Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lacing the Sneakers Up...

Hearing the words "sushi" and "pottery painting class" as a date proposal can be some of the most frightening words to someone who hasn't disclosed yet she doesn't eat anything that once had eyeballs and can't even brush her teeth without wearing toothpaste. But when you're 29 and single you just bite the bullet, scrunch up your face, and say "sounds good to me" in a squeaky voice. Or at least that's what I had to do this past weekend.

When I first met up with this new boy, again having not met him prior to our date (and taking all proper security measures to ensure my safety from a skin suit beforehand), I was pleasantly surprised that he appeared completely normal. No bright yellow and black "bumble bee" mustang and 80's Christian-hair band t-shirt like the last guy. Nope. This one seemed more in tune with what I would consider "normal." Now, please don't think I'm knocking 80's Christian-hair bands or crazy colored mustangs but this is me we're talking about... George Strait and a pick-up truck are all I ask for.

We met for sushi. And by sushi I mean this guy ordered Ariel's family on rice wrapped in seaweed. I quietly asked the server if she could make mine all veggie. I reiterate the word "quietly" because there's no reason to shout in an obnoxiously loud voice "I DON'T EAT ONCE LIVING CREATURES!!" in front of a man who hunts and fishes for his food. But the server, much to my surprise because I didn't see a hearing aid, shouted "SO YOU WANT NO MEAT WHATSOEVER, RIGHT?!?" Yeah... that's exactly what I meant when I said, "um, I'm trying to be quiet about this- can I just get veggie ones?" To which she then yelled,  "Well, the crab doesn't taste like crab!! It tastes like sweet cream cheese!!" No ma'am... it doesn't. It tastes like Sebastian. And I don't ingest singing crustaceans. Don't even attempt to convince me otherwise.

When the food actually came I thought I was in the clear. He was polite and offered me a taste from his plate which contained the ensemble to "Under the Sea" but I politely declined. I then had this great idea to use the chopsticks. Do I know how to use them? I will let you guess the answer to that. First try? Dropped the thing into the ramekin of soy sauce which, as I learned in physics, sent the soy sauce all over the table and my lap. There were still 11 more pieces to go...

To my surprise though he laughed- with me. He didn't look at me in judgement. He didn't point and laugh at me. In my mind I'm thinking how is this possible that I just pulled a classic Kristen "eating food" move and he's not repulsed. Things were starting to look good. (If you're wondering, I only dropped 2 more as I was too stubborn to admit defeat with the chopsticks).

He supported my idea of blitzing the hostess behind the counter to grab the basket of fortune cookies and make a run for it. Who supports that and actually helps me plan it? Although one might ask: who thinks of that plan in the first place?

We moved next door to painting pottery. I chose a cupcake because it had about 4 inches of frosting and I naturally just drooled when I saw it. In painting that thing I lost the rights to every arts and crafts patch I ever earned in Girl Scouts. Every. Single. One. I truly believe if my troop leader had witnessed the painting of the cupcake she would have ripped them off my sash herself. Again, this boy didn't judge. He just offered me paper towels and smaller brushes (hence, making tinier messes). Subtle yet helpful. You don't get that every day.

So the night ended with soy sauce on my pants and paint on my forearms (and in my hair if you just HAD to know). And it ended without those being a factor. It ended without my usual "You're too smart" or "You're too independent" or "You're too intimidating" speeches I always seem to generate from the other gender. I have a Master's and have lived on my own for 12 years but I still require a smock not only when doing arts & crafts but pretty much at every meal. And the combination of these characteristics about me were accepted... and appreciated.

So now we enter the phase I like to call: DEF CON 1- OPERATION SNEAKERS. Basically, this means that I had a good first date. A successful one which has led to the obvious second date. It is at this time that I start to lace up my sneakers for the opportunity to run (one of the only times I actually voluntarily participate in the sport).  This is basically me...

My immediate reaction to a bad date is to wonder why it went wrong and what I could do to have made it better. My immediate reaction to a good date is, "Oh good God... what did I just do?!?" It's an incredible dichotomy I have when it comes to dating. The bad amuses me yet the good scares the all-get-out of me. What it boils down to, I can only assume, is my fear that something good may come of it. And then that means I have opened myself up to potentially being hurt all over again. Why do you want to do that time and time again? How many times can one get their heart broken before they realize it's time to hang it up and call it a day? Running away seems like the only logical way to protect yourself from harm.

But then there's that best friend who verbally threatens that if you run... "I will trip you." Which will hurt more: Taking a leap of faith at something that may be good OR being tripped head first by a feisty red-head with a temper?

I guess I'll have to just keep the shoes waiting in the corner for now as I pencil in that second date... And watch my back from the glaring eyes of girl destined to knock me down in order to wake me up.