Friday, January 15, 2010

Eye Balls and Climbing Walls

We had our first official double date of the blog!

A couple of weeks ago Coqueta invited me rock climbing with a guy she had been dating for a while (the rock climber) and one of his friends. It's always a little awkward to be set up with someone on a double date - not only are you on a first date with someone, but you're also being watched! (Plus, I'm not sure if he knew it was a set up)

The boys picked us up from school, which felt like high school, and we drove off to climb the walls of Vertical World. Now, I've never been climbing, but I was feeling overly confident like it would be a piece of cake...I mean I've climbed up stairs and I've climbed out of bed, how hard could it be?!

After some small equipment adjustments we walked over to the wall and the rock climber chose a route for me and yelled "climb on!" And so I climbed. Little did I know I was not climbing a beginner route. With little instruction and zero upper arm strength I slowly fumbled my way to the top, arms buckling at the weight of my clumsy flailing body. The bottom line is though, I did it! One climb down, are we done?! Ha!

I finally got some instruction on a wall that matched my skill level a little better and really started enjoying the whole rock climbing thing. The rock climber's friend, whose occupation alone is fascinating enough to draw any girl in (he spends his days harvesting eyeballs for organ donation!), coached me up an easier section of the wall, throwing in an encouraging word here and there - so sweet! There's definitely something exciting and sexy about a sweat-inducing, skill-building date, as opposed to a sit down dinner date.

After climbing we went all went to happy hour and during conversation I began to realize how nice it was to talk to someone that isn't grossed out by my nursing stories and has past travel destinations in common. Dating is really a strange little beast - just when you think you know exactly what you're looking for, the person sitting across the table from you changes your mind altogether.

Coqueta, do you have a review of our first double date? Or maybe our triple date?!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I enjoy a good challenge!

He chose an adventurous first date: rock climbing. This was one of his specialties but by no means one of mine! I dabbled in climbing as an undergrad--and by dabbled, I mean I went two or three times. Quite honestly, though, I forgot how difficult it was! As I stumbled amongst the "rock" holds, I remembered how humbling it is to be a novice at something. It was fabulous to be pushed to my limits for a change!

The experience was a welcomed challenge. He never allowed me to give up, but instead offered kind words of encouragement throughout the learning process. Still, I felt like an idiot! Despite the mismatch in climbing skills, we had a love of learning in common. Between climbs, we chatted about diverse topics--everything from the galaxy to literature, anatomy and physiology to cooking, and much more.

This is going to sound cocky--but I'm good at many things. I'll also be the first to say that there's always room for improvement. There are certainly many subjects and activities in which I'm very weak. But, I'm all about the self-enrichment! The down side of constant quest for knowledge is that there are few people out there who can hold my attention very long.

An amazing ex-boyfriend once described me as his "role model." It's flattering, of course, but what I really seek in a potential mate is an equal--someone with whom I can converse and learn about the multifaceted world. Lately, however, I haven't found many people like this. Sure, all the guys are well-versed in their particular areas of expertise (computer programming, finance, etc), but once the conversation navigates into their uncharted territories, they fall silent.

I want to be with someone who will enjoy being pushed to their limit, and hopefully who'll also be willing to push me (intellectually, athletically, etc). I've had conversations about the benefits and downsides of dating someone in the same field or with similar interests. I've come to the conclusion that, for me, as long as there is a potential for opening each others' minds, diverse interests can be an excellent aspect in any relationship.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Toaster for Two

After burning my bagel under the broiler for the millionth morning in a row, I got in my car, stomach still growling from hunger, and drove to Target to by myself a toaster. I stood in the appliance aisle examining the toasters and decided on one with a huge "price cut" sticker hanging to the side (I am a student after all). It's stainless steel, has wide slots for bagels, comes equipped with automatic toast boost (who knew toasters could have so many features) toasts for two.

I didn't purposefully purchase a toaster with four slots in order to accommodate a future frequent house guest (if you catch my drift), but as I plugged in my new toaster for two I remembered a story from The Secret that had made me a little uneasy the first time I read it. I don't usually read/buy into books like The Secret, but it does have some good pointers about the power of positive thinking, which can never hurt (I'm still waiting for my winning lottery ticket).

Anyway, the passage is a story of a woman who searches for a mate. She makes lists about what she wants him to be like, imagines herself with him and then realizes her actions are contradicting her thoughts. The book goes on to describe ways the woman (and all people searching for their mate) should act to let the universe know they are ready for him/her, namely parking on one side of the garage so as to leave room for a future mate, sleeping on one side of the bed (not in the middle), and even clearing out half of your closet. Yes, you read it correctly: clearing out half of your closet!

