Saturday, November 26, 2011

Date 2: Grab those dancin' shoes!

A dancer, he says. I was a little dubious. I've cut a rug with many guys and few are really stellar on the dance floor. Most really just bounce around awkwardly. Not to say I'm a phenomenal dancer, by any means! I'm actually pretty bad at following a rhythm. If I have a good leader, however, I can fake it somewhat; wimpy leaders are a pet peeve of mine.

And so, he picked me up for a night of live music at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant in historic Pioneer Square. With glasses of wine in hand, we headed closer to the music. No one was dancing. Eventually, however, we made sure that changed. He pulled me up from my chair and held me tight, sensually swaying to the music. Once we got comfortable with each other's dancing style, he started breaking out the big guns: dizzying spins, dips, and other fancy footwork. Wow. He was good...REALLY good!

We'd work up a sweat, sit down to sip on our wine, chat with our crazy neighbors at the next table--an overly loquacious southern woman and her pirate-patched partner--and hop back up for more. With each song, we found ourselves closer and closer. With each dip, our noses inched nearer, warm breaths on each other's necks, until it seemed impossible not to kiss.... but, a kiss didn't happen!

At least not on the dance floor.

He drove me home and stopped in front of my house. We reached to hug goodbye and, like magnets, were drawn into each other's embrace, sealing it with a kiss. Nothing awkward, like first kisses tend to be--completely natural and genuine. The perfect end to an amazing night!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Date 1: Breakfast

I woke up wondering how many dates I'd been on in Seattle. Too many. I got dressed but hardly cared what I was wearing. I waited until the last possible moment to leave, turned the ignition, my car started...and then it stopped. Great. I texted Mr. 99% about the situation. He was already waiting at the restaurant. Fantastic. I thought about cancelling altogether...but at the last moment, my engine revved up and I figured, "what's one more."

I got to Beth's Cafe in Greenlake a good half hour late...oops! But, there he was, still waiting. We started chatting....and there wasn't any of that 1st date awkwardness! He didn't ask me those standard 1st date questions, thankfully! We talked, and flirted, and bantered, and joked, and...the waiter came by to kick us out. There was a wait for our table.

"Well," I told him, "I was just going to walk around the lake..."

And so he joined. He wowed me with his stories of salsa dancing in Cuba, mesmerized me with tales of ballooning across beautiful landscapes. Who does those things?! Certainly no one I had dated up to that point! I was even shocked to find out that he had done a dating challenge of his own!

He began glancing at his watch, not-so-covertly. He had somewhere to be. "Another date to get to?" I wondered.* We said our goodbyes. He enthusiastically remarked that he had a lot of fun and would like to meet again later in the week. I casually agreed.

We parted ways. And once he was out of earshot, I immediately called my best friend. And maybe my sister. Maybe someone else too. Uh oh. Finally, a first date I had enjoyed!! I told them all about it! They all remarked that it was the first time that I had actually sounded excited about someone. They were right.

I nonchalantly gossiped for the duration of the stroll. Around the final curve, I glanced behind me and some woman smiled, obviously eavesdropping. I began getting a little paranoid...did she know this unique guy who I couldn't stop talking about?! If he ended up hearing about my excitement, it might ruin my game! So much for keeping it casual! I hung up the phone and decided to get Mr. 99% out of my head for a while. It was time to wait. He wouldn't have expressed his excitement if he didn't mean it, right?!

*Note: Indeed, I found out later that he was heading to another date. In all, he had 3 that day. Sounds oddly something I may have done before...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One last try...

So, I finished the blog. And I was still single. I thought about writing off dating altogether. But then life got boring….so that didn't last too long. I met guys here and there; all were nice enough. Fun to pass time with—museum visits, coffee, dinner dates—but nothing phenomenal. I was about to give up when I decided to try one last trick. On OkCupid, I searched for my “highest match.” When someone came up as 99%, I figured I might as well see what he was all about.

“Goodcab” was his code name. Cute pictures, an interesting profile (dances, owns a hot air balloon, travels, cooks), recently moved to Seattle, unique dealbreakers (girls over 5’5’’, not taking antidepressants)…

And so I wrote:

“Welcome to Seattle. You're still quite a newbie! I came across your profile when searching for people with whom I have a high "match percentage" and didn't know it was even possible to get 99%! Anyhow, you seem like an interesting guy and it sounds like we've been to similar parts of the world. Where in S. America? Cuba's on my bucket list.

