My next thought after the date was that I'd had more fun than I expected. But during a post-date debriefing with a friend I realized there were also a number of odd/uncomfortable moments...
I enjoy LACMA (LA County Museum of Art), and wandering through an art museum is an interesting way to see how someone's brain works. B#3 has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor, and as a rather sarcastic gal I appreciate that. I've tried to tone down my own sarcasm and deadpan humor, especially on first dates, because it can take time for people to get my sense of humor. Having compatible senses of humor is a lot of fun, because I don't have to be reserved about joking around. Guys often say they like funny girls, but I haven't always found that to be true. I remember a few dates years ago, I made a joke and the guy laughed, then realized that I had just made him laugh, and looked at me like I was a dog who had just talked. I don't know if it was because his goal was to make me laugh and it was a bit of a role reversal when I made him laugh, or if it was that some guys are still surprised that women can be funny. But I enjoyed that B#3 and I could joke around together, and even make jokes about our jokes. (So meta.)
However, B#3 had a mix of self-consciousness and self-deprecation that was strikingly Woody Allen-esque. Fairly early in the date, as we were walking around a gallery he suddenly said to me, "Should I not have shaved?" It took me a minute to understand what he meant, so I think I uttered some form of, "huh?/what?/no it's fine" to which he said that he wasn't sure if I was "disappointed or just quiet." Later I realized that when he would make self-conscious statements like that, it would also make me very self-conscious, wondering if I said or did something that prompted the statement (feeling like, "What did I do wrong?). Then I'm likely to get more quiet and/or nervous, and enjoy the date less. My reaction is my own responsibility, but it does highlight a personality incompatibility.
After one instance later in the date he explicitly said that he'd not meant his statement to be pejorative, which I appreciated because I got a bit defensive about whether I am a commitmentphobe or just "always looking for something better." I've considered myself a commitmentphobe in the past, but it wasn't just toward relationships: I didn't stay in the same city for very long, and thus jobs and relationships also tended to be short-term. I also was getting involved with guys that were Not Relationship Material. But I've committed to LA: I've been here for over 2 years (the longest I've lived anywhere since high school). I had the same job for 1.5 of the years in LA, although now I'm back to freelancing. I learned a lot in my Vagabond Years (as I call the 3 years post-college where I bounced around the country) and I feel lucky to have had them, but I'm also glad that I've learned to settle down a bit and stay in one place. I hope it bodes well for my romantic relationships as well. But I'm not used to getting into all of that on a first date...(I shared an abridged version with B#3)
Another way B#3 is different from The Guys I Usually Date is that he's actually doing what he wants to do with his life, and that's a nice change! He doesn't have a day job, he's not "aspiring," he's actually doing it. He's writing a novel, although he wouldn't tell me what it was about (he said it would take too long to explain). I did notice that he was rather guarded, which also may be something that bothered him about me (re: disappointed or quiet). I honestly have no idea if he had fun on the date or not. I would doubt he actively disliked me, but at the end of the date when I said, "I had fun today!" he replied with some quip about "well we'll see what you write in the blog!" which leaves me with a very different feeling than saying something like, "I had fun too!"
It was definitely great to be out with a fellow writer, and I enjoyed the banter. Overall I think our temperaments trigger each other's in ways that wouldn't be good for relationship compatibility, but I would definitely enjoy being friends with him. I've never actually become friends with anyone I met on OkCupid, I feel like "can we just be friends" is something no one ever wants to hear. Maybe B#3 will prove me wrong. Are there cliched ways of opting for friendship? (I'm open to suggestions.) My mom wanted me to be sure to include that I didn't notice his height as much as I thought I would (he is apparently 2 inches shorter than me, but I would've said he was my height).
Notes and Asides:
- B#3 referred to himself as a feminist during the date, and a guy who calls himself a feminist (and actually is) gets major points in my book.
- (just before I started the dating experiment I went on a date during which the guy said he read a bunch of feminist lit so he could "out-feminist" his sister who was getting her degree in Gender Studies. Not kidding. Also, that got him major negative points.)
- B#3 had a very un-guarded moment that was quite endearing: he rescued a butterfly that was trapped near the restrooms, gave it some water and then tromped through the bushes to find a safe place for it to recover. Woody Allen wouldn't do that.