Dating Buddy

I went on a date. After the first few rough days on Match I talked to a couple of really nice guys. And one really nice guy in particular. I’ll call him Damien.  After talking for several days he asked if I wanted to meet to have coffee or something. So we agreed on the Juice Stop downtown.

I went out with my younger sister Jules and my friend Jessica (yes I know, Jessica is in a lot of my posts. What can I say, she is hard to get rid of 😉 ), the night before to find an outfit. I was really nervous that he would be disappointed when he saw me and so I let them pick my clothes like I was a human doll until we all agreed on an outfit. New pair of skinny jeans, dark blue blouse with a peach undershirt and black converse (okay, off brand but whatever).

Snapchat-5344485055781318683(Jules and I shopping)

When I told my mom I was meeting Damien she wasn’t very happy. She wanted me to take someone with me because technically speaking I didn’t know if he was a serial killer or not. I know it sounds funny but really if you think about it, she isn’t wrong. Safety is very important especially when you are meeting up with someone you’ve never met before.

Needless to say, I agreed. As I was getting ready I started giving Jules many instructions on how not to OBVIOUSLY be watching me. I was so nervous I nearly stabbed myself with my mascara and eventually gave it to Jules to finish.

After my makeup was done, my clothes were changed and several helpful ‘hints’ to brush my hair (my hair is always a hopeless mess), I was ready to go. Except I didn’t want to anymore.

Everyone kept telling me not to worry if I wasn’t what he was expecting. He, apparently, was supposed to be worried about meeting my expectations. But to be honest, I didn’t really have any. I half expected that he wouldn’t show up or might cancel. Those would have been fine compared to my biggest fear. That I would show up and we wouldn’t even be sitting there for a second before he left.

I don’t think I’m the most unattractive person in the universe but when I think of the worst-case scenario, I think of the absolute WORST.

When we finally arrived at Juice Stop, I went in first and met Damien and settled into a booth. Then two minutes later Jules came in and took up a stationary position in a booth at the other end of the shop.

Damien and I chatted awkwardly for a few minutes with the customary, tell me about yourself, and what would you like to know about me?

I hadn’t really considered what we would talk about when we actually met and apparently neither did he. There was a lot of blushing and fidgeting with hands and nervous chuckles as we just stared trying to come up with things to talk about.

We finally fell into a comfortable rhythm talking about what we studied in school  and were both able to relax a little more. He was funny in a quirky kind of way but we were struggling to find things in common. After an hour he left and the girl working behind the counter gave me a huge smile.

I smiled back, blushing a deep red before walking over to Jules’ booth asking her if she was ready. The girl behind the counter burst into laughter when she realized that Jules had been secretly watching the whole time. The three of us just sat there for a minute, smiling before the girl gave us an approving nod and we left.

Even though Damien turned out not to be a serial killer it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Finding a Dating Site

Because I am not old enough to participate in the speed dating events here in Omaha, and because trying to meet in Omaha is time consuming (or I am just to tired to try), I decided to sign up for a dating site.

I did not want to join Tender or OkCupid. They are notorious for being hookup sites and Ronny just isn’t about that life. And despite my mom saying that EHarmony is the only legitimate site that you trust,  it seems way too serious. So I settled for Match because those are the only four dating sites I have ever heard of.

I couldn’t help humming the Matchmaker song from “Fiddler on the Roof” while I filled out the application. Well, while I filled out the application the first time. By the end I was humming a whole list of curse words, you probably have never even imagined.

It took me hours, HOURS, to sign up. Not because the application process is terribly long but because my internet kept crashing. Each time I’d get a little farther in the process than before, giving me a false sense of security. And each time the crash caught me by surprise. After many threats to throw my computer our the window, I was finally able to sign up. The site is fairly straightforward with the most common ways of interacting with other users include, liking pictures, winking, or sending a message.

I will be the first to say that paying to ‘date’ feels very, very weird. I know that people do it all the time but I can’t help but lower my screen when I think someone can see me looking at a guy’s profile.

I think I might just be embarrassed because I’m new to this and in the past, dating sites or apps have carried a negative connotation of failure. People who have met their significant other through a dating site have always started telling me their stories with,  “don’t judge me but,” or “I know it sounds silly,”.

