Right after work, I drove to Delano to meet One, who lives about two hours west of the cities. Unfortunately I left work a few minutes late and there was an accident on the highway, which rendered me about 10 minutes late. Great first impression, I know. I felt awful about being late, but he was very nice about it.
I joined him at the restaurant and we ended up chatting for a little over two hours. I had assumed that because we had this mutual friend, he would know at least a little bit about me. Incorrect assumption! When he asked me about my job, I said "I work at the same theatre company (mutual friend) worked at." Blank stare. Which is fine, but I sometimes feel like describing my job to non-self-defined artists either ends up sounding confusing or like a canned sales pitch of some sort.
One is working at a major retailer for whom I also used to work, so we had that in common. He's an aspiring photographer who is hoping to move to the cities sometime soon to pursue that career. Ultimately he would like to move to the Chicago area, which made me smile because that's where I grew up.
So we had plenty to talk about, and yet, I started feeling pretty bad about the whole situation. Up until now, it was just hypothetical and a fun, crazy challenge to go on 52 dates this year. But now I was sitting here, across from a really nice guy, knowing that in three days I'll be having coffee with Number Two. It felt like I wasn't really giving One a fair chance, and it almost felt disrespectful to him. Like "Hey, thanks for buying me dinner, but you're just a number on my blog."
I asked him how he felt about it, and he said that as long as the expectation is set from the beginning that I'm going to keep going on dates, it's fine. He thinks that even if I meet someone amazing, I should finish out the 52 dates because that's the mission I've set out to complete. I don't know how I feel about that idea, but I guess it doesn't matter yet anyway because as nice as One is, it's not exactly like we fell head-over-heels in love with each other! So I guess we'll see what happens as the year goes on.
So listen up potential dates, here's the deal: There's going to be another date after you, even if we really click. Don't take it personally. If we meet during the course of this project and you feel like we really connect and you want me to stop going on these dates, you're going to have to tell me that. I can't get wrapped up in trying to figure out how 52 guys feel. I can hardly ever figure out how ONE guy is feeling! If that happens, we'll figure it out from there.
Thanks, One, for driving so far to meet me and for buying me dinner! You're a nice guy (despite your reckless driving stories and numerous speeding tickets - not exactly the way to win over a police officer's daughter, by the way!) and I'm sure I'll run into you again sometime. Keep me updated on your potential move to the cities!
Date number two is Saturday morning. I still need to line up a bunch more, so send your single friends my way...