twenty-four previous dates and this is the only one where i was nervous beforehand. sure, i had endured some awkwardness, but this was different. i had an inclination, maybe i can call it intuition, that he wasn't going to even care about becoming my friend, much less anything romantic.
why did i feel this way even before i met him? let's see if i can pick apart the information i had acquired beforehand...
date #25 had emailed me first, saying that he had heard about my 30 dates and that he had had some bad luck with women lately and... "why not?" i had replied to him a couple times to try and figure out a corresponding day but i didn't hear back from him. i assumed that he had changed his mind so i let it go without another thought. no biggie.
but then i came across an article about him and his life as a bachelor. i will have to say that yes, he is ridiculously good-looking, but that's honestly not what grabbed my attention; his love for parkour was intriguing. the only exposure that i've had to this sport (if i'm able to call it that), is the episode of the Office where they're jumping around like monkeys on crack. [insert another imaginative episode of cartoon comedy here, this time of my date being a guest star alongside michael scott.]
after the article and checking out his facebook, i deduced a few things: a) he had high, and particular, physical standards... and i know i'm no halle berry [more like drew barrymore circa 1998], b) he knows he's good-looking, and c) at this point i figured the only way to get him to say yes is to lure him in with the one thing he truly loves.
i asked if he'd be willing to teach me some parkour for our date. he accepted.
so why did i pursue a date with someone that i already felt like he would look at me with inferiority? maybe to see if my judgments were wrong... maybe to push myself to get over fears (fear of the vulnerability of a man teaching me something, and the fear of actually being inferior)... maybe i considered it a challenge... maybe sheer curiosity. probably different percentages of all of the above.
on the bus ride to meet up with #25 at the park, i gave myself a pep-talk, saying that i needed to keep an open mind and let go of all preconceived ideas. when i found him, i immediately sensed the shield he had built around himself just through his body language. after introductions, he grabbed an apple from his cooler, broke it in half and looked at me for a reaction. honestly i thought he was offering to share it with me. turns out he was displaying the fact that he could split it with his bare hands. i didn't even notice and he seemed a little annoyed by that. or maybe he was just working through some awkward beginnings?
when he got into talking about the history of parkour and instructing me on some of the basics, i could tell that this was his comfort zone. he was looking me in the eye and words were flowing smoothly, showing me the most efficient way to make a jump over a waist-high wall. anyone watching me would have known that in this moment my zone was completely void of comfort. i believe he read this and adjusted his patience and even compassion to suit. i appreciated it more than anything. it seemed like our interpersonal gap was closing somewhat through this... but when i tried to veer off the subject of parkour, i could see him close up again. come on man! i just ran my knees into walls in front of you! are you going to make me be the only one exposing a susceptible state?
i was losing interest because of the strictly teacher/student mentality and i think he was waning too. actually, they were probably going hand in hand. he was starting to pay attention to his phone so i was about head out when i saw his face contort humorously in annoyance. i begged for him to illustrate. this was the first time he told me anything personal, so matter the story, he automatically gained points just for that fact.
but when he was telling me about the girl he met at the bar who, for the following week, wouldn't stop texting him to see what he was doing, he made sure to ostentatiously showcase the fact that she kept oozing on how gorgeous he was. and when i tried to connect with him about how i also can't handle one-dimensional people who love to occupy their time with quickly romanticizing a brand new world with an almost stranger, he looked at me as if to say "right. like you understand."
i left feeling slightly defeated. and bruised... literally.
best part of the date: he was honestly the most patient teacher. #25, you'll do great.
best part of the day: when we found out that while we were talking, we were the subjects of an artist's sketch. he gave it to us for $6. (i have the date to thank for most of that.)
worst part of the date: he didn't let me in at all... was he afraid that if he gave me an inch, i'd be another one of those girls that would try to take a mile?
worst part of the day (which was also probably really good for me): letting a guy teach me something/walking away with proof that i'm not the best at clearing walls