This began as a very different post. A post about every magical detail of my first date with MPC. But just as I was about to hit the "Publish Post" button, I felt this nagging feeling like I shouldn't publish the story, as is, to the blog reading Internet world beyond. Why? I wasn't completely sure. I hadn't said anything but wonderful things about my unicorn man. A post, that if written about me by someone else, and then read by me later, would have made me feel completely flattered. Moreover, because I hold very fast and tight to my writing anonymity (because I want to avoid being fired by my law firm but also because I want to be able to write honestly without any censorship about anything of my choosing) its likely that no one will ever know who Mr. Unicorn is and Mr. Unicorn will never know that someone (me), somewhere (on this blog), is writing about his every dating move.
Regardless, it felt like a small betrayal. Like I was lying to him or something. That I really really liked this man and I didn't want to keep something from him. The fact that I was judging him (albeit positively) and evaluating him to anyone and everyone that might come across this post.
Second, what could I possibly say to describe how well it went and how he makes me feel or what kind of a person I think he is without sounding completely cliche or without jinxing it or diminishing it or overanalyzing it (too late) or sounding completely nuts?
Lastly, I didn't want to share everything. There's a kind of "reverse voyeurism" in blog writing that I must admit I enjoy. Otherwise, why do this? The weird desire to share TOO MUCH INFORMATION with perfect strangers and allow them into your head and your thoughts and your life and sometimes even your bed room. But in this case, I didn't want to share. I wanted to be greedy with the details of My Mr. Unicorn. Because the night was so special. And I think there is something very real between the two of us. And some of the stuff that was said and felt was both ineffable and also deeply personal. Not shocking or inappropriate or sexual or anything like that. But just something that should only belong to us and the time we shared together.
That said, inquiring minds want to know how the date went. When I expressed my hesitations to my blog tweeps they were more than helpful in pondering my publishing debate. @DateMeDCBlog, a much more experienced dater and dating blogger than I told me: "Hey, I've been known to hold back when I like the guy. If your instinct says no, listen." And then @sheenopower gave me a solution when he wrote: "I'm interested to see...why last nights dates went to so well. What did they do right? I wouldn't expect details, boundaries are good." And they were both right. If I don't want to share everything, OF COURSE, I don't have to share everything! Silly me! But on the other hand I can put the date in the context of what makes a great first date and why I truly believe (even at this early stage of the game, without high school girl unrealistic crush insanity I swear) that this guy might be my guy in the near future and in the long-term beyond. If you're still with me...here is the edited version of my date with Mr. Unicorn, from this past Tuesday...
I went out with MPC tonight. None of my excitement for him was without cause. He is truly wonderful. And we had a great time. There's nothing unusual or unpredictable about how this went or how we were. It was special simply because it was him. And it was me. And that's it.
I don't know if this was the best first date I've ever been on in my entire life. So few still stick out in my current memory. But since its the best one I can remember having, I guess it must have been. And since I only become a completely paralyzed nervous schmuck around guys I really like, I must really like this guy. But then we all already knew that. Including him I'm sure.
Some general observations about why this was such a great date:
1. Location, Location, Location (or Activity)
We met at a bar for drinks after work. Maybe you can have good conversation with anyone if you have a lot in common and the chemistry is there. I don't know. But I definitely think places with interesting food or cocktails is always a must because then there is a built in "adventure" to your time together on the date. For example: If you ate at a sushi restaurant and they served octopus you might ask if they've ever had octupus? liked octopus? would consider trying octopus? if so what wouldn't they eat? if not, what crazy thing had they eaten? and so on. (For the record, now you don't have to go on a date with me, because you know what I'll say) :-) That said, we went to a place with fabulously eccentric and varied signature cocktails and got different ones and made a big to-do about which ones to get and trying each other's. We just made something as simple as cocktail choice a fun adventure.
