Thursday, August 1, 2013

Laser Tag Vs Rock Climbing

Several people have asked me (or yelled at me on Facebook) about whether I think this online dating thing is a joke and if I'm getting jaded about the whole process. Well, rest assured, I do want to meet someone and I am taking it seriously. I've been going on 3-4 (mostly first) dates each week. It's exhausting to go on dates, write this blog, workout, do my real job, see my friends and try to squeeze some sleep in there too. I've given up on cleaning my apartment. I'm just going to get the housekeeper to come.

You tell 'em, Honey Boo Boo

The dates

Slightly against my better judgment, I'll give you some more stories about the dates. I haven't been writing too much about this because 1) they have all been nice guys and despite what some people seem to think, I'm not just mocking everyone, and 2) if it works out with any of these guys, they'll likely read the blog at some point and I don't want that to submarine what could have been a good relationship.

The past 6 weeks by the numbers... 
  • 18 first dates
  • 4 more first dates on my calendar
  • 2 more in the process of being scheduled
  • 4 second dates
  • 2 that will likely get third dates
  • 1 kiss

A girl can only drink so much coffee

One of the things that my profile says is bonus points if the guy can come up with something to do for a date that's not getting a drink or coffee. Not only does it show creativity, but to me it feels much less forced and contrived. That said, I've still done quite of lot of getting drinks and coffee. Creative dates have included going to the Exploratorium, seeing a concert in Dolores Park, watching the lights on the Bay Bridge, a Giants game, and the two most notable dates, laser tag and rock climbing.

While laser tag and rock climbing seem like similar styles of activities, the outcomes were completely opposite. Part was the environment and part was the execution, but some of it was just the guy and whether there was chemistry. Here's how the two played out.

It's war!

I gave a brief update earlier on Compliment Guy and the laser tag date. Now after some time has passed since that date, I have a few thoughts on why that date was doomed from the start. To reiterate, this was no normal game of laser tag. It was 5 hours of outdoor laser tag at night. I was a very good sport about the game and did enjoy myself (and won a round), but this wasn't the ideal situation for making a deeper connection with someone.
The environment: When I was asked about playing laser tag I was picturing How I Met Your Mother style indoor laser tag that would maybe last an hour or two. This was very different. We were outside in the pitch black in a park. Rolling around in the dirt, jumping off walls, and hiding in bushes were involved. Not exactly romantic.
The people: Laser tag was not me and Compliment guy against the world, it was me, him, his brother, his roommate and his coworker. And it was every man for himself. On a second date, it's a lot to ask of someone to be thrust into a group of people who already know each other, especially for this type of activity. It's particularly bad for me because I'm often quieter in those situations, and people don't always know what to make of that.
The outfit: He thought I was going to be cold so he gave me a pair of his plaid flannel pants that he insisted I wear. It wasn't that cold and I should have said no because at one point he cracked a joke saying I looked like a grandpa. That's just not sexy at all.
The activity: Laser tag is fun, but when all is said and done it's very competitive (especially with this group). It's a war game.
His mindset: He even admitted that he was in testosterone mode. Not the testosterone mode where he is trying to win over a female, but the mode where he's a boy playing boy games with his friends. There was a lot of debriefing about barrel rolls and other tactics. At one point, his coworker was trying to say that he and I should be on the same team, reminding him that it was a date. I mean we were in a park in the middle of the night. It could have been at least a little romantic had he been thinking that way. But no, his response was that you don't do date-like things during laser tag... 
My mindset: The whole time I felt a bit like I was being judged on my performance. Would everyone like me? Would I fit in? Was I going to hurt myself jumping down from something or trip on a rock? Was I going to lose the game? I had fun, but it did feel like a lot of pressure.
Sure enough, I could tell he was acting a little weird by the end, and I wasn't the slightest bit surprised that we didn't end up seeing each other again after the laser tag date.

Climbing. Climb on.

The rock climbing date was a first date, and an aggressive one at that. The place we went climbing was over an hour away so we were committing to nearly a full day together never having met. I figured at the very least I'd get a good workout in, but it was a big risk to be going on a first date with no escape route.
The environment: We went to Castle Rock which is a beautiful state park just over an hour south of the city. It was a warm, sunny day and the views were stunning. 
The people: There were lots of other hikers and climbers around so we weren't isolated just the two of us, but we weren't there with friends, family or coworkers. It was just us doing an activity together. 
The outfit: When I go climbing I wear a tank top and yoga/running tights. Plus, when you belay you're staring at the other person's butt the whole time. Much cuter look for me than flannel pants.
The activity: Climbing is about accomplishment and pushing yourself. It's a little bit competitive, but it's much more about the challenge and helping your climbing partner. Climbing is an environment of trust rather than a battle.
His mindset: He's a much more experienced climber than I am. I know enough to feel confident in what he was doing and that he wouldn't kill me. I think it was key that he was the expert for this kind of early date. I've gone climbing indoors on another first date, and I was as good as if not better than the guy, and it seemed like he was a bit emasculated. On the outdoor climbing date, he was teaching me and protecting me, essentially playing the classic chivalrous male role. 
My mindset: I had told him while we were planning the date that I'd only been climbing outdoors a few times and I was still basically a beginner. He was very patient with me, and I didn't feel like I had to pretend to be better than I was or know something I didn't. The whole date felt much more relaxed.

At the end of the date after packing up all of the gear, we were sitting at the top of the rocks taking in the view and talking. After a little while he kissed me. The first and only kiss of this whole endeavor so far. Usually on a first online date, that would be way too much, but we had spent enough time together that day that it seemed more like 2 or 3 dates. And he couldn't have picked a much better spot for a first kiss. We went out a second time last night. A more traditional second date of dinner and a walk. The second date went as well as the first. This could have some potential.

See, my friends, nothing to fear. I don't think the whole thing is a joke. There are definitely nice guys out there and I am meeting them. Who knows if "the one" is in the bunch, but it's too soon to tell.


  1. 1. I think the laser tag date could have been 100x times if you were on the same team.

    2. AWWWW... how cute =) Do we get to call this one "Climber Guy" or something else?

    3. I think you have to be able to still laugh at and mock the bad dates, messages, profiles.... If you didn't, you would drive yourself crazy. I think it is great that you can still laugh and smile at the bad... and enjoy the good, like Climber Guy.

  2. He can be Climber Guy unless you can think of a better one :)

  3. Honey boo boo. That's all I can think about!!!!!

  4. I am enjoying reading your blog. you are putting soooo much work into dating, I really hope it works out for you. (I also like the tips of do's and do not's. )