Sunday, November 29, 2009

The vagina dialogues

both agreed that talking about ex’s was a bad idea...yet the topic kept resurfacing. In talking about dates he had been on, he mentioned going out with someone who disclosed that she had “pelvic cancer or something girly like that.” I explained that both women and men have pelvises, and perhaps, more specifically, it was cervical cancer. “That’s what it was,” he exclaimed...followed by, “wait, what’s the cervix?” I was about to start explaining (this is my profession, after all), when I realized where I was: on a first date at a bar! Not quite the circumstances for a lesson on female anatomy. Regardless, he was adamant about learning more. And so, I found myself shouting about the vagina and cervix, so as to be heard over rowdy dart competitions and conversations on the qualities of
. Oh goodness!I arrived early to the dinner spot he picked and found that, not only was there a “closed” sign on the door, but there weren’t any tables or chairs in the restaurant. It was abandoned! I called my date and we decided that I’d follow him to another location. When he arrived, he came at me with open arms, while I simultaneously jutted out my arm for a simple handshake. Catching on to each others’ cues, we quickly changed roles. It was like a competitive game of rock-papers-scissors. Awkward!

While waiting, I had noticed a sign saying that the restaurant, Shun, had moved to 45th. We began our mini-caravan to find the relocated place, and since this was his neighborhood and he had a GPS, I figured we’d be set. After he went through several very yellow lights (leaving me waiting at the intersection), I noticed we were at 57th—getting close. The next sign I saw, however was 60th. We were going the wrong way! We turned around, and the restaurant ended up being 1 block away from where we had started!

After a nice dinner, we decided on drinks at another location. Again, I followed. We passed lots of little bars and restaurants…but then we turned onto some residential streets. I began thinking, “Uh…when I agreed to drinks, I wasn’t agreeing to go to your house!” When we got to a "Dead End" sign, he called me. Lost again! And we were heading to a bar that he frequents often!

When finally settled at the bar, Die Bierstube, we both agreed that talking about ex’s was a bad idea...yet the topic kept resurfacing. In talking about dates he had been on, he mentioned going out with someone who disclosed that she had “pelvic cancer or something girly like that.” I explained that both women and men have pelvises, and perhaps, more specifically, it was cervical cancer. “That’s what it was,” he exclaimed...followed by, “wait, what’s the cervix?” I was about to start explaining (this is my profession, after all), when I realized where I was: on a first date at a bar! Not quite the circumstances for a lesson on female anatomy. Regardless, he was adamant about learning more. And so, I found myself shouting about the vagina and cervix, so as to be heard over rowdy dart competitions and conversations on the qualities of Hefeweizen. Oh goodness!

Despite all this (or perhaps because of it), the date was fun. I think we’ll go out again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

As long as you can make a carry on...

Q: When is it appropriate to talk about your ex?


I have now been on three first-dates where the guy has mentioned his ex-girlfriend. I do take partial credit for one since I asked with whom he traveled through Europe (duh! what guy goes to Italy with his buddies?!)...but seriously, make something up!

And of course, each date who mentioned an ex quickly followed it with an awkward, and incredibly unsuccessful back-paddle in conversation, sprinkled with lots of "um, but, I mean's," that just made the whole situation even worse. You would think I would get better at responding to the ex mention with so many under my belt, but what's a girl to say? The first time a date mentioned his ex my response entailed a look of utter horror, mouth agape and complete silence. And after the third mention I literally burst out laughing - which definitely did not help ease an already nervous date!

The truth is we all have an ex or three (and we all already know this about each other). And, unfortunately, we probably all carry a little baggage from one relationship to the next. However, just like you wouldn't tell someone on the first date that you are a lice-ridden social phobe with no aspirations, you also shouldn't say a single word about your ex and/or your previous relationship. And, as a U.S. refugee recently taught me: "we all have baggage, but as long as you can make a carry-on, we'll all be okay." So, a short message to all of my future dates: please pack your carry-ons carefully and don't forget to zip it up all the way!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dates 7, 8, and 9: The good...the bad...and the uneventful

Somehow, on Thursday, I managed to get asked out on 3 dates for the weekend (plus one on Monday)! So, it provided the perfect opportunity for comparisons—and there were plenty to be made! I’ll work backwards, to end on a “good” note.

The Uneventful:
He chose the Seattle Art Museum, a unique date spot, which is always more intriguing (even though I had been there before). We had an engaging conversation, though I guess that’s to be expected on any 2nd date. Stories about past adventures were exchanged. It was fine…something to do in good company. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to say. On one hand, there were no sparks (at least none felt by me); on the other, it was an enjoyable afternoon. And that was that.

