15 Days, Day 11

This is part of a writing exercise dictated by this list. It may benefit you to read it if you seek to know me (or merely someone) better; it may benefit me in the selfsame way. And if knowledge of others is your goal, seek out Anna, whose list prompted mine, and Kimi, whom Anna credits for said list.

Day 11
Perfect first date?

Oh good grief. Do I need to explain why this is a BS question, or is that pretty self-evident?

I guess I have to write something.

Well, the short, easiest answer is that my idea of a perfect first date is one that doesn’t require planning, doesn’t have rigid expectations, and (quite possibly) didn’t even overtly begin as a date. As the night draws to a close, and she’s about to get out of the car (of course, I’m only the driver here because I tend to be the driver, and because I like to drive), we both hesitate, because we both realize this was more than just hanging out, and we both want to do it again. Whether we go so far as to actually voice that cliche — “Can I see you again?” or “This was fun, perhaps we can do this again!” — is part of the spontaneity that makes the date perfect.

Okay, that wasn’t terribly short, but still. I’m the sort of person who’s likely to make the mistake of not realizing he’s on a date, which is better than the other mistake I’ve almost made: thinking you’re on a date when in fact you aren’t.

I’m not, (500) Days of Summer -style, averse to calling it dating if that’s what it is, but I’m not sure rigidly defining my interaction with a girl is necessary up front. That kind of structure brings certain demands — commitments I’m not so much afraid of making as dissuaded by. Being there at eight, flowers in hand, shaking hands with daddy — it’s the sort of thing that might happen, but it’s not how anything begins. And I think by the time “we’re dating” (hey, maybe it’s “Facebook official!” /gag), we’ll realize we’ve been dating for a while. It’s kind of like that song, “let’s give ’em something to talk about.” Laughing too long, standing too close, and then we decide together to take the step of officiating. The first date after that? Really depends on who she is. No girl I’m with is likely to fit a one-size-for-all mold.

“10 First Dates”

  • We spend the whole day playing through Portal 2 together.
  • A stroll in a wooded park, followed by lattes (maybe tea?) in a cafe. We stalk the city at night thereafter.
  • We go to a concert for a band we both love.
  • A Woody Allen movie, followed by a late (candlelit) dinner.
  • Used bookstore mining in Manhattan.
  • We order a pizza and go see the latest crappy summer blockbuster, because we both know it’s a crappy summer blockbuster.
  • Hike in, scenic picnic lunch, hike out.
  • We cook a meal together and watch something on Netflix.
  • We go to a concert for a band that she loves and I’ve never heard of.
  • I make plans, I show up at her door, she says “Actually, I was thinking, if you don’t mind…” and we have a great time doing something I’d never have thought of on my own.

Honestly, I just want to reiterate how stupid this question is. I can’t visualize the perfect date without trying to visualize the perfect partner, itself a futile exercise because no girl will ever be (or should ever be) precisely what I expect or think I want her to be. And with each girl there is, perhaps, a date to dream of having — but just as no character belongs in all movies, no date can be planned without knowing who’s in it.

But hey, there are ten dates I could see myself going on. A girl who could see herself in any (or all) of those is probably well on her way to actually being part of them.

 

15 Days, Day 10

This is part of a writing exercise dictated by this list. It may benefit you to read it if you seek to know me (or merely someone) better; it may benefit me in the selfsame way. And if knowledge of others is your goal, seek out Anna, whose list prompted mine, and Kimi, whom Anna credits for said list.

Day 10
(List) Ten things that make you happy.

(In no particular order)

Josh Groban
Red Pandas
Driving with the windows down
Autumn*
Long get-togethers with friends and family**
Meaningful conversations
Steampunk variations on non-steampunk things
Singing (well)
(Kinda) knowing French
Making other people happy through my writing and photography***

I wanted to put “beauty” on this list but didn’t because it’s not specific enough. But touches of beauty — pretty girls, soaring architecture, great writing, breathtaking panoramas — bring me something passing happiness and intruding on the territory of joy. The other reason I didn’t add it? I feel like that’s a universal truth.