The bad news? I'm only 5'4''...but did ok on the dance floor at salsa night yesterday. The plus side, though, is that I'm not on anti-depressants (and never have been). I tend to prescribe them a lot though. ”

A few days later, he responded:

“Wow 99 percent. I am always surprised when it says I am 42 percent enemy with people. :-). You seem awesome as well and would love to meet you. I like meeting people in person as well. What's your schedule this weekend? Feel free to give me a call. 555-555-1212.”

Mmmm…I like that! I’d gotten sick of exchanging endless emails and so, we set up a breakfast date for that weekend.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I may have won the lotto...

A tear is running down my cheek and I feel a little sick to my stomach as I write the final post of the 100 dates blog.

100 dates.

We did it!

I learned a lot about myself dating so many different people (well, I guess Coqueta wins on number of people dated) and it was a good experiment in being open to new possibilities and to lots of awkward moments. As you all know I spent 80 of my 100 dates with SG#1, who was introduced to me on my 29th birthday at a bonfire at Golden Gardens. He knew about the blog from the friends that introduced us and promised me the best date of my life. Well, 79 dates together later we were celebrating my 100th date, our 80th date and, coincidentally and quite perfectly fairytale-like, SG#1’s birthday.

Unlike my birthday almost exactly six months before, December 12th was a rainy, frigid day in Seattle, and I was packing my bags for a trip to Australia to visit friends and (so I thought) to enjoy the southern hemisphere’s summertime weather. I was also packing my little VW Golf full to the brim with supplies for SG#1’s birthday surprise and praying to the rain gods to turn off their incessant faucet of rain long enough to complete it. “I’m not even asking for sun,” I pleaded, “ just one hour of dry, gray skies!”

The rain gods must have had ear buds in listening to Led Zeppelin's rain song because it poured rain all day long. I picked up SG#1,donning galoshes, rain jacket and hat – not a very sexy birthday celebration outfit for sure. I had forewarned SG#1 of the apparel requirements and he was skeptical and guarded as he got into the car. A quick pit stop at Starbuck’s for two hot chocolates and we were off to Golden Gardens to re-live the moments we shared the first night we met.

When the car pulled up SG#1 didn’t want to get out. I was trying to keep a positive attitude because I wanted his birthday to be as special as mine, but my heart sunk when I saw the look on his face. There was nothing I could do about the rain – he was just going to have to change his attitude. So I unloaded the car: camping chairs, wood for the fire, a blanket, S’mores ingredients and Bailey’s for the hot chocolates. As we started to walk to the beach to claim a fire pit a gust of wind dumped a sheet of rain on our heads and SG#1 voiced his doubt over building a fire in the rain.

“It’s okay, you were an Eagle Scout. We’ll figure it out,” I yelled over the crashing waves while tripping over wet sand.

It was getting more and more difficult to keep a chipper attitude as my hair frizzed and my wool hat started to smell like a flock of wet sheep. There were four fisherman in their orange coveralls building a fire in another pit, roasting the day’s catch and drinking from flasks.

If they could do it, we could do it.

Eventually the fire caught on, the rain lifted to a gentle mist and the sky brightened our spirits (or maybe it was the Bailey’s) just long enough to roast marshmallows and recount the night we met. We laughed about first impressions and second thoughts, our first date, meeting each other’s friends and families, and talked about what the future might hold. A little shaky in the beginning, but all-in-all a fun and adventurous birthday surprise for SG#1. I also surprised him with a peanut butter ice cream cake at his friend’s holiday party later that night (partly to make up for making him stand in the rain for two hours) and we had breakfast the next morning at Toulouse Petit and sat at the bar (the site of our first-date drinks), before I hopped on a plane and started my adventure down under.

Well, that was it.

100 dates.

And I hit the jackpot. I met the most amazing person with which I’ve ever spent 80 dates. I could say it was because I bought a toaster for two on sale at Macy’s when mine broke, or because at date number 19 I decided to feng shui my room for love or because it was time or fate or just because. But, for whatever reason, I’m really happy I opened my heart to love. It’s Valentine’s day tomorrow, and I’m excited to spend a low-key night with SG#1 making dinner together – something red, and lovey-dovey, anyone have a good idea for dinner? Perhaps you’ll find the recipe of what we make on a new blog (still under construction)…much to SG#1’s dismay for sure.

Well, as SG#1 likes to say, I may think I have won the lotto, but my ticket hasn’t quite been cashed in. I’m hoping, though, that we have hundreds of more dates together.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The end of an stats

One hundred dates. That's no small feat! As fun as dating is, it takes a lot of time and energy. And when you add a blog to the equation, it almost becomes a full time job! While I have documented almost half of my dating adventures, some of the encounters will have to be left to memory (or erased from my brain as quickly as possible).