2. Conversation and Getting to Know Your Date
We didn't talk about unpleasant or boring things and he took cues from me on what I wanted to talk about. For example, I pretty much refused to talk about work. But I wasn't an asshole about it. When he asked me about my job or what I did or a few other things that I just didn't think were fun or interesting or appropriate for a first date I would say something really casual like oh work is work, you know and quickly change the subject. The fact that he PICKED UP ON MY SIGNALS that I didn't want to talk about my legal career and didn't push me to talk about the things I was vague about and pushed off showed that he was both (a) listening to me and (b) respecting my wishes and (c) wanted me to have a good time (part of which was ensured by talking about what I wanted to talk about and enjoyed hearing about from him). We talked about museums and literature and travel. Family and friends and philosophy. A date is really about getting to know someone and enjoying their company so I can't possibly fill in what was said and in what way and why it was so smooth and easy, but the conversation flowed. He also did not monopolize the conversation. He told great stories but was also an enthusiastic listener. He answered all my questions sincerely but also seemed genuinely interested in asking me questions as well and finding out about me.
3. His Appearance, Manners and General Demeanor.
He wore a suit and tie and looked phenomenal. He was on time and seemed really happy to see me. He asked me if the spot he had chosen at the bar seemed good/comfortable for me. When I got up on two separate occasions to go to the restroom, he stood up when I got up to leave and he stood up again when I came back. That might seem terribly old fashioned but I could've fainted right then and there at such a small, yet such an incredibly thoughtful gesture.
4. POSITIVITY -- He was positive about life and he was positive about his family
No one wants to go on a date with a Debbie Downer. We all have problems. Relationships that didn't work out. Family that is either sick or past away. Job woes. Financial woes. You name it, its happened to someone out there and that doesn't make them an illegible mate but it does make you a bad date if you focus on the negative too soon. Also, while I have my own family problems (with my birth family) family is very important to me and I have a very positive relationship with my adopted family. I really value someone who also appreciates and puts effort into family. Its not a deal breaker but its definitely an attractive quality. In this case, he sees his parents often, but not too often. He spoke fondly of both his mom and dad.
5. He Made It About Me
I don't know whether he was faking being completely enamored by me and who I am and what I was saying, but if he was acting he did a VERY, very good job of faking it. Also, he made sure throughout the date that I was having a good time. Like I said, he asked me if I liked where we were seated when there were other options. Also because we were getting different interesting cocktails he asked me to help him pick not just mine, but also his because he knew I would get to try his too and he wanted to make sure that I got to try all the ones I wanted. He also complimented me. Not overly so, but he told me I looked "beautiful" at the beginning of the date and then at one point in the middle of the evening he told me he was "fascinated" by what I was saying and he actually looked like he meant it. Now I wouldn't go telling your date you are "fascinated" by what she is saying unless she is actually talking about something that could at least be considered fascinating somewhere by someone. E.g. she tells you she's from Minnesota and you say "that's fascinating." Because no, its not. Also, if you aren't actually fascinated, don't pretend you are fascinated, unless you are 100% sure that you performance will be Oscar worthy. He also made me feel good about myself. To explain: I don't ever go around saying I'm a dummie. Because there are definitely a few sharp marbles rolling around upstairs. But at one point in the evening he was telling me about something I didn't understand. I didn't get it. And I waved my hand up past my face and over my head and I said, "I think this is way over my head." And he immediately came back with, "I don't think it is, let me explain it better." Which may not seem like an earth shattering thing to say but at the time it made me feel like, okay, this guy thinks I'm smart, this guy is patient, this guy is willing to try something and if it doesn't work, try it in a different way. It just made me feel respected and valued and good. Lastly, on a silly note, he winked at me during this one story he was telling which made me laugh. I asked him why he kept winking at me after that and he said it was because I kept laughing and he liked to hear me laugh. Swoon!
6. Be Good, Be Mature, Be Sophisticated.
He has a good job. He owns his own apartment in Dupont. He's educated and well-traveled. He also said matter of factly, he doesn't lie. He said he DOESN'T LIE EVER (which isn't true for me I'm ashamed to say). He talked fondly of his friends and his family. He didn't get too drunk. He didn't let us stay too long or too late. He mentioned, half way through my second drink, that he wanted to make sure he got me home early and in one piece. Now, if you aren't well off or well educated or well traveled or a home owner that doesn't mean you aren't worthy. But show you are a grown-up. Casually flaunt your strengths as a sibling or child or friend or employee or athlete or musician. Discuss what interests you. What you like to learn about. What you do well. Why you matter. Why you're a kind and decent human being worth knowing that has a short-term and long-term plan for their life. With goals and dreams and wants and drive.
