Sometimes dating feels like a lot like taking medicine. While the cough is irritating, you gulp the poorly impersonated candy-flavored syrup so the cough doesn’t wallop your face into a case of pneumonia. That whole idea basically states at first the malady feels better than the antidote but, as my mom is prone to reminding me, if the malady progressed it would feel worse than just about anything. Yeah, dating is like that.
The desired outcome of dating is (often) a relationship. Sometimes it’s sex. But more often, it’s a relationship – preferably long term, possibly forever. And when you get to that point I imagine there’s a sense of “Hells yes!” that comes along with it, just as there’s a sense of relief that comes along with health. But getting to that relationship can feel like scraping the edges of empty tin cans across the tops of your feet.
My second first date in Alaska felt a lot like taking some medicine. The guy was nice, but all together blander than the food I prepare (which if you’ve been subjected to my cooking really does lack flavor other than “not crappy” and “sometimes garlicky”). We met at a bakery where I ate a bagel with hummus and veggies and he ate an absolutely plain, not even toasted bagel. He did not finish is food, though I did. It probably won’t surprise you this boy was probably six sizes thinner than me. Literally, you could have fit two of him in my pants. And my pants aren’t that big.
Though I tried to pull the conversation in different directions, he cleverly spoke only of the accounting system transfer that would be taking place in Alaska’s capital building come next year. Even as I tried to equate his extreme interest in systems and numbers to him, the conversation wasn’t building to a comfortable rapport. I didn’t feel like I knew anything about him. His next topic of conversation, obesity in America, began right as I was finishing the calories I’d ordered. Guilt tried to settle in, but there was no room after that bagel.
Our next stop was the Juneau Symphony, which was what you’d expect a teeny-tiny town’s symphony and volunteer-based chorus to sound like. The nicest part about Juneau is people like to get involved, and they do it with gusto, and the Symphony was a testament to that. Even without a camera on us and Megs not eavesdropping a few feet away (both were gone for the show), my date continued on mostly socio-economic topics that, while fascinating to me, were not helping me get to know him as a human being.
As the date wound to a close, I reached my hand out to say a friendly goodbye and send a message that I wasn’t romantically interested (other tactics used during the date included making sure body language was turned away from him and trying not to smile too much). My date was already moving his entire body forward, indicating a hug. As I recalled hugging him upon meeting (true statement: I’m a total hugger) I leaned in to do the “butt out” hug that’s all the rage and he tilted his lips toward me.
And then, instead of being gracious or graceful or even mature, I dodged that incoming kiss like I was an overly aware duck during hunting season. I zigged, I zagged, I swooped, and he still caught a spot between my chin, cheek and earlobe (hmm, is that the jaw hinge?).
I feel bad. My lack of response to his emails post date probably made this experience feel like his own form of medicine.