Well, pretty soon anyway.
Days later...One week and four days later to be exact...
Well. It would seem I've been sitting on this post for quite some time. I'd been almost religious in my devotion to getting blogs written within a day of the new activity's occurrence, but this one eluded me. It wasn't that I didn't have the time to write about the activity; I just wasn't sure what/how much I wanted to say.
Maybe I'm still not.
See, originally I'd had it all planned out that I'd write about checking out the dueling piano action at Los Gatos Brewing Company in downtown San Jose. But as it turned out I wasn't even inside that restaurant long enough to say anything of substance about the experience. So I was left with the option to write about what the real subject at hand was after all, which I'd been somewhat opposed to doing.
Today's New Activity: Being Sent (Brought) on a Blind Date
For probably two months now, my friend Kelsi, on behalf of her and my friend Jeff--her husband--has been telling me about a friend of theirs they wanted to set me up with. They think they are somehow qualified to do this just because the last couple they set up got married last year.
At first I resisted on principle alone: I've never been set up with anybody and didn't think I liked the idea of it.
Then I resisted on more specific grounds. I don't feel ready to start dating, and heavens-to-Betsy, though I've been separated for 10 months, my divorce is not final and that made this seem like a less-than-optimal time to start dating.
Then I resisted out of sheer nervousness at the idea of getting back out there, and doubt about the viability of this particular match. The guy they wanted to set me up with was a few years younger than me, never married, and already dating a couple of women...not likely itching to embark on the kind of journey that dating me--at this moment in my life-- would be. How to open this introduction? "So, I hear you've got a not-quite-divorced, single Mom fetish. Well buddy, you're in luck." (finishing with a wink). Yeah.
Finally, I agreed to meet with Kelsi, Jeff, and the man-boy in question together for a night out, if mostly just to satisfy a curiosity: what kind of guy did they think was perfect for me? They kept saying our senses of humor were good matches, and Kelsi assured me he was nerdy cute. That's not a lot to go on, but a good start. I like jokes. I like nerdy cute.
The biggest downside to the whole prospect was that both parties knew our friends were attempting to set us up. There was no way to casually pull this meeting off as a casual meeting. It was a meeting with a very specific, pretty high-pressure purpose, and it was bound to affect the interaction all the way around.
Enter my try-new-things project. It was time to suck it up.
Jeff and Kelsi did a fantastic job of ensuring the hangout went about as awkwardly as it could have gone while also attempting to mitigate that awkwardness as well they could. We met at the restaurant where the dueling pianos were in full swing. And we could have probably stayed there a while and eased into the night by mutually taking in this show of sorts. But instead we went outside to the near-empty patio, where there was nothing to be done but to fill the space with the sounds of our own voices. There was no buffer zone.
So Kelsi, always one to foster group conversation, took the first pregnant pause in conversation to say, "So, is this awkward enough for everybody?" That was actually fine. No problem stating the obvious. It's a good idea.
But then, she took the next extended silence as her opportunity to say, "So ________, _______ is working on a project that she's blogging about. Why don't you tell us about it, _______?"
Whoah. Deer in the headlights. What could I do but lean over, sideways hug her, and tell her how much I love her for her efforts. It's tough to share personal information with a stranger on a prompt.
Jeff wasn't much better. It happens that the date and I work for the same company. So Jeff said, "Hey _______, ________ also works for _________." In Jeff's defense, he definitely said this tongue-in-cheek, but it was still goofy. "REAlly?!" I exclaimed. "This is the very first I've heard of this."
At least we could laugh at the situation. More opportunities arose when Jeff asked his buddy, "So _______, how old do you think _______ is?" And then asked me, "So _________, how much do you think ________ weighs?" You'd think all this pointing out of the awkward would have made the situation less so.
Eye contact was difficult to establish (from my end, it felt like too much pressure...too hard to speak directly to him when I knew K and J were watching and hoping to see sparks). Also, we didn't seem able to land on a topic we could all connect on...not in this first meeting anyway. There just ended up being a number of little side conversations.
All got more mellow and went more smoothly after Kelsi and Jeff left on account of needing to get their boys back from the babysitter, but that was a brief period because I had to get home in time for when my own baby would surely wake up in the middle of the night.
This about it felt good: it felt good to be able to say that to him, that I needed to get home to my baby, without any hesitation about how that truth would affect the outcome of the date...good to be comfortable in my own skin and in the skin of my life.
It also felt good to be able to walk away from that date and not give a lot of thought about how it went, what he thought of me, whether or not I'd be hearing from him. I used to care too much about those things. And not only can I not afford to anymore because I've got tinier fish to fry, I feel much more inclined to focus on the question of whether or not I liked him, if I focus on any part of it at all.
Still, it was a fun night and I am thankful to Kelsi and Jeff for dragging me out. It made me feel alive to be out on a Saturday night with a young, single person, in downtown San Jose, which was teeming with Sharks fans just out of a game.
The reason I was so hesitant to write about the night was that I have never, in my 9 (!) years of blogging, written about my romantic life (apart from announcing my wedding, when it happened) and I don't plan to start now. That is one part of my life I don't like to share. I've never been a kiss-and-teller (maybe years later, but not in the thick of it!), and I would not want any aspect of my dating life to be affected by the idea that I may or may not write about it later. So writing about this night was a first and a last. It seemed a first blind date was pretty worth telling a bit about for the purpose of this project, and it's out of my system.
Happy lovin' to y'all :)