Dating 101: Chapter 2 - Oral Arguments
So after agreeing to the WILD suggestion that an illegal bonfire on the beach in March would be a great first date idea, Ted and I made plans for our first meeting.
Because he lived about 3 short blocks from the beach in Kits, and our plans were for friday night, he said that he would save me a parking spot at his place. Weirdly, he doesn't specify whether this spot is being saved on the street or in an apartment building garage or anything and for some insane reason I forget to ask.
I should tell you, I have this irrational (or completely rational, it's hard to say) fear that I won't recognize my date. Is it because men notoriously don't know how to take pictures (in general nor for dating profiles)? Yes, likely. Tedski has 4 pictures up on his dating profile--2 with short hair and 2 with surfer hair. They're all just a little bit blurry and from far away.
On Friday night, I pull up to his address. He had said that he'd be waiting outside and when I pull up, I see a guy who looks like him standing beside his truck. He's got surfer hair, a big nose (something he'd once joked about), and was watching me as I pulled up.
I roll down my window and flash a sexy smile before confidently asking, “So is this my spot?” followed by a whole shit tonne of eyelash batting.
The man responds, "No, I think I’m staying."
I'm speechless, like what the fuck dude?!? Is that his way of saying, he’s seen me, and is no longer interested? Or did he have another spot for his truck but now it’s gone and so he's had to take the one he was saving for me?!
I try to coach myself to stay breezy, stay relaxed and look for another parking spot around the way. I, oddly enough, find one quickly and close by and walk back while reminding myself not to let this one weird moment ruin an otherwise potentially great first date.
I see the guy about halfway down the block still and smile and wave. He smiles back and I mouthe a quick "hey" but he turns and starts walking away to the apartment building across the street. LIKE WHAT THE FUCK!?!?
I start to text something like...uh...did you just see me outside and... When I realize that it wasn’t him, or well, I realize that this guy is not Tedski. There is another guy standing, sort of hidden, between two parked cars down the way. That other guy, who I now realize is just some random dude, must have thought I was a total lunatic.
I walk over to greet Tedski and we hug hello (I’m a hugger). Apparently 5’7 is the new 5’10 (lie number one), and I am not impressed. His profile said specifically 5’10 but he is clearly the same height as me at 5’7. I am livid but I smile because I'm practicing being one of those chill women.
He’s wearing dress pants and a leather jacket which seems like a really bizarre choice for a bonfire on the beach (and a bonfire I'm expecting him to build, and maintain, etc.). I am further not impressed and smile through clenched teeth. I also smile because though judgemental, blunt and honest in general – I cannot bring myself to tell Tedski that things are not looking good for this date. Plus I’m an optimist and am hoping the date will get better, I mean Christ witty repartee can salvage a lot of wreckage. He’s got a pack full of bonfire paraphenalia and other goodies and a garbage bag full of wood and paper for the fire. Now, if this was my boyfriend, or we were camping, or he wasn't wearing dress pants, or some other suitable situation, I would be chill about everything...but no joke..if it wasn’t for me standing beside him –hair all done up, make-up on point, jewelry together and the magic dress in full effect—he would look like a homeless man.
I take a deep breath and we walk towards the beach but stop at Starbucks first. I order a coffee though he doesn't which feels weird given that he'd been the one to bring us in here. While he pays, I go to the ladies room to try and take a minute to chill and turn this whole night around. When I return, he's got my coffee and a cookie, which almost makes me cry because he's trying too hard and I was rapidly losing interest and so the whole thing just seemed like too sad and too much.
He then explains that he didn't get a coffee because he'd "Brought a couple brewskis" along, and then added, "You don't mind, do you?"
Sidebar: What had happened to that guy who when I said I didn't drink, had made this cute suggestion that we'd get virgin margaritas? It wasn't a huge deal in theory, people drink around me all the time and it's no problem, but it still seemed extremely weird to me to add yet another bizarre element to this already off-the-rails date. But then again, I guess he didn't know it was off-the-rails.
So, we go to the beach and honestly things start to look up. I had forgotten how absolutely breath-takingly beautiful Vancouver really is, especially from Kits beach. The mountains twinkle with snow and the lights of downtown twinkle. The water is soothing and though it's a bit windy, the night is fairly warm. The Sunset is amazing and we sit on a log to chat while we watch it.