Now, I'm no shopaholic, but my closet is not large enough to clear out room for a mate that I don't even know exists (yet), I don't have a garage at my house and I already sleep on one side of the bed (to no avail). I also find it highly unlikely that there is some guy out there in the universe clearing out half of his closet just waiting for me to move in all my sweaters and scrubs! So, universe if you're listening/reading this blog, please take my toaster for two as my sacrificial lamb of mate seeking and send me a jam-loving, bagel-toasting mate to share my toaster for two!

I was his first kiss. Ever.

Well, not on the most recent dates, of course. After all, we're both 25 (only 1 day apart, actually). The first kiss occurred some 10 to 15 years ago (I don't really remember it, but he informed me of this fact). And over those years in middle and high school, we got to know each other more and more. We never dated, but I babysat for his brother, we skied together, took similar classes, went to the same parties, etc. We knew each other quite well.

So, when he mentioned that he'd be traveling across the country to do business here, I was excited to meet up! It had been about eight years since we had last seen each other. We talked for a few days, cementing our prospective plans. When we finally reunited, it felt so comfortable to "gossip" about familiarities--family, common friends, restaurants from our hometown, and classmates. We were able to bypass the awkwardness of the first (and often second and third) date.

As our time together continued throughout the week, it was evident that we both felt some kind of attraction...but neither wanted to be the first to say it. And so, we flirted playfully at dinner, danced affectionately at a club, and coquettishly conversed during our Mt. Rainier hike. One night, we even cuddled--but neither took the initiative to kiss on this occasion, over a decade after the first lip-locking. And so, after several days of fun, I left him at the airport. And we chatted and texted for subsequent weeks. The topic of our attraction came up and clarified that feelings were, indeed, mutual.

But he's on the other side of the country. So, we'll just wait for his next business trip out here (this month, actually) to see what happens. At the very least, we'll have a fun week together!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy birthday to you...

Ah, birthdays! A time for reflecting on personal growth and current state of life. An event spent with friends and family--those who are most meaningful in our lives. So, when I was sitting at a quaint restaurant with date number 16, I was a little shocked when he mentioned that it was his birthday!

This was date two--which is a little less awkward than date one--but still somewhat uncomfortable. The fact that it was his birthday added to it. He had mentioned his birth date on our first date, and I totally forgot about it. I probably should have brought him a cake--but would that have been awkward? I tried to order a dessert but, since he was really sick (also a strange component to the date), he didn't want to ingest anything too sugary.

As soon he left for the bathroom (for a coughing attack), I gave the waiter my card to pay the bill. But, when the meal ended, I could tell that this made my date very uncomfortable (he is from another culture, where it is unacceptable for women to pay).

And so, I left the date, promising him a home-baked dessert of his choice in the future. And I vowed not to go on early-in-the-relationship birthday dates anymore!

Well...until the following week. I was asked on another 2nd date (different guy, obviously), which entailed celebrating his birthday. The 2nd guy, however, invited his friends and family too. This seemed a little more natural, but also meant I had to exert an extra effort to get to know/impress his loved ones so early in the game.

Is this a new phenomenon in the dating world? My birthday is this month. Maybe I should invite all the guys I have dated, up until now, to celebrate with me. That should be plenty awkward!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Holiday Party

The holiday party for the single girl is an interesting little predicament. It honestly did not even cross my mind that a date hanging from your arm was as necessary as a holiday sweater and I was whacked in the face with a very "Bridget Jone's Diary"-esque scene.

Somehow during the past few years the holiday party has become a couples event, much like the new co-ed baby shower. If the people throwing the party are close friends and you are familiar with the other guests at the party, then no problem. If, however, you must introduce yourself before speaking to a guest - WATCH OUT! You've been pinned as the single girl the moment you walk in the room and don't even think about talking to someone's husband even if you are both from the same small town in the middle of nowhere and had the same kindergarten teacher in 1982. (Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little)

Another little tip for the 2010 holiday party scene if you are a single girl: be forewarned that the one single guy lurking in the background is not a random occurrence. He has been invited expressly for you! Apparently, when single every moment is a good one for finding your next date (no more sweat pants while grocery shopping!). This can turn out to be a very good thing, and it can really start to make a single girl simmer. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely a fan of a friend's date suggestion over a dating site that has never met me. But, as the new year approaches and New Year's Resolutions are made and broken, sometimes all I need is to gather up the girls, pop in "Julie & Julia," bake a cake and just not think about my next date...for at least a couple of hours.