Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Big 4-0

It's official. I've hit 40! Forty dates that is. I realize Coqueta is waaaay ahead of me by now, but I'm still pretty excited about catching up to the half-way mark.

I don't think SG#1 knew that we were on my 40th date, but it was a good one nonetheless. We started out at the Big Picture to see Inception. The Big Picture is a great place to take a date: it has an intimately cozy atmosphere and they take orders for drinks and food to be delivered to your seat while you watch the movie. Although our second round of drinks never actually made it to our hot little hands, the movie was absolutely spellbinding. I couldn't peel my eyes from the screen! If you haven't seen Inception, it is definitely an excellent date movie, especially for a late-night dinner conversation starter - which is what we did next.

It's not surprising (but always appreciated) that SG#1 had reservations for dinner perfectly timed for one after-movie-drink and a jaunt across the street to Black Bottle. I don't know if he was purposely attempting to reinvent my Black Bottle history, (if you remember, my first date with the guy I married in my head was at Black Bottle and I mentioned it was one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle...tricky SG#1!) but it was definitely a 40th-date-night-to-remember: delicious food (although the brie and leek flatbread wasn't as good as I remembered), a super weird waitress and a good mix of funny and serious conversation.

SG#1 and I have been on roughly 20 dates so far and it has been a nice little adventure! Our dinner and a movie date was a good break from our typical drinking with dinos and trapeze flying dates and, of course, SG#1 managed to spice it up with a swanky movie theater and tasty dinner. I think it was time for us to lose ourselves in conversation with "just us" since we spend most of our time working/studying, hanging out with friends and world-traveling.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What's that picture on your phone?!

I had gone on a couple dates with this adventurous guy and we seemed to hit it off quickly! In retrospect, we were probably moving a little too fast, but we ended up spending every free minute together. It was a lot of fun...even though I wasn't completely sure I was 100% emotionally invested.

In just two or three weeks, we had probably been on at least ten dates--everything from rock climbing, to dinners out, to movie nights. And, around that 2-3 week mark, I glanced at his phone that was lying on the coffee table.

Now, I'm not nosy by any means! I'll never snoop through a guy's old text messages, calls or emails. I'm very trusting, and choose men who are honest (as far as I know). But, the phone background caught my eye and I decided to take a closer look.

It was a picture--one that was very familiar actually. Then I realized it was a picture of me! It was rather artistic: black and white, doing a yoga pose on a sand dune in Peru. But, still, we had only been casually dating for a couple weeks! I can't say that I've ever put a picture of a guy as the background of my phone, even when I've been in an exclusive relationship them for over a year.

I asked him about it. He shrugged his shoulders and nonchalantly said, "I saw it on facebook and liked the picture." But, it still felt strange to me! When is this ok?!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cycling Solo vs. Tandem Together

After posting "the DTR," there was a lot of commotion within our circle of friends: oogly eyed text messages, questions about moving in together and if we'd picked a date yet (come on people, it was just the DTR!), as well as countless invitations to dinner to meet the new beau. We accepted an invitation for our first double date with the couple who introduced us: E and the Fiance (Okay, to be fair E and I planned the date while SG#1 was still watching the World Cup in S.A. so he didn't have a clue it was planned 'til he got back).

We met at Barrio, chatted over appetizers, and each couple ordered the sauteed shrimp cazuelas to share (Yum! And yes, we are all copycats). It was fun to catch up and it's exciting to have an instant mini-circle of friends, too! Conversation drifted from camping trips for this summer, our plans for the coming weekend and discussing E and the Fiance's wedding plans for next year. And then it hit me: when does one become part of a couple?

The DTR alone does not determine the frequency that you see your significant other. And simply declaring exclusivity is not a free pass to every event with friends, family and coworkers. So, is there a switch that goes off to turn a relationship from just the two of you to the two of you plus everyone else? When is it that your significant other is automatically invited to every event, dinner and gathering in your calendar? When does "I" become "we?"

It's a funny thing going from solo cyclist to riding tandem, and I'm thinking we still have the training wheels attached at this point. It's exciting though, when you find someone you wouldn't mind riding tandem with, as long as you take turns as "steersman" every once in a while.

He's date #87

No, I haven't reached that number yet (though I'm getting close)! Months ago, I mentioned the blog to a guy I dated while living in Africa. After a few chuckles, he was adamant about being #87. As he lives on the east coast, however, I didn't think this would actually happen.

Then, one day, we were g-chatting and getting a bit sentimental about the good ol' Africa days. He said that he really wanted to see me, and I agreed! We decided we'd reunite over a holiday weekend. That night, he booked a flight to Seattle! (He was quick to remind me that I had a lot of catch-up dating to do before he arrived; I succumbed to the realization that I wouldn't make it to date #87. Instead, the weekend was date #63.)

It had been over 2 years since I had last seen him and I was nervous to pick him up from the airport! Once reunited, however, it was as though no time had passed. We giggled, spoke Portuguese, and reminisced about taking bucket baths and killing chickens for dinner (yea, we're hardcore)!

We took advantage of every free minute the weekend offered--hiking/sledding with friends at Snow Lake, watching playful seals from kayaks on Alki, listening to bands at Folklife, eating meals at ethnic restaurants, getting drinks at bars in various neighborhoods...amongst many other activities. I created many more incredible memories with an amazing person! But, yet, I just wasn't really feeling it.

Maybe it was because I had set up so many expectations: Despite the 8 hour bus ride, we managed to see each other in Africa semi-regularly; undeterred by the 3 hour time difference, we talked almost every week; we have similar life aspirations and feel comfortable together. Meant to be, right?!