After the sun sets, Ted sets down a blanket for me in front of where he'll start the fire. He looks at me for a longer than normal but date appropriate amount of time and says “you’re really cute!” But I can't help but think how much sweeter it would sound coming from someone else. We talk while he works, and it’s pretty good. Not a whole lot of witty repartee but mostly informative where did you grow up—how many siblings—where have you travelled—kind of stuff. I turn my head sideways and try to picture kissing him. I'm not a huge fan of his teeth but he has good hair (and before you think I'm too judgemental and a bit of a jerk, you should know I'm trying to talk myself into him not out of him). His face is pretty cute so aside from the height deception, the not great clothes (I’m a nice jeans and hoodie on my man kinda gal), this could potentially work.
I think this briefly and then realize I might be kidding myself. I know I always say funny wins out over everything, but I think I might be wrong. I mean, David Spade isn't conventionally attractive but I'd fuck him in a heart beat. But then again, Tedski’s no David Spade. Garbage Man had been way less funny and honestly I was way more attracted to him. But here I am, on this date, and so I smile and I laugh and I carry on, though I swear I’m giving my best awkward laugh while staying just this side of polite so that I don’t hurt his feelings. He has brought an extra jacket for me (which turns out to be needed) and builds my ego with compliments. He builds a fire, which is lovely, but I admit the second it's ablaze, I'm checking for the police. Oh yeah, and Tedski has brought an axe--for splitting wood, or murdering dates, tough to say.
The fire blazes, it gets dark, and I'm doing an awful lot of mountain/star/ocean gazing. The chatter takes a serious nose dive. Tedski keeps saying random shit in various accents. I don't like impressions on a first date; people are rarely any good at them, and I don't like laughing when things aren’t funny. I feel its akin to lying. I do it anyway obviously, but I don’t like it.
In attempts to be funny, as Tedski is absolutely straining to do, he often breaks out into song. I am not a fan. If you think bad impressions make me uncomfortable, you can imagine that a man belting out full songs on a beach on a first date in front of an illegal fire is not a place of comfort for me. His voice is shockingly good, but still, I am not a fan. As a shy person, someone loudly singing in a public place makes my skin crawl.
Abruptly Tedski looks at me and says he has to go for a whizz (which means that he's going to leave me alone at the fire--FUCKING AWESOME!). Weirdly, he doesn't go very far and I'm quickly horrified because I think he's going to pee within eyesight of me. It's dark and I don't think he knows I can see him and then he pulls out a cigarette and smokes it (lie number 2 as his profile says he's a non-smoker).
While he's gone, a couple walks by and asks if you're allowed fires. I say no and point to Tedski to place the blame. They ask if they can join us and I say sure because for the love of god I'd love someone else to be enduring this torture with me. When Tedski returns, he doesn't seem particularly impressed (which makes sense if he has no idea how terribly this date is going--which he doesn't).
They offer us some beers from their bag and of fucking course Tedski accepts though I decline. This couple turn out to be super cute and fun. The woman is a little chubby bunny just like me and we have a nice time talking about life and school and work. They ask Tedski what he does for work, and he tells them but in this weirdly roundabout and not really upfront kind of way. Another strike Tedski as I really can't stand people who are secretive. Secrets are for losers and boring people (don't @ me). The conversation is flowing well between the group, and then something weird happens. I’m listening to something the girl is saying and Tedski just starts talking to me...in a voice louder than a whisper...almost as if the couple aren’t there...or he can’t hear them...and I find it appallingly rude. And then it happens again. In fact, this happens numerous times. He’s probably just pissed we’re not having alone time...but still...there’s no excuse for rude, plus he's chugging beer after beer from the couple so he can hardly be that pissed over their presence. He offers me some chocolate he brought for the date (a 3 pack of fererro rocher from the drugstore!). He continues the accents and the lame jokes and the singing (my gawd! the singing!) and then has another beer (for those counting at home that's at least 3 and don't get me wrong, I can drink most people under the table or at least I used to, but this is a first date, with a woman who no longer drinks, like maybe tone it down, right?!
As the conversation continues, we find out that this couple met on plenty of fish and when they find out it's our first date, the guy casually chants "kiss her! kiss her!" I'm not sure if Tedski senses that I don't want him to or that he's just shy in front of this couple but thankfully he doesn't. Instead, he pulls out a joint. Now don’t get me wrong...I like to get Stizzled with the best of them but on a FIRST date? When it’s NEVER even remotely come up in conversation about whether your date would be cool with it? Seriously? I don’t partake because after all I need to be able to drive home (the sooner the better, amirite?!)
