Thursday, October 28, 2010

It’s a small world, Part II: Friends of friends of friends

I met a guy online the other day (yea, yea…no surprise there). After exchanging emails back and forth for a couple weeks, he asked if I’d like to grab coffee. He seemed like an all-around great guy (attractive, just finished law school, plays musical instruments, writes, is well-traveled)….so of course, I agreed to the date.

We met at a bakery near my house (which, of course, was slightly awkward, as usual). And, we started chatting. Here's the first five minutes of the conversation, for your voyeuristic pleasure:

Him: What have you been up to today?
Me: Oh, ya know, cooking for a dinner party tonight.
Him: Yea? What are you making?
Me: Some stuff I’m sure you’ve never heard of—xima and matapa. It will be well appreciated by the Peace Corps volunteers who are coming over for dinner.
Him: No way! My roommate was a Peace Corps Volunteer…in Mozambique.
Me: Uhhhhhhhh…I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique!
I had to wonder—was he lying?! After having been “discovered” the week before, I began pondering how much this guy knew about me. Was he just making things up?! There aren't that many Peace Corps volunteers in the world. Let alone, currently living in Seattle. And Mozambique?! I'd assume that 90% of Americans couldn't even tell you where the country is located!
Me: What’s her name?
Him: Sarah*…do you know her?
Me: No, I’ve never met her, actually. But, as it turns out, she’s coming to my house for dinner with another volunteer who I do know!

How surreal! I meet some random guy for coffee, and then his roommate comes to my house for dinner that night?! Absolutely mind-boggling!

And the date, you might ask? It was enjoyable. We got drinks to go and walked through the Arboretum, chatting about everything and anything. Date 2 is in the stars.

The dinner was yummy too :)

*Names have been changed for anonymity

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It’s a small world Part I: Internet stalkers?

It was just a typical school night and I decided to check my OKcupid account before drifting into the dream world. I noticed that I had received an instant message at some point and opened it up. And then, I felt my jaw drop!

hey there
this may be a random question, but do you blog about your dates?

I needed to know more! But didn't want to blow my spot so early in the game, either. So I responded:
Random question, indeed. I have a friend who blogs about her dates.
Why do you ask?
(Not exactly a lie...but not completely the whole truth, either)

He eventually emailed me back:
I don't need to be a mathemagician to guess the number of people in Seattle who use the alias coqueta and are nursing students (I actually used to be a mathemagician... then I accidentally took the square root of a kid at a party. Horrible horrible tragedy, remainders all over the place. They took away my license after that :-) ).

I forget how I initially found it, but I've been following the 100 dates blog pretty much since the beginning. It's quite entertaining and when I saw your profile I wanted to see if you were one of the local mini-celebrities behind the blog."
Hmm....a funny guy, huh? (And maybe a bit nerdy...who makes algebra jokes?! But, nerdy is good, don't get me wrong) Anyhow, he didn't sound too threatening, so I fessed up.

Then, I asked him how we found the blog:
I suspect I was googling for Seattle date ideas although, I do know one or two of your followers.
I had no idea that we had any dedicated readers (well, besides our closest friends, families and classmates, who feel obligated to humor us in our dating adventures)! Soon after, however, I realized that I could see a map of where our readers were accessing the blog from...and as it turns out, we're an international sensation! Apparently, we have readers in Yemen, UAE, Norway, India, Malaysia, Brazil...AMAZING!!

(FYI--if you're reading this and we don't know it, feel free to become a follower or at least leave a comment!)

Anyway, returning from that tangent, Looking for a Spark (LFAS) and I did eventually talk more in-depth with our quasi-internet stalker. And, as it turned out, he and LFAS actually have some history of a friendship from years past! But, he didn't even know she was the other writer.

I guess Seattle is smaller than I thought!

And, I suppose I need to change my alias on this blog and/or the dating website. Ooops!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Being Judged

When you enter into a new relationship your normal way of doing things is suddenly up for discussion.
“Why are you eating your pizza like that?”
“You’re wearing that to the party?!”
“How many times do you work out during the week?”
“Did you really think that one through?”
Sometimes this is the part of you and him that can either make or break the relationship. And it is also where you and your partner challenge each other to becoming better people – even when all that means is a more civilized pizza eater. Although this is all pretty subjective and seemingly petty, it is the meat of daily conversation and the topic of everyday arguments and, if you and your partner can get through it, you open the doors for the real judging to begin: meeting the friends and family.

Not that I'm keeping a running tally or anything, far out of SG#1's circle I've met a gaggle of friends, two brothers, one sister, one aunt, one uncle and two cousins (did I miss someone?). And with each meeting there is definitely an element of being judged. The perfect neutral location must be chosen, an equally neutral, but personality-revealing (not anatomy revealing) outfit must be worn, and topics of discussion must be selected carefully as to not to offend your newly acquainted member of his inner circle.

The first family member meeting was probably the most nerve-wracking. It was steamy hot outside for Seattle and I changed my clothes about as many times as SG#1 changed the restaurant location. When I finally walked down the stairs of Barrio in Bellevue (I dare you to count the number of times SG#1 and I have eaten at Barrio), I spotted SG#1 and his younger brother – we all matched! Ice officially broken! The conversation and the tequila flowed freely, and it was fun to see SG#1 and his brother tell stories using the same words and gestures, like only brothers can do. And, as the evening drew to a close the only thing left to do was to wait for my review.

