About the Experiment

Monday, September 8, 2014

Date #3: A Classy Date with Bachelor #4

I always get nervous before dates.  Not as nervous as before a standup show, but I've been dating a lot longer than I've been doing standup.  As I was getting ready for my date with Bachelor #4 I thought to myself, "Wow, I feel less nervous than usual, maybe I'll get less nervous the more I date!"  But as I was driving to the date, the nervousness hit me at high velocity.  I was nervous that I hadn't been nervous enough, and now I was worrying all the worries I hadn't worried before.  Do I have spinach in my teeth?  What is my hair doing?  Should I have put lipstick on?  This brain does funny things sometimes...

Bachelor #4 had suggested a date at The Getty museum to see the James Ensor exhibit.  I'd never heard of Ensor, but a quick Google search showed colorful, interesting paintings and I love art museums.  B#4 is a fine art painter, and what better way to get to know a painter than to see an exhibit of a paintings he likes?

The really good news is that as soon as I met up with B#4, my nervousness dissolved.  He's really warm and friendly, and it almost felt like we already knew each other.  One of the first things I noticed was that B#4 had dressed up for the date.  Not overdressed, he was wearing a button down shirt, slacks, and his painting shoes.  It was a great mix: a bit formal but with personality.  I realized that most guys wear very casual clothes for dates these days, and it was nice that B#4 dressed up.  It made me feel like the date was important to him, he put thought and effort into how he looked (just like I put thought and effort into how I look for dates).

We went through the exhibit, taking our time, chatting about the art and Getting To Know You questions.  Conversation was easy, and we have a fair amount in common.  We talked about college (we'd both gone to the same university for a time but in different programs), our families (he's also close with his family), the work we both do, about Ensor and details of the art we were looking at.  I didn't feel like I was getting a lecture on Ensor or needed to prove my art knowledge, which was nice!

It was an in-depth exhibit and since we went through at a leisurely pace, the sun was going down as we emerged from the museum.  B#4 asked if I would like to get a drink and walk around the museum grounds, and I was impressed.  I'm so used to guys that at that point would've said, "So...uh...what do ya wanna do now?" but B#4 is not that kind of guy.  I said yes to a glass of wine, so he got our drinks and we found a nice overlook of the city.  From The Getty you can see nearly all of Los Angeles, from downtown to the ocean.  The sun had set but it was "Magic Hour" as it's called in film, and the last light of the day was reflecting off the walls of the museum.  It was a beautiful smoggy pink LA sunset, and it was quite romantic to stroll around the garden, chat and drink.

Eventually it was getting dark and we both realized we should get going.  It's funny, Bachelor #3 had suggested that I set time limits for dates so I'd planned to limit museum dates to 2 hours.  This date was definitely over two hours, but I hadn't noticed.  I was enjoying myself, and I wasn't exhausted after the date like I sometimes am!

But I haven't talked about one major way that B#4 is different from guys I usually date: he is my height, and I basically always date guys that are taller than me.  I come from a family of pretty tall guys (my dad is 6'4") so literally the bar was set high.  I wore flats for the date, as I would usually for a daytime date at a museum, and didn't think much of it on the date.  Later in the evening, however, I met up with friends for drinks and I wore 4" wedge heels, which are what I usually wear on evening dates.  I'm 5'7" barefoot, so I'm 5'11" in those heels.  If I dated a guy my height, would I stop wearing heels?  Would I mind?  Say he didn't mind if I wore heels and was 4" taller than him, would I be ok with it?  For all my non-conformist ways, the height issue has been one that I've remained fairly traditional on.

After the date I was making notes (I don't write these posts immediately after dates) and I realized a few things:

There was something old fashioned about the date and B#4, and I mean that in the best way possible.  Dressing up for a date, holding doors open*, suggesting we take a walk, buying the drinks, having real conversations about work and life, it reminded me of How Dating Used To Be and it was rather refreshing.  I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Hangout/Hookup model and, like most of my peers, I'm over it.  Many of us don't really know how to date and this experiment challenges me to analyze the dates, look at what makes a good date or a bad date, why some guys are compatible and some aren't, and ways that I need to improve as a date.  Probably the most important thing that B#4 did, which is definitely old fashioned and good, is he was genuine.  I didn't feel like he was playing games or going through pre-set moves, I felt like he was Being a Gentleman because he is a gentleman, not as a means to an end.  The word that kept coming up for me was "classy." 

(*I've mentioned guys holding doors open several times, and I don't want it to come across as the end-all-be-all of Gentlemanliness.  I also hold doors open for other people, including guys.  But I appreciate the gesture, especially on dates.)

In Date #2 I found self-consciousness to be contagious and in Date #3 it seemed that B#4's calm energy was also contagious.  This may be partially because I am a very empathic person, but I think most people are more anxious around anxious people and calm around calm people.  It's interesting to keep in mind for dating.  I have observed, and have heard from family and friends, that I'm better with guys that are easy-going, calm, and confident.  

I really enjoyed the date and after making my notes I realized I wanted to let B#4 know.  I'm often impressed when guys send a followup text after a date, but I rarely send them.  I realized early on in the experiment that I tend to be rather reactive with guys, and I'm working on being more proactive.  So I sent B#4 a text thanking him for a classy date because they are rare these days.  He texted back that he'd enjoyed himself also.  We haven't talked about seeing each other again, but either way I really appreciate a classy date and what I learned.  Seeing an art exhibit and walking around twilit gardens is a lovely way to spend an evening, even more so with good company!

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