The climbing gym scene for instance, as incestually wonderful as it may be for many of us, holds a VERY close knit group of people together through trust building exercises that include holding others lives in belay, placing gear that your partner will fall on, and dating your best friend's ex-girlfriends. Lot's of great people, all of whom have kissed at one time or other.
And then there's my work place, which given my affection for mathematics, has only to rival Star Wars conventions and checkers tournaments as the worst possible places to find attractive people.
So given those rather limited options, Match.com came to the rescue. And now the story starts.
As a 29 year old neophyte to the whole dating scene, I was pretty interested to explore. Match.com made it easy. They simply send you pictures of pretty girls and you can start emailing them immediately. All of these gals have profiles which you must read so you can take your best guess at applying an appropriate crazy factor, for who can claim sanity for pursuing dating in this manner you know? Anyway, a few emails later, you're sitting in a coffee shop across from a total stranger who is usually dressed to impress. There's a fatal flaw in this set up though. You skip so much of the "get to know you" process by starting out on a date. It's like rapid fire romance that can feel like being in a paintball war where the other team has you pinned down and you have no escape...that is, unless you know the secrets, which I will reveal.
My first date after the lion attack came about while I was on a road trip in May. It was with an adorable ex-Mormon gal named Meredith that I met at a dog washing parlor (I'm actually serious, well, besides the lion attack). Sure, this goes against the grain, she wasn't found online, but this May date set the tone for much of my future dating through the fall. She came in the store and set up next to me to wash her dog while I was cleaning Buddy after a muddy mountain bike ride. I instantly noticed her adorable qualities and formed a plan: be social, make her laugh, then when the time is right, ask her to show you around Salt Lake City. The first part of my plan went well and I even made her laugh. I was talking to her so much that I think I must have washed 3 bottles of shampoo off of Buddy. Then when she was done I was presented with the perfect opportunity to ask her out, which I totally froze on. I watched her walk away. However, she came right back because she forgot her dog brush and I seized the opportunity. She said, with a little hesitation at my voice cracking question about the SLC guided tour, "Sure."
We walked our dogs while she was talking about all sorts of things, including her favorite restaurant in SLC. I said that I'd like to take her there and she said that she would drive. So we hopped in her car...
Seriously, 45 minutes later, we had driven around SLC at least 4 times passing the same buildings each lap. If you ever want me to show you the major temple in SLC, I have it's location dialed in! I eventually asked, "do you have any idea where you are going?" She said that she did, but I ended up calling a friend after our 6th lap. My friend gave us directions and we finally arrived.
Over dinner, Meredith says, "I have to apologize for taking so long to find this place. I was so high that I could not think. Sorry." I came to find out that ever since Meredith left her husband (who is still her husband according to the Mormon church), she's kind of been on a partying kick. Nice girl, but I left for Boise right after our date ended.
While on the road, I arranged to meet a match.com gal from Eugene, Oregon named Karla. I'd spoken to her enough to know that she was a wonderful gal, but I made a huge error: without having met her, I invited her to join me for the entire weekend at Smith Rocks. What was I thinking?! I guess that we got along so well on the phone that I didn't even consider the potential pitfall of inviting her out for the weekend. Talk about no escape. I was incredibly lucky though. She was an amazingly cool gal and we got along great. Instant friend. She's now moving to Denver and is becoming a good friend. So this story is a happy story.
My third date was exciting at first. She was a beautiful gal named Becky. Her pictures on match.com did not do any justice for her beauty. So when she showed up at the coffee shop, I was happily surprised. I found her witty and fun. Our first date was great and we continued talking that week. I was racing in Breck that weekend, so I invited her up to stay with me at my friends house near by. That Friday night, I threw my usual suburban gangsta lingo out to her in a text message. Nothing big, I just ended a comment with "yo." Her response was, "stop saying 'yo'." To which I replied, "get over it." This prompted her to literally yell and scream at me in a conversation later that night. The next day she apologized for going crazy and said that was really unusual for her. I quickly forgave her and she later came up to join us all for the weekend. Next week, I told her that I needed to take a phone call from a friend while we were talking and she then ended our relationship via text message to say, "that really frustrated me. This isn't working out. Have a good life." Wild, eh? I called her back and she came at me again with the yelling and screaming. So, peace, I'm out. On to the next one.
My fourth date was with Jana, an ex-Arena footbal cheer leader from match.com. When she bounced out of her rather shinny Acura SUV and started cooing with Buddy while wearing a top that showed her sizable charm quite well, I couldn't help but be turned on while at the same time wanting nothing to do with that feeling. I had planned a dog walk with a tour of the park after grabbing some chai. After the first 30 minutes of our conversation, I knew this was going nowhere fast, but I have to admit that she was pretty in to me and I, well, I was enjoying the attention. Literally 45 mins into our date, she says, without dawning a smile, "Brian, if you ever want to pro-create, but just don't feel like you can handle the responsibility, I would happily bear your children just to pass on the genes for your curly hair." That one took wind out of my lungs and threw a huge smile on my face. All I could say was, "Wow. No one has ever said that to me before." At 1:00 am, we were still talking (the chai had caffeine! I had only planned for this date to last an hour). When I walked her to her car, I hugged her and said goodbye, but she wouldn't look me in the eyes. I asked why, but without an answer she kissed me with the most succulent collagen injected lips that you could imagine. This came after I had told her that I don't kiss on the first date earlier that evening. We have spoken a few times since, but no second date in our future.
I started to get bored towards the end of this dating cycle and I really wanted my friends to share more fully in the creation of these unique stories. Godfrey came up with the idea that I should have folks sit next to me on a date to listen in. Well, my next date, that's exactly what happened. Char and Nate showed up (as planned) at the start of my date with Tommi, a fundamental Christian gal who said "like" more than was necessary. She was really a sweet gal from South Dakota, close to where Nate is from. When Nate sat down, I started making fun of my friend from South Dakota saying things like "He thinks he's good at wrestling, but I always kick his ass." So Nate turns to us and says, "Hey are you guys from South Dakota?" While Char and I are smiling so big it hurts, Nate and Tommi start talking about life in the Dakota's. That convo was short lived and shortly there after Tommi was telling me her story about how Christ changed her life. At the table next to us, Char starts a conversation that I can clearly hear about how "She would never date a math teacher", and then they both proceed to make fun of me with several inside jokes. I wanted to laugh so loud that my stomach hurt, but Tommi was in the middle of a very serious explanation of Christ. I couldn't help but smile...Tommi smiled back because I think she didn't know what else to do. The date ended shortly there after. No future plans, just a nice farewell and good wishes.
Since then, I have gone out with Roxanne who worked at a lumber distributor company and had some Aerosmith that I had to listen to when I called her, Jenny who was a super motivated entrepreneur in Boulder that probably didn't dig my 16 hour work week nor dedicated climbing schedule, and a few other gals that were uneventful including Katie who does "nothing" for fun. I've been emailed by username "PamCakes" who said she was 25 and had tata's the size of basketballs. I also got an email from some gal who detailed all the things that she would do to me in the bedroom including a note that she was very into role playing. But in the end, none of these worked out.
My friends, the first secret to online dating is to meet somewhere like a coffee shop WITHOUT any dinner plans. That way, you have an exit plan built into the date. The second secret to online dating is this: don't do it unless you view it as some live comedy skit that you're playing a part in creating.