Apparently, the review was a good one because I graduated to meeting SG#1’s sister and even, oh so boldly, spending an afternoon with her alone (no SG#1 to referee the girl talk and shameless family story telling). I was also invited to have dinner at SG#1’s aunt and uncle’s house where opening conversation topics ranged from drag queens to premarital bed-sharing – so much for neutral family discussions!! And most recently, SG#1 and I spent an evening at Paddy Coyne’s with his older brother celebrating big career wins with Irish Car Bombs. Now, if you can share Irish Car bombs together then there is only one direction this family meeting train can travel – to Kansas City to meet the parents. (I also have one more brother to meet!) Yes, yes I’m off to the big KC to rub elbows with the very people that raised SG#1. The ultimate judgment day is quickly arriving and, I must say, I have never experienced such a months-of-advanced-anticipation-meet-the-parents weekend as this one will be, so wish me luck loyal blog readers!

And one last shout-out to SG#1 and his friends watching the Notre Dame game in Indiana who, unbeknownst to me, have already met me through pictures and stories from SG#1 – I can’t even imagine what that means in the midst of tailgating – and have already submitted their review of me in the form of my latest nickname: “Hot Miss Size Zero.”

Note to self: never reveal your size to your boyfriend and pre-approve all iPhone pictures.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I'm back!

After almost a month away attempting to save the world in Bolivia (and two months away from the blog) I was a little nervous that SG#1 would forget who I was and start liking the single life again. And to tell you the truth, there was a part of me that started to slip back into my single-girl pants and have a mini-mental-freak-out about being in a serious relationship again. But, as I stepped off the plane at SeaTac International, I got a whoosh of fresh Seattle air in my face and whoosh of butterflies in my stomach signaling the gamut of my mixed emotions... and sheer excitement over seeing SG#1 again!

Luckily, he still remembered what I looked like (crazy airplane hair and all), he pulled the car up to the sidewalk where I was standing and we started loading my way-too-heavy-bags (yes, bags plural) into the car. And it got me thinking. What is it that maintains the connection between two people even when you are a part from each other?

Bolivia's spotty Internet service and almost nonexistent cell phone towers made opportunities for communication few and far between. And with the work I was doing in Bolivia, the poverty I saw, the people I cared for, it felt like I was changing as a person every minute of the day. And SG#1 also had life-changing adventures with old friends while I was away. Yet, here in the airport loading zone, it felt like we hadn't skipped a beat.

It's funny to start to spending a lot of time with one person, it makes me wonder how those couples, married for 65 years, can maintain a solid relationship and still change and mold the person they are as they live their life separately, yet together. Someday maybe those couples will publish a book with their keys to success, the holy grail of marriage. Not that I've married SG#1 in my head or anything, but a long trip away gets a girl thinking, you know?

Interestingly enough, SG#1 admitted to a similar freak-out to mine - a seemingly natural response, I think, when one finally wakes up from the proverbial honeymoon period and realizes there's another person laying next to you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mixin' it up a bit

Since I'm quickly approaching the end of the "100 dates" with no exciting prospect in sight, I decided to be a bit more open-minded about potential matches. And so, when I was contacted by someone who was not really my type AT ALL, I figured, "Why not? What do I have to lose?!"

From his pictures, he looked like he could possibly be attractive (they were taken from a distance--1st warning sign, perhaps). We chatted online for a bit and he suggested meeting for a drink. I offered a counter suggestion of ice cream at Molly Moon's (YUM!!), and he agreed enthusiastically! Just as we were signing off, he threw in one last random comment: "I hope we can talk about our travels. It'd be great if we could get together and travel the world!" (Hmm...haven't even met you yet, dude! Warning sign #2, perhaps?!)

I got to the shop and he was waiting outside (long frizzy hair, pot belly, short stature...the pictures were certainly more flattering). But, I didn't have any other plans for the night...and I was keeping an open mind, right?!

As we stood in the VERY long line, he mentioned that he wasn't going to get ice cream, after all. His mom was in town from India and had cooked a huge meal. Maybe I'd like to come over for dinner sometime soon? (Uhhh...offer to meet the parents so early in the game?! Warning sign #3!)

We approached the counter and I went with his recommendation (balsamic strawberry) in the junior size. He got out his wallet, despite my offers to pay; it was only $2.50. "No," he insisted, as he ostentatiously waved around a $100 bill. Mr. Franklin was certainly not necessary for the menial tab! (Warning sign #4?)
Open mind, open mind, open mind...
We brought our (aka "my") ice cream outside to walk around Cal Anderson Park, and I have to admit, between the dodge ball and BMX jockey tournaments, the people watching was fun! He wanted to keep walking, though. So we talked. And, he was somewhat interesting (well, when he wasn't telling me about test driving a Ferrari or about the BMW he owns...I'm not very materialistic). But, then he went to length, again, about how we should get married and travel together. Has he not gotten the memo that this is NOT appropriate first date discourse?!

At one point on the walk, he mentioned that I intimidate him and he feels like he has to be on his best behavior around me. Then, mid-conversation, he busted out in song:
"Hug me, hug me...get closer and hug me..."
Hmm, I had never heard of that one! If he was hoping his made up lyrics were going to have some sort of subliminal impact, he was quite wrong! All I wanted to do was wrap my arms tighter around myself and take a few steps away. Yikes!

At this point, almost an hour had passed. I decided to inform my Romeo that I was sleepy and had a lot of homework still to do. Straight to the car please!

I bid him good night and he did the same, turning on his heels. BUT WAIT! He decided he wasn't finished and walked back towards me!
"You know, you make me feel so I can't be myself around you! So, I'm going to be myself."
And he came in for the kill! I diverted his target and he kissed my forehead goodnight. Whew...that was a close one!

I jumped in my car and sped off. I think I'll be sticking with "my type" from now on!