40 First Dates

October 8, 2009

3: Pacman

Filed under: Uncategorized — 40firstdates @ 10:49 pm

This week I’m researching an article on egg donors. The nice lady from the egg agency said,

“Oh don’t worry the girls are photogenic, they’re all 25 and gorgeous. We screen them. People want young, good-looking donors.”

“What’s the cut-off age to donate?” I asked.

“30, but ours are younger.”

“Oh my god!” I squeaked. “I’m too old.”

“Yes!” she laughed. “And that’s only going to get worse.”

The other night I was out with a guy friend and as usual we were chatting about his dating life. He’s 30 and had been out with a 34 year-old, but she was, he told me, “a bit older than I like.”

“But I’m older than you,” I said.

“Oh don’t worry, I’d definitely bang you.”

“Right. Great.”

“Your problem is you’re focusing on the limitations.” He nodded thoughtfully.

Age. It’s weird. I live in a city of perpetual Peter Pans. There are 50 year-old men jumping around in nightclubs here and 40-something women wearing pink velour hotpants. It’s the perfect place to escape destiny.

When I was a kid I’d think ahead in wonder to what it would be like in the year 2000 and know that by then I’d be married with two kids. I was going to be so old. In all actuality, at the dawn of the new millennium, I was backpacking up a mountain in Australia, but that’s beside the point. I know I’m supposed to be thinking about having kids, finding a husband, but I always sort of hoped my husband would find me and force me into lifelong commitment. Or at least inspire in me a desire to stay in one place.

But I’ve never met that guy. Maybe he doesn’t exist. Maybe I met him and screwed it up.

A girlfriend said, “40 first dates is a lot. What happens if on date seven you meet the man of your dreams. What will you do?”

“I’ll go on the remaining 33 dates.” I told her.

Because, as much as I should be thinking about settling down (to me, the term ‘settling down’ always sounds like you’re lying down to die), thankfully the point of this project is not to meet The One, as Cosmopolitan always puts it, but to learn about American dating. Should this ‘One’ person show up, he’ll have to hang on for a while. Plus I’ll probably find an excuse to leave the country while he’s waiting (god knows, I’ve done it before).

One of my guy friends e-mailed this morning,

“You do realise that your ‘nice-to-haves’ (see post 1.) sound like a gay man? Go find yourself a real honest-to-goodness bloke who groans at shopping, has dodgy hair and likes a game of Pacman.”

My ‘nice-to-haves’ list included ‘does not play computer games’. My friend Mark was commiserating with me this week, saying he also detests the bleep-bleep-bleep-stare-at-the-screen thing. He once monologued about his hatred for ten minutes on a date. Then the girl said she was writing her thesis on computer games.

Which brings me to last night’s date. Marko the Serbian. He makes computer games.

Born and bred in the waspy surburbs of Pasadena, Marko, 29, was attractive in an earthy, manly way, broad shoulders, dark hair and eyes, good taste in shirts. He’s travelled Asia and South America, partied on the beach ’til dawn, had a friend who’d disappeared ‘Caprio-style’ into the jungles of Koh Samui, only to return covered in yin yang tattoos. He can scuba dive like me, he surfs (I’m crap), has skied since the age of two but also snowboards.

Marko has a cabin in Mammoth, loves his best friend, is close to his family, was eloquent, informed, interesting. We talked about everything, seamlessly. I really listened to him because he had things to say. At one point we were interrupted by the valet bringing his keys because the place had closed without us noticing.

I sat there listening to his funny stories, musing on why this was a good date. Was it the cute cafe? The good Merlot? The cheese plate he ordered (love that), his manners (he handed his card to the waitress, before the bill hit the table)? I decided it was a rhythm thing, like we talked and thought at the same pace. This of course does not mean he isn’t secretly a guy who checks your phone while you’re in the shower. He could be a person who wears Crocs at weekends. But the great thing about this experiment is I don’t have to care. I have another 37 first dates to go.

