Sunday, September 23, 2012

First Dates

As I was driving to work yesterday, I was listening to the CBC radio show Definitely Not The Opera, as is my habit as I drive to work on Saturdays.  The topic of this episode was first dates, and the stories they were telling got me thinking about the various first dates I've been on in my life.  They're a bit of a mixed bag.  My first date with my wife was a good date, but nothing funny that makes a good story happened.  We went mini-golfing, ate at Boston Pizza, and watched High Strung at my apartment.  There were a lot of dates that were fun, but never led to a meaningful relationship with the girl I was with.  Some were just awkward.  One of the most awkward ones I went on was with a girl named Maria.  I had met her officially (there was one meeting months before in which we didn't tell each other our names) in the summer of 2003.  We went to the same singles' ward of the LDS church, and we lived on the same street.  My roommates and I developed a comfortable friendship with her and her roommates.  We were called to be in charge of the weekly Family Home Evening ward activity together, so we started having one-on-one time together.  Nothing ever happened, and we didn't develop romantic feelings for each other, but we were pretty good friends.  That winter, as Valentine's Day approached, the time came that the guys in Lethbridge's singles' wards started asking the girls to the annual Sweetheart's Dance.  I didn't have any prospects at the time, so I decided to ask Maria.  She eventually said yes, and we made plans for the evening.  I could tell right away that she felt a little weird about the arrangement, but I plowed ahead anyway.  Maria was my friend, and I wasn't planning on making any moves, so I figured we could have a good time once the date got rolling.  The night of the date came, and right away things didn't go as planned.  She ended up having to work late, and almost didn't come at all.  I should have given her an exit and let her back out altogether, because when we got to the dance, we barely spoke to each other.  In fact, we didn't speak to each other much for a couple months afterwards.  I think she thought I had a crush on her, and she wasn't interested at all, so she backed off.  We eventually got to a point where we were good friends again, but that was right before I got married.

So that was my most awkward first date.  It was an earlier date, though, that was the funniest by far.

As I made abundantly clear in the first paragraph of this blog entry, I am a Mormon.  As such, I have only ever dated Mormon girls.  It wasn't that I was opposed to the idea of dating girls who weren't Mormon, but the social circles I ran in were predominantly Mormon.  In the winter of 2001, I had my eyes on a girl named Chantal.  This was also around the time of the Sweethearts Dance, but I was living in Edmonton still instead of Lethbridge, which is where I knew Maria.  I had brought up the dance with Chantal, but she insisted that I ask her in the traditional creative way that Mormons are so fond of.  So I made her a huge heart-shaped cookie.  I wanted to write in frosting, "Do you want to go to the Sweethearts Dance with me?" but there wasn't enough room, so I just wrote "Dance with me," which turned out to be the title of a movie she liked.  Now I just needed a situation in which I could give it to her.  At the same time, I was attending Grant MacEwan College, and I had a drama class.  One of our assignments in this class was to attend a play and write a report on it.  I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and make a date out of attending the play.  The play I chose to attend was called Suburbia, which I knew next to nothing about.  (To answer the question you're probably not asking, yes, it was based on the 1996 movie of the same title.)

Before I go on, let me tell you about Chantal.  She would have been about 19 years old at the time, and she was a sweet, young Mormon girl.  Like, as Mormon as you can get, pretty much.  I was a good Mormon for the most part (better than I am now, if I'm being honest), but even back then I had my "failings".  I drank caffeinated pop, I had no problems with swearing (I even swore as a missionary on occasion), and I was raised on R-rated movies.  Chantal, not so much.  She was (and still is, I assume) a model Mormon, and I applaud her for it.

Right from the first scene of the play, the bad language started, and it never let up.  Like I said, swearing doesn't bother me, but I was there on a first date with Mormon girl.  I shifted uncomfortably in my seat as I watched, convinced that she wouldn't want anything to do with me if this was the kind of thing I did on dates.  It was a good play, but I had a hard time enjoying it because of the awful, awful language.

The intermission came, and we spoke comfortably with each other.  I apologized for bringing her to such a dirty play, and she assured me that she didn't hold it against me.  The second act of the play started, and before I knew it, there was a dick flopping around on stage.  The main character, a man in his early 20s, exuberantly started taking his clothes off.  "Oh no," I thought as his shirt flew off.  "They wouldn't have full nudity in this play.  Would they?"  The guy's pants came off next, and I hoped in vain that they would stop with him standing there in his boxers.  But nope.  Down the shorts went.  To make it worse, the well-endowed actor started whooping and jumping up and down.  Chantal, mercifully, saw the reveal coming and averted her gaze before getting an eyeful.  I was still mortified, though.  My first date with a young Molly Mormon was filled with foul language and a big floppy penis.

Chantal went on to be my first real girlfriend, and we were even engaged briefly, so I guess it could've been worse.  Still, I had the foresight to watch a movie I had already seen on my first date with Avril.

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