This past weekend I went on a date.
Yes, this gal and I had already met and made out as we were hammered at the bars two nights before, but there was serious chemistry in our hungover cuddling the next morning amidst the six other people in the same hotel suite, and she was cute, so I had already forgiven the fact that she had completely wet the bed in the middle of the night, but I digress.
We went to the movies. The movie was legitimately hilarious, she looked fantastic and obviously put effort into it. I took her to dinner afterwards. We even talked the entire time with zero awkwardness. I kissed her sober, and we texted a good bit when we got home about doing it again soon. All in all, I was pretty content with myself.
So today, while in the midst of my hour long death-commute to the office, I thought back on my experience and realized the following things about my postgrad dating experience:
1. You can’t be too picky.
I willingly talked to, asked out, and really enjoyed my time with a girl who, less than 48 hours prior, had peed all over me. And of course by “a girl” I mean she was actually 30 and an established adult woman. I’m not sure if it was college life or the shrinking opportunity these days that ruined any sense of perspective I once had, but other than the 5 minutes of early-morning realization that I was covered in pee that was not my own, the 15 minute still-drunk walk to my car to get extra clothes, the 15 minute walk back, and the 5 minute half-asleep shower, I was pretty much fine with it. She cleaned herself up a bit, threw on my button down instead of her dress, and we migrated to the pull out sofa to resume napping in each others arms. Romantic, right? Let me know if you want any more details, Nicholas Sparks.
2. Some things never change.
I’m a couple years older than most recent grads, and she is a couple years older than me, but it is both odd and amusing that we met relatively the same way we would have in college. In college, my fraternity and her sorority were well known at the time for being brother-sister fraternity-sorority, and they did everything together. Almost all of our brothers dated their sisters, we always partnered with them for homecoming, we tried to rig Derby Days in their favor, etc. I know she creeped on my Facebook before we met and I now know that there were sorority discussions about me way before I even knew she existed. I got a text from my fraternity brother saying “she’s had a crush on you for a while now” even though we just met this past weekend. I guess some things never change, and honestly, it’s more comforting than anything.
3. “Dating” is a real thing that was not made up by Hollywood.
Much has been written on this site and elsewhere how dating in the real world is so different than dating in college. For one, you actually date-date in the real world. Like go out for frozen yogurt or eat a whole meal of food, even.
Just a few years ago, unless a girl and I were long-term and committed, I couldn’t imagine going to a movie or buying dinner or doing anything other than meeting up at the house, my room, her room or the bar. Naturally, her and I handled meeting at the bar like a champ, made out in various cab rides around the city, held hands as we walked from bar to bar, and passed out next to each other. The actual date was filled with so many more questions: Do I kiss her when I first see her? Do we hold hands in the theater? Do we make out in the theater? Have I completely reverted to a junior high mentality on dealing with girls?
Of course I paid for the movie tickets, and ultimately dinner and drinks, but that’s basic “I’m a man and this is what I’m expected to do” stuff. The “I’m not going to make this uncomfortable on a first date” vs. “I’m being an unbelievable pussy for the first time in a decade” argument weighed in my head over and over, and ultimately I got to a point where too much time had passed without doing anything that I would have been even weirder if I did. I had the sense to redeem myself post-movie with a great kiss and a compliment (she really did look fantastic) but I was already so ashamed.
4. Following up can be a challenge.
Since then we’ve been texting a lot, but since then I’ve also realized I have no sense of etiquette whatsoever on first date follow ups. In highschool it was inevitable that you would see the girl at school on Monday. In college, you were certain to see her out soon enough, or maybe even in class. In the real world, there’s a solid chance I’m at least not going to see her again until this upcoming weekend, and that of course is “schedule-permitting” so it could be a couple weeks. Do I grow up and call her instead of having hour-long text conversations or is that too forward? Do I suggest one of those after work dates? Also, where in the world do we go to hook up? I’m not joking when I say that while we have both lived on our own and have very legitimate jobs, we both also live with our parents at the moment. It’s like high school all over again, and while I’m sure it’s not expressly forbidden for either of us anymore (I know my parents gave up on me and morals a long time ago), it’s still a bit odd.
I went out on a date this weekend, and honestly it seems that the more things change the more things stay the same. Except, of course, for me knowing what to do whatsoever.