passing the microphone

On Wednesday night, I had a first date. I know! Another one. The excitement! Can you handle it? Boy howdy, am I just swimmin' in menfolk here (for the record, that's 2 menfolk since July). I can't go into too much detail though, because get this: this is a date a reader set me up on. Which, first of all, I don't particularly like using the word "reader" because it positions me as The Blogger, and puts a feeling of distance between totally average me and someone who weirdly finds me interesting enough to follow. Novelists have readers. Columnists have readers. I have - well, I don't know what I have. Listeners. Observers, maybe.

This listener/observer reached out to me and basically said, Hey, I have a single guy friend who I think you'd like and vice versa. He smells good and dresses well and doesn't believe in God. Are you down? And I was all, Uhhh, I'm totally flattered you thought of me, but probably not, because I'm sort of still stinging from the last round of dates where I felt like I got kind of, I don't know, passively rejected, and maybe I should do some work on myself before getting back out there? And she was all, Gurl, come on. Also: I just read him your reply and he thinks you're being silly. Oh yeah, and I showed him your pictures. And I was like, YOU READ HIM THAT?? Well now I have to go out with him or I look like a big weenie.

So I did go out with him (after exchanging a few emails wherein I established that he's bright and funny, and has superlative taste in music).

And it was great, as far as first dates go. Because first dates, no matter how enjoyable they are, still have that underpinning of nervousness and hyper-awareness, which is distracting. Or maybe it's just me? I find myself sitting there, engaged in one of those touch-on-all-the-major-points conversations, in which I'm consciously endeavoring to remember key details and be a reflective listener, but the whole time I'm conducting an unavoidable inner monologue that includes a rather lurid evaluation of my dinner partner. Could I kiss this person? I could kiss this person. He surfs? I wonder what he looks like in a wetsuit. Actually, I wonder what he looks like out of a wetsuit. 

My name is Ellie, and I sometimes objectify men in the privacy of my own head.

(That last little bit makes it sound as if I'm the most awful, checked-out conversationalist ever, but I'm really not - I don't think. I just have a terrible time remembering details like names and places and dates, and I feel like such a schmo when two dates down the road I have to say, Wait, where were you born? or What are your siblings names again?)

We had sushi and sake in Little Tokyo, and he unnerved me - in a good way - by consistently passing the microphone back to me throughout the meal. He had me talking about myself nonstop, which is pretty much the opposite of how dates typically go for me. I'm usually the one asking questions, probing, drawing out. But this guy was a master at what I thought was my game. And while the hot seat normally isn't my comfort zone, since there are so many bombshell skeletons in my closet, he didn't seem put off by anything I said. In fact, he opened his own closet door a crack, and let me peer in. Which: awesome. Not the skeletons, I mean, but the vulnerability and honesty. That I dig.

So yes, it was a good first date.

And there's a second one on the calendar.