Saturday, July 14, 2007

managing expectations

I set my book aside to reposition myself on the deck chair whose wooden slats had grown hard pressing through the towel and my shorts, reminding me that my hip bones haven't quite disappeared completely. The heat of the bright sun was tempered by the heavy breeze that swirls 40 stories above the City streets, blowing in from the river. Shifting to my back I spritzed more greasy sunblock on my arms and legs hoping 15 spf would be enough to prevent burning but light enough to allow the sun to brown my skin a little. For nostalgia, I picked up my ipod and switched from the lyric-less jazz of Charles Mingus to my Red Rocks playlist. Dropping my head back on the small pillow I keep in a tote with my towel for sunning on the roof, I listened to Led Zeppelin, The Indigo Girls, Pink Floyd and Neal Young and considered how I should spend the next four hours before my date. Do I continue reading on the roof despite the fact that I have run out of water and am getting bored even though my book is good. Do I try and find a birthday present for my friend even though I'm not sure I will make it to her surprise party tonight? Do I make a salad or a smoothie - I'm not hungry yet, still full from the french toast I made at 11 but if I'm going to eat I should do it well in advance of dinner. Maybe I should go to the gym. . . . or maybe I will write.

I don't feel anxious or nervous or even that excited. I'm not sure how I feel. Tonight's blind date was originally scheduled to take place a couple of weeks ago. I already worried what I would wear (thanks for all of you I polled via email for your advice) and what I would think of him and what he would think of me back then. When it was postponed I half expected it not to make it back on the calendar. The emails we have exchanged leave me wondering if he is intellectual, formal, uptight, smart, entitled and/or pretentious or maybe he is just sarcastic with a sardonic wit that doesn't come across quite right in an email. Does he ponder the verbose emails he types in an effort to come across as intelligent or do they simply reflect his speaking pattern? If so, what do I think of that? How do I feel about someone who has already asked me via email whether I eat fried foods and exercise regularly - even if in context it was meant to be humorous banter. What does he think of me for my meant-to-be-funny-but-mostly-misunderstood response emails? This is why I try not to think about it.

My friend Ruby is so excited about this particular set-up, not because she had anything to do with it or knows anymore than I do about this finance-type, faceless name but because I think she wants to will it to work. We want so much for our friends and family, sometimes we let our expectations and hopes for them out-soar their own. When the initial date was canceled (family emergency on his end), I did not feel much of a let down but I felt bad breaking the news to her and everyone else who was crossing their fingers for me that day.

He is taking me to an extremely upscale restaurant in Tribeca which caused a frenzy over what to wear the first time around. With the dress selected and no need for a fresh pedicure, there isn't much left for me to be concerned about other than - why such a nice restaurant? I feel comfortable in these types of restaurants after years of work lunches, dinners, interviews, etc. but never with a date, on a Saturday night, with someone I have never met. Is he trying to impress me or is this a norm for him?

Some time ago I began describing myself as an optimistic realist. I determined this was a suitable description since I really don't consider myself an unqualified optimist but I am too much of a daydreamer to be considered a pessimist. I daydream about good things happening to me - meeting someone new, or working things out with an ex-boyfriend (better visualization). These dreams keep me moving forward, as they do most people I suspect. But I am very realistic when it comes to actual events. Especially blind dates. I have never had a good one. And until a few months ago, I had never had one that was even tolerable, they were always more of an endurance challenge than something done for enjoyment. Honestly, one guy took me to Jamba Juice, we sat at the one and only table (which wasn't really for lingering) and nearly the first thing he asked me was "so, do your parents pressure you a lot about getting married?" Another blind date tried to hold my hand before we even made it in the restaurant and was baffled when I wouldn't let him, then insisted we go ice skating even though he had never been. Yet another blind date interrogated me as to why I'm divorced and accused me of not ever wanting to have a family because I was a "career type" (that was at BYU). So I haven't had much luck at this sort of thing. I usually walk away wondering what on earth the hopeful match-maker had seen in me that meshed with this person other than our coincidentally coinciding singleness. I want to grab photos and descriptions of past boyfriends and show the match-makers to prove that I am perfectly capable of attracting interesting, funny, successful, intelligent and attractive men all on my own, thank you very much.

So why did I agree, once again to accept a blind date despite my past experiences? First, what do I really have to lose. My time? I seem to have an excess of that these days. My social calendar is not in a position to exclude offers. Secondly, I am intrigued by this one. Although I have never met him, I have heard of him and wanted to meet him. Plus, our match maker knows full well what type of guys I have dated. He is the best friend (since high school) of one of my ex-boyfriends. A good one who I actually dated two different times. I have known this guy and his wife for close to ten years and he described my date-to-be as a very close friend. So I figured, whether it is a match or not, it is a compliment that he thought of me to set up with his close friend. And if this guy was a complete loser wouldn't his wife advise against the match?

I'll let you know how it goes, I'm going to the gym now.

2 comments:

tiff said...

Once again, a beautifully written introspective. I am glad the date was re-scheduled, and I'm glad you've been such a good sport considering some of the past blind date mishaps. Just the other day I was talking to a lady I know who was telling me that she was set up on a blind date that she nearly cancelled. Turns out things worked out. She said, "I always tell people--go on the blind date--I nearly missed out!"

So, I can't wait to hear what happens, even if it's a hilariously horrible evening. (But I'm guessing it won't be.)

Can't wait to hear the details!

Ma said...

Since I now know the outcome of the blind date, I am anxiously awaiting your post-date post. I love to read your thoughts on the events of your life.

Blind dates take me back to years ago when I went on my share of blind dates. Some were alright, but most were just awful. Your father and I were lined up, but at least I had met him before. I really did not go out with him thinking that he could possibly be the one I would marry. Quite the contrary.

You never know whether a blind date will lead to something or not, so why not go if you trust the person who arranges the date. If the date is terrible, you at least have something to write about later as one of life's traumas.

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