Excuse the Frozen reference, but it could have been worse. I could have pulled on the Fixer Upper thread, or crafted a long-winded explanation of the feminist implications of the movie. Don’t worry, I’m just using it as a topical tie-in. This will not be another over-adulating piece of prose about a pair of princess sisters overcoming obstacles with the help of the cutest and most hilarious snowman ever created.
Ahem, right. I had two big firsts this last week–two things that literally happened for the first time in forever.
First Big First: I was set up on my first blind date.
I turned 24 on March 31st. Two days later, my dear sweet friend texted me and asked if I would be open to being set up. Absolutely! I’d never had the experience of someone prospecting, researching and suggesting someone for me. It makes sense that this would come upon turning 24 and having exactly zero potential suitors. This lady did her due diligence, confirming with both sides that we were each up for meeting the other, taking care to manage the situation delicately. There was some mild confusion with the timeline of a different date he’d gone on, but then he hopped aboard the blind date train. I didn’t know his name until he had my number. Then I got excited, like I do about most things. He waited a cool-guy three days to call, meaning he probably watched How I Met Your Mother, thereby gaining a point on my hypothetical scorecard, despite the show ending in the worst possible way. We set up a coffee date. (Here’s an aside: As a non-coffee drinker, can I ask how essential it is to get coffee with someone? I get that it’s the “safe date,” but could we have a “safe $1 McDonald’s Diet Coke,” a “safe Yogurt Lab run,” or a “kind of safe trip to laser tag?” Why do I have to go to a coffee shop and awkwardly order a smoothie, pointing out that I do not drink hot beverages unless we’re experiencing subzero temperatures? Sure, it’s a delightful quirk of mine, and certainly a great first date conversation topic, but there are many things I’d rather have than a five dollar smoothie. Aside over.) I should have known something weird would happen, because we set up the date for Easter Sunday. You’ll have to trust me that we had a logical string of reasoning getting to Easter Sunday afternoon. Then I got more excited, like I do about most things.
Second Big First: My first blind date was cancelled.
Most morals come at the ends of their paragraphs. I’ll put this one at the beginning: Manage your expectations, kids. I was tangled in a Banana Republic dress in a Clothes Mentor dressing room in Roseville. I heard Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness emanating from the heap of my outfit for the day. The Banana Republic dress was winning the battle, so Otis finished singing before I could find my phone. I saw my missed call was my blind date guy. “It’s better this way,” I thought smugly. “He’ll get to hear my charming outgoing message, and I’ll get to formulate a reply.” My second thought was that it was a reschedule, given the unorthodox time we had set up. Family plans change quickly, right? The fact that it was a 90 second voicemail should have tipped me off. I put the Banana dress on the return rack and pressed play. He cancelled our date. He had to back out. Why? Cleverly embedded in the first paragraph is a foreshadowing statement. That’s right. The other girl. The timeline had gotten confusing, and he didn’t know what to do after he had committed to this, because now he and the girl were now discussing a relationship. And why shouldn’t they? God bless.
Here are the takeaways I have for you, SCGs, upon experiencing these things for the first time:
- Be a girl who says yes to things. (I know “Be a yes girl,” is a thing, but that sentence creeps me out.) Sure, it might go horribly wrong on a cosmic scale. But look at the great story I have now! I have another piece of evidence that my dating life is bound to be parallel to Liz Lemon’s. Yes, I talked to some food about the whole thing, but in the end, I can tell this tale with a smile on my face and enjoy the illustrious specimen provided by this particular letdown. If that’s the worst that could come of saying yes, be a girl who says yes to things.
- Learn to recognize situations when no one is at fault. It’s a strange cocktail of emotions having a blind date cancel on you. I had the full knowledge that it could in no way be personal. He couldn’t have hated my laugh, how I pronounced a certain word or the fact that I don’t drink hot beverages because I don’t like being warmed from the inside out (what is she, a robot?). Despite this knowledge, I still felt small pangs of insult, disappointment and embarrassment. I still felt like it was personal. Eventually, through this thick fog of girlishness, I recognized that there was no one at fault. It’s not his fault he realized he wanted to date the other girl and accidentally got stuck on a weird blind date trajectory. It’s not my friend’s fault for setting us up. It’s not my fault for being single and unable to wrangle my own men. It’s one of those fascinating, rare situations in which everyone feels strange, but no one is to blame. Relish these when they come along.
- Manage your expectations. Once more, with feeling. I’m not saying don’t get excited about things–I’d be the worst person to suggest that. I’m not saying lower your standards–that’s probably a whole different blog post. I’m saying something that brings the first two takeaways together: Say yes, and know when to mitigate your emotional responses with reality, even when that reality is unfamiliar. Dating involves people. Whenever people are involved, things get messy and gray areas start expanding. Managing expectations about blind dates, first dates and fifth dates means extending grace. It means recognizing all the little marvelous things that make humans so interesting also make life complicated.
I guess what I’m saying is that, as far as Disney sidekicks are concerned, Frozen takes the gold with Olaf. He loves warm hugs, he is an unflagging optimist and his one serious moment reminds us that we’re all just snowmen trying to find the person worth melting for.