Thursday, February 27, 2014

Since entering my mid twenties I slowly have noticed my friends pairing off into sweet little couples. Families are starting, babies are coming and thus far I have remained pretty conspicuously alone throughout the process. I have to admit that I've been getting a little down on myself lately. not like this down on myself...

But we were definitely nearing this territory....

I have, rather unpleasantly, found myself the odd-man-out a lot of the time. I mean, it's not that bad until the waiter asks how you're splitting the bill and it's like, "Together." "The two of us.".... "Nope.... just me."

However, as I reflected on my possible descent to...

I was struck with the distinct impression that while I am not in a romantic relationship presently, I have been on some particularly terrific dates in my lifetime, most of which were not with someone I was actually dating at the time (or ever). So while they pretty much included a lot less of this....

and a lot more of this...

They were still wonderful, and lovely, and very, very fun. For the sake of posterity and narcissism, I am going to tell you all about them in a sort of VH1 countdown type of way... and you should read them because I suffered through all the pictures of your gorgeous bouquets and jewelry on Valentines Day. ;-)


My first year at school, I met a lovely guy at school in one of my classes. Now, he was older than me, and had lived in New York a while, so he loved to take me to see things that I had never experienced before. We took a liking to each other almost immediately and went on a series of lovely outings together that I couldn't have afforded and probably never would have thought of myself. One particular night I remember we went to a very nice restaurant near Lincoln Center for desert. Now, typically this wouldn't stand out from the other thousand times that I'd eaten desert in that city, however, when we walked into the restaurant I noticed immediately that everyone else there was easily three times my age.

This has been known to happen at your run of the mill 5:00 dinner, except not at 10:00 pm, and not in New York. When we got there I found out that he had surprised me and they had several retired singers from the Met Opera doing a performance at the restaurant that night. It was so memorable because the space was dark, and intimate, and lovely, and close and the singers were phenomenally gifted. Surely a night to remember.


This date was really uncharacteristic for me, and actually almost nothing went right the entire time, but it remains in my top ten nonetheless. I met a guy while I was out one night when I was living in Charleston, he did the proverbial off the foot sweepage and I agreed to go out on a date with him. While I was on the way to meet up with him, I got lost and showed up a half hour late and a lot stressed out. I apologized, and he graciously accepted, and we headed out on a nice walk to our destination. We arrived to find the shop closed and left hungry, but we bravely soldiered on throughout the city as the conversation was almost as good as the gelato probably would have been. About an hour or so into our walk it started to rain. Now, those of you who who've ever experienced a summer rainstorm in the south know what I'm talking about... this wasn't a lovely summer drizzle, it was a full-fledged grab the nearest animal and head for the ark sort of storm that doesn't moisten, but soaks...

We ran for cover under the nearest entry-way, I think it was a bank, and it was there that I received the best kiss of my life to date. But my mom also reads this blog, so that's quite enough of that...


Date seven happened at that magical time in New York right before Christmas in my first semester, you know, when it was still "Oooh!" and less, "Ugh!" I had been sick for a good majority of the school year thus far, and catch-up made the end of my semester really stressful and complicated. Because of that, I had missed the first tree lighting I was in New York for (sidebar: I never actually ended up seeing one after this point either... too much fuss) and the next day I was about to head back to Buffalo without ever having actually seen that iconic Rockefeller tree in the flesh, errr, bark. I was in my dorm room talking with the guy whom the mac store genius nicknamed, "Mr. Wonderful" (after he carried my broken computer 30 blocks to the store for me so it could be fixed.) It was about 11:40pm and he grabbed me by the hand and we took off running to get to the tree before they turned off the lights at midnight.
We made it with a couple minutes to spare and I did get to see the beautiful tree before I went home the next day. Although it's cheesy, or cliche, or whatever, this was probably one of the sweetest things that anyone did for me that first year in New York. He had seen it a couple times already, but I hadn't so he literally took off running in the middle of the night to make sure I could.


Last summer I had an adventure with a few friends, one couple, and then one of my other buddies whose dates appear multiple times on this list. The afternoon started with a trip to a local farmer's market in Buffalo. We went to pick up a few things that were needed for groceries and because it was a lovely summer day and the walk would do us some real good. First of all, this was my first time going to that particular farmer's market and, as usual, I was in love. I like farmer's markets, and antique fairs, and street vendors because of the slice of humanity that it brings out on a more personal level than just shopping. There's a direct connection between buyer and seller and things are just simple. Not to mention usually fresh and delicious, unless we are talking about antiques in which case I'd pick two different adjectives. After about an hour of shopping we thought it would be a great idea to get some supplies for lunch at the market and have an impromptu picnic on the fly. So we shopped a little more and then frolicked over to a little green area to have our guerrilla picnic. (ask me about the sport of extreme picnicking I developed a few years ago.)

We bought some smoked sausage, a loaf of bread someone had made earlier that morning, some fancy rosemary infused cheese, fruit, tea, and cherry wine and sat in the grass under some trees in the middle of the city chatting and sharing the spoils of our adventure without the benefit of silverware or dishes. It was simple, it was lovely and it was exactly what a weekend's summer afternoon should feel like.


