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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A (Very) Brief Heterosexual Dating History, Bachelorette #4

DaniDani

Height: 5’9”
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Blue
Talent: Ward Choir
Random Fact: She and my brother were in a musical together although they only spoke to each other once.

The Date:

That first day of class, I remember staring at her, but I’m not quite sure why. Was it her laugh as she courteously laughed at the teacher’s opening day jokes? Maybe the uncanny resemblance to my friend Chenese? Or perhaps it was her sense of style which seemed to complement mine somehow?

The classroom was cozy. The padded folding chairs were lined up side by side, their arm rests removed. I suppose it was so we’d all sit a little closer, feel a little more connected, …and perhaps start dating each other.

You see it was an LDS institute class. For those of you unfamiliar with institute, it’s essentially a set of religion classes for young single adults 18-29. There are also activities such as speed dating and dances directly geared towards getting guys and girls to date, marry, and have babies (in that order).

LDS Institute

Slowly, we gravitated towards each other. I told her it was because her shoes fascinated me and she told me that she was curious about why I was always writing in my notebook. Generally, I was outlining a paper or drafting a poem rather than paying a lot of attention in class.

What struck me about Dani was her perfection. Following Nate and Chenese’s one-year anniversary, I had a real desire to have what they did—a deep intellectual, spiritual, personal (and likely physical) bond. Dani’s resemblance to Chenese provoked an abiding hope in me that I might have something just as deep and beautiful.

I was committed to making this the best date possible. I planned a week in advance. I took her to a local restaurant, and I introduced her to the specialty. We went to a basketball game and then went to dessert afterwards.

The conclusion of this story is a lot like that of (500) Days of Summer. Just like in the movie, things didn’t really turn out the way I’d hoped. My expectations and reality told two different stories:

expectations reality

Expectations:

I saw myself sweeping her off her feet. I would be witty and romantic as we sat down to a nice dinner conversation. I would look into her eyes for the first time out of class at that basketball game and we’d feel that spark. I’d feel my issues with touch dissolve as our lips pursed for my first, single good night kiss. Months later, I’d recreate the night as I got to one knee and proposed.

Reality:

Dinner conversation kept returning to the same topic of class. The noise of the basketball game made me anxious. It only made me want to touch and be touched less. Every time I’d look in her eyes, it was like a barrier was there, but on my sidea plate of glass dulling every sound, sight and interaction between us ever so slightly.

I didn’t know what to do, so we just left. We skipped to dessert and she kept asking, “Are you okay?” and stating the obvious fact “You’re not looking great.” Instead of a good night kiss, I had a good night Advil and knelt down that night hoping to pray away the sense of failure after finally being brave enough to ask her out:

Lord, I’ve done everything I was supposed to do yet I can’t help but feel like what I am doing—what I am wanting—is unnatural. Please fix this. Please help me understand.

And months later I did, but only after two more very bad dates.

The Lesson: Formulas and molds don’t apply to people.

End, Part 4.

1 comments:

Love in said...

GMB, I think this post resonated with me almost as much as any you've written. Its such a strange, horrible feeling to realize what's happening when you are on a date like that -- my last few almost were precisely like what you describe. The disjunction between expectations and reality is jarring, especially when you know how you "should" be feeling when you are with a girl in a certain context. I've prayed that prayer many times. It definitely was never answered.

More happily, seeing you writing poetry in your notebook would have gotten my attention, too! Can't blame her for that...

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