So, a girl on my internet dating site read my profile and sent me the following note:
Ok, so what would be a good awkward first date.. ( i.e. like the milk date..) hmmm, shoe shopping? Though I don't need any shoes at the moment. Helping me stake some ghost decor into my lawn on Tuesday? It's supposed to be easy but I never know with stakes and LED lights. 👍😊- I'm Jenny. Nice profile by the way too- you actually wrote real words and stuff.(!)
I noticed she was a writer from Iowa City, and I was in a writing mood, so without reading her profile I wrote her this response. She really liked it and suggested I share it, so maybe you will find it entertaining as well.
Opening Title Sequence: A man and a women typing on their computers, seemingly miles apart, arranging a first date… for the movie version, these parts are played by Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Act 1: We meet at the Coralville mall, in the food court, in front of whatever random Chinese food option they have these days (NOTE: never order milk at a Chinese restaurant, I will explain later). We will each aspire to get their casually late, so the other one is there waiting first…. That way the approaching person can make a slow motion entrance as the elevator music version of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” compliments the emotional energy of our first meeting. One of us puts out a hand to shake at the exact moment the other goes in for a hug… depending on who does what, this could result in an inadvertent groping/personal space violation. So, since I don’t need any shoes either, we decide to go to the gap, and partake in one of those 80’s movie montages where you come out in different dresses, and I display varying non-verbal responses of disapproval until we find just the perfect fit for the rest of our awkward date.
Act 2: We find the nearest Appleby’s, and then drive right by it to a coffee shop… probably the Java House. I attempt to order milk, and you attempt to order an Irished up coffee... both of our orders are declined, and we settle for their house blend. I direct us to a pub height table, and oddly refuse to sit down, as nervous energy and caffeine have triggered a manic episode. We decide to do a walk and talk through the ped mall, which becomes awkward as I am walking several steps ahead of you, not on purpose, it just happens. I turn around and bump into a little kid, at just the same time you trip over a paver brick, as the three of us collide. The three of us begin giggling at the absurdity of this quagmire, until we notice the child’s mom is not finding it as funny. Unfortunately, you have blood running down your leg, so not only is your ego bruised a bit, so is your knee. I pull out some surgical gloves (having just watched a blood born pathogens PowerPoint as part of the college’s HR requirements, now knowing the risks of contamination) and a Band-Aid from my fanny pouch and dress your wound.
Act 3: Having earned your trust, based on my medical competency, you decide to invite me to “stake some ghost décor into your lawn”. After I realize this isn’t some sort of sexual euphemism, we proceed to drive to your house. Because we are in separate cars, we lose track of each other, and have to pull over several times to text each other our whereabouts. At some point you realize you have invited a complete stranger to your house on a first date. Of note, I am more nervous about it than you, as your main concern was why you bought a nice dress for a date that included yard work. We begin staking in the ghost décor, and the awkwardness finally regresses and we begin to legitimately enjoy each other’s company. You find out that I have a passion for staking things into yards… which impresses you. Our eyes meet in a moment of emotional connection, and a kiss seems inevitable. Unfortunately, at just that moment, one of your neighbors starts blasting Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and a flash mob dance erupts betwixt your yard ghosts. I begin moon walking, which sort of kills the romance vibe.
Epilogue: We each thank each other, and go in for the obligatory end of date hug. We part ways, and after a strategic amount of time, so as not to seem too eager, one of us texts the other. In the event that the text recipient isn’t ‘feeling it’, they execute the infamous “Ghosting” technique… internet dating’s non-verbal equivalent of saying “not interested”. Ironic, considering all of the ghost staking that was going on the day before. Optionally, both parties are in mutual agreement that a second date is in order, and we live happily ever after (or at least for 3 months, which is an average dating life expectancy for this scenario, all things considered).