Guy or girl, first dates have some things in common: they’re nerve-wracking, overly simple but feel complex, and have the possibility of becoming nothing or an undefined something. The proof of this is in the pudding of my last Hawaiian date, with a girl I met on OkCupid.
Our messages were short but not brief as we considered what we might do on our date. A somewhat silly suggestion of sharing our poetry turned into the idea of a picnic, and on our second night in Hawaii, Megs and I were meeting my date at a take-out window before driving up to watch the sunset on Diamond Head.
I liked my date from before I met her because she was waiting for us from the front seat of her Honda Fit. I know. It’s absurd to like someone because they drive the same car as you, but a college boyfriend had the same make, model and color automobile as me and we had a spiffy time together my senior year…so why shouldn’t the same car equal potential greatness? I gave Miss Hawaii a hug as a hello, and proceeded to bounce with pure nerve-related energy, hopping here, then there, my mouth running a mile a minute.
Miss Hawaii didn’t say much at first, instead taking in the show with a bemused look on her face. I told myself to take a chill pill, deeply wished there was a real chill pill out there in the world, and looked for any way to take myself down a notch. First, I told my date I was nervous. I think most dates assume I’m not but yes, even after 50 dates I’m nervous before most every one. Second, I looked for a topic of conversation that was not interrogation style questioning or mindless chatter about myself – and Megs provided the perfect opportunity.
While we were waiting for our food, a tall drink of water had saddled up next to Megan and begun asking her questions about her equipment. This isn’t atypical – we’d noticed a girl with a camera gets attention in most cities outside SF, LA and NYC. But what was curious was how Megs spoke back to the man. Instead of a girl-next-door smile or a cold shoulder (her standbys), Megan seemed interested in what the guy had to say. Within moments, she was letting him hold one of her cameras, and they were chattering away. My date and I started discussing the man’s pick-up techniques and we giggled together as he handed Megan his card.
Once on a bluff overlooking surfers and sunset, Miss Hawaii and I got to the brass tacks of a first date – simply getting to know each other. Our humor meshed, our level of thoughtfulness was almost exactly the same, and her collected nature mellowed me out into a more calm state of being. Her shyness was replaced quickly with conversation, and soon we were talking about grad school, her job in social work and at the homeless shelter, our interest in writing (no, no poetry was shared) and even shared some of our weirdest fears with each other: her – slimy rocks, me – wet noodles in a bathtub. The latter led to my date making up a story as to how wet noodles might find their way into a tub…such as perhaps a drunk person came home late from a bar, cooked up some ramen in the way that drunk people sometimes do, and then proceeded to throw up. We were in stitches about our fears, her cleverness, and the earnest nature of the conversation that had led us to such a bizarre but potentially reality-fused scenario.
Our knees brushed as we sat and talked, our words chasing the sun down and outlasting most of the surfers. It wasn’t until both Megan and I hit a wall with the time difference that my date and I said goodbye, though not until Megs and I had convinced her to show us her tattoos once the cameras were off.
Overall, the date was like other dates: awkward, then much better. In fact, I’d dare say Miss Hawaii was far more easy to talk to than many of the men I went out with across the country.