Monday, February 18, 2008

1st Dates

I am in a dating mode of mind, so I thought I would post below the two of the worst first dates I've ever been on. The first one was both a first and LAST date and the second one was the first date in a pretty long relationship.

OK, so don't laugh, but I worked at a potato factory when was in college. It was one of the temp agencies placements and my first night there I was reveling in the excitement of making sure the hashbrown machine didn't get clogged by poking it with a stick from time to time. I would break up my time with an occasional sweep around the machine while making sure I dodged the shooting streams of hot water that would burst out at boiling temperature from time to time. As if that job wasn't fun enough, a kind of awkward guy came up and asked me out. I didn't know how to say no, so I I said yes, then pretended to be busy and avoided him the rest of my shift. I went home at 8:00 am, secure in the knowledge that he hadn't been able to get my number. Surprise of surprises, he calls the next day, having gotten my number from somewhere, and I hesitantly say yes. He says he'll pick me up at six and we'll figure out what we're going to do then.
I realize that this date could be quite a waste of a delightful Friday night, so I decide to take charge. I get all my roommates together and instruct them to get dates. Within fifteen minutes their little black books are put away and they all have dates. Then we plan together and come with the idea to go out and go night rock climbing. There is a great spot about 20 minutes away and we can bring firewood and smores and head lamps.
So, my date shows up on time and we ambush him with the idea. I think he liked the idea of not having to pay for anything, and not having to think up anything, but not really the idea of rock climbing. (He was on the heavier side.)
So we go and everyone is having this great time, we're eating roasted sweet potatoes from the fire, we're climbing at night and chatting and playing games, but (I don't even remember his name! We'll call him Jose.) but Jose keeps pulling me aside into the darkness to try and get some alone time. I'm not really up for that and so the night ends without him getting the chance to try for a kiss. He asks me as he drops me off back at my house if he can call me again, and like a doofus, I say, "Ummm, sure." (I'm no longer this chicken about dating, this was four or five years ago.)
The next day I get home and see a note for me, someone named Sandy has called me twice. Hmmmmm, I don't know a Sandy, so I ignore it. Then I get the dreaded call from Jose. But he doesn't want me to go on another date, no, he wants me to lie to his wife for him. He says she found my number in his car and wants to know what happened. He told her that he only had my number from work, and we never saw each other. I was pretty flabbergasted at his audacity.
So I hang up without making any promises and in the next few seconds Sandy calls me back. She sounded like a pretty with-it girl, so I don't know why she was so stupid. I told her the truth, that we had gone out, but i wasn't interested in seeing him again, and she told me this whole long story about how he has done this before and how they have a daughter together and then she started getting really mad, as though it was my fault that he had asked me out. As though I should have given him a background check before going out with him.
Anyhow, I hung up and and that was the last of Jose and my little attempt to break up the Gomez family.

This next date happened in Ecuador. I had met a Korean guy named Chan-He at the school I went to to learn Spanish. Since I had lived in Korea for a year, we had struck up a conversation and liked talking. So then he asked me on a date, and I was pretty pumped about it. We decide to go see "The Departed," which is playing at the movie theater just a ten minute walk from my house. So he picks me up and we start walking. We both know that Quito is not a safe city. But it is still dusk and we can walk and talk on the way there and take a taxi back home once it is properly dark. As we are walking I am talking about how two guys tried to mug me in the very park we are walking past, and he scoffs at me, "Yo llegue aqui hace ocho meses, y nunca he tuve problemas." (Or something like that, I don't remember exactly and his Spanish was better than mine is.) My Korean was pretty crappy, and his English was nothing to write home about, so we communicated in Spanish) Basically, he said, "I've been living here for eight months, and nothing has ever happened to me."
So, if you want to take a guess at what happens next. Yep, I turn around and see two big guys walking quickly towards us. I have enough time to grab Chan-He's arm and say his name before the guys are between us. The smaller guy takes me and tries to pull my bag out of my arms. This is something that I will NOT let happen. My passport is in this bag. But at first I am so stunned I don't do anything except clutch my bag tighter and back away. After a few seconds I come to my senses and start fighting back and screaming. The mugger is in the process of trying to rip my watch off my arm at this point, and I kick him pretty hard, (good old Tae Kwon Do lessons) and he backs off. And his pal joins him. It was pretty terrifying in every way. Especially because that day a friend of a friend had gotten stabbed for resisting a mugging. So, I was pretty shook up, and Chan-He comforted me and calmed me down and hugged me....and in only a few short days we were officially dating.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Heath Ledger Died Today.