Number five happened with two friends and my sister, all though the breakup of this date was technically two male and two female participants, no one was dating at the time... but that's okay. The four of us headed into downtown Charleston to do some sightseeing one afternoon over a break from school. We went to the market place, the sweet, old fashioned candy shop I affectionately termed "honeydukes" because I couldn't remember it's name, and then took a walk all throughout the city to look at the stunning architecture, and scenery.
If you've never been to Charleston, it's a very unique place, especially in the heart of downtown and near the battery park area. The funny thing about Charleston is that it boasts some of the most stunning examples of "old southern" wealth in it's mansions along the parks and coast of the city, but many of these multi-million dollar properties don't sit on estates with large grounds like a plantation might. They are almost on top of each other on comparably normal sized lots. Most of these homes are also still privately owned and operated. It just so happened that on our walk, which was getting kind of long and kind of hot, we passed by one such home that was having an open house. Through some schmoozing with the Realtor we were able to sneak our way into the private home of someone much more wealthy than we were. Fortunately for us, we were given carte blanche to wander at our whims and left to our own devices to play and take some silly pictures in the house as we desired. We were the only ones looking through the property at the time, and we made some very silly memories that day.


For a Christmas present a couple years ago, one of my friends took me to a high tea at a fancy little tea house about twenty minutes from where we live. We both got all dressed up, myself in a pink dress that was outrageously inappropriate for the weather, and headed out to the tea house. When we arrived, it was mostly older ladies or moms taking their daughters out for the afternoon but we pressed on.
we both tried a couple different teas as well as a whole bunch of little tea sandwiches and little desserts. The atmosphere was quiet, all be it ultra-feminine, but it was a nice place for conversation. It also feels sort of marvelous to get dressed up to go somewhere because you make a little production out of it... it feels more special that way.


This date is actually the only one on my list that happened with another woman, which I find sort of odd since I didn't limit myself to "romantic" dates. One morning, I got a call from this friend, and she said something along the lines of, let's go spend the day together away from everyone else. I'll bring you to my favorite place. As a self-described introvert, I immediately liked the idea of being "away" with someone and said yes absolutely. A few hours later, we arrived at the shore of lake Ontario with art supplies, iPods, and folding chairs in hand and we dragged all of our cargo out onto a little rocky beach that I didn't realize existed. We sat in our bathing suits by the water, listening to worship music and creating. I brought watercolors, she had a pencil and pad and just let ourselves marinate for a couple hours. It was so incredibly relaxing and I don't remember seeing another living human being on the beach the entire time that we were out there. We never ventured into the water because it was early June and we weren't that masochistic, but the sun didn't let us down. Towards the end of our visit, we stashed our supplies in the car and took a walk farther down the pier, out near the waves and the sea gulls. I've driven by it, but haven't been back to the actual lake since then, a mistake I'll probably have to rectify sometime this summer.


Date number two was another "real" date, that interesting enough, was a double date with my parents. We attended an event who's billing was something like "Swing Dancing Under the Stars." This was also in South Carolina. Something that I have never encountered in New York is the Southern enthusiasm for swing dancing. Near Charleston, some boys from the naval bases will go out swing dancing on weekends (like in the old movies) and the whole atmosphere is very friendly and very social. A real, "no partner needed" sort of atmosphere. But I digress... this particular night of dancing happened on a tremendously large pier overlooking the ocean one night with a live big-band orchestra providing music for a couple hours, and then DJs playing later on into the night. In terms of date atmosphere usually you can safely choose one: (ocean, stars, music, food, or dancing) and come out on top in terms of feminine enthusiasm, but this encompassed four out of five of the "please do" dating list so you have to figure that this date had a pretty high likelihood of  being fairly fantastic.
To top things off, the gentleman who took me to this event was someone who was actually trained in ballroom dancing, a quality which I have yet to find in another suitor. So while I was (hopefully) adorably stumbling and awkward, he provided a really solid lead and happily taught me some of the easier dance moves, which was helpful in breaking the ice since this was our first real date. He also wasn't too shy about dancing silly with me, which was very refreshing.


The last date that I want to tell you about might be sort of cheating because I planned it for someone else, but it ended up being a lot of fun, so I think it merits it's own spot on here. It was one of my friend's birthday's and I told him that I was going to plan him a lovely day. He was working in the morning, so I shipped him off to work with three clues about that evening's activities and let him stew on them the whole day. I picked him up from work and asked him if he was able to come up with anything from the clues, he could not, so he had to walk with me in suspense on the way to our destination. We arrived somewhere near Times Square, which I acted flustered about and confessed that I needed to check my map for directions so we could leave the area as soon as possible.
While I was digging in my purse I handed him a stack of papers and asked him to hold them while I checked in my bag. The papers I handed him had tickets to see "American Idiot," and we were standing on the corner of the street where the theater was located. He lit up, and we headed over to see the show. Afterwards, we walked to one of our favorite parks and a few friends helped surprise him with cake and champagne (It was his 21st birthday) and we had a midnight picnic-party near the Hudson river. We maintained that even though it was legal for him to drink, we wanted to keep the magic alive for him by being outside in a "closed park" and still breaking a couple laws for excitement.

So what about you, what was the best date you ever had?


  1. I loved your post, you always make me laugh! You have had some quality dates. I am honored to have made your list. It's hard for me to pick a favorite. I think my first date with ken is at the top. I got to dress in a gown, put my hair up and be whisked to the Military Ball. The Buffalo Armory looked like a Castle and I felt like a princess. There were men in uniform everywhere- live music, and dancing. Hard to top. Of course there was that blind date with Drew Carey ;)

  2. I realize this is a super late comment, but I saw you link to the article that linked to this post on Facebook...aaaand apparently based on that description I'm kind of a stalker. I love the cute dating stories!!!

    As far as "best dates" go, Tyler and I are kind of extraordinarily unromantic. But probably my favorite dating moment with him was when he officially asked me to be his capital G a parking lot..of the Niagara Falls aviary...standing underneath a billboard depicting a 40-foot tall parrot. Pretty much set the tone for our relationship ;)

    ~Laura Weymouth

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.