When I Dated A Stranger From The Internet

I originally posted these in three segments back in March 2011.  Over two years later, Evan published his own write of it on his blog. 

One day, a friend of mine Gchatted me (shoutout to Kayte, <3s) and told me about this web site where a guy was going on One Hundred Dates in a year and blogging about it.  I checked it out and was pretty intrigued in the same way that I can’t stop watching the Bachelor (Courtney?  REALLY?).  I saw that Evan would be in Los Angeles in a week and started asking Kayte more questions and reading more about the dates/project.  After reading The Wedding Date and getting reassurance he wasn’t a creeper, I decided I’d throw my name out there for an LA date.  Then, this happened:

Ok, yes, I used a sexual reference to attract attention.  Feminists everywhere are pouring one out for me and even I cringe as I explain it to friends, but it worked and [SPOILER ALERT]: we didn’t 69, so slow your roll.  We exchanged a couple emails, decided neither showed signs of insanity, and planned to go to a Drive In Movie Saturday night (not date #69, sadly).

I began thinking about what Evan would be like and what type of person would decide he should publicly date approximately 100 women and write about it.  I did some more research before deciding to abide by a quote I had heard on The Moth to “live anecdotally” and just go into it being myself and thinking nothing else of it.  

I have a tendency to be attracted to guys who are GU (geographically undesirable) so it’s not surprising that I was comforted by the idea that there could not be a 2nd date thus eliminating a lot of pressure and ‘waiting by the phone’ post date.  On the other hand, I logically wanted to stand out from the rest and wondered how I would feel spending time with someone who I knew had casually kissed multiple girls (and blogged about it) before me and would continue to do so after me, regardless of how the date went.

I received a text on Friday letting me know he had made it to LA.  I was celebrating the end of a ridiculously busy admission cycle with coworkers so I paid more attention to my beer and figured we’d talk the next day.  The following morning I was planning to clean my apartment and catch up on This American Life.  Instead, I found myself offering to show him around LA before we went to the movie.  Then I realized I just agreed to spend at least 8 hours with someone I’ve never even spoken to.  I should probably shower.

Evan always takes a picture of himself en route to his dates but my full length mirror broke and I haven’t replaced it.  Instead, please accept this google photo (everyone googles their dates beforehand, right?).  This is what pops up when you google image search my name.

 I’m sexy and I know it. 

Its gorgeous and a bit breezy out as I wait for Evan to pick me up.  I’m impressed he has rented a car and seems to be making his way around the city on his own and hope he has an idea of what he’d like to see in LA.  I always feel immense pressure when friends visit to show them the best of LA, but ‘best’ has too many definitions and everyone likes different things about every city.  Evan pulls up and actually looks more attractive in person than in photos which is a fucking goldmine when it comes to online dating.  We hug, which for me is huge as I am not a touchy feely person, but everything about this situation is atypical for me so I’m going with it.  

Evan stopped planning his day when I said I’d be his unofficial tour guide so I decide we’ll go to Venice and walk along the boardwalk.  I’m pretty self conscious about giving directions because I always feel a bit bossy or abrupt when doing so.  We ‘miss’ a turn because he’s in the middle of a sentence and I don’t want to cut him off…which only makes me feel worse when I’m not sure if the next street cuts through (it didn’t).  We have no trouble talking about the basics (school, our jobs, etc) and then I ask some detailed questions about the project and what he hopes to get out of it all.  I ask some questions I know the answers to which is typically my tactic when I’m with someone painfully boring or hard to relate to but in this case it’s because I feel uncomfortable with the amount of information I know about him already when it isn’t reciprocated.  We get close to Venice and traffic slows, parking vanishes and I realize we may either have to pay $12 for parking or drive around for a bit before abandoning ship and going to plan B (which I don’t have).  Good move Sam, go to the beach on a hot, sunny day in March.  No one else will have that idea.  Luckily, we find free parking after an illegal turn and start walking. 

The conversation continues about a variety of topics.  Evan gets hassled by a man trying to sell his CD for $20 and is called a racist.  Welcome to LA.  I make us put our feet in the freezing water and am flabbergasted that Evan a) rarely wears sandals and b) is not a beach person.  This is the first of a few times I realize our lives are quite different.  We walk back the other direction to find food and start talking more about family, our parents,  relationships.  I find it interesting that neither of us hesitates to discuss these things with each other yet neither of us would ever have a similar conversation with our parents.  

At dinner, it comes up that I have cats.  People tend to get quite offensive when they find out someone is a ‘cat’ person, let alone a single girl living alone with 2 cats.  I brace myself even though Evan has only proven himself to be open and nonjudgmental (except about hipsters…he’s not a fan of hipsters.  Or modern country music).   He legitimately seems nonplussed.  Even without having to deem myself worthy of a second date, this is a relief.  We pass on dessert and head back to the car to get to the drive-in movie. 

We stop for wine and arrive at the theater aka parking structure.  I’m quite pleased when after a bathroom run Evan goes back to the mens room to get me paper towels since the women’s is out—proof that being a gentleman isn’t rocket science.  The movie starts and we alternate between watching and talking more in depth about the side effects of his project, our interests  and other topics that seem fitting given we are drinking twist off wine out of plastic cups on the roof of a parking garage in Downtown LA.  Cue some scene from a movie on the eve of college graduation followed by a time lapsed montage backed by a David Gray song.  I point out that it’s pretty ironic he is such an emotional guy that relies on relationships but is trying to get to know himself better through a project that cuts off relationships before they can actually develop and limits his contact with the people he does have relationships with.  I want to ask more questions but realize that Evan agreed to go on a date with me, not to have me be his shrink.   