To finish up my blogging tenure, I thought it'd be fun to look at the numbers of the project. So, here is a brief outline of what my past year (and change) entailed:
  • Dates I went on: 100
-Individual guys: 39
*Johns: 7
*Michaels: 3
*Matts: 2
  • Number of guys I've been on more than one date with: 19
  • Most “official” dates with one guy: 13
  • Number of guys I've kissed: 11
  • Number of guys who met my family: 5
  • Number of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (4) or world travelers (23)
-Total: 27
  • Guys born in another country: 5
  • Restaurants dined at: 54
-Genres of food: Japanese, Italian, Thai, Indian, Diner/American, Spanish, Ethiopian,breakfast, French, Mediterranean, Mexican, Northwest/seafood, Vietnamese, El Salvadorian, Fast food, Nicaraguan, Chinese, Vegetarian
-Fanciest locale: Maximilien
-Least fancy: McDonald's
  • Bars visited: 22
  • Home cooked meals: 10
  • Ice Cream dates: 4
  • Cafés: 6
  • Activity dates: Helicopter Ride, EMP/SFM, SAM, Pacific Science Center, water taxi, Pike Place Market, ferry ride, play at 5th Avenue Theater, picnic, roller derby, aquarium, zoo, bar trivia, Bodies Exhibit, Jazz bar, easter egg dying, Study dates
  • Sporty dates: rock climbing, skiing, hiking, kayaking, jogging, paddle boarding
  • Parks visited: arboretum, Greenlake, South Lake Union park, Volunteer Park, Marine View Park, Alki Beach
  • Movies watched: 13
That's a brief intro. I've received other stat requests...which unfortunately I don't remember right now. But, feel free to write in with your statistic query and I'll try my best to let you know more details!

And so, now, the question remains....what does the romantic future hold for me?! The answer? I DON'T KNOW!

Dating has been fun...but I'm ready to settle down into something more serious and consistent. Unlike my blogging counterpart, however, I haven't found anyone with whom I feel a real connection. A wise friend (pseudo date #87) advised me that I can't force love (duh) but to just keep doing what I love, and good things will happen. And so, dear readers, keep your fingers crossed for me as I go on my blogging hiatus :)

In the meantime, I was offered a date for dinner and skiing in Colorado... We'll see if we can ever make it happen!

Thank you, dear friends, for your support and encouragement during this project! It was a lot of fun and I've made some valuable friendships through the process!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A little lesson in open communication

Months ago I received an e-mail from school asking if I would like to sign up for free tickets to the upcoming Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. What kind of question is that?! Of course I want free tickets (to almost anything). I signed up for two tickets, wrote it in my calendar and between long days of clinical and just plain old long days, completely forgot about it.

Soon it was time for a date night and SG#1 planned a surprise. I wrote the date in my calendar and noticed it fell on the same night as the free tickets I had reserved. “Oh well,” I thought,” I’ll just give the tickets to someone else and go on my merry way with my surprise date!”

The rainy Tuesday rolled around and I raced home from school to change into something date-like and hopped in the car with SG#1. We had a quick bite at Japonessa and, in true SG#1 style, he waited until the food came to spring the surprise on me. Little did I know, SG#1, even during the busiest of days at work, had reserved (and paid in full) two tickets to the very same exhibit, the very same night, for our surprise date.

Erg. (Uneasy squiggly line face.)

I felt bad. And I think he saw it in my face.

“What is it, you don’t want to go? Bad sushi?”

“No, it’s just that I had free tickets to the Picasso exhibit and I canceled them for the surprise date. Sorry!”

Not that there was anything we could do about it then, but I guess as much fun as surprises are, there’s always room for a little thought and a little communication. Our lives get so busy it’s easy to get caught up in the rush and forget to slow down and talk. Oops.

The exhibit was fun regardless. Firsts are always interesting with someone you’re dating. You know, first kisses, first cooking fiascos, first trips, and first museum visits. Although I may seem like a thoughtful, artsy fartsy from the outside, and I like to enjoy a good exhibit as much as the next girl on a surprise date, give me an elbow-to-elbow crowded exhibit hall and I can get through that maze of oil paintings, aluminum sculptures and hand drawn scratch notes quicker than you can say Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso (Pablo’s real name, no joke!). And it was like a breath of fresh air after a sweaty museum hall to find out SG#1 has a similar art-viewing style.