“Oh, you fill my head with pieces of a song I can’t get out.” – The Paper Kites
I went on another date yesterday, this time with the polar bear guy. I can’t come up with a better nickname for him, so I suppose it will have to do… we’ll call him Polar for short (I know, I know, I hate it too!). We met at the Starbucks in Uptown and had a pleasant conversation for two-ish hours.
Polar investigates Parkinson’s disease, works with stem cells, and injects primates with different not-as-of-yet-FDA-approved formulas to see how they’re affected. I said, “Can’t you just work on rats?” And apparently, no. You can’t. You can work with one rat, but you need another non-human species as well before the FDA will even consider anything.
Weird, FDA. Weird.
And plus, he said, rats aren’t necessarily a great test subject. He said that rats are susceptible to just about anything, and the great joke in the sciences is that they’ll get cancer, no matter what. You could show them a picture of cancer, and instantly… cancer appears.
Weird, science. Weird.
We talked about other things too. He’s into martial arts, and I was like, “OH! I DID THAT ONCE I LOVED BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF THINGS!” … but he was like, “Oh. I just train with swords. It’s not… fighting, really.”
Sure. Someone could lose an arm. But it’s not violent, really.
He then went on a some-minutes-long history about that and other martial arts stuff, but I was only partially listening because I was wondering what Paul was doing. I said things like, “Oh, that’s cool,” and laughed at appropriate times because I’m not a monster.
He said he’d only been on the dating site for a week and a half, which floored me. And that I was his second date. And that the date he had yesterday was painfully awkward because it was like pulling teeth to get her to talk. But with me, it was better. And I was like, “Oh, buddy. This is old hat for me, at this point. You need a few more dates to really get it, but you’ll get it, eventually… and you’ll either be lucky enough to meet your person, or you’ll be jaded and scarred for the rest of your life.” We ended on a hug and he said he’d like to talk to me again, and I responded, “Sure,” because I didn’t want to tell him that I wasn’t his person. Keep hope alive, and all that.
Yes, online dating has the weird ability to make days seem like years on either end of the spectrum. You open up behind computer screens and meet in innocuous, sometimes weird, places and connect or don’t. And you get rabidly excited and crushingly heartbroken in a matter of minutes (which in online dating math is really excitement level divided by number of dates times the amount of time that goes by before you hear from said person again. By the way, don’t pay attention to this math equation. I write a blog by choice, which means I’m not a fucking physicist).
But, I think that was my final random-stranger date. You see, if I haven’t made it clear, I really like this Paul fellow. And as I mentioned in the above paragraph, I’m not known for my clear-headed, rational choices so it’s quite possible that I am both rabidly excited and am going to get crushingly heartbroken still, but… I don’t know. We have a lovely thing going.
He and I hung out again Friday night, and because we weren’t feeling particularly spendy, we camped out at his place, ate pizza and started Buffy. For a dude, he has a really nice clean living space which actually didn’t smell like a boy inhabited it (ladies… you know. Boys have smells). He claims he made it look this way so that I would think he had his shit together, plus the fact that it’s a smaller space so he really doesn’t have a choice other than to keep it somewhat tidy, but… I don’t exactly believe him. I’m a whirlwind of mess when it comes to living spaces, and… well… I know clean and orderly because it always looks amazing to me, like the lightbulb goes on: “OH! THIS is what things look like when there’s not shit everywhere!” He has a black cat named Shadow, who wasn’t overly friendly, but decided every once in a while to come and rub his face against my hand in some sort of acceptance ritual.
I just realized that we had pizza two dates in a row and that if we keep this up I will gain 30 pounds just by thinking about pizza, so… I might have to rethink my favorite foods.
But what I really want to mention is that watching Buffy with someone who’s never watched Buffy is a totally weird experience. The first season episodes are terrible – it’s universally acknowledged – but, like, I never expected I would have to be a cheerleading coach. “Come on, buddy! Just stick with it! You can do it! Go fight win!” We watched four episodes, and so far, all he knows is that season one Alyson Hannigan (Willow) is super hot (which… works out for me, because she’s kind of mousy and plain, but by God she’s got the smarts!), and he wants to know when Michelle Trachtenberg is gonna show up, because she is also hot (Dawn. Fucking Dawn. Just… ugh. I can’t. Hopefully, dear God hopefully, he’ll learn).
Learning patience and grace with this one, I am. (Though if I’m being honest, I totally love Xander. Nicholas Brendon, I’ve heard, is kind of a jerk.)
And in between, we talked about weird things like syllogisms, which I said was a geometry thing, and he said that it was logic/english thing but that I was pretty! … but as it turns out, I was SO FUCKING RIGHT because math has the logics too! (Thank you sophomore year high school class which I barely passed!) And I told him I thought it was sweet that he thought I was stupid but called me pretty instead, and he said, “I absolutely do not think you are stupid, and I absolutely do think that you are pretty” (the jury is out on whether I’m Willow or Dawn pretty, more research needed). And then we laughed for two whole minutes, for no reason.
So. I mean. I don’t know if I’m doing an adequate job of explaining how well this seems to be going, but hey: We made it past a week (importance level: high), and we’re now Facebook friends (I couldn’t resist the possibility of getting to tag someone new).
And for what it’s worth, I absolutely KNEW something must have been right about this guy because I just so happened to hear from awful New York Satan (if you’ve been reading this on a consistent basis, you’ll notice that my nicknames for him get progressively worse, and I don’t mind that a bit). He texted me a couple days ago and even though I deleted him from my phone it hadn’t been so long that I wouldn’t have recognized the number. He said, “How’s everything going? I was taking a break from grading essays and thought I’d say hi. Hope all is wonderful.”
I had a couple choices. I could ignore. I could respond. If I responded, I could choose good or evil. And instead of making a big deal (because something told me he just would have continued to fuck with me, like a puppet on a string), I knew in that moment that I wasn’t interested in that drama anymore, but fucked-up guys, they can sometimes sniff out happiness and balance like a dog in the heat of pursuit. I chose honesty and peace and responded: “Hola. Papers so early in the morning! Everything is going fantastically, sir. Hope all is going well for you too.” He responded, “Things are great, thanks.” And I responded with a quick deleting motion to get rid of the text, because I didn’t want to get anywhere near that.
(Aw. Our little Amanda, all grown up and shit.)
Have a good day, friends. Be kind to yourselves.