7. Be a Man!
Don't wait to kiss her. Don't grope her either or expect too much too soon no matter how good she looks and no matter how bad you want it. In the middle of the date, he kissed me. And I don't mean a small kiss. I mean good and kissed me. I was so surprised I don't know if I even kissed him back. For a girl who has been told she is an excellent kisser, I certainly left a lot to his mechanics while I received kisses in utter shock that this was happening. Which is sort of embarrassing. I'm a grown woman for God's sake. Its not like I haven't been kissed by dozens (and dozens) of guys. Since I was like 12. What is wrong with me? When he pulled back from me he asked if that had been okay that he had done that. I have no idea what I said in return. Probably - "mm, hmm."
8. End the Date Well = PAY!!! and Plan for Next Time
At the end of the date, I didn't even have time to reach for my wallet. He just looked at me and said, "Don't even think about it." Like he'd be angry if I even feigned to try to pay. He walked me to the metro and kissed me some more. Then asked if he could see me again. And soon. And I said he could. Then he texted me when he got home and thanked me again for a great night and that he looked forward to seeing me this weekend.
So considering all that...now you know why it was such a great first date. The girl in me wants to lie in bed and go over every detail of every moment. The conversations and the kisses. But the adult woman in me wants to worry about the staff meeting I have at the office in the early am. And everything else I have to do between now and Friday. The workaholic, commitment-phobe in me wants to pretend this didn't happen and only get excited about him just before I see him again until just after and then go back to my solitudinous bubble and concentrate and be left alone to my own ambitious devices.
Why is it so hard to be a girl and play it cool? Why do we get so crush-crazy? It's infuriating. I want to just take things as they come. See what happens. Not worry about it. If it turns into something then great. And the getting to the something is an exciting time in itself. So why rush it? Force it? Short-change it. Why is it so hard to just enjoy this? Why must something be something or not be something and thus exist in an agitated state of limbo till the categorization has been made?
While we've only been on one date, I expect there to be more. Maybe many more. But even if things don't work out I'm fine with that, but I must admit I'll be really disappointed if he turns out to be a completely douchebag. Like a cheater. Or a player. Or a looney tunes. Because then I'll have to own up to the fact that I'm completely and utterly blind and dysfunctional when it comes to evaluating men. And if I know nothing about the gentleman I spend time with then maybe I'm completely wrong about everything else. And I hate to be wrong about anything.
I'll end on a positive note: How great to be a single girl in her twenties in this city and go on a really great first date? At a cool bar in Dupont. To have beautiful, interesting, tasty cocktails. To feel beautiful. Be told you are beautiful and fascinating. Listen to someone tell elaborate stories and laugh and be intrigued and sucked in. And to have someone not be able to wait to kiss you and want to kiss you and to be kissed. So simple yet so extraordinary. And to feel the possibility of it all. Of him. Of next Friday. Of the city. Of your young life.
I felt alive today. Looking forward to our date. Walking briskly in the cold air from the metro to the bar. Listening to his stories. Looking into his eyes. Being kissed good night. Reliving it all on the ride home, oblivious to others around me.
That's why we do this thing called dating. Again and again and again. Okay, maybe to find someone. For sex or companionship or sport. But also because it makes us feel alive. It makes time stand still and demand attention for it's incredible gift to us all to experience who we are, right now, today.
I'll end with the juiciest nugget of all, about the potential Unicorn, who from all angles, is STILL truly Mr. Unicorn- As we walked from the bar to the metro he took off his gloves and held my hand. And I said, "This is so random. You and I reconnecting after all these years. Don't you think it's random?" "It's not random he said. Unexpected definitely. But not random. Unexpected."
Here's to the unexpected. I can drink to that.