twentyONE

I walked into the ghost town that apparently is Bar Abilene on a Wednesday night. Furtively glancing around for Mr. Tonight, I stomped my booted feet and clapped my mittened hands to warm up. The host brought me around to David, a fantastically large-shouldered man of average height with a crop of curly hair and bushy eyebrows (not dissimilar to a young Eugene Levy).

To be honest, I wasn’t in the mood to be on a date. I wanted to get to the gym for a good, sweaty, mindless run and then plop on the couch with the latest from Qwikster Netflix. But, there I was, outfitted in my wear-on-lazy-days cotton dress, Target-purchased scarf and zippered leggings, eyeing up the apps menu for something non-greasy and attempting to disguise my flat-as-heck hair. David ordered a glass of cab and we got down to the business at hand: determining how Bar Abilene was possibly still profitable with such scant patrons. Must be all those wild, post-college kids, drinking loaded beers and dancing on the weekends that keep the lights on. (Surely, this never was me.)

That conversation topic was quickly exhausted and we turned to the inevitable — talkin’ ’bout jobs. David, it turns out, works as a consultant to the banking industry. Basically, he powwows with banks on how to increase profits. This includes such popular strategies as wielding an ever-changing rulebook and slapping consumers with a large variety of debit fees (which, by and large, prompted the Facebook-led Bank Transfer Day that urged citizens to switch to not-for-profit credit unions). Oh BOY, that was a fun discussion.

After our goat-cheesed black bean dip arrived, we engaged in typical first-date chatter — where you went to school, what you do outside of work, the places to which you’ve traveled, what your house/apartment is like, how many siblings you have, etc. David was an entirely decent guy who regularly volunteered, loved his family and probably was in the a habit of holding the door open for the infirm and elderly, but the conversation was like day-old soda — a bit on the flat side. For example, David said he was an avid reader and I excitedly asked for his favorite books to add to my “to read” list on goodreads. However, he didn’t come up with a single recommendation. Not one! Lamefest ’99, dude.

Luckily, we stumbled on a few things we had in common — annoyance at not yet dining at Tilia, inability to tolerate gun-sluggin’ rap while enjoying a smarter iteration a la Atmosphere, and a mutual love of NYC (he had lived there for half a decade).

We kept talking, albeit aimlessly, until the darn waitress finally wandered over with the check. Upon paying, we bundled into our respectively puffy jackets and headed out into the chilly Uptown night. When it came time to part, he asked if I was up for doing this again. Like a good little girl, I was really brave and told him that I had a good time, but wasn’t interested in a second date. (I think it was more along the lines of “I’m actually okay… . . . but it was fun,” which is a super lame way to decline, but I still felt a bit proud about being fully honest in the moment.) He totally took it in stride and we shook our again-mittened hands. It was quite frigid in the cloudless night, so I skipped my way back to the car, humming a little ditty and hoping there was an open treadmill at the gym.

###

Math!

Slim Pickins

Defined by Urban Dictionary as “almost no choice of chicks/dudes to date in a certain group of people,” I am totally owning this phrase right now. After having politely clarified that I preferred quality over quantity (in addition to my dates being generally good-looking [too much to ask?] and not almost 40), I haven’t been matched in two weeks. To counter this lull and entertain myself, I decided to brush up on my dating etiquette compliments of The It’s Just Lunch Guide to Dating. It’s an interesting read from the folks who live and breathe the subtleties of dating and have seen more than one neurotic lady grace their hallways. Heretofore follows a list of rules I am repeatedly breaking:

  • Height preference: Guilty! Yes, I have surreptitiously crossed someone one off my proverbial list if I deemed them too short. The dating guide details a study where 77 out of 79 women admit they wouldn’t date a man shorter than them — and instead of making a case for the vertically challenged men of the world, I think the research is more indicative of a genetic preference with which women are hard-wired. We survive if we have the big, strong, manly hunter by our gathering side, right?
  • High heels: “Guys love gals in sky-high heels, but wedges don’t count.” What? Lame. 
  • Widening my scope: According to the experts, I shall not be turned off because of occupation, income, fitness level, hair color, hobbies, musical taste, boldness or lack thereof. Okay, fine. But if the guy is out of shape, listens to KS95, can’t manage his income (or lack thereof), likes to tie-dye in his free time and is as shy as a mouse, we aren’t a match! If you aren’t taking care of yourself physically, financially, etc., I think this speaks to larger issues I care not to touch with a ten-foot pole. See also “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Double fail.
  • Strike a pose: I’ve isolated the problem—Note to self: Must pose more.
  • Tardiness: This sends out a negative message, per the dating gods. But how am I supposed to make a swooping grand (and perfectly posed) entrance if the guy isn’t even there?

Luckily, there are a few rules I am correctly following — telling it like it is (triple points!), and being proactive, enthusiastic and, most importantly, myself. According to It’s Just Lunch, other successes include: tousled hair (it counts even if the look is due to a lack of taming time); smiling lots; not wearing really tight pants or ordering spaghetti; and — I think this is the clincher — not jumping too quickly into “sexy talk.”

Admittedly, I have some refining to do in terms of my reproach approach. If I were to poll my therapist, hair stylist, career coach, matchmaker and masseuse — obviously, some of the most important people in my life — they would undoubtedly say an attitude adjustment is in order. Although, I will still console myself with soothing “don’t settle!” self-pats to my back.

I may also be looking in all of the wrong places. Based on my limited experience, there are some terrible places to meet single men — the gas station, Bed, Bath & Beyond, the DMV, weddings and concerts featuring female singers. Super awesome spots to snag a tall drink of water: the Minneapolis lakes area, Half-priced Books, Target Field, my favorite antiques shop, First Ave after The National concert or a friend’s BBQ. Maybe I will stake out one of these fruitful locales and prowl for potentials, setting up a booth for any man interested in organic lemonade and/or taking a short survey. Inquiries may or may not include:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, tell me how fantastic you think farmers’ markets are.
  2. Bill Bryson, Dave Eggers, Ayn Rand, Orson Scott Card and Simon Winchester belong to what category of careers?
  3. Do you generally like or love prime numbers?
  4. Do you own any Ed Hardy apparel?
  5. When is the last time you talked to your mom?
  6. If given the choice, would you rather watch Arrested Development/It’s Always Sunny or MTV/Spike TV?
  7. Tell me about the relationship between you and your car.
  8. Please expound on your talents in spider-killing.
  9. Do you think it’s impossible to love your dog too much? Please explain.
  10. Do your friends love you as much as you absolutely love them?

…but I shall not limit my scope too much.

Striking a confident-yet-approachable stance pose after a long weekend at the cabin, it’s just me and my dirty-from-Spicy-Doritos keyboard, obsessively listening to James Vincent McMorrow and Dan Wilson, updating my queue on Netflix (hello, “Dexter” Season 5!) and paging through my worn copy of The Fountainhead. My GMAT prep books are collecting dust in the corner as I soak up the last rays of summer, but I am blissfully happy. Despite my tendency towards snarkiness, I am blessed with fanfrickintastic friends, an amazing family, a fulfilling job with wonderful coworkers and a safe and comfortable place to lay my head. I’m taking a slight repose to strip myself of pre-judgments, common dating mistakes and the extra calories I’ve consumed from all of those old-fashioned doughnuts and French fries. I shall return ready to take on the next adventure in the quest to find the ultimate partner with whom to share a bountiful life.

For more harrowing dating escapades, check out My Brief OkCupid Affair with a World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player. (Language is PG-13.)

And, as it turns out, I do have a few dates on the horizon… more play-by-play action coming soon!