I went out with a writer the other day and he sent me a little gift, post-date. I’ve heard of women getting “I had a really nice time on our date, can I take you out again” flowers before (hint hint nudge nudge) but this is the first time A guy has sent me a post-date thank you present.
He gave me his express permission to post it here and I think it presents a lovely contrast to my endless ramblings:
I went out with a girl the other night. A girl who has a blog that talks about her interactions with men. A blog that accepts guest posts, apparently.
The morning after our date I started writing (as I do daily). Trying to write about this and that, I noticed my head was filled with details of the encounter I’d had the night before. Letting the mind do as it pleased (as you should), I started to deconstruct the night in words.
It was a blind date, for the most part. She picked the place, which I liked. Men are often tasked with this duty, something I’ve never really understood. It’s a modality I stress over. I can have a good or bad time anywhere. Why should I be the one to choose? Location doesn’t matter if the conversation is interesting. She did a fine job on location regardless: a swanky, but somehow casual hotel. One with lots of place to sit.
Food and beer were ordered. I wasn’t hungry but I ate anyway. An oversized basket of fries was left mostly unfinished. I ordered another beer.
We moved to the roof, where she told me about teaching curious children to knit on the train. We spoke of the intricacies that define her city. Like a proper New Yorker, she unapologetically expressed her distaste for my hometown, one that shares a long-tenured rivalry with NYC. I defended Boston before reminding her that I do live in New York now. My note did nothing to slow her onslaught of insults. I will say, she never built a substantive argument against Boston. Hers was an approach I’ve been dealing with since attending Yankees games as a kid where Yankee Stadium bleacher creatures would yell variations of, “Fuck Boston!!” and “Boston sucks!!” She was more polite, but just as nebulous in her approach.
On a couch she laid supine, putting her feet up on my lap as if complaining to a high school girlfriend about a bad day of classes, or boys, or whatever it is high school girls talk about. Eventually feet traded place with head, my hand resting on her collarbone. We exchanged the occasional mid-conversation arm touch commonly used to emphasize points which can only be made via physical contact. Her comfort was confusing at first. We barely new each other, but any hotel guest passing by would’ve thought we were dating. It was fun. Like two kids playing pretend. As I began to dwell on my uncertainty, I realized there was no point in doing so. Just let it be.
She burped, several times, with intention… as if to gauge my reaction. Perhaps she expected me to recoil in distaste. I did her no such courtesy. It was more entertaining than offensive. She eventually commented on the burping, remembering a man who had objected to it in the past. I told her that I wasn’t offended by a girl who burps. I’d have been irked if she was boring or had nothing to talk about. Neither was true here.
Her ease was attractive, but I couldn’t help wondering if she was playing a game… one where she goes out on dates with men for blog material. Had I commented on her belches or strong opinions, my complaints would’ve no doubt been etched into the annals of feminist blogging history. Skepticism, in this case, did little to alter my natural thoughts.
She spoke a lot. I enjoyed listening. It’s a relief, allowing another to fill a conversation. I served (as any good journalist should) to guide to her seemingly endless thoughts with questions about her job and what it was like to grow up in New York City (a long-held fascination of mine). It felt efficient, fueling the conversation with small pieces of kindling, only tossing in logs of my own when the conversation welcomed them naturally.
She told me about life on the road, being a part of a production crew, the bond you share with your fellow soldiers in arms packed in tiny tour buses. We discussed good shows, not so good shows. I was curious about the specifics that made each so. She shared, but was cautious when mentioning the bad ones noting industry taboo around criticizing productions that don’t turn out as planned. When I forgot the name of one show she was particularly critical of, she refused to remind me. I did end up remembering, but after referring to it as “that bad show you mentioned” she wouldn’t reaffirm its title.
There was the occasional long period of silence, something for which a demerit is typically issued during the post-date evaluation. I had an extensive list of general first-date topics I could’ve pulled from to break the pause, but made a conscious decision instead to hold back. It’s fun to test the waters sometimes… like playing chicken… eagerly awaiting to see who will crack first.
Sometimes it’s just nice to sit in silence, the way old friends do. Between them, no responsibility to say a word. I felt that way here.
After some 4 hours, we decided to close out the night. As I was getting up to leave I noticed her eavesdropping on the table next to ours. She held back to slide a comment, an opinion on a show, into the conversation that was taking place, receiving a laugh from the group in return. So comfortable in her ways. I understand that feeling… the desire to join a conversation you’re not necessarily welcome to, adding in your own two cents, finding a way to relate with people you don’t even know. Her confidence, which I imagine gets her into the occasional skirmish, was her most attractive quality by far.
There was a kiss at the end. Pretty standard. More than a peck, but far short of a make out. I asked her to let me know when she was free next. She kicked back, asking if I was putting responsibility for a second date on her. I was. She’s a busy girl. Her busy makes my busy seem not so busy. You get the feeling a girl like this doesn’t have much time… not for herself, not for anyone else. Work for her means long hours, weekends, unpredictable schedules. Is she driven or just trying to distract herself from something? The answer is unclear and unnecessary.
I imagine some men would be turned off by her preoccupied life. Does she have time to participate in a relationship? Can she be engaged at a meaningful level?
A question that didn’t come that night was “What are you looking for?” People love asking this question on first dates. It sets a base of understanding for both participants while spurring a decision tree of further questioning. Is she looking for something serious? Is he just trying to hook up? Did she just get out of a relationship?
Personally, I hate that question. The answer almost always puts pressure on someone to feel some way. It also creates an agenda. There should be no agenda in dating. Relationships should develop naturally or not at all. Agendas lead people to doing things they don’t want to do, or being disappointed when things don’t go as planned.
I did find myself thinking retroactively, “I wonder what that girl wants.” After a brief spell of unrestrained thought, I corrected myself. It didn’t matter. A shared moment in time can occasionally be just that.
I think I’ll go out with him again. If only to tell him that I don’t do anything “for blog material,” I do things for me.