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So I know this is going to sound strange, but I’m 20 years old and have only ever been on one date in my entire life. And that first date was only about two months ago, right before my twentieth birthday. I know some of you must be thinking, “How the heck do you go 19 years without ever going on a date?!” And then I’m hoping there are at least a few of you in the same boat as me. Either way, I will elaborate.
I graduated high school after the ninth grade at 15 years old. It wasn’t because I’m some sort of genius, (though it’s true I did have enough knowledge to receive a diploma at that age) it was because I had reconstructive jaw surgery that put me in debilitating pain. I’m not going to go into all of the details here, but if you’re interested in knowing more about my situation, I have an entire blog dedicated to the topic here: jawsurgerypain.com.
Anyway, I didn’t just want to sit around wasting perfectly good (or in this case perfectly unhealthy) youth. Luckily, I have a community college just 10 minutes away from my house. This afforded me the opportunity to go to school for a few hours, then go home and rest. I started at this college at 16.
This presents my first problem in dating. I didn’t really go to high school and in college I was jailbait. You may be wondering how in the world anyone would even know I wasn’t 18. I mean, I was always told I looked older than my age and was mature. However, you’d be surprised how often the topic comes up. The first class I took was with a friend I knew from the local theater scene, and even after I asked him not to, the information was far too juicy for him not to share with our entire tennis class. In other classes, people naturally asked what year you are or how many semesters you’ve taken or if you’re 21 yet. It’s difficult to answer these questions (and their inevitable follow ups) without lying if you’re trying not to announce you’re still practically a baby.
My other problems were either the fact that I was/am chubby, don’t know how to flirt, or don’t recognize when someone is flirting with me. I know all women face problems of not feeling beautiful. However, my face was still in the swelling stages from surgery and I have never been thin. This didn’t help my confidence any. I’ve never know how to flirt because I’m the band geek, the student council president, the girl who starts college at 16. I’m also the oldest child in my family, so no older sibs to help me out there either. Where would I learn how to flirt?! My friends were just as dorky as me. I’ve also been told I shut down guys who are flirting with me, mostly by emasculating them. There was actually a time when I guy tried to show me his muscles and I scoffed at him, and then shut him down! It sounds ridiculous now, but at the time I had no idea he was even flirting with me.
My last reason for never dating is I never really cared about having a boyfriend and no one ever really asked me out on a date. If you aren’t aware or pursuing something, it’s less likely to happen. I spent my time becoming chairs of city committees, being a student senator for my college, and doing honors work for my courses. Dating was just never really on my radar.
However, I will be transferring to a big university in the fall and I think it’s time I gave this whole dating thing a try. I just think it would be weird to go to a university and have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to guys. So I signed up for OkCupid. Not really a huge fan of the app because most guys never actually ask you out, instead giving you one word answers to awkward questions. My qualms about the app aside, I was asked out by a nice guy my age who went to a nearby university. I, of course, said yes. It turned out to be an awkward date with an uncomfortable ending. It’s the Internet, so of course I’ll give you all of the nitty-gritty details.
First, let me just say I totally understand the fuss about picking out your outfit now. It’s a difficult process! He asked me to a movie and we said we might catch dinner after. So I wasn’t sure how nice or warm I should dress. We were meeting at the theater (because I met him online for Pete’s sake!) so I wasn’t sure if we would walk or drive to the restaurant. I ended up settling on a skirt with leggings and boots with a tank top and jean vest. I figured this way I wouldn’t be too hot or cold. First crisis averted.
So I got to the theater and texted him to let him know I had arrived. He said he was outside buying his ticket. This both confused and stressed me out. Did this mean we were both paying for our own tickets? Was this even still a date? Or was I just not getting with the feminist times? Either way I walked out and told him I hadn’t bought my ticket yet either. He offered to buy my ticket for me and I accepted. Phew. That wasn’t too hard, right? (I feel the need to mention that I paid for the snacks, so no one out there is thinking that the guy shouldn’t have to pay for everything.)
