Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Threesome with Jesus

God, if you’re reading this, I’ll tell you all about it at confession. Forgive me father for what I’m about to write.

I should say upfront that I consider myself faithful and religious. I go to church on a quasi-regular basis and sing along while there. I draw the line at clapping. Faith has gotten me through some tough times and decisions—and by tough I don’t mean choosing which car to take to work or whether to wear khakis or chinos (always chinos).

But recently, I had a first date with a girl who knew Jesus. We had met through Match and had emailed a bit before agreeing to meet at the epicenter of first dates: Starbucks. She, a self-proclaimed coffee snob, and I, a coffee virgin, were destined for greatness.

Over an obscenely large white mug of French-pressed java we discussed all the requisites: siblings, life goals, swing dancing, jobs, music and YouTube. The date seemed to be going well, after all it started with a handshake. The turning point may have been when I said I was Catholic. Similar to a former date’s disappointing discovery that despite tripping her Jew-dar, I wasn’t, in fact, Jewish, my coffee date was likely crestfallen to find we didn’t attend the same services.

Three times during our outing, she had mentioned she wasn’t looking for anything serious. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t looking for a random hookup either. While waiting for the cock to crow, I was wondering why she felt obliged to say this. The conversation was polite and genial—I abstained from asking if we were going back to her place after, you know, to pray.

I find this assumption bothersome and a bit arrogant. It supposes that I’m enthralled with her and ready to skip past GO and collect a wedding license. I can see how this girl may have gotten that impression after I had dropped to a knee to tie my shoe and had asked “Will you…[pause]…get me some more sugar?”

After closing down Starbucks, I walked her to her car, received my goodbye handshake and went on my way. I had texted her later in the week to see how she was doing and she responded something about working. A few days later I called and left a voicemail simply asking how classes and work were going. A little later I received this text message:

Hey. Got your voicemail. I don’t think I’m ready for this whole Match thing. Best of luck with everything.
All I asked was how she was. While I do appreciate the response, this bothers me for a few reasons:

  • Why the hell is she on a dating site?
  • Again with the assumptions.
  • Who said I wanted anything more than friendship?

This is the second time I’ve heard this crap excuse. I have previously admitted that whether or not a woman responds or concocts a bogus excuse, there will be some level of animosity that accompanies rejection. I prefer a response to no response but claim that I want honesty. So far, I’ve heard that my previous one-and-done dates didn’t have time to date or simply weren’t ready. Given that I’ve met most of these people through dating sites on the internets, I don’t accept these excuses as valid. Just tell me you have to wash your hair indefinitely.

I’m sad to see this girl go. If only I could get my coffee virginity back…I gave her my first cup.
I was really looking forward to a threesome with Jesus.

How to Know if You’re Dating a Bible Thumper:

  • If your date’s good friends are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, she might be a Bible thumper.
  • If your date looks for her Bible while you’re out, she might be a Bible thumper.
  • If she’s a fan of Jesus on Facebook, she’s probably more religious than you.
  • If your date asks you how long you’ve known Jesus, she might be a Bible thumper.
  • If your date went to Bible College, she’s probably a Bible thumper.
  • If she has more than six siblings, odds are she comes from a religious crew.
  • If your date asks you if you’re a good carpenter, run.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Disposable Memories

Maybe it was the fluorescent orange cardboard wrapping or some underlying shame that led me to conceal the disposable camera immediately after the shutter clicked.

For years I'd been using a point-and-shoot digital from Kodak. It worked well in sunlight and captured some scenic places I've been and documented family moments. But apparently dropping a camera on cement from six feet up isn't good for it. I can't be sure whether it was the first or second time I dropped it that was the fatal blow.

This weekend has been filled with "Kodak moments," but alas all I had was the brand-free disposable, which is nearly impossible to conceal. In addition to the aforementioned, seizure-inducing color, the loud CLICK when you snap a picture draws some attention. If that weren't enough, you have to advance the film. Clicking more than a geriatrics's hip, you fling the turn wheel to the right seemingly for days until you are finally ready to take another shot.

I've grown accustomed to the ease and acceptance of digital. This shame is largely self-induced. No one said anything to me at any point this weekend. Yet I felt as though strangers saw my disposable and scoffed, perhaps excusing themselves to talk about it privately, or perhaps taking pictures of me taking pictures on their phones--the quintessential meta picture.

"What was that thing that man had?" an inquisitive child asks their parents.
"That was a disposable camera, son. They were popular before you were born."
My disposable guilt partially impeded my taking pictures. On some level, whether disposable of digital, I feel voyeuristic when I take out a camera, even if it is to take pictures of friends and family. This is what ended the potential career in photojournalism. I turned 24 on Thursday and lined-up an epic weekend of celebrations.

After the royal treatment from my coworkers who brought in coffee cake and chocolate covered strawberries, I had an awkward lunch incident. My male coworkers thought it a good idea to urge me to hit on the waitress at the restaurant. Returning home after work, I had a low-key dinner at home with my family.

Friday was a half-day which gave me plenty of time to come home, eat lunch, mow the backyard, read an article in The New Yorker, and take a nap. After the siesta, I checked my emails. Finding a reply from a dating prospect, I quickly opened the message. After a few exchanges, phone numbers were exchanged and my night sans plans quickly turned into a coffee date. I should mention that in my 24 years on this earth, I had never had a cup of coffee. Yes. Never. Seeing as this woman was passionate about java and it was a whole new year, I figured I could give it a (no espresso) shot. There was some reluctance that accompanied giving up my coffee virginity. Was it the right time? Was she the right person? Would I regret it after? What if I get addicted?

Like most of my dates, I think it went well, but only a returned or answered call will determine that. She did know it was my first time...

Saturday was the gold star day on the calendar. In my on-going quest to scratch-off the "never have I's" from my list, I invited friends and coworkers to Greektown. I had yet to visit and thought it as good a time as any. Dining outside we ate and conversed. All the while, the bulky disposable competed for pocket space with my phone, at times digging it's pointy corners into my thigh. So, instead of celluloid memories, I'll have to rely on the mental pictures a la Alec Baldwin in Friends. Our posse walked to Millennium Park and sampled some baklava. Delicious.

During the night, I was invited to Sunday's Blackhawks playoff game against the Wings. Knowing how many people would give up their digital camera to go, I quickly accepted the invite. The game thankfully, was more forgettable than memorable as the Hawks lost 6-1. I think they scored that one for my birthday. Why the Red Wings felt