic first date practice, though it evolved from a walk down the head shop district to having dinner at a place called Lucca's and drinks at a basement bar called something I am totally blanking on right now. Those were less successful.

Now that I'm a "grown up" I guess something similar will probably develop, but life hasn't been consistent enough to allow any kind of pattern to develop, whether on purpose or just evident upon review. It'll be interesting to see what does happen, though.

In the meantime, I should probably go do some sit-ups or something.

Have a good weekend!


Kelly and José said...

Good Luck :)

Hope it goes well*

Christine said...

Hey, get back from your first date, loverboy, and post about Joe Biden!

Kerry said...

Why is it so verboten to judge people by their reading? Or at the very least their explanation of what and why they like? Because I can tell you, being a reader in a longterm relationship with a nonreader is hell--you have nothing to talk about. And being in a relationship where you don't appreciate or respect a person's tastes--again, you're setting yourself up for misery, it's a big red flag for compatibility, and honsetly if an important thing like that is missing from day one, why keep going?