(I saw this on "Fathom_Works" journal posted on (yes, believe it.) It affected me, and he said I could post it here.)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Online Dating! Yea!

So, I did it. I joined an online (free) dating service. I haven't made many friends here at school, and I know I haven't been here this long, but I'm already tired of weekends sitting at home working ahead on my homework. And as most of my fellow students are drastically younger or older than I am, or female, it looks unlikely that I will meet many potential dates from there. I have been getting involved in the community and I start work in a few weeks, and hope to make friends through that, but what I really want is someone to go out with on a Friday night. Someone to dress up for and a reason to put makeup on, and the excitement of going out on a date. And sooner rather than later.
So, I signed up for this dating service. Apparently it is hugely popular. There are hundreds of people signed up for it within ten miles of where I live and thousands once you count 45 minutes away from where I live.
So, I've set up my little profile and put some photos of myself on, and even taken the personality tests and checked out the people I match most closely with, and rather than learning things about other people, I'm learning things about myself. And not nice things either.
As much as I hate the Millionaire Matchmaker, and her emphasis on looks, on hair and clothes, and her insistence that we live in a visually driven society, I can't debate it. And my best arguments that it will continue to be a visually driven society until we stop making it that way fall by the wayside as I click past the men that don't strike me in some way visually.
I want to meet people who know that what's on the inside is most important, people who will look at the real me. People that scoff at the importance society puts on appearance. And while maybe those people exist, I have learned that I'm not one of them.
Plenty of nice, respectable, funny guys have sent me messages on the service. After a perfunctory glance through their profile, I usually delete their messages without even a reply back. And to be 100% honest, it doesn't really even matter how witty or original their profile is, the deal was made or broken on the photo. Sure it matters to me what they’re doing in their photo. A guy rock climbing is more attractive to me than a guy in his favorite basketball jersey, all other things being the same. But the most important thing was (and always will be, at least on dating sites) looks.
I look through their photos and discard them because they are 1)-too boring 2)-too ugly 3)-too fat 4)-too anything else I don't like. And if, again, I'm being 100% honest with myself, number 1 should be number 3, because looks are more important than boringness, I just hated to put that first.
I hate that I put so much importance on looks. I've always thought that it was "other people" that were superficial and shallow. I guess that's either not true, or I have become an “other person.”
With the utmost respect to my ex-boyfriends, who have all been kind, respectable, funny, exciting, smart, great guys, I wouldn't have given most of them a second glance if I had seen their profiles on a dating service. And then I would have missed out on meeting some of the best people I have ever known, because of the value I place on looks.
What I have loved about past boyfriends hasn't been their jaw line or trim stomach, it's been their humor, their spontaneity, their ability to challenge me, to make me try to be a better person, and their efforts to give me experiences that I wouldn't have had on my own. And 90% of them, I started off not attracted to them in the least, but grew to be attracted to them through our friendship.
So, what do I do? Option 1)-Online dating/matchmaking is not for me. Not a big deal, go back to meeting guys the old fashioned way, which has worked perfectly well in the past. That way I can get to know a guy and rate him based on the whole package, rather then a photo and a blurb about themselves. 2)-Ignore my initial desire to click past people because their physical aspect doesn't appeal to me 3)-deal with the fact that while I'm not a "Real Housewife of Orange County," looks do matter to me, and it is a visually driven society, and that I am more superficial than I thought. And maybe that isn't the worst thing in the world.