For the sake of privacy I won’t tell you my date’s actual name. So I now officially re-name him Flounder. Inside joke between me and….me. It’s funny if you know his actual name.
Flounder was nice enough. About my height (5’8”), average build, glasses, and he had a bit of the original Bieber cut, okay? But he made polite conversation and we talked until the movie began. We saw the third Night at the Museum movie, which was funny enough. He happens to be both a movie and a history buff, so it worked out well. Flounder did have one particularly cute moment during the movie. There’s a part in the movie when Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan are upside down on an air vent and Wilson yells, “Take my hand!” Flounder put his hand out to me right after the line and it was both cute and funny. I would have been fine with just hand holding (is it always sweaty and awkward?), but then Flounder put his arm around me. With him not being much taller than me this required me to sort of duck into his hold. It felt very weird and I’m pretty sure the people behind us were complaining of us blocking their view because of the unusual positioning of it all. Flounder didn’t seem to notice.
After the movie he suggested we go for coffee, which we walked to. (My planning ahead worked!) He held my hand all the way there, which was a little difficult with my purse and drink from the movie. We had good conversation in the coffee shop and I was thinking that this whole dating thing isn’t half as bad as some people made it out to be. That’s when things got weird.
We had been together for about three and a half hours now, however, he still wanted to take me to dinner. I was sort of tired, but he had been very nice and I didn’t see the harm. While we were walking to the restaurant Flounder started saying things like, “I know this may be weird to say on a first date, but I can really see us being in a relationship together, can’t you?” Yes Flounder. That is very weird to say to a person you’ve known all of three hours. What could I say but yes? I mean I thought he was nice, but I didn’t really know him.
We arrived at the restaurant where he put his arm around me while we waited for the food to come. (It was sort of awkward again and the food took forever. Can’t a waitress see a sister in need?) Before Flounder left for the restrooms, he kissed me. This was my first real kiss. And I felt nothing. Not a single flutter from a single wing from a single butterfly. I decided then that this probably wasn’t going to work out. I mean, when you don’t want to kiss someone again that’s not a good sign, right?
We waited for another half hour before our food came out. During this time he kissed me once more and was still glued to my side with his arm around me. I tried to casually shrug out of his embrace while reaching for something in my purse, but he wasn’t having it. Oh no. I was stuck there. I resorted to looking at the TVs while talking with him, so I wouldn’t have to kiss him again. When we finished our meal he said again that he really thought this was going to work out and how he’d love to do this again sometime. At this point, I felt kind of bad. I didn’t want to lead him on, so I was honest. I told him although he was an amazing guy, I just didn’t feel like we had any chemistry. He disagreed. Which he told me. Repeatedly. I wasn’t going to argue with him about this, so I finally just agreed that we should give this a shot and crossed my fingers behind my back. I wasn’t really feeling bad for him anymore.
I still had to walk back to our cars, holding hands of course, and then he hugged me and kissed me goodbye…TWICE! I even tried to dodge the second one! This guy was really starting to bug me. He made sure once again that I was on board with his plan of us living happily ever after, confirmed when I would be back in town after the holidays, and then finally let me go.
After the New Year he texted and asked about my trip. I didn’t want to be rude (even though I feel like he sort of was at the end of our date) and responded by telling him I had a nice time and I hope he had a good 2015. He never texted me again. I like to think someone gave him some much needed advice on not forcing girls to date him. I’m glad he took it.
After that I reconnected with a friend who met her fiancé on Plenty of Fish. I signed up there and now have a date with the complete opposite of Flounder. Flounder was a 19-year-old college student. My next date, let’s call him Nemo (also funny if you know his real name), is a 23 year old, home owning custodian and a college drop out. We are meeting Saturday morning for a quick coffee. I like this guy already.
What do you think of Flounder? Was he rude at the end of our date or was he just trying to not let me give up too quickly? And what is the worst date you’ve ever gone on? Please help me feel like I’m not so alone.