The Bad:
We met for dinner (traditional) at Tango. I was starving and a bit sleepy, after a long day of work and volunteering. He began chatting about how he came to live in Seattle (while I was eyeing the menu, hoping to get some food in my belly as quickly as possible). We finally ordered and he was talking about his high school years...then his family...his ex-girlfriends...then the apartments he lived in...his neighbors...his past jobs...recent interviews...step siblings...his car...more about his ex-girlfriend...and his family...a little about his friends...and his current job...some more about other places he lived…other jobs he was applying to...his college years...sports he played...I think you get the idea! A lot of talking…about HIM! I felt that I could write a book about him by the end of the night…though I don’t know that it would be a bestseller. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed with ear plugs (my bed, alone). Finally we parted ways. On the positive side, he was a gentleman and attactive. But there were several more negative aspects: egocentrism (though perhaps it was a side effect of nervousness), age (he's a few years older than me), he's not a food sharer (a big deal for me), and he sent me a somewhat creepy text* that night. I don't foresee a second date.

The Good:
This date proved to be fun...really enjoyable, actually! It was the first time (during this project...and in a while, come to think of it) that I’ve gone out with someone and felt that there was a connection from both sides. At least, I hope it was felt by all parties involved (I usually have good perception about that kind of thing)!

We met somewhere completely new to me (Majles--a hookah/tea bar), which was an interesting change from the dinner routine (not that I’m complaining!). Then we continued the night in various other spots around the city: Bathtub Gin & Co. (a modern speakeasy-like bar), Shortys (an arcade/bar where we played pinball and skeeball), and finally had a post-midnight snack at IHOP. We laughed together, chatted about diverse topics, and flirted...all fun! We linked arms when we walked around…a nice way to stay warm (and get a little closer).

Then came the hour of departure...and the awkward moment of saying goodbye. I’m not one to kiss on the first date...but I really wanted to! And I felt that he did too! I managed to restrain myself, however. I now find myself hoping that he’ll contact me soon...a pretty exciting change! We’ll see what happens :)

**Bad date text message transcript:
Him: “Im not good at a better lover...once you get comfortable with me I’m pretty awesome :)”
Me: “Uh...I’m not really looking for a lover. Sorry”
Him: “That didn’t come out right...”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Date 6: The inevitable bill

It started with drinks at Contour...his treat, he insisted. After all, we had good conversation, some laughs--a little awkward but overall a good time. The waitress came by to inform us that happy hour was ending. Awkward...what happens next?!

Him: "I'm hungry, think I'm gonna get some dinner."
Me: "Oh yea? Where?"
Him: "Not sure, I was going to look around. Want to join?"
Me: "Sure"

So, we decided on Maharaja, a yummy Indian restaurant, and continued talking about travel, family, and other getting-to-know-you themes. After several hours of coquettish interaction, the waiters began to hover--they were closing. Eager to part with the bill they threw it on the table in front of me. We chatted a little more, both glancing at it from time to time, no one making a move. So, I put down my half....he put down a credit card. And we exited, walked down the street, and parted ways as I got close to my car. We said goodnight, agreed that we'd be in touch if anything interesting came up. And that was that. No communication since.

I'm not saying that I fell for this guy. We had interesting conversation, though I wasn't particularly romantically enthralled. But I thought he was somewhat least for a 2nd date!

Does a bill split suggest a lack of interest on my part? I figured I was just being polite. After I paid it, however, the entire ambiance changed--he became more distant and aloof. My sister said guys don't really think about these details....but I'm not convinced...

**Update--here's an interesting article I found about the bill situation from the guy's point of view. Kinda handy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Date 5: One spark lights a fire

I'm sitting across the table of yet another date and he's cute, charming, interesting, ambitious, has a solid occupation and a great smile...the list goes on and on. Yet, I'm not feeling the ever-elusive spark, the chemistry, the “je ne sais quoi” that every man, woman and animal looks for in a prospective mate. I'm sure every dating blog, book and relationship therapist in the universe talks about “the spark,” but why hasn’t anyone come up with some kind of formula for finding it? Dating sites like eHarmony,, plenty of fish, etc., attempt to play matchmaker – matching potential mates by personality type, likes and dislikes and preferences surrounding looks – but those partner elements don’t even come close to ensuring the spark.