The second time I realize our lives are quite different is when I learn that not only has he not seen Up or Bridesmaids, he doesn’t even have a TV.  This is mind boggling to me.  And probably why he has time to do improv, work, blog and date while I….explore happy hours and know too much about the Kardashians.  In my mind, I decide that we will watch one of those two movies tonight but I’m not sure if he’d be on the same page or where we stand at this point.  He does mention he’s felt very comfortable the whole date which is reassuring.  I have always maintained that knowing a little bit about a lot of things serves me well in social situations but it has seemed like Evan always knows a bit more than I do which throws me off my A game a bit.  I confuse a mandolin and a ukelele.  I cannot come up with my favorite musical artists.  I have been starting stories and forgetting what the point is.  All these signs point to Evan being one of the more interesting and confident people I’ve been on a date with in quite awhile.

At this point, nothing has happened to really signal that we are on a date.  We split dinner, I got wine, Evan got the movie tickets.  As previously mentioned, I’m not super touchy feely and I know Evan has self-proclaimed through his blog that he is not very forward so it’s really been two people just getting to know each other.  It’s kind of refreshing since that’s what dating is, but also hard for me to read him.  Earlier in the date he said many beautiful things have come out of his project and referenced me being in the car as one of them.  At the time, my cynical chuckle was hard to mask, but as we continue to talk and the wine begins to take an effect I realize how much beauty there really is in the fleeting hours we have spent together.

Post movie, we are the last to leave the structure.  We finish the wine and Evan asks me what’s next.  This signals to me that we’ve passed the point where there’s concern one of us will try to turn the other into a skin suit.  I don’t know if I suggest watching a movie or getting a beer, but I do know I’m the one who then decides we should do both.  We go to my favorite bar and grab a drink.  We find a parking spot RIGHT in front of the bar…I don’t know who Evan was in another life, but he has parking karma I’d do embarrassing things for.  We’re finally sitting across from each other instead of sitting or walking next to each other.  I realize he’s smiling a lot more which is an even better look for him.  He’s painfully my type.  Evan goes to close his tab and realizes the guy in front of him is wearing the same thing as he is.  Not just the same button down.  The same pants.  And shoes.  It’s quite a moment that I don’t think I’m properly conveying.  Onward.

We’re back in the car and I’m 95% sure I say “now back to my apartment to watch Up!”  And then I have an immediate “OH SHIT I JUST BULLIED HIM INTO COMING BACK TO MY APARTMENT EVEN THOUGH ITS MIDNIGHT BECAUSE HES TOO NICE TO SAY NO” moment and quickly follow it with “if you’re up for it?”  He is.  I’m half convinced.  Then I realize that someone I just met is coming in to my apartment and how vulnerable that feels.  When you live in a tiny box of an apartment, inviting someone home with you is literally showing them ALL you have.  In one fell swoop.  Here’s my life.  The last time someone was in my apartment in a romantic way was 9 months ago when my boyfriend and I broke up…not so romantic, in hindsight.  Also, I haven’t cleaned because I was busy making Evan parallel park in Venice.  

Evan doesn’t seem to alarmed by my tiny apartment (thanks NYC) and handles the cats well.  We turn on Up and I realize this is what I miss most from a relationship—sitting on the couch, watching a movie and just…being.  It’s rare that going home alone, watching some TV and going to bed gets me down after a night out, but sometimes it’s nice to just have a companion.  It’s more meaningful for me to be in a sweatshirt on my couch watching a kids movie than most date activities that happen in plain sight.  He laughs at all the right places.  Or fakes it well, at least. 

As the credits roll, I ask if his friend and host is worried about him and it seems unclear that he will be able to get back in her apartment.  I offer to let him stay and also my favorite sweatpants.  Please do not underestimate the significance of this gesture.  They are amazing sweatpants.  We crawl into bed and continue to talk.  I like pillow talk.  I miss that too from a relationship.  He asks me if he can kiss me…apparently inviting him to spend the night and wear my favorite sweat pants wasn’t forward enough.  I’m nice, but not THAT nice.  I want to keep kissing him but the reality of his project and impending departure keep me from doing so.  I also want to cuddle because I have two X chromosomes, but that seems so intimate.  I feel like it might mean more to me than to him and that’s just a mess waiting to happen.  

The vulnerability of him being in my ‘life-life,’ not just being out with him, washes over me and I’m not sure of anything I should say or do the next morning.  I want to get breakfast.  I want to invite him to come to a winery with my friends and I.  At least that would anchor this whole experience in some form of reality instead of the mini college graduation montage I’ve been in for the past 24 hours.  At the same time, I don’t want to monopolize his vacation.   I also don’t want to put myself in a situation where I’m not able to separate the fun of being part of a project from going on a date.  Clearly, I could never be on the Bachelor.   I come to realize that though there will not be a 2nd date (which would clearly have to include Bridesmaids) I’m happy to have been a part of his project and should I end up in NY at some point, I would definitely want to see Evan again.