But I realized that, for some reason, this wasn't the person with whom I want to spend the rest of my life. And I think he felt the same way.

We still talk, though less frequently. I'll never forget him, or our adventures across different continents. But, the weekend gave us the insight that, perhaps our romantic flame had burnt out, and it's finally time to really move on.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is it a date?! (Part 2)

We went to the bar and ordered drinks. His treat, he insisted. (date clue #1)

As we settled into the sunlit patio at Twilight Exit, we talked about everything from worldly travels to favorite activities around Seattle. At one point, we remembered that the premise of the meeting was to talk about school and to give professional advice. But, once initiated, our conversation quickly drifted away from that topic. (date clue #2)

As we finished our drinks, he asked what else I was doing that afternoon/evening. I know The Rules says a girl should act unavailable, always claiming to have pressing plans and being the first to end the date. But, to hell with the rules, I was having fun! So I told him it was my day to relax, I had nothing else planned.

He asked if I wanted another drink, but I'm not a huge drinker and already felt a little tipsy. I said I only wanted water. And then he remembered I had recently tried paddle boarding. He had access to some boards...Would I like to go? Heck yea! (date clue #3)

Yea, I decided, this is definitely a date.

So, at 7pm, we found ourselves chatting and giggling across the water between our paddle boards, with the sun setting on the west, dusky purple mountains on the east, and brilliant Mt. Rainier to the south. It was breathtaking!

After returning the boards, we decided to stay for drinks. There was a fancy event going on, and we didn't really fit in, dressed in our jeans and t-shirts. Regardless, we found a secluded balcony and played cards while listening to a live band below us.

He remembered he was hungry and invited me to dinner. We choose Palermo, an Italian restaurant on Capitol Hill, and we split a couple tasty (albeit very salty) dishes. He drove me home, emphasizing that he'd like to get together again soon.

I agreed, happily :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Is it a date?! (Part 1)

A few weeks ago, I volunteered at a medical station for the Seattle's Rock & Roll Marathon. Of course, as a dating aficionado, I always have my eyes open for potential matches. And, at that particular event, someone caught my eye.

We talked a little about our educational backgrounds and about what other volunteer activities we are involved in. I told him a bit about the homeless clinic that some of my amazing classmates and I run, and he was intrigued. He wrote his email address on a band-aid and asked me to send him more details.

So, I did. We exchanged a few emails back and forth, mainly about the clinic. But he also said, "If you ever have questions about school or anything at all, feel free to email or call me." Hmm... I've seen He's Just Not that Into You, and I'm not one to over-analyze a situation. But, I figured there might be potential, nonetheless. So, I said it'd be great to pick his brain sometime, and asked if he'd prefer to communicate over email or meet up.

His answer? "Let's meet up"

We both have very busy schedules, so coordinating was a bit of a challenge. Finally, he suggested Twilight Exit for a drink. (FYI, when I mentioned this locale to Looking for a spark, she was less than impressed. But, it was a surprisingly fun atmosphere.)

I got to the door of the bar as he was running out. He asked if I'd mind if he made a quick phone call. He wanted to cancel later plans with someone else, as he had a busy weekend ahead of him. I asked if he really wanted to keep our plans and he said, "Yea, with this, at least I can justify that it's related to school."

That left me continuing to wonder--was this only an informational interview of sorts? Or an actual date?!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Matchmaker Part 3

As planned, we met at the Essential Bakery on a rainy Sunday afternoon. This was probably the "blindest" date I had been on! I heard a little about him from my aunt, who knew his grandparents. But the details were vague (and slightly inaccurate). Of course, I also did some facebook and google research.

As far as I know, he had very limited information on me. Probably even less than I had!

So, I called as I was arriving, and he gave me specific information about where he was sitting in the restaurant. We ordered some lunch and started to chat. As the conversation advanced, I think we both got the sense that we didn't necessarily mesh romantically. I'm not sure if he even realized that it was supposed to be a date--it seemed very platonic.

Final conclusion--we're both very busy with school. I assured him that, if he wanted to do something fun around the Seattle area, I'd be happy to accompany him or give him good ideas. But I felt more like we were cousins than potential sweethearts.

I called my aunt. She was disappointed. But, you can't force love, right?!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Matchmaker Part 2

Some of you loyal readers may recall an entertaining voicemail from my dear, great-aunt. As she commanded, I called him! And it went straight to his voicemail. So, I left an awkward message:
"Hi, my name is.... I got your number from a family member. Please give me a call back at......"
As would be expected, I didn't hear back from him.

My great-aunt called me every couple days, hoping to hear different results. But alas, I always had the same answer for her. Then she started getting serious!
"You need to call him back! You need to tell him about all the things you have in common: you both work in a hospital, you both have traveled, you have family in the same area, you're both just so amazing! You are an assertive person--you just can't take 'no' for an answer!"
Hmm, thanks Auntie, but he might think I'm crazy! I assured her, however, that I would keep trying. I didn't.

Three weeks later, while waiting for a different guy to arrive for a date, my phone started to ring. I looked at the screen and was shocked to see the name! I don't know if my aunt called his grandparents and they decided to take extreme measures, but I got the sense that he knew about the set up!

We talked awkwardly for a few minutes (I'm not a phone person!), and decided to meet up for coffee later in the week!

I called my aunt to report this development and she was more than ecstatic!
How'd the date go? You shall soon find out!