Then there is the question: is the spark just there or is it created? I decided one date wasn’t enough to fully determine said spark, especially since the man in question was extremely nervous (he nearly tripped down the stairs trying to walk to the bathroom!), so when he offered a second date, I said “yes.” I’ll keep you all posted as to the outcome of the second date. Meanwhile, scientists have talked for years about pheromones and its role in the sexual attraction between two people. However, is sexual attraction really the end all be all? What about arranged marriages – do these couples eventually feel the spark? Or committed relationships that last for decades? Was it really sexual attraction or a spark that started decades of interest and devotion? Apparently I have more questions than answers today. All questions aside, scientific evidence or not, this fire is looking for her spark.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Date 3: Taking Chances

I don’t know that I can technically call this a date…and I’m writing retrospectively, but I think it’s a good story to share!

Last month, I went to hear a speaker present at a local venue. I noticed him right away…but didn’t initially realize that he was the presenter. After all, he was young and attractive, unlike most others I had gone to see. I was there with two guy friends, and we chatted with “him” for a bit before he went up to the podium. He began to present--and I was enthralled! He spoke with emotion, had an extensive vocabulary, wonderful diction! My friends and I decided to ask him to get a drink with us afterwards. He said yes. I sat next to him and we flirted. We had amazing discussions on economics, health, philosophy, politics, and a plethora of other topics for hours! Eventually, as the bar was closing, we said our goodbyes...and he walked to his hotel and I drove my friends home. I was sad to be parting ways!

After talking to my friends in the car, I was determined to see him again! So, I went back to his hotel, and enigmatically told the man at the front desk that he “left something” at the bar. The concierge called his room and handed me the phone. Yikes! My heart was pounding! So when he picked up, I addressed myself and asked if I could come up…and he said "yea, sure!"

I got to his door, shaking and all…especially since this behavior is completely unlike me! And he opened it. And I started an awkward conversation (at 1am)--"so, I had to come back this way to get to my exit...I had fun chatting tonight and wanted to continue…thought I would stop you come to Seattle often?" A clumsy stream of words spewed from my mouth. He humored me and continued the conversation. And we sat on the bed. And he kissed me! (Again, remember, this is not like me…to give you an idea, he’s the only person I’ve kissed in about 6 months.)

So, we kissed and snuggled…but eventually, the night had to come to an end. He had an early interview, I had early classes. And in parting, he said I should get in touch with him if I'm ever in his area…and he would do the same if he graced our city with his presence again. It has been a while, and I still haven’t heard from him…but I wasn’t really expecting to. Despite that, I still got three things from the experience:

1. An amazing memory, of an unforgettable night, with an extraordinary person.

2. Renewed assurance that there are guys out there who meet my “selection criteria” (most notably, can inspire and challenge me)…and who can still give me butterflies in my tummy

3. The confidence to take chances. I’ve never been one to sit back and idly watch life pass by…and it’s good to remember that great things can come from taking risks and leaving your “comfort zone.” What’s the worst that can happen?!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Date 4: Rejection

Even the word rejection is hard to say. It's hard to reject and hard to be rejected. I think that's why I wanted to be part of the 100 dates: I have a really hard time telling a person I'm not interested in pursuing the relationship. Obviously, it's always hard to be rejected, everyone knows what it feels like. It's terrible to have to hear that another human being doesn't like you and, much like the Golden Rule tells us (do unto others as you would like them to do unto you), it makes me feel cruel to inflict traumatic pain onto another individual over a simple date. However, as "Advice Lady" says, women like to act as the caregiver (even after the 2nd date) and that's not our job. It is our job to be open and honest and allow the other person to feel their feelings...just as they would (hopefully) allow us to do. I thought this was profound advice from Advice Lady. The other person will feel what they are going to feel regardless of what I say or do, all I have control over are my own words and actions, so I must be up front and honest about how I feel.

Although this is date number four of 100, it is only date number two with this particular person, whom I will call D (4th letter of the alphabet, tricky!). D is sweet, easy to talk to, fun to be around, yet I don't feel the sparks I'm sure he's feeling. And, I must say, I'm more stressed out about having to tell him this than I am about the eight page epidemiology paper looming over my head...not good! In the end, I know I need to call him up and be brutally, yet kindly, honest about the situation, I'm just going to need to have a pep talk beforehand. And, one more thing, I'm not amused by the frequent use of texting for conversation with a recent acquaintance...if he texts to ask how I'm doing, am I allowed to text back with a rejection note?! Definitely material for a future post.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

100 dates for your health

So, the challenge is officially underway! 100 dates. No rules, no commitments, no gimmicks. Just 100 dates.

Here's a little article to get us pumped!