Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

April 17, 2007

Marathons and Dating

Today I received a phone call from my dear friend TC. I've known him since college and he is by far the closest male friend I have. We tell each other everything, whether it's about family crises, career dilemmas or bodily functions. He's my brother and best friend. Unfortunately, he lives in Japan and it is nearly impossible to reach each other on the phone with a 16 hour time difference. Today I was lucky as he was en route from Boston back to Tokyo, having just ran the Boston Marathon (did I say overachiever too?) , and he was able to call me during his brief layover in my time zone.

When I asked him about the marathon he replied, "You know, it's all about experience. I've done it enough times now that I know what to do to keep from cramping up."

He's run six marathons to date. This one wasn't his best (it was freezing cold after all), but he was pleased that he got through it without collapsing.

As we chatted, we reached the inevitable subject of dating. Like me, TC has been fighting the battle on-and-off over the years and has suffered (and inflicted) some serious casualties along the way. I asked if he was seeing anyone and was expecting to hear one of his "crazy girl" stories. He seems to attract them like flies. But he surprised me when he calmly answered that he wasn't seeing anyone and was pretty happy about it. He mentioned a woman he had been dating for a bit, but he ended it because she was playing games. He knew they didn't have the potential to make it in the long term anyway so why bother?

I was impressed. Rather than allowing his heart, which is often vulnerable to being tugged against its owner's best interest, to follow a murky path, he said "Screw it." With his contagious giggle, he stated, "I hate to sound conceited but I finally realized, hey, I'm a pretty damn good catch!"

As usual, TC and I are on the same page as far as progress in the emotional maturity department, so I shared with him my impressions after last Sunday's date with Wine Guy. And since I promised to share with you too, here goes.

It was terrific. We met at the park near my house, checked out an exhibit at the museum(his suggestion, very nice), hit a wine bar, then had sushi and sake (yeah, baby!). We even stopped at my apartment so he could meet my cat (and I could sneak away to put on some more deodorant, it was HOT in that museum). A very jam packed 5 hours. Conversation flowed and I felt very relaxed, like he was a friend I'd known for along time. But he didn't feel like my "buddy," I promise. There were moments of flirtation, even romance. Like about 2 hours into the date when he smiled over his glass of wine and turned to me kind of embarrassed and said, " I know this sounds lame, but I already can't wait to take you out again." Now that is the kind of feedback we all should be getting!

So I told TC about my great date and how Wine Guy seems really different and quite promising. But what I continued to say even surprised me a little. It was a good date and I feel optimistic. But I'm not going to let myself get overly optimistic. When I got home Sunday night, I was all aflutter and tempted to blow off the other two guys who have entered the picture over the last week so I could focus my attention solely on WG.

A few short weeks ago, I would have done all of this with abandon. But not this time. I'm keeping my eggs in many baskets. Giving myself choices. Remembering that I have choices and that I don't have to scoop up the first guy that isn't terrible and actually likes me back. Hell, I'm a pretty damn good catch too! So I went on today and emailed both guys, moving towards that hard-to-nail down first meeting. And I'm eagerly awaiting another (as yet unplanned) date with WG.

As I was telling all of this to TC, I realized how similar dating is to the marathon. When you first start competing, you have no idea how to pace yourself. You end up quitting early, cramping up, humiliating yourself, and maybe never having the courage to run again. But once you get a few races under your belt and adjust your training accordingly, you learn the tricks, understand the pace you are comfortable with, and know that if you just keep putting one bedraggled foot in front of the other you will finish. And even if you don't "win," you will have something to be proud of. You accomplished the near impossible.

It seems like almost everyone here is training for the big Rock n Roll marathon coming up in June and they all seem to train in teams. But how else can you make it through the grueling workouts necessary to be ready for competition? And that's why I'm writing this blog, to train with my team - whether it's my friends keeping up with my adventures so I don't have to tell the same story over and over again, fellow dating bloggers around the country looking to commiserate, or some random person who stumbles onto this site. It helps to have a team to train thanks for reading.



a&v said...

Well said! (Go team!)

Loverville said...

Good comparison (dating and training for the marathon).

I'm trying to take some of my friends' dating / training advice, and not be so forward with guys. I like to plan my week well in advance, and I tend to make suggestions of when to go out, what to do, etc.

Well -- it seems that while I hear that some guys like for the woman to make the first move once in a while, generally they prefer the challenge, that THEY like to think they're the ones in control.

I'm still on hiatus from dating, for now... but maybe this time of not being available will have some guys interested? We'll just have to see.

Loverville said...

ps... sounds like a great day with WG! But yes, good plan to keep some backup troops.

Dating Trooper said...

I feel your pain Loverville. I'm a major planner too and have had a hard time finding a guy who I gel with. I find they either have no good ideas of things to do, or they just don't plan in advance (both pretty bad signs). As a matter of fact, when I tried to set up a time for a first meetup with one guy for next Monday (only five days away) he said, "Well, I can't plan that far in advance." and then proceeded to ask me ,"what have you been up to lately?"
Lame. Like I want to chit chat with a stranger who can't be bothered to take out his calendar. I think I'll be ticking him off the backup troops list.

Loverville said...

He can't plan for five days away? As you said... lame-a$$! But he probably did you a favor -- you found out early on that he's like this. Better sooner than later.

julia said...

Hi, I just found your blog and I love it. Very funny and your analogies are right on. Good luck finding Mr. RIght.