Love Labor's Lost

volumes of mis-adventures

What if it was just ok?

on January 7, 2012

We each make expectations, benchmarks if you will, for what makes or breaks a “good” date. I’ve made somewhat of a game out of the whole affair. Sometimes, it seems that I live in a mythical world. Imagine the old school Super Mario Bros. Nintendo game. You know the infamous Mario and Luigi, they jump over mean looking mushrooms, and duck under planks to get away from the animated plants that shoot fire balls, collecting coins along the way, just to battle some sort of monster that makes the ground shake or shoots spikes, then they just teleport into a new land: Water World, Giant World, Plant land…if you owned the game you know what I’m talking about, my brothers and I would play for hours. I’m talking pain stakingly long hours. We should have been breathing fresh air and doing productive things, but we would just sit and play. It was our first real game that wasn’t a spoon from Soviet Russia wrapped in something shiny, tricking our naive minds to believe it was some amazing toy that we were “so fortunate” to have. So we played. Looking back, the game teaches you patience, tenacity, perseverance. If action doesn’t go your way the first time you can always try to run faster, jump higher, duck more deftly the next, but each time your expectation for success increases, after all you’ve already tried to pass this level 20 times, shouldn’t you be getting closer to finally winning?

In school you can study, make flash cards, take pre-tests, ask questions, quiz your friends. On adventures you can make a plan, draw out a map, follow a trail, take a machete and cut down whatever is in front of you, or if you’re really an organized freak have a plan B to follow, and if worse comes to worst whatever happens will be a fun story in the end leaving you with a few superficial cuts, scrapes, maybe a stitch or two, but nothing mortal. Dating seems to be in a whole different realm.

One might think that from one first date to another you might learn a thing or two, have tricks up your sleeves. The funny thing is, every first date is as murky as a pond after a thunderstorm, you never know what might come out at you. If you walk in with a set of expectations, of what should or must happen, or things that absolutely cannot, you’re probably going to overlook some minute details that might make the moment memorable. From my previous entries you might come to the conclusion that I don’t say ‘no’ to a first date, and I usually go in with a fairly open mind: truth. I will usually go on a first date without question. My philosophy is three folds of clichĂ©: beggars can’t be choosers, you never know what you might be missing, and every experience can be an entertaining story, therefore, I never say no. Usually it comes out to: I wish I was a chooser, I should have missed that, and stories that I have to wait a few months before the embarrassment of the whole evening erodes into a gentle flushed giggle.

I, for no certain reason, believe in that first spark, that thing that just clicks, an evening that is effortless for no reason at all. Silly Putty had that no question, I felt that way about J as well. Doogie definitely had something worth exploring. Subway Guy (met him at the Powell BART station in SF, exchanged numbers, met later the following week, tried to use a pick-up line on the date, and I laughed. Out Loud.), Personal Trainer dude (met him at a party, claimed he knew my brother, went out to drinks, tried to psychoanalyze my being a middle child and an English major and so I went on my way), Traffic kid (I met a guy in traffic, gave him my number, and surprise surprise he was a dud), all definite NO THANK YOUs. So, what do you do with the guys that were just ok?

I went on a date with a Czech boy from High School. We randomly reconnected one Saturday night when my friend Nick was home from Med School. We met at our friends place in Wrigleyville and decided to pre-game before we went out dancing. 5 shots of vodka later we were off to our first dance floor. I was friendly, happy, talkative (5 shots will do that to a girl) and Czech and I seemingly hit it off. Although, some might argue, if you haven’t seen someone in 7 years getting up to speed is just catching up, not necessarily making a connection, but no matter, he asked for my number and asked me out for that Monday night. He took me to a nice Sushi Restaurant, the food was delicious and we talked. Nothing horrible, nothing breathtaking, just pleasant conversation. He did come to a few road blocks asking wonderfully crafted questions like, “So…what else?” and “Tell me more about you!” At times I definitely felt like I was in an interview, trying to prove myself rather than on a mutually agreed upon desire to share a meal and time together. I can’t say anything bad about the evening. He was there on time, he didn’t answer his phone, he paid the bill without blinking. He was definitely a gentleman, but was there a spark? No. At the end of the night was I anxious to hear from him again? Not particularly. Did I contemplate going to another party right after to meet up with other people? yes.

Czech asked me out again. My friends all know him from High School and all think that it’s an odd match, and I want to agree with them, but does that mean that I don’t give him another shot? Should I just say thank you, but no thanks? And the dreaded words…do I dare say: we could be friends…

It seems that there definitely needs to be a line drawn as to what is worth exploring and what really is a lost cause. Czech might just be a guy from High School, that I never really knew, and probably for good reason, or he could be really great, but I don’t think I want another go at this level. I continue to maintain low expectation for dates, but secretly I know where my expectations lie. I want a good-looking guy, with an education level that meets or surpasses mine, someone who can carry a conversation, and someone who has read at least one novel in the last 6 months. I don’t think those are really high expectations, but it seems the world around me disagrees.

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