Love Labor's Lost

volumes of mis-adventures

The First of the Firsts

on September 17, 2010

In order to get to a good place in your life, it has been said, that one must go through some shitty experiences. That makes sense right? If you didn’t have any poor experiences how would you know what good ones feel like? Even Juliet had to meet Paris (the original tool) before she met Romeo. While I’ve always been a late bloomer in my eyes, not going on my first date until my junior year of college, it stands to reason that because I was late, my perception of all my experiences came with a much lighter heart. I think I’ve laughed at every single one of my first dates, and there have been countless moments that I replay in my head just to brighten my day.

My first, first date, was second semester junior year (I will be changing names, to protect…well, everyone involved). I met Andrew when he was applying to go on Birthright. He was a quirky ginger kid. He was never the most attractive guy, with bright orange curly hair, pasty white skin, and untamed acne, but as such appearances usually go, he was always a gentleman and endearing soul. He was also incredibly intelligent and a premiere writer with the brightest future ahead of him. Andrew was incredibly shy and seemingly nervous every time we spoke. He attended every event I hosted, he attended every meeting, he seemingly held onto every syllable I spoke, which, in and of itself, was incredibly flattering. I started to get worried when over winter break, while Andrew was in Israel on an intense physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging adventure, he found the time to call me. Three times. When we returned from winter break, Andrew would call me once in a while and we would chat on the phone. I would run into the living room of my small three bedroom apartment where my roommates would be entertaining themselves, and mouth “It’s him, again.” On one afternoon, my roommate grabbed the phone out of my hand and said, “So, are you gonna ask her out already? Or what?!” I was flabbergasted. I apologized profusely over the phone, I was embarrassed, my cheeks were fiery red, and the only thing running through my head was, “O my gosh, O MY gosh, O MY GOSH!” But that’s what did it. Whether he didn’t have the courage to ask me out, didn’t actually want to ask me out, or sensed from an early time that I wasn’t completely interested, no one will ever really know, but he said, “So, would you like to go to dinner sometime.”

It really is as simple as that. Dinner. A novelty really. What is said, not said, done, or not done, dinner can tell you all you need to know about the boy sitting across the table from you. We went to Mondo’s on a Saturday night. A family style sit down restaurant, it wasn’t too fancy which was perfect for a first date, fairly casual. No need to add more nerves to an already anxiety ridden situation. Dinner went fairly well. Conversation rolled like rain off a slanted roof, it was simple and natural, but fairly predictable. He was a gentleman, and paid for our dinner, which was really kind, and I always appreciate that more than I can say. It seems strange, but for some reason, to me, having the man pay for my meal is still a sign of chivalry and generosity that, although completely archaic and sexist, seems to designate and hold a date in high circumstance. We decided to rent a movie and go to his apartment and watch it. Driving to blockbluster we maintained the average conversation, and at the store I picked out the movie, “A Guide to Recognizing your Saints.” The movie is with Robert Downy Jr. and if you haven’t seen it yet, go forth and be a lens unto the silver screen of magic.

While for many, returning to the guy’s apartment has implications of sexual behavior, in our case it was a mutual decision of: I live with two roommates that are home on this Saturday evening, probably watching a film and Andrew lives alone, hmmm…which apartment shall we venture to? Despite this informed decision, watching a movie, together, on a Saturday night, alone, at an apartment in college, DOES have some implications, albeit, I was soon to find that sometimes these implications are so implicit, that they may be completely undercover and unknown to some parties concerned. I proceeded to sit down on the couch in his living room almost directly in line with the TV, while he put the movie in, he politely asked if I wanted water, or popcorn or anything at all. I declined in similar polite fashion. He pressed play and proceeded to walk in a diagonal direction, away from me, toward the couch. My eyes followed him like a falling star. somewhat surprised, and bewildered by his obscure action. He sat down 2 ft away from me, on the other side of the couch. I can only imagine this is what it felt like to have leprosy. I looked at him, and then looked back at my own position, and then back at him, I smiled and simply said, “Are you comfortable over there?” He looked at me in all seriousness and said, “Yes, are you? Is there anything else I can get you?” I smiled again, giggled a little and said, “Nope. Let’s watch the movie.” We sat the entire movie on opposite sides of the couch, although he wasn’t literally that far, by all expectations of a date, he could have been in a completely different room. When the movie ended, he thanked me for picking it out (he thoroughly enjoyed it) and said, “Let me drive you home.” I looked at him and just said, “Sure.” Still completely puzzled in my head, what happened? I know I don’t smell…maybe it’s my socks? We headed out to the car, and on the morbid silent car ride, I stared out the window. As we arrived in front of my apartment building, I looked at Andrew, smiled and said, “Thank you I had a good time. See you next week.” I exited the car, walked up to my apartment, walked to my bed, sat down and smiled. “Well, that was…interesting?”

It seems appropriate that my first, first date, would be exponentially more awkward than the stigma that all first dates hold. Not a bad date by any means, but clearly a situation where you just have to laugh and go along with it. Interestingly enough, there is something to take away from it, everyone has something to offer, and every person can teach you something new about yourself. Going on dates doesn’t have to be about meeting “Mr. Right” or “The One.” In fact, they shouldn’t be; that’s just too much pressure. Go on a date and make a new friend, learn how to express yourself, reinvent yourself, be confident in who you are, and listen to the other person. Make observations, and try to take something positive away from everything, because everyone is worth getting to know. There are 6 billion, or so, people on this planet, why not take a night and meet a unique person, he might just change your life.


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