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Happy Birthday, How I Didn’t Meet Your Father!

25 Jul

Someone pointed out to me that tomorrow is my one year blogiversary! What better encouragement to post? Here’s the next installment in the story of Ethan and then I’m going to get myself a birthday cupcake to celebrate one year of deliciously bad dating stories!

~~~

I hear from Ethan the day after our date and proceed to float around with a stupid grin for at least a week. We chat each day and eventually make plans for the following week since he needs to play tour guide for a visiting friend that weekend. Our plans set, we chat remotely while he waits in the obligatory lines for museum security, overpriced cupcakes, and paper Metro passes.

It becomes clear when my phone dies from checking it every twenty seconds that Ethan has already become a highly distracting figure in my life, so I vow to back off and just wait patiently for our next date. This lasts approximately three hours, until Ethan texts me:

“Mmm Georgetown cupcakes and wine.”

To which I reply, without thinking about the possible interpretations or unintended consequences:

“That better be an offer or you’re just being mean.”

Within ten minutes, Ethan is on his way to my apartment, which I realize is a mess, as am I, and my roommate Jane is cooking dinner in pajamas. I stick my head around the door to the kitchen, tell her sheepishly that a boy is coming over, and then run to my room to clean and avoid her commentary as she frantically attempts to clean the kitchen and gather the remains of her dinner before running to her room. I’m going to need to apologize to her later.

I change outfits three times, trying too hard for a cute/casual look, while simultaneously throwing anything not nailed down into my closet. I have time to put on mascara and a pair of earrings before my phone buzzes that he’s downstairs, so I take a deep breath, avoid looking at myself in the mirror and run for the elevator.

The date itself is the most wonderfully awkward date I’ve ever been on, since it’s barely a real date, more of an impromptu meeting, but more intimate and casual than any restaurant could manage. Ethan brings with him a dark, sweet dessert wine and that famous pink box with four perfect looking cupcakes, just like he promised;  he even offers one to Jane, making her like him more than me at the moment. 

But once Jane leaves, we don’t really know what to do with ourselves. We stand facing each other, leaning against opposite counters, which in my Polly-Pocket kitchen are actually fairly close, and chat casually but haltingly.

This is what I hate about second dates: they are 40% interview (unlike a first date, which is all interview) and 60% pop quiz.  My mind is scattered, trying to remember what I asked him already, or if I’m thinking of him or another guy. Then I start wondering when I became the kind of woman who can’t keep all the men in her life straight.

I’m simultaneously sizing him up: he is one of those tall, sturdy guys that I have such a weakness for, has the palest blue eyes I’ve ever seen, and has a diamond earring I can’t decide if I should judge him for. Oh, and I’m listening to what he’s saying. Totally listening.

Eventually, we settle in to opposite ends of my couch, not touching, as we nibble our cupcakes and sip the wine. Slowly, I relax.

After talking, laughing and trading YouTube videos for a while, I’m surprised to realize that we’re sitting shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh, and I’m leaning slightly into him; I steal a glance at Ethan, who catches me. Embarrassed, I immediately begin to move away, trying to hide my face as I blush. In a move that I swear only works in movies, Ethan boldly slips his hand against my cheek and brings my face back towards his so he can kiss me. I swear, Clark Gable would be impressed by Ethan’s calm, suave move; I sure as hell am.

The rest of the date breezes easily by, now that the ice has been broken by the kiss, and before I know it, we’re kissing good night at my door. Something has been tickling the back of my mind all evening, and I finally realize what it was.

“Didn’t you have friends over tonight?” I ask.

“I did, but I wanted to see you.”

~~~

Kids, I’m 25 years old. What do I know about the future? Not a lot. I do know, however, that everyone deserves at least one kiss like that in their lifetime.

Your Father May or May Not Be…Kevin

13 Oct

See? I knew Kevin was a winner. Yes, it’s taken two weeks, but he’s invited me to a 1920’s themed croquet tournament in Annapolis. It’s just random enough to be really interesting, without being weird, which let’s be honest, is the fine line I spend my life walking. I’m thrilled.