*because otherwise this list would say “pumpkin pie, colored leaves, moderate-bordering-on-cold temperatures, apple-scented everything, hot cider, the back-to-school feeling i still get even though i don’t go to school anymore, excuses to read Poe and Hawthorne and Irving, etc.” and there’d be no sign of smiles for the other 3/4 of the year.

**but the end of such parties and the emptiness of the house after make me unhappy, so maybe that’s a wash?

***I know “real” artists aren’t supposed to need or seek external approval for their craft, but the truth is without an audience my work always feels unimportant and trivial. It’s why I don’t take many photos “for the heck of it” and why I’ve never kept a consistent journal. So writing and photography make me happy, but other people liking what I’ve written and photographed makes me far happier.

 

15 Days, Day 9

This is part of a writing exercise dictated by this list. It may benefit you to read it if you seek to know me (or merely someone) better; it may benefit me in the selfsame way. And if knowledge of others is your goal, seek out Anna, whose list prompted mine, and Kimi, whom Anna credits for said list.

Day 9
In what ways are you your own worst enemy?

I wonder, if you were to pose this question to Dr. Jekyll, what his reaction would be. I imagine it’d be a rather insane kind of laughter, colored with tears, and utterly wordless. For a man who knows his inner demons, no matter how talkative, finds himself inarticulate on the subject. An easier question would be “in what ways aren’t you your own worst enemy” or perhaps “in what ways are you your friend?”

Beyond the fact that I’m not sure how to properly express an answer is the grave matter of whether doing so — particularly in a public forum — is healthy or wise, and frankly I don’t think it is. On a superficial level it is mere brow-beating, guarded confessional driven simultaneously towards excess and modesty by the knowledge that others are listening. On a deeper level such exposition could only shock its audience, after which time were the question asked again the obvious answer would be “I am my own worst enemy for having driven away loved ones by showing them my darkest secrets.”

And so I’ll simply say that I have foiled myself a great deal in life via a myriad of vices. The rest, I fear, is between myself and Mr. Hyde.

 

15 Days, Day 8

This is part of a writing exercise dictated by this list. It may benefit you to read it if you seek to know me (or merely someone) better; it may benefit me in the selfsame way. And if knowledge of others is your goal, seek out Anna, whose list prompted mine, and Kimi, whom Anna credits for said list.

Day 8
Ways to win your heart?

Truth is, no one’s ever won my heart, though a few girls have stolen it. In fact, if anyone’s been competing in that particular arena they’ve been doing so without my noticing; which, frankly, sucks, kind of like that singing competition a few years back where one of the groups started performing before the judges showed up and had to give an encore performance.

In reality, I can’t answer this question because I don’t know. I’d imagine the biggest qualifier is to be Someone I Am Attracted To (or, using this challenge’s wording, Someone Who Attracts Me). I’m not sure if that’s shallow, because it isn’t meant to be. My criteria (as listed earlier) are sort of innate things, not likely to change very much even if they fluctuate. I said Christian, not Pentecostal or Baptist or Presbyterian. I said story-lover, not gamer or film buff or bookworm.

And, see, “winning” my heart suggests effort, things a girl might do to earn the prize of my affection, which is inherently wrong because in my experience I fall for girls for reasons they couldn’t have intentionally produced even if they were trying (or, more accurately, for reasons they couldn’t have prevented even if they were trying). Sure, there are some nice gestures — going to “my church” or giving games a whirl if you haven’t — but those are really secondary components.

There’s no real room for a how-to here. If I like you it won’t matter whether you’ve got short hair or long hair or purple hair, wear glasses or don’t, wear makeup or don’t, dress preppy or goth, rock prairie skirts or hotpants, love the Beatles or hate them. It’s all window-dressing, and window-dressing doesn’t work. The best display in the world won’t pull me into a shoe store if I don’t want shoes.

Ultimately, I can’t tell you how to win my heart because all my life I’ve only experienced girls trying to keep theirs away from me. Mine’s just sitting there on a pedestal, and last I checked that pedestal wasn’t a weighted trap. Bring along the sandbag just in case, I suppose. But just know: if you’re the sort of girl who stands a chance of having my heart, your problem will be keeping it in my chest and off my sleeve. The way you keep it?

Give me yours.