My first few days on the site didn’t do much to alleviate my embarrassment. I received a few emails, two of which openly propositioned me and another that told me about his family, a few of his interests, told me he would never cheat on me and asked me to be his girlfriend…all in his first email.

I considered canceling my membership and getting my money back but I didn’t think a couple days was really a very fair trial run. Hopefully things get a little better or I might just have to sneak into one of those speed dating events!

Piercing

This week went by fast and by the end I realized I hadn’t done anything for my blog yet. I started making a list of things to do, but my answer for each of them was

No, no, no, no, no, no!

I don’t want to do any of them.  My friend Jessica kindly reminded me I’m not supposed to want to do the things on my list and suggested I get my cartilage pierced. I’ve wanted to get it done for a while now but needles freak me out. A lot.

There is just something about a tiny needle piercing my flesh that just rubs me wrong. I can handle shots, you know, as long as they don’t do that stupid count down thing. They think they are being helpful by giving you the shot before they say three so you aren’t expecting it. But I KNOW they are going to go on two and it stresses me out. I start to panic, black dots dance across my vision and all of my muscles tense. That’s just shots, I’m sure we’ll get into IV’s and drawing blood another time.

Because I couldn’t think of anything else to do last minute, we went to get piercings. There is a tattoo shop that does piercings called Big Brain downtown that is open until midnight and looked professional so we went there. Glowing white brains sit on little end tables between benches that wrapped around half of the store. We sat by them after we put our names on the piercers list.

My ears are double pierced but those piercings are just on the earlobe (fleshy part of your ear). The cartilage is the harder part of your ear and contains a nerve. If someone were to pierce the cartilage incorrectly you could have nerve damage or the cartilage might collapse.

Because I was so nervous I Googled what this might look like and tortured myself with lots of images of collapsed cartilage. Basically what I learned is that it is different for everyone. Sometimes the cartilage shifts and looks a little deformed while another one I was looking at it looked like the ear melted!

I pulled out a book because if I didn’t distract myself my mind would play the images of ears with collapsed cartilage over and over again in my head.

I read somewhere that it only happened if the piercer used a gun instead of a needle but it still made me extremely antsy. I tried stopping my leg from jumping by focusing on the book but I didn’t get past the first page. The piercer, Dave, came up to the front and called a middle-aged blond woman back. My stomach dropped to my toes with a thump I was sure everyone could hear.

The woman looked like she came in with someone but he called her back by herself. I looked at Jess, and she saw it too. There was a possibility I would have to go in the back. By myself.

“I’m so sorry!” Jessica said, but I just barely heard her.

“I hate you, I hate you, I hate you,” I said, at the same time but not angrily. More like a desperate whisper of someone on their death bed who wants you to know it’s your fault they are dying.

When Dave came back up to the front with the blond woman and scribbled her name off the list.

“Jessica and Ronny,” he called and I exhaled audibly in relief.

We walked back to his work space and I sat in a glittery purple chair. Jessica said that when she got her cartilage pierced a few years ago, it was the most painful one. I wasn’t afraid of the pain. Just that pesky needle. I tried to remind myself that I had gotten a tattoo, so I could handle this, but it didn’t really help.

Dave picked up on my fear pretty quickly and I worried he might make fun of me for it. Who goes to get a piercing when they hate needles?

Apparently me.

He didn’t make fun of me though. He asked me questions, offered to answer any of mine, and pierced it so fast it barely pinched. He had me sit in the chair for a couple of minutes until I wasn’t shaky anymore. Jessica and I switched places and a felt giddy. I did it, and it looks cute. No collapsed cartilage for me.
0304162130a1

An Interview Continued

Scott agreed to meet with me at the campus café after work on Thursday the 25th of February. I arrived early to set up at a square table in a quiet corner of the dining hall. My nerves started kicking up again as I looked over my notes and the list of questions. I had written them in shorthand so they would be more of a jumping point that I could improvise. A few of them included:

Military?

Wife?

Metal?

Cancer?

I knew Scott had skin cancer when I first met him a few years ago but he was on the remission side of it. I wondered if he would think I was rude if I tried asking him to tell me about it for the profile.

I had fifteen minutes to go and my hands were shaking. I pulled out a napkin from the dispenser and wrote myself a note that said “You Can Do This!! Breathe!” while humming Masquerade from The Phantom of the Opera in an attempt to keep calm. When it was done, I propped the napkin against the dispenser so when he sat across from me, he wouldn’t be able to see it.