He picks me up at noon and we spend the hour drive to Annapolis discussing our travel experiences. He knows I’ve just gotten back from a two week trip to Europe and dutifully asks all the expected questions but with genuine interest. I’ll be honest: I was worried about being trapped in a car for so long to start off a second date. I always think second dates are the hardest. I can talk to anyone for an hour or two; any subject is fair game because you haven’t talked before. Second dates, on the other hand, have the added pressure of wanting it to go well compounded with the need to remember which stories you’ve both told. Nothing is worse than telling your best party story… again. But I needn’t have worried; Kevin and I chat amiably the entire way and we arrive in Annapolis before I know it.

The day is absolutely glorious; we bask in the warm sun, enjoying our picnic of beer and sandwiches while watching St. John’s College kill the Naval Academy in round after round. We both root for Navy, partly because they are the underdog, but mostly because they seem to be laughing at the situation as much as us. The crowd fills the lawn like a scene out of Great Gatsby, with a small group even swing dancing to the live band set up behind the announcer’s stand. We sunbathe and people watch and plot how to steal some of the fancy cheese groups nearby have set out on elaborate wicker baskets.

After the tournament, Kevin shows me around the Academy’s campus, which he knows well from annual lacrosse camps hosted at the Academy each summer, then he takes me to dinner at a rooftop patio in downtown Annapolis. We laugh as we share our appetizer, and he finished my dinner, in a way that is both exciting and comfortably intimate.

Nine hours after picking me up, Kevin drops me at my door, although a bit reluctantly. We’re both wiped from our day in the sun, so Kevin asks for, and I agree to, a rain check.

For three weeks. This boy is killing me.

~~~~

Kids, again, Kevin STILL isn’t out of the running but we’ll see how far it goes.

Your Father Isn’t… Ed

3 Oct

I’m not sure what to think about Ed as I walk to my favorite bar near my office for our date; we barely talked online before he asked me out. I’m not even entirely sure what he looks like, but as I scan the bar, I see the back of someone talking on the phone that I figure must be him. How do I approach a blind date who is sitting at the bar with his back to the room, talking on the phone though? I’m in a bit of a pickle, but I go for a side approach, hoping he’ll see me.

He doesn’t.

I hesitantly tap him on the shoulder, prepared to not speak English if it’s not him, but thankfully it is. He ends his call as I slip into the bar stool next to him, expecting him to turn and face me to begin our date.

He doesn’t.

He continues to sit facing the bar, elbows next to his beer, only turning his head slightly towards me. We make pleasant small talk and find we have a lot in common, but I’m still so thrown off by his body language that I can barely concentrate. I briefly got into that show Lie to Me, so I consider myself an amateur body language expert. I’m now convinced he’s hiding something, perhaps a dark secret, or perhaps his shirt is caught on something below the bar.
I try to lean back and peek below the bar to see what he could be stuck on, of course without him knowing of my rescue efforts. I’m positive he’s just stuck and once we get him unhooked from whatever is restricting his movement, he’ll finally turn and face me like a normal date.

He doesn’t.

After three beers and nearly four hours, I decide, ok, he’s not stuck and if he is, he can just stay here overnight because I’m going home. Regardless of the literally crooked conversation, we had a good time and Ed invites me to a baseball game next weekend. I’m thrilled by this idea and spend all week looking forward to this date. When we arrive we grab beers and head to seats that are better than any I’ve ever sat in at Nationals Park. Ed really went all out and I’m touched. Within an inning, he hops up to use the restroom. I think nothing of it, until two short innings later, he leaves again. Huh, I think. That’s a little odd. But by the fourth inning, I need to use the bathroom, so I stand for him to let me out, thinking he would stay at the seats.

He doesn’t.

He needs to go again. Honestly, I hadn’t really thought much about it, but his next comment changed everything,
“When I drink, I have the bladder of a chipmunk.”

Now, just like Ed, I’m blessed with a round face and full cheeks, so I’m not one to make fun of people for that reason alone.  Of course he’s also a couple inches shorter than he had promised online, but again, nothing wrong with being short. But Ed also has a gray stripe running along the side of his head. These features COMBINED with his comment, well, I’ll be honest, somewhere in my mind I hear: “Ch…ch…ch…chip and dale… rescue rangers…. ch…ch…ch…chip and dale, rescue rangers…” I hope that good chuckle in the bathroom will get this silliness out of my system, so that when I come out he won’t immediately strike me as one of my childhood favorite animated chipmunks and will again look like my date.

He doesn’t.

Back at my seat with Dale, as I’ve now renamed him in my head, we chat until the announcer welcomes the service men and women behind home plate and invites everyone to show their appreciation. I admit I take this a little more seriously now that my best friend is a Marine, but I’ve always cheered and applauded enthusiastically for our troops. It’s quite literally the least I can do. As the entire stadium stands in a warm ovation, I  jump up and look over at Ed/Dale, expecting him to stand up next to me.

He doesn’t.

The man who had gotten up once an inning to relieve himself the whole game couldn’t stand up to clap for the troops for ten seconds? He could have combined it with a bathroom trip, but he didn’t. He stayed seated, unwilling to expend even that much effort. Suddenly the imaginary Dale in my head has a French accent a la Pepe LePew; I feel duped and ready to get the hell out of dodge.

