You wouldn't believe it, but working long hours and staying in to watch Netflix and do Jillian Micheals workout videos with your roommate followed by heavy binging on snacks doesn't add up to picking up very many dates. Crazy, right? Luckily, I have a married friend that is much better at both going out and flirting than I am. She managed to go out once without her husband and pick up a date for me. Joe B., the friendly, currently unemployed, ex-marine bachelor first agreed to meet me and a couple of friends at a bar. Technically, I won't consider this a date, more of an arranged pick up. Despite my initial hesitance, I found he was refreshingly easy to talk to (especially after my borderline comatose previous experience). His topic of choice was movies for most of the night, but that wasn't a problem because Eva Mendez's bad acting (which is not compensated for by her looks!) and cheesy romance movies with unfair stereotypical expectations for women (women should be able to sleep around a little before realizing the love of their life was that guy they didn't want to fall for) gave me enough room to display my crazy and gauge a reaction. He laughed and we ended up going to three different bars. By the end of the night, though I did not feel anything that resembled a fire in my pants, I did feel I had made a new friend. I gave him my number and a weekend later after various texts:
Date Three: Let's call him Joe B.
Type of Date: Movie and Dinner Date
Transportation: Drove together in a car that kept turning off at stoplights.
Average Rating: 7.25
Joe B. offered to pick me up in Long Beach and go from there. We tried dinner on 2nd street, where unfortunately it started pouring down. After getting soaked attempting to walk to a restaurant with a 45 minute wait time and very limited indoor seating, we re-evaluated our options and settled for CPK. We arrived there with soaked jackets which was uncomfortable in the pleather booth. I asked him to choose the food and we ended up sharing a buffalo chicken pizza and avocado eggrolls and had a cocktail each. I have to admit, his taste seemed a bit lackluster for being five years my senior, but at that point I wasn't sure if he was catering to the type of taste he thought I would have. We then headed to watch 127 Days and stopped in at a bookstore while we waited for it to start to participate in one of my favorite activities: Romance Novel Contests. The game is simple, you go to the romance novel section and each of you picks the romance novel with the cheesiest description/plot you can find. Then you battle them by reading them out loud in your sultriest voice and see who picked the worst one. Joe B. was slightly embarrassed, yet a good sport. The movie was hard to watch but luckily my date was easy to laugh with. We finished off the night by talking in his car for a couple hours until I absolutely had to head inside to pee/sleep.
He offered to pay for dinner but conceded to me putting in my part when I said he could pay my movie ticket. Though not stellar, these are perfectly acceptable date manners. He opened the car door to let me in, which I have luckily learned to accept with a feign of grace (this was completely awkward for me a year ago considering chivalry is dead for us long term girls with long term complacent boyfriends). When we got to my place after the movie, I offered for him to drop me off in front of my apartment building. He insisted on parking, and walking me to my door, but after we parked he sort of lingered. "I would offer for you to come in, but my roommate and I have rules." Luckily he politely he did not ask what these rules were or I would have had to think on my feet of something credible. Despite us sitting in his car for so long, he did not push for physical contact and left gracefully after an awkward hug at my gate.
Like I said before he was very easy to talk to. Dinner conversation centered mostly around movies (again) and jokes about the rain. He also managed to laugh and tease me about the fact that I said he was in the "army" (apparently getting your military sectors wrong is a huge no-no in some circles). In the car the conversation turned to family, friends and the dreaded and ill-advised exes. It wasn't that bad, although he did test the waters by sharing a bit more than was necessary about hooking up at times. Aside from this I was genuinely surprised by how much (just sheer quantity) I could talk with this guy. Granted, none of it was on an intellectual or existential level. But it was fun.
Beginning, Flow and End: 7
It was a rough start with the rain and the car that stopped at stoplights (I prayed it would not stop at an intersection, although he swore it drove fine on the freeway). Once we settled into a groove, the date progressed naturally, though I'm afraid not romantically. The drop off was a bit awkward, but overall the date felt comfortable.
I've learned cheerfulness accompanied by a side of easygoing is a must! A guy has to be easy to talk to and have something that resembles a sense of humor. Although I am a naturally happy person, I am not necessarily gregarious or even cheerful. That energy has to come from the person I'm with in order to balance me out. Otherwise I'm just a serious, inappropriately sarcastic log. Once again, there were no sparks, but there was also no real awkwardness. Furthermore, at least on my end, there was a general sense of friendship that is a basic necessity when you are considering someone, whether it be for just this one date, or several, or a relationship. Although I don't think the latter is an option (due to the lack of the aforementioned fire in my pants) it reassured me that not all dates are terrible, and although I've yet to go on a dizzying, breathtaking, love igniting, perfect date, some dates can be just fine.