Every Sunday, it seems, a few moments in time are spent taking BuzzFeed quizzes to find out such utterly important things about myself as Which Decade do I Belong in, What is My Real Astrological Sign, and Which Ancient Warrior are You?
Today I learned than I’m actually a Sagittarius (which, in astrological terms is the truth anyway – I’m a Capricorn, but after more than 3,000 years, the earth’s movement makes me a Sagittarius). Little Astro 101 knowledge for you. I was also a Hippie in a past life, and John Legend is my ideal Hollywood soul-mate.
The reason for the blog post has nothing to do with any of that profound insight into my actual worth, though.
One question that tends to pop up regardless of the quiz content or outcome is: What Is Your Idea of the Perfect First Date.
As easy as it might sound for others, this is the hardest, most perplexing of questions for me to answer. Maybe because of the limited choices they offer, which are always stereotypical pat things like hiking, walk along the beach, movie, candlelight dinner, art museum, … see, I even managed to memorize most of them by now. Today’s choices threw in paintball as a ‘something unexpected’ choice.
That something unexpected may have appealed to me, too, had the choice not meant searing pain and wanting my potential mate to inflict bodily harm, who knows.
Still, I’m left with the unanswered question that shouldn’t be as difficult as it is, … I think. Why can’t I just come right out and say, “I know just what I’d want to do on a first date, and it would be …”
As a writer of romance, the answer should be obvious, right? I should be filled with romantic notions about anything and everything – all the time – even in my sleep. But, I’m not and I don’t. My dreams usually begin with me standing at the edge of some precipice, like the tallest building in the world, or the open door of an airplane. And yeah, I end up falling. Sometimes I’m pushed and other times I just lose my balance due to that dizzy feeling that comes from my fear of heights that sends me plummeting. I always arrive in complete darkness, though, so that fear of pain upon impact in a most disgusting of ways doesn’t awaken or even terrify me that much anymore. I wait for the darkness to descend and either stop dreaming altogether or wander off into another realm of my subconscious.
This post isn’t about dream analysis, though. It’s about why I can’t come up with a single idea for the ideal first date. Why my mind won’t allow me to even consider the possibilities if I’m supposed to be this romantic former Hippie whose support color is Blue and should be dating Mr. Legend after getting advice from the Sagittarius and not Capricorn sign before leaving the house.
There is the Wine Bar notion, but would that be an early indicator of his alcoholic tendency? Would he think I might be one? I’m not, of course, but coming from a historical viewpoint of alcoholics, I’m not very fond of them or their penchant for imbibing on every celebratory or otherwise occasion. Besides, I do love wine but beyond two glasses I’m a blithering idiot. Cold beer in the summer can’t be beat, either, but again, my limit is 2, and with the second usually going ‘skunk’ long before I’ve polished it off.
Movie date is out if it’s the first date, too, as well as a nightclub or dancing, because if it’s a first date, then I’d rather we spend time quietly getting to know him. And only because it’s how I roll. Being some form of autistic A.D.D means my mind doesn’t work in normal, run-of-the-mill, everyone else is normal but me mode. Too much static or outside interference and the entire night is ruined by lots of misinformation, unheard questions and remarks, and just a total ball of confusion by night’s end – for me. I’m sure he’d be thinking long before the last second of the date arrived that he isn’t interested anymore, too.
Even dinner. I mean, c’mon. I’m already anxious; a ball of nerves, and desperate to make a good first impression. I’d be like: I’m going to get something on me, I just know it. And, it’ll likely land on one of my boobs, too, because they tend to dominate the upper portion of my small frame. Or worse! Holy Moley, Good God, no! A dot of spaghetti sauce on the side of my mouth. Spinach or pepper flake between my teeth.
Okay … I just gave myself an unneeded anxiety attack. … moving right along.
Time helps with regard to everything mentioned above, and I know I’m anal about stupid things. Which might be why this isn’t the easiest of questions to answer. But, still, I’m a writer. I write fiction. Romantic fiction, for crying out loud. These first-dates are supposed to occur on a regular basis, and with every story I generate. Are my characters coming across as anal-retentive, angst-ridden, reclusive introverts as well? I certainly hope not.
A walk along a beach. Sure. This is romantic. One of my characters lives in the Key Largo area and is surrounded by water, so being on a beach is natural. For me, though, it might seem like the ideal first date, but then no again. Will he expect me to wear a … gulp … bathing suit? (LOL – no lie, I actually typed shit instead of suit). Perhaps not, but the thought would still lead me to other such silliness like, if I can’t let him see me in a suit, then what makes me think I can just disrobe and slide between the sheets with him? Maybe in a dark room, where there are no windows, no lights. I already know the first thing I’ll do is stub my toe on the bottom of the bed, right? Five minutes hopping in place, clinging to the offended digit, cursing under my breath and offering him yet another glimpse of my actual self, complete with the Gordon Ramsey vernacular as mood music.
Yeesh, I’m a mess. I know that. Which is part of the reason I write. We’re a weird, eclectic bunch with issues, memories that haunt instead of please, and with more grievous transgressions than a priest in the confessional would care to hear in a single visit. We’ve most of us been there and done that … not all maybe, but most. It’s time we sat down, flexed our fingers, and then unburden onto cyber-paper all that is swirling around inside our minds.
Making sense of that which doesn’t, shouldn’t, or really won’t in our own lives.
The writer’s idea of fun. A great first date, but with our soul and not another human. They’re welcome to our world, but not until we’re through perfecting our form of … getting to know me, getting to know all about me.
Is there even such a thing as IDEAL in this world? Is ideal just another of the many words we throw out there because we can, and use it nonchalantly, to the point of abuse until it becomes as groundless as ‘How’s it going?’ or ‘Awesome’?
My ideal first date would be a long phone conversation, I think. I might even go so far as to permit video chat, but only after I feel comfortable with the idea, and because he’s managed to stay on the line that long, and because this guy is actually starting to appeal to me in a less first-impression and more human-interest kind of way.
But, that isn’t being fair to the notion of first-date, is it? That long conversation(s) would have already occurred. I’d have come to know him well enough to accept his offer to meet in person. Heck, if he’s still interested after everything he’s found out, then I think I should just say ‘Up for Anything’ and mean it. Even throw sex into the bargain for his effort.
This is how I’d like my characters to come off in my stories, and this is how they manage to captivate their audience. They’re not wallflowers without having some form of bad girl on the inside who is dying to get out and see the world. They’re nerdy types who convince themselves that love is for the weak while inwardly longing to find out if that hypothesis is actually true. Or they simply come out of the gate running and never stop, winning race after race until eventually making the cover of Time.
I don’t want my characters to BE me any more than I want to be who I am on a date. At least not right away. I’d rather cast some spells, drink some potions, and sprinkle lots of fairy dust prior to leaving the house and getting into his car to set off on whatever adventure he has planned for the night. Make me shine, make me beautiful, and make him like me … not so much for who I am, but for why I am that way. Let him see beyond the make-up, the oops, I let something slip just now, didn’t I? There’s more to everyone than meets the eye, and good or bad, evil or saintly, knock-out or disappears-in-a-crowd … I’d like a first-date to be memorable, interesting, and yes, even magical.
The same way good sex with regardless makes you say ‘Day-um!’ or ‘That … was awesome.’
Let’s both be novel characters tonight, even knowing it isn’t true and that we both have issues. Let’s leave those issues at home tonight and really, truly experience life, just us two.
That, I think, would be an ideal first-date. Wherever or whenever it takes place.