~~~~

I’m going to guess that I don’t end up marrying an unpatriotic cartoon chipmunk, so kids, Ed is not your father.

Your Father Isn’t… Sam

29 Jul

When I first saw Sam’s profile, I pictured him as one of those cool academics: cute and athletic, but also laid back. The kind of guy who manages to not look like a pretentious ass gently swirling a glass of wine while an eager crowd listens to him elucidate on… stuff.

Our first date is off on the wrong foot, with each of us wandering in confused circles around Rosslyn station. When we finally find each other, I immediately realize why I had trouble.

I fib about my height as often as the next person (read: always). According to the chart my 5’11 doctor keeps, I’m not 5’3. I’m 5’2 and 3/4. Sam on the other hand has unfairly claimed a solid six inches of open airspace that his body does not occupy. I’m a bit miffed at this blatant lie but he has these huge, glassy dark brown eyes…and a distinctly squirrel-like look to him that makes him seem more like a Disney character than a date.

Sam looks up  at me (ok straight ahead, but it felt like up) and sort of squeaks, “So what’s the news?”

I don’t know how I’m supposed to answer that question, so I pretend he asked me something normal and the standard small talk commences. Throughout the awkward pauses that occur so naturally on first dates, he fixes me with a blank but intent stare, like my golden retreiver does when I stop petting her.

All in all, the date doesn’t go horribly, and he likes chocolate and peanut butter (yes I asked), so I agree to see a Matt Damon movie with him next weekend. I really want to see the movie and as you’ll see, Matt Damon has a tendency to pop up unexpectedly in my dating life. I don’t think he’s marriage materials, or even third date material in all likelihood, but I’m not about to write off a perfectly precious Reese’s lover.

As I arrive at the Courthouse movie theater, it’s raining so everyone is huddled quietly together with their heads down outside. Sam slips up beside me and asks, “What’s the news?” Having forgotten about this little idiosyncrasy, I respond literally, and we spend the entirety of the previews discussing current events. Not a great start.

As often happens, the floor below my seat was sticky, so I kept my purse in my lap. Perhaps subconsciously I didn’t want to seem too… open… so I sat with my hands folded on my purse, legs crossed, like a little old lady waiting for the bus.

I should also mention that I had been running for a train as we left the last date, so there had been no good night hug, kiss or handshake… no breaking the touch barrier of any sort. So imagine my surprise when during the movie has arm drops onto my thigh, palm up, waiting like a giant cartoon question mark.

I do what any nice, but not too nice, girl would do. I freeze. I sit with my hands clutching my purse, eyes glued to Matt Damon, especially when I feel Sam looking over at me. I can’t decide whether to shake him off or say something, so I just pretend I hadn’t noticed anything. My dog similarly places her paw on my leg when I’m not paying enough attention, so I wonder if he wants me to scratch behind his ear. Thankfully the rational side of me stays put.

Sam finally moves his arm back to his side of the divider, although he left that question out there way longer than I ever expected. Since it’s still raining when we leave the theater and he starts to walk me to my car, I make some fuss about my hair, give him a quick hug and run for the car.

~~~~

Unsurprisingly, I never heard from Sam again perhaps because I left him walk home in the rain, or because I didn’t offer him a treat for being good. I may never know exactly why, but kids, Sam is certainly not your father.