About the Experiment

Monday, August 25, 2014

Date #1: Week 1 Bachelor #1

Quite appropriately, the first date of the experiment is with Bachelor #1.  On my mom's suggestion we went to the California Science Center to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour (and learned that it's the British spelling because it's named after the HMS Endeavour) and it was pretty cool.  The day started with an adventure in Los Angeles public transit: we both (separately) took the Metro to the museum because the FYF music festival was also happening this weekend in Exposition Park and we figured parking would be difficult.  We were both running late, but I ended up getting there quite a bit later than he did and text messages wouldn't go through while I was on the subway.  But thankfully he was understanding, and once I was on a train above ground we texted about a spot to meet up.

B#1 was definitely gentlemanly, and I appreciate that!  He'd bought tickets in advance to see the Endeavour, he waited near the Metro station for me, he held doors open for me, etc.  Was this partially influenced by my mom being the Matchmaker?  Possibly, but I'll give B#1 credit that he seems like the type of guy that would do that regardless.

We went through several exhibits, including seeing the Endeavour.  I don't think I'd been on a date to a museum before, and it was interesting.  Sometimes dinner/drinks dates, when you're just stuck staring at each other across a table, can feel a bit like job interviews.  I enjoy dates that give you something to talk about, and moving around can help feel out the chemistry.

And that's where we run into a problem: we had no chemistry.  He's a nice guy and I enjoyed chatting with him, but overall I don't think we're a good match.  We're in very different places in our lives: he's in film school, which is exciting and very engrossing, but I'm 5 years out of film school and into my career.  Also, although according to our profiles we both like adventures, it seems that our ideas differ on what counts as an interesting adventure.  Although that may sounds like a small thing, there's research to indicate otherwise:

OkCupid actually does interesting data analysis using their site and in a blog post called The Best Questions For A First Date, they listed 3 questions that best indicate long-term potential (if people agree on them): 
1) Do you like horror movies?
2) Have you ever traveled around another country alone?
3) Wouldn't it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?

The last two, to me at least, are about adventure. Is traveling internationally solo an exciting experience or a lonely nightmare? Is living on a sailboat a story you'd like to tell your future grandkids, or a soggy ordeal?
(As for me personally, when I was 20 years old I backpacked around Europe mostly solo (meeting up with friends occasionally) and went to 14 countries in 6 months)

I want to emphasize there's no right answer, it's just about compatibility. When I was younger, I used to get really frustrated with myself about this kind of date. Why don't I like this nice guy? What's wrong with me? As I've gotten older, I've learned (and constantly remind myself) that there's nothing wrong with me or him, we just aren't the right match for each other.

Two instances have illustrated this for me:
1) In high school I worked in a coffee shop and one of my co-workers asked me out for coffee. I thought he was kidding and just laughed, I didn't even realize that he was trying to ask me out on a date. A year or so later he and my best friend met and started flirting via World Of Warcraft.  Their 7 year anniversary is next month.

2) In college I was hanging out with a guy friend, and my roommates later said I should date him and give him a makeover. I was never interested in him romantically and told them I wouldn't want to date a guy to change him. The next year he started dating another friend of mine and they are now engaged. She loves him just how he is.

All this to say, B#1 seems like a good guy and somewhere out there's a girl who's a great match for him. But that girl isn't me, and that's ok. It's probably something I'll have to remind myself of frequently in this experiment, so I figure I'll start now.

I told my mom about the date and she also agrees that he sounds like not the right type of guy for me.  But the good news is that I'm learning about what kind of guy would be right for me, and it's interesting to try defining/explaining it to others.

Also, I need to get better at ending dates.  I'm working on boundaries lately, as I've seen I often put the wants/needs of others before my own.  Only recently have I admitted to myself that I am an Extroverted Introvert (or an Introverted Extrovert): I enjoy being social, but if I'm around large crowds of people, or hosting a party, or doing a standup show, afterwards I need some quiet time on my own.  First dates also use quite a bit of Extrovert Energy, so a first date in a crowded museum (a kid-friendly museum on the weekend) took a lot of Extrovert Energy.

After 2 hours at the museum, my Extrovert Battery was probably down to 20%.  But for most of my life, I've told that Introvert side of me to Shut Up and Go Away.  So I didn't say to B#1, "Hey, this has been fun but I should go," I said, "Sure we can walk around more!"  .facepalm. 

Why did I do that?  Because I was trying to be nice.  But when I look back at it, that wasn't the nice thing to do.  I'm most likely not the best conversationalist when I'm tired, hungry, dehydrated, and overwhelmed.  By the end of the date, when my Extrovert Battery was probably down to 10% or less, I was nearly a zombie.  And who wants to be on a date with a zombie?  If I'd given B#1 the choice, he probably would've preferred that I communicated when I was exhausted.  Instead I probably seemed distant and possibly rude.

We rode the Metro back together, and though he was going past my stop he very kindly got off the subway to say goodbye to me.  But due to previously mentioned zombification, I did my best to say a polite goodbye and took off.  As I headed up the stairs I realized that it would've been polite for me to wait with him until the next train, but I was laser beam focused on food, water, and quiet (and I still had a 30 min walk home).  But my apologies to B#1 for my zombification.  I'm working on it.

(B#1 did send a followup text after the date saying that he had fun, so zombification might be a slight exaggeration for comedic purposes ;))

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