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.”
“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.