It doesn’t get more Americana than the State Fair in Oklahoma. Coincidentally, it doesn’t get any harder to find a parking spot than the exact same place.
Megs and I were being ourselves and running a touch behind schedule when we left our hotel and started zipping toward the fairgrounds. I’d balked on smearing makeup on my face, Megan reminded me politely while calmly tucking gear into little pockets of her backpack. By the time we reached the dusty parking lot, I figured we had just enough time to pull into a slot and only be a minute or two late to meet Derek at “the giant lumberjack” (yes, those were his coordinates).
Instead, we circled. And circled. And circled. I texted Derek to note we’d be five minutes late. Ten minutes late. Make that fifteen. (Poor guy probably thought I was flaking on him.) After some aggressive antics by the locals, I followed suit and wedged Huckleberry Fit between two monster trucks.
I hopped onto the boot of the second tribute to Paul Bunyan we’d seen on our trip (first one was in Minnesota) and Derek walked onto the scene, checkered shirt and a nervous smile. We said hello, then hit the fair. And holy macaroni, Oklahoma does the glitzy, glamoury fair right.
Covering what must have equated to three miles, our tour included the petting of a fawn who nibbled my skirt, a newborn goat (not even an hour old), mama pigs at feeding time, watching sheep dog trials, rows and rows and rows of horses, baby chicks just hatched, and a depressed-looking wallaby. We then indulged in one Skyway ride, one Linkin Park-laden spinny ride, two fried pickles, three fried Oreos, one giant fried garlic mashed potato and one six-point beer.
So, the point system. I should mention that in several other states, there is a limit in how much alcohol a person can consume in public and the kinds of alcohol they can consume. Beer in California has an alcohol level of between four and ten percent, but in Tulsa, beer is only supposed to be served at up to three percent alcohol, which they call three-point beer. Six-point beer is a beer that has six percent alcohol, and it’s a rare treat to have it on tap in the state (though Derek didn’t seem terribly delighted, so perhaps it’s not cool to be excited about such things).
Speaking of Derek, well, I know I haven’t spoken much about him. We chatted amicably for the entire time we were on our date. I ribbed him a little, he was supremely polite, and very well put together for a twenty-six year old: he owned a house, was starting a little farm with chickens, brewed beer – if it weren’t for the southern gentlemanly mannerisms, I would have thought he’d fit right into a hipster community on the west coast. Though he was a truly nice guy, and though we interacted well with one another, it was clear we made fabulous friends and nothing more.
The whole friends but nothing more is a weird part of online dating. Because it’s easy to pre-select qualities in a person based on their profile, one often winds up on a date with someone who simply is nice and who meshes well with them. Which leads to the question, how do you know if the nice guy in front of you is worth dating again if there is absolutely zero sexual tension?
In writing this, I can’t help but think maybe the fact that we’d be good friends meant we should try going out again. You can’t be in a relationship if you aren’t friends first (and all of my long-term relationships have started based on that premise).
Derek and I said our farewells where we’d said our hellos – at the giant lumberjack – and Megan and I returned to a deserted parking lot, with only our little Fit hanging out alone.
“What did you think?” Megan asked me as we started on our way back to the hotel.
“He was nice,” I replied. I didn’t look, but I’m guessing she rolled her eyes at that.
Update! After our date, Derek and I shared the usual exchange of “So lovely to meet you!” texts and “Wasn’t that fun?” I later received drunk texts from him of a bonfire party he was at, which I was greatly amused by. Perhaps I should write a post about the drunk texts and calls I get from dates I had on the road…