This week, I gave an inch. Literally.
Height has always been one of my dealbreakers. I think it started in middle school when I realized I'd rather slow dance with a boy while resting my cheek on his chest, smelling the fresh Tide detergent on his Local Motion surfer t-shirt (still my favorite "cologne"), instead of gazing down at the top of his head feeling like an Amazon freak.
I guiltily recall spending one 7th grade dance trying to avoid little JT as he rustled up the courage to ask me to dance. Eventually all that evasion led me right into the arms of the 5'9" new kid from "Wis-kaan-sin" wearing a freshly washed white t-shirt and enough new-to-California innocence to accept my dance invitation disguised as an escape plea because he still hadn't figured out that a boy of his caliber could skip right past the brunettes and land himself a cute California blonde. (He ultimately figured it out.)
At this point in life, I'm humbled and realistic enough to know that arbitrary boundaries such as these are never helpful, and may be potentially harmful. So, while I continue to seek out men in the higher altitudes, I still give every guy who seeks me out a fair evaluation.
And that's how I ended up going out with two men in one week who fell one solid inch below my previously stated 5'9" minimum. Without that bit of unfortunate data, both men seemed interesting, smart, funny, and attractive enough to jump to the top of my (very small) pile of emails. This is not a town where men of this caliber present themselves frequently. The "cream of the crop" in San Diego is a shirtless outdoor enthusiast looking for a 26-year-old blonde to go jogging with before they head to a Chargers game. God help me. Am I supposed to let a rare non-Diegan get away because of one lousy inch?
Sunday I had brunch with Globetrotter, a boyish father of two, who's clearly enamored by intelligent, expressive women (also a rarity in San Diego) and who's managed to make a respectable living doing something for the betterment of society. Oh, and he's half Indian. Award: Bonus inch.
Last night I had ramen and sake with Fuzzy, a mid-40s Midwestern Jew with a sarcastic streak and a soft spot for his hairless dog named, you guessed it, Fuzzy. Oh, and he's tried out every hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurant in town and is willing to give me the highlights. Award: Bonus inch.
Both dates went fine. Well, fine enough to know I didn't hate them, which is all you should realistically expect to find out on a blind date. You can also gauge any immediate sexual chemistry, though I have to admit that, for me, a strong sexual attraction to a complete stranger usually means trouble.
I have to say, both men were very different, and each brought out a different side of my personality. Globetrotter had me trying to be my best. Not trying to impress him necessarily, but not plopping down and putting my feet up either. Subtlety has never been my strong suit, so it's strange when I find myself trying to behave with any shades of it. So this was an change for me, and not an entirely unwelcome one. After all, prematurely claiming familiarity hasn't exactly gotten me very far, has it?
Fuzzy brought out the New Yorker in me, long buried under California surf and sand after all these years. We made wisecracks. We swapped war stories. We drank strong sake and slurped ramen. Not exactly romance novel material, but the rapport was something I missed from my New York days, even if it only seemed to generate unhealthy relationships for me at the time.
In all honesty, I hadn't thought too much about either date until I sat down and started writing about them after a few too many swigs on the sake bottle. First dates with complete strangers don't deserve too much analyzing. At this point I'm viewing them as successful attempts to get myself out of the house and practice my conversation skills, maybe make a friend or two. If I'm lucky, I'll get lucky.
In other words, I'll start overanalyzing after the second dates, both of which seem to be a strong possiblity -- as is a first date with an honest to God six-footer.
Happy Thanksgiving! Dismissed.