About the Experiment

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Date #7: Introduction to Confidence, and PersonalGrowthPalooza

In the previous post I hadn't given specifics, but here's the cool cool cool story: B#13 and I met up at a convention for the TV show Community, known as CommuniCon.  (Since he'd worked on the show, I didn't want to write that until I knew it was ok with him.)  Definitely not your average date location but as I am a fan of Community, I was pretty excited and very curious about what a Community Convention would look like.

Spoiler alert: There's an Inspector Spacetime spaceship/phone booth, and yes I got a picture in it!

I got there right after the panel that B#13 was a part of and he was signing autographs for fans of the show (he worked on the animation for an episode, which the panel was about).  I've never started a date with someone signing autographs before (and I think he actually may have been a bit embarrassed about it), but I know that as an animator he probably rarely gets recognized for the work he does so it's pretty cool to have people asking for an autograph!  So I wandered around and looked at fan art until he was done, and then he showed me around the convention and introduced me to people he works with.  Again, totally different than a "standard date" of getting drinks or coffee, but I prefer unique/interesting dates!

In many ways, a Full Immersion Date is very appropriate for B#13.  He's an intense guy, which can be good and bad.  I'd seen some of that intensity in Digital Me vs. Real Me, and A Guy I'm Dating? when I'd been surprised and a bit unnerved that he had done some research on me, but figured (and he also expressed) that he'd just been trying to get to know me.  But one of the really good parts of that intensity is that he's very genuine, and he's just being himself without pretense.  As I've thought more about the internet research incident, it's actually not as surprising to me that he looked me up, it was surprising that he didn't hide the fact that he'd looked me up.  So what, I'd prefer a guy who lied?  Especially in LA, I've gotten so used to people that are trying to keep up appearances or "be cool" that someone who isn't concerned about pretense can be a bit jarring, but it's also refreshing.  And it also encourages me drop some of my pretense, and catch myself when I'm trying a bit too hard to "be cool."

It's funny, the morning of our date (we were meeting up midday) I woke up and immediately felt the Pre-Date Panic.  I wrote in Date #3: A Classy Date with Bachelor #4 that I always get nervous before dates.  During the experiment I've been trying to clock when and why I get nervous about dates.  At first it was because I felt like I hadn't dated in a while and wasn't sure I knew how to do it.  As I've been going on more dates that fear has dissipated, although not entirely as B#9 and I have gotten into unfamiliar dating territory for me (past 3 dates).  But first dates, yeah I know how to do those now.  So what was this Pre-Date Panic that gripped me that morning?  It was a bit of Stressing Because I Didn't Stress Enough Yet, but as I looked into it, it was mostly "What If He Doesn't Like Me?"  It's sort of embarrassing to admit, but it's true, and I think some guys don't realize that a girl is also trying to impress them on a date.  But since B#13 had done research on me, and we'd chatted online quite a bit, I decided to try on a new attitude.  What if I went into the date assuming he does like me?  Of course respectfully listening for signs that he doesn't like me, but focusing more on a) enjoying a date and b) figuring out whether I like him.  I know this shouldn't seem like a radical shift, people have been telling me to do this for years, but to actually take on that attitude is different.  And definitely helped ease my Pre-Date nerves.

Back to the date: after walking around the convention a bit, we sat and chatted for a while.  B#13 is very curious and likes to know as much as possible (see: internet research), so we talked about a ton of different things.  We talked a bunch about the experiment and what I've been learning.  At one point we were talking about how the Chelsea version of the profile was a very confident profile and he asked me, "Are you confident?"  I was a little taken aback at how to answer that, and after thinking about it I said that I'm much more confident in my work than in my dating (see: paragraph above).  It made me realize that was actually part of why I'd started this dating experiment and blog: I'm very comfortable as a writer and not so comfortable as a dater, so I wanted to use my writing to help me deal with the discomfort of dating.  I'd never thought of it that way before and articulated that to B#13, it was an interesting realization to have on a date!

We talked for quite a while, and I realized it was 2pm aka Hangry Danger Zone (I hadn't had lunch).  He suggested that we get food, and although I get really nervous eating on dates I was enjoying hanging out with him so I agreed.  We figured out a lunch spot and took separate cars since we'd be heading in different directions after lunch.

I got to the restaurant first and when he got there he was visibly upset.  We got a table and I asked what was wrong, he said it was a situation on Facebook that he normally wouldn't talk about, but he told me about it.  I told him I was glad he did, because if he'd just said, "Oh nothing," I would have wondered why his demeanor had suddenly changed and worried I'd done something wrong.  I'd asked him to be open and honest with me (as I'd been open about his research unnerving me) and that doesn't mean "open and honest only when it's good news."  My feedback on the situation was, "It seems like there's a pretty simple conversation to be had with that person."  I offered to help him with wording, but he quickly seemed to relax and said he wanted to enjoy our lunch.  Later he told me that he did have that conversation and resolve the situation, and that I'd really motivated him to do so and he's learned a new skill (how to have a direct conversation about an awkward topic).  I though it was sort of funny because I have been working on this myself and hadn't really said much, but I thought it was really cool that he's really actively learning and growing.  This experiment has been a PersonalGrowthPalooza for me and it can be a really uncomfortable process, so it is awesome to see someone else also finding those uncomfortable spots and working through them.
(Note: I am under the weather and on some cold medicine, so I will blame that for the completely made up words in this post like "PersonalGrowthPalooza.")

At the end of the date B#13 said he'd like to see me again, and I agreed.  After the date I felt a bit of hesitation, because although I enjoyed spending time with him, I wasn't quite sure if we were compatible enough to date or better as friends.  Then I reminded myself, the point of dating is to figure out whether you want to date someone.  I didn't have to have it all figured out from one date.  On the first date you pretty much just need to figure out if you want to go out on a second date with the person.  And then go from there.  B#13 and I have been talking (via instant messenger) regularly since our date and I do like that he and I can talk about real things, not just "What are you up to?" and pop culture.  So whatever it ends up being, I'm glad to have met someone new who is also on this bumpy road of betterment, and I look forward to wherever it takes us!

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