He found her. She wasn't interested. He wanted her to be. They went on dates. They flirted. Each intrigued the other. She tried to understand him. He tried to uncover her. She played hard to get. He slow played it. They went on more dates. And even more dates. They put on wigs. And paint. He held the door. She noticed. She held his attention. He couldn't look away. They peeled back the onion. They were surprised. And pleased. He didn't run away. She didn't push. They grew together. Little by little. Then she pushed. Over pizza and wine. He pulled back. She was smarter. He found his course. She found her confidence. They found love. He was what she needed. She was what he always wanted. They still go on dates.
HER: How Did You Meet?: I met him on the dance floor of El Centro. He roped me into a salsa song while I was politely declining, and made up a story about needing saving from some girl across the room. I assumed it was made up, but the man can dance, so I went along with it. This weirdo then attaches himself to our girl’s night, following us as far as Virginia by the end of it, and thank goodness. I lived two hours away at the time, so had our first meeting not turned into a 10 hour blind date, I likely wouldn’t have learned so much about him, and would not have seen him again.
Was it love at first sight?: Not exactly, but I liked him fast.
Were you dating other people?: No, I was on a dating-break after a string of first date duds.
What made you want to see him again?: I think most people meet Chad and want to see him again—he’s a happy soul with a humble confidence to him. The night we met, he was dressed like a cool dad, had the moves of a late 80’s Patrick Swayze, and gave me his number on a receipt for art supplies. I was so intrigued & texted him the next day. I appreciated that he texted right back too; I disagree with waiting rules.
Did you continue to date other people?: I did not. Chad?
Favorite Date: Once only has a couple on DateNiite backed out last minute, putting him in a bind with the venues/photographers he had confirmed. He assured me this DateNiite was not my thing, and more for people who enjoy adrenaline, so I spitefully suggested we stand in. An hour later, I found myself harnessed in, hanging onto a ladder and bungee chord about 100 feet in the air with a Trapeze master shouting “hup!” Hup = jump, and to both our surprise I eventually did. We watched each other struggle, and improve, then celebrated with beers while a photographer followed us around making us feel like celebrities (which we also enjoyed playing into). Best date ever.
DC Dating: (Her perspective):
What do men need to go more of?: Flush some personally into the ol’ dinner and a movie routine. If you’ve gotten to know a girl enough to ask her on a date, you probably know enough about her to suggest a date that compliments your shared interests. Anything to help resuscitate the excitement of meeting someone new, and make dating less transnational.
How I've hit on men: I don’t do it, and as penance, I’m never rude to a man who’s trying.
Is feminism compatible with traditional dating?: I believe it is, so long as you both subscribe to similar brands of feminism.
What I learned from dating in a different city: DC, you’re blessed to be surrounded by happy, hard working, diversely experienced, beautiful people. We’re bound to see some beautiful babies born of this place, once we find the patience to make some genuine connections.
HIM: First Date: Wednesday after work. One on one dinner at Sei. Met up with her girl friends at St. Arnold's Mussel Bar (impromptu). Grabbed her friends and met up with my guy friends at 18th Street Lounge (Reggae Night). Introductions. Proceeded as a consolidated group next door to M.I.A. Table, drinks, dancing, dance floor limbo ensues. I could tell she was a little nervous so when I heard her friends were close by I encouraged us to pay them a visit so they could assess the stranger and give her some cover. It's always telling to see how someone interacts with those closest to her.
Was it love at first sight?: Not even close. She was very unsure of me the first night we met and completely stiff armed me when I went in for a kiss at the end of the evening (I'm happy she did). As for me, love has never been something I naturally or easily fall into.
Were you dating other people?: Yes, casually. She'll tell you she wasn't but I'm not sure I believe that.
Why did you continue to see her?: I was fascinated by her and, frankly, I wanted her to like me... and I knew she didn't. She didn't reveal much early on, so there was a bit of intrigue. She had traits that made her different from me. She wore a nose ring and leather, I was certain she had a tattoo, her apartment was very boho, and she seemed to have some sharp edges. There were times during the first two dates we completely connected either on subject matter, humor or how we reacted to certain situations. I was also very attracted to her. The instant I spotted her I thought she was absolutely striking. That feeling hasn't faded a bit.
Favorite Date: Burning Man. But runner up was a weeknight we decided to meet at Rocket Bar after work. We started with beers and shots, then moseyed over to Lucky Strike for bowling. The wait was terrible so we decided to belly up to a pool table and ordered White Russians. In the middle of our game we spotted an older couple looking a little out of place and clearly wanting to play pool. As is her style, Laila immediately invited them to join us. As it turns out, they were on a first date after rekindling at a recent high school reunion. We must have played 5 games with this wonderful pair and the gentleman happened to be a legitimate pool shark so he certainly impressed his woman (I respect the move). We said our goodbyes and ran downstairs to a Caps game where Laila caught a Chick-fil-A parachute cow and giggled like a 3rd grade girl. We ended the evening with a movie at Gallery Place Cinemas where I held the head of my sleeping, drooling girlfriend for 3/4 of the film.
DC Dating (His perspective): I spent 6 years dating in DC and have no complaints regarding the city or its single women. As a side job, I hosted Speed Dating events a few times where the number 1 complaint from participants was their lack of time to meet people due to the constraints of their careers. I'll concede, just a touch, on that one although I'd have a hard time believing NYC would admit they work any less than we do. I learned to love the city and learned how to meet new people outside of my white bread bubble when I finally started to, on occasion, go out on the town by myself. Though walking the thin line between creepy and cool, you quickly learn this city has more to offer than meets the eye and is filled with all sorts of wonderful people looking to meet other wonderful people.
What should women do more of?: Even though (in our opinion) it should be a given the man pay for the outing, it's important to be clear and sincere about your gratitude if this happens. I can't tell you how many times my friends have been turned off by their date's lack of acknowledgement, which
makes one wonder if it's a reflection of her manners or just an oversight. Also,
thigh highs. We want more thigh highs.
Go-To Date: Don't really have one. However, we do try to incorporate other people / friends whenever we can in our activities, even if it's as a third wheel.
Easiest Imaginative Date: Sunday morning coffee that sneakily turns into bloodies that then sneakily turns into plastic cup mimosas and snacks in the park on a bed of newspapers. Yes, this is technically illegal.
Litmus Test Dates: Burlesque. Out of the ordinary. Entertaining, creative and fun. The one time you're both allowed and encouraged to hoot and holler at a semi-nude woman. Japanese Steak House for dinner. Does it turn up a nose or bring back child-hood memories of a fun novelty? How does the other person handle close proximity / interaction with others at the table?
Relationship Dating: Our dating dynamic hasn't changed all that much. Like most people, there's more pizza and movie nights sprinkled in. We still get after it but we don't have as many wild nights as often anymore. That said, we do think it's important to get hammered together on occasion. I very much appreciate the fact that she is still polite (always) and considerate regardless of our comfort level. She says please and thank you. He still makes detailed plans like it's our first date.