50 first dates

I thought it would be fun to do an anthropology series on my dating life. So here goes:

I have only EVER been in love ONCE. He was my first love and I hold on to those memories as a child holds on to a good grade or a science-fair trophy. Patrick was to me, a sort of savior. In him I found a friend and a lover. He mocked Christianity though, he thought very little of Jesus Christ.

Peter was the second boy I dated. He literally was an angel-boy. He had the soul of a cherub. He was untouchable.

The list is pretty short after Peter. I haven’t really dated that much. I’ve been single uninterruptedly for most of my twenties. Most of my twenties I spent entirely oblivious to the fact that I was single. Singleness? What even is that?

But I think after spending those isolated months in a certain basement, I became aware of myself. I became aware of my aloneness.

I thought, maybe it would be a good thing to have a partner.

I went on a date tonight with a guy named Richard. He wore suspenders and a beret. He ordered a filet of rabbit and roast potatoes. As I watched him cut into his rabbit I asked him if he’d ever read Watership Down.

“No, I don’t think I’ve ever read that one. What’s it about?” He asked me.

“It’s an invigorating story about the conquest of civilian rabbits against an evil Rabbit, General Woundwort. It will have you turning page after page. You just get caught up in the battle and the gore of it.”

“Oh.” Richard said. “Interesting. What’s it called again?”

“It’s called Watership Down.” I said. He let the waitress carry away the unfinished rabbit.

We got beers after dinner.

Richard is a beverage man. He tasted a sour and a nitro and then ended up getting an oatmeal berry beer or something like that which tasted like hoppy caramel. I don’t like beer but he ordered for me and it wasn’t that bad. It was called Sixpence I think.

He asked me what made me say yes to going out with him. “It’s kind of a policy.” I said. “I’ll go out with anyone once, as long as they aren’t a creep.”

“oh.” he said. “so what are you thinking about this date so far? what do you think about me?”

I didn’t struggle to find an answer. I answered him with ease and clarity.

Prior to shooting me with this question, Richard told me about his closest friends in Washington State, about the horrible movies he loved and how to bake with beer. He told me about his broken childhood, of his fathers death and his alcoholic step-father.

It wasn’t draining to listen. I wondered though if I should let him share those things with me. But really, it wasn’t my responsibility to shelter him. I offered to pay, but he said: “I asked you out, and I want to pay.”

Was he wrong to expose himself to an uncommitted stranger?

And how many times have I acted a fool and exposed myself for the sake of being known by anyone?


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