The boyfriend asks if they should leave us alone, a couple of times, and Tedski says nothing. I'm casual (and happy they're here with us) and say no worries. The dude probably senses I’m super uncomfortable and/or that Tedski wants them to get scarce, which is probably why he's not sure what they should do. I can't help but wonder why this guy can sense my discomfort but not Tedski? The girl and I go and try to find a bathroom, and this time she asks if they should go, so I tell her about the date and how it’s not so great. I say please don’t leave lol! She gives me her phone number. We’re going to be buddies. Eventually the fire dies down and the couple find other wood and plan to keep it going. By the grace of god though Tedski and I pack up and leave. I nonchalantly check my watch. It’s only 930pm! It feels like midnight! It had only been about 2 hours at the beach. Christ!
While walking back to his place/my car, Tedski casually asks about the date. I say I had fun because, I mean, what else do you say to someone’s face? I know it’s kind of lying but I can’t help it. He asks if he looks like his pictures, and I say yeah because I don’t know what else to say...like maybe you should stand next to a garden gnome in your photo for better height representation? He says I look way better than my photos (which I take as a huge compliment since I think my photos are actually pretty hot!) We’re walking back up the hill towards my car and Tedski Manor and I can feel it coming... “so we can do one of two things...” he says “...I can walk you to your car or you can come back to my place, meet my roommate, chill out...” I spout some nonsense about being a lady (ha!) and demurely say we’d better call it a night (because I'd rather chew off my own hand than go back to his place).
My car is parked on a hill to beat all hills. We hug goodbye and he kisses me on the cheek. I have to gather the magic dress to get in the car and while doing so the door smacks back into me like an aggressive hockey place. If this had been a date that was going well I would have been mortified but since it wasn’t...meh! Teddy then holds the door for me. I get in. I’m buckled. Ready to roll. I look at him like...okay you can shut the door now. He mumbles something about “getting a good night....” and before my thoughts can catch up and make my head turn away he’s planting a kiss on me...like my actual fucking lips. Barf.
I try for an awkward smile. I think I might have laughed uncomfortably. And I close the door and drive off. Bleh! I wipe my mouth. Yes it was closed-mouthed-no-movement-all-saliva-remaining-on-outer-lips but still I was definitely a bit grossed out and immediately drove to the grocery to buy water and do some swishing lol! (like could I BE more fucking dramatic!) It might have been a minor over-reaction but I was truly thrown by the whole thing. I just couldn’t think fast enough. How could he have possibly thought it was a good idea--I ended the date at 930?!? I mean even if I was actually “ladylike” at the very least if I liked someone I’d be like, let’s get a coffee/drink/whatever. Driving home, I think I may have even done some outloud laughing and also some “thank god”ing and woohooing that I was free of that date! I mean, it was a total and completeTEDisaster!
20 minutes later, I get a text:U r wonderful!
Honestly, I want to cry it makes me so sad. Because here's the thing of the thing: as much as I can be blunt and straightforward, I'm actually a real softy and I was geneuinely upset by the whole date. First, because frankly I was disappointed that the date had been so awful and I was furious with myself for not being more critical and realistic about his witty banter from the beginning (I'd clearly romanticized who I had thought he was and how funny he seemed). Second, I was upset simply because I was experiencing something new--and I know this sounds arrogant but I swear it's not--up until now I'd never considered that I would have a date where they liked me and I didn't like them back. Now, I'm not an idiot, I know people don't always like each other but I always figured if one person didn't like the other than it would probably be mutual, because I mean don't you notice if someone doesn't like you and that saps all the chemistry out of the thing, no? Finally, and for whatever reason, I actually had a bit of a cry over it, no joke, calling my mom on the phone to tell her about it. That being said, you should know I once cried over cheese so like I'm a bit of a baby.
The next night, I get a message on Plenty of Fish talking about how Tedski had had a “great time” and “would love to get together again.” I message back and as nicely as possible convey that he’s a “great guy” but that there was “no chemistry” and “good luck” But hey, we'll both live to try again another day, right?!
*originally published 19/03/2010