Marko walked me home and I actually gave him a genuine hug. He wants to take me to drawing school (we both studied art and love to paint). Then, this morning, a text, “I had a really great time with you.”

A good first date. Weird.

October 1, 2009

2. Free Therapy

Filed under: Uncategorized — 40firstdates @ 10:51 pm

James gave good phone. When we talked he was laid-back, interested, a good listener.

Of course he was a good listener, he was training to be a couples counsellor.

“Are you making this up?” I asked.

But he wasn’t. He was really a 35 year-old man so interested in others’ welfare that he was devoting his life to it. And he was cute too, a real head-turner with dreamy brown eyes.

“You live in Los Feliz?” He’d said, sounding disappointed. “That’s about as far from me as you can get.”

Was he already thinking of geographical inconvenience? If you like someone, then you’ll drive for 30 minutes.

For our first date, I drove.

Outfit: Flip flops, short skirt, baggy t-shirt and creative jewellery.

He’d picked this place with no name on Abbott Kinney and we sat at a butcher block communal table full of Venice people in gold sandals and overpriced sweats.

“So it is quite far,” I smiled, “which is a shame because I love it here. I only just moved and I’m not used to my new area yet.” I smiled more.

He sat back looking delighted to see me (points there). He told me about his upcoming grad degree in counselling and how he didn’t get much apartment for his money in this neighborhood. I told him about my life a bit. He kept touching my arm.

After some figs and goat cheese thing, (wine for me, bloody mary for him) I was dying for some water, maybe a diet coke, and opened my mouth to say so, when he grabbed the passing waiter’s arm.

“Hey man, can I get a diet coke?” he asked, not turning to me.

It was just for him. The waiter had rushed off. I continued to be thirsty. But whatever, no biggie.

He talked about some of the bad dates he’d been on. Women with obvious checklists, asking, “so, when do you think you’ll have a steady income?”, or “what do you think about children?”

I got it. I mean I once had a boyfriend who after only a month told me, “you know I’m serious right? I wouldn’t be like this with you if I wasn’t thinking you could be my wife or have my children?”

I felt like he was shopping for ‘a wife’ and didn’t even see me.

Anyway, James had segued into telling me about his married friends back East in Philly and how miserable they all were.

“I mean my buddy only gets a blow job on his birthday.”

“That’s terrible.” I said.

We talked about his imminent move to Culver city for college.

“It’ll be great to live alone so when you know, you have people over, girls, and you want to do stuff.’

Check please.

I asked him some pertinent questions about his counselling course.

He said, “it’s funny, everyone says the same thing when I tell them what I’m going to be studying. I say I was inspired because my friends trust me with their problems and they all say, ‘oh that’s funny! Me too!'”

(This is something I once said on the phone to him).

“Oh right, how annoying.” I said.

“That’s four negatives” He said.


“You just hit me with four negatives in a row. First you said this place was too far away, then you said something about apartments being small in Venice, then something else and now it’s annoying for me to help my friends.”

This guy was like a mad menopausal woman.

“But that’s ok. You be glass half-empty, I’ll be glass half-full,” he said. Then he sat back with a smug ‘I-see-through-you’ smile.

I thought of when Hannibal Lecter rejects Clarice’s questionnaire with, “you would dissect me with this blunt little tool?”

We walked to my car.

“Oh a Jeep!” he said, “so you like to be higher than everyone else?”

The words ‘fuck off’ formed in my mind.

“It’s good that you got the big tyres though, with normal tyres, these cars look awful.”

Then he pulled me in for a long, smooshy hug. I gave him a lightning-fast squeeze and sped off.

An hour later, he texted.

“I felt there wasn’t much interest on your end. The quick hug usually gives it away. Lol”

I responded, “I don’t know you, we had lunch, a quick hug seemed ok. I didn’t think there was much chemistry.”

He fired back, “it’s ok to hug someone longer if you like them.”

We’re still on the hug?

He went on, “If you don’t think there’s chemistry, then there isn’t. Good luck with everything.”

I’m assuming he’ll be taking an extra seminar in hug therapy.

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