I had another first with Tadd, my second first date in Chicago. After a lingering brunch at an Italian cafe (think every stereotype of Italy prominently spewed onto the walls, flooring, lighting fixtures, and yes, even in the bathroom sink), we piled into the Fit for what I assumed would be a quick trip back into town.
Well, contrary to this Californian’s belief, rush hour in Chicago starts at 1:00 p.m. sharp and might never actually end. Stop-and-go it was for the better part of seventy-five minutes. With Megan rolling the cameras from the backseat, Tadd and I had two choices: NPR or an unprecedented span of talking. We chose the latter — or perhaps the latter chose us. Regardless, with Ira Plato’s voice in the background, we hit topics that can only be described as intimate — disclosing the sort of information you typically only tell someone close to you. Someone you trust.
Admitting stories about past significant relationships, why they didn’t work, what we missed about those people and how we coped. Talking about what makes us anxious, how phobias can grow on you when you’re not expecting them, and what life is like on the other side of fear.
First dates aren’t always home to empty shells of conversation, containing no substance besides a wayward granule of sand. Rather, first dates can be a secure space for revealing difference facets of yourself without fear of another person expecting you to be one way or another. You can tell anything to a stranger and while it may be shocking, it will not be shocking that you have said it. A stranger — aka a first date — doesn’t know anything about the you persona you’ve been perfecting your entire life. To a first date, you are able to be anything. In return, they are able to respond in any way. And together, you create a space where anything is possible. Even sharing vulnerabilities and looking for acceptance. Which, when you think about it, is kind of wonderful.