I decided to take my chances and go on a first date on Valentine's Day. Can't say I'd take that risk again.
02/2011: The One Hour Date
Colin* was my highest match on the online dating site I was on. I had read his profile once or twice, and we did seem to have quite a bit in common. Call me old fashioned, but I don't like making the first contact. If a guy wanted to talk to me, they would. Colin was one such guy. We exchanged messages a few times over a couple of weeks, and eventually exchanged numbers.
He had tried to set up a time to get drinks a couple times, but unfortunately I had plans each time. Finally, on a Friday, we settled on meeting for drinks the following Monday. That weekend, I also happened to decide I was done with the online dating scene and closed my profile out. It wasn't until Sunday that I realized what holiday happened to fall on that Monday....Valentines Day. Honestly, it didn't bother me. I was just worried wherever we went, we'd be surrounded by the lovey-doviest of couples being disgustingly doting and feeding each other with their hands.
We settled for Paddy's Pub at 8. I decided I would be clever and take the MAX down. The Yamhill stopped right in front of the bar, and I wouldn't have to deal with parking, since I figured it would probably be pretty slammed downtown. I arrived at my destination a half hour early. Slightly embarrassed, I texted Colin of my timing snafu, and grabbed a booth. The place was DEAD. There was a group of four by the door, a couple at the bar, and a man in the booth in front of me waiting for someone. I couldn't help but hope that perhaps he, too, was awkwardly early for a first date. Alas, his lady friend arrived and chatted like they knew each other for years.
I continued to wait, sipping my water and watching the results from the Blazer game, until exactly 8 o' clock. In walked Colin, right on cue. He came over and explained he didn't read my text until he arrived, and we shared possibly the most awkward hug of my dating career. I'm a pretty friendly person, and I have no problem greeting with a hug. I'm guessing, he was not as comfortable with such greetings. The hug was comparable to an eight grade dance. Probably a good foot or so between us, with arms almost straight out on his end. After our hug experiment, he had a seat. We looked at each other, and smiled. Not a word was said, until I did the dreaded nod while saying "yeah...." That is a maneuver I have come to hate, probably because I've had it happen all to often. You run out of things to say, and there is nothing left to do but just nod your head slowly, as if you are accepting of the fact that this date has gone to hell, and say "yeah...." just to fill the air with words.
We started to talk about the most absolute generic first date questions. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to high school? Do you have any siblings? It was like pulling teeth trying go have a conversation with Colin. The waiter came to save me from my misery, and asked if we would like to order anything to drink. I ordered a glass of wine, Colin ordered nothing. I found this a bit odd. After all, he did ask me out for "drinks." I had fallen under the impression that "drinks" is code for "alcoholic beverages." The waiter came back with my "drink," we each ordered a salad, and continued our almost mind numbing conversation.
Colin had mentioned he had gone to Seattle with a friend in his previous messages. "So how was Seattle with your friend?" I asked. "Good." he replied, and dug right back into his salad. I looked around confused. I asked a more open ended question. "So....why were you up there?" He finished chewing, replied it was for work, and took another bite of salad. I eventually got out of him that he worked for a toy store, and he had gone up to Seattle to see about possibly getting some new inventory. It was starting to feel like I was interrogating the man over dinner. The waiter came by one more time to see if Colin wanted a "drink," to which he declined. I had almost chugged my wine to make it through the date, and had considered ordering another, but ultimately decided that was a tad on the un-classy side. The entire time, I couldn't help but wonder to myself..."This is my highest, possible match?"
While he was a nice guy, it was just going nowhere fast. I was chatting up a storm, and he was enjoying his salad a little too much, while occasionally laughing at my ramblings. After about three more of the awkward "yeah...." nods, and what felt like two or three hours, I told Colin I had to head home and get to bed early, since I had a meeting the next morning. This was true, actually, but I was happy to use it as an escape route. It turned out we closed the joint down, since the bartender and the waiter were the only two left in the pub when we left. We shared "eighth grade dance hug" number two as we left, and I headed for the MAX station. I figured, since it wasn't too hoppin downtown and the pub had no one left that it was probably pretty late. I checked my phone.
It was 9:06.
The date was barely over an hour long. I chuckled to myself. About a half hour later, I sent Colin a courtesy text, thanking him for dinner. He said he had a nice time, and would have offered to take me to my car, but he had to go take some pictures. While he had mentioned earlier, after my what seemed like hours of questioning, that he was into photography, he never said what kind. I didn't respond to his text, headed home and called it a night.
Ultimately, Colin was a nice guy. And who knows, maybe he's just a quiet guy. But if I can't even give the guy a hug without feeling like I have popped his personal bubble, and possibly scarred the man for life, I don't think it's gonna go any further.
*name changed to protect identity