Snapchat-4256251144267513253(This is Scott and I during one of the turns)

I saw his big blue coat and the husker ski cap he wore over his shaved head first. It’s just Scott. No reason to worry. I told myself when he walked through the glass doors and I smiled. He ambled over to the table and took the seat next to me instead of the one across. I scrabbled to move my note and just barely got it out of sight before he could see. That would have been so embarrassing that I probably would have left.

We made small talk at first and I relaxed a little. This was the Scott I knew, the guy who cooked hot dogs with C4 when he was in the Army and rocked out at metal concerts.

I puttered around for questions and he politely waited for me. His honeymoon was spent in Vegas, where a woman won the progressive on the machine his wife had made him get off twenty minutes before.

“I didn’t talk to her the rest of the trip,” he told me as he leaned over to rub his calf. It was bothering him today.

“The doctors don’t warn you about the bumps and bruises,” he said shaking his head. If it wasn’t his leg, it was his thigh, or possibly his junk. “When that happens, the hell I’m coming into work. I don’t get paid enough for that. I’ll be at home playing some video games with a bag of peas,”

I asked him how that was going. I figured he brought it up, so he couldn’t be upset that I asked. He reminded me of the surgery they did back in 2013 to remove some of his lymph nodes. Well, the melanoma got in his blood stream but never showed up on any of the blood tests until last fall when he was doubled over in pain and they took him in.

“The doctor just came in and was like, ‘well, there is a mass on your pancreas, so you are going to die in about a year,’ and I’m sitting there staring at him then go, ‘how come every time I come in here you always give me such  great news?’”

It took a second to take in what he was saying. Scott might not be here much longer. I swallowed down the tears because I didn’t think he would want me to cry all over him. But I was seconds from doing it. He told me he wants to hang on for his family but that personally he would be ready if it was his time.  

We finished up the interview and I walked around the table to thank him.

“You look like you’re about to go to a sock hop, dear,” he said smiling when he saw my skirt and converse paired together. I hugged him goodbye and watched him whistle out the door. As I packed up my things I realized I didn’t really need the interview to know Scott.

Come hell or high water that man will whistle, laugh, grumble and  rock his way through it it.

 

An Interview

My Literary Journalism class this semester was sneaky and registered under the title of Narrative Nonfiction. When I signed up for this class, I imagined we would be analyzing the narrative voice in essays or novels (Yes, I willingly signed up to do this), not interviewing people.

Most of the assignments so far have been non-threatening. Observe a scene (no interviewing involved here!), and interview a relative, which can still be pretty nerve wracking. But now we have been assigned a profile. This is when you interview someone you don’t know (or don’t know well) and write about their life.

This does not appeal to me…at all. I’m generally a quiet person. I don’t like talking to people I don’t know and I especially don’t like asking for favors. People always tell me the worst thing that could happen is that I’d be told no. But I don’t like being told no. I don’t like being rejected when it’s so hard to put myself out there in the first place.

I’ve been worrying about who to interview for weeks and finally decided to contact Scott, a friend from work and see if he would let me interview him.

I work on campus with the maintenance crew two weeks out of the summer. It’s called “The Turn” and we flip rooms and get them ready for new students. There are 14 buildings with 264 suits that each have four bedrooms. Those two weeks are so intense that we become a sort of strange family. But outside of those two weeks, I don’t really know Scott terribly well.

I like all the maintenance guys I work with but especially Scott. Probably because he teases me the most. Scott is a laid back, funny, kinda weird guy  for the most part. But every now and again when he was frustrated it was easy to assume that he just hated everyone.

I still had Scott’s number from The Turn but I was afraid he would say no. Maybe I was stepping over the boundary of our summer friendship by asking this favor. I didn’t want next year to be awkward if we worked together again. I opened my messages and typed out my request and just sat there.

I stared at the send button for five minutes. I made myself sick thinking of all the ways this could go wrong. Lightheaded and nauseous, I pressed send and laid on the ground in despair. My best friend Jessica who was sitting on her bed said I was being melodramatic and because she’s an asshole, she took this wildly unflattering picture (Hope you enjoy).

12787118_10208750420428960_1266208318_o

 

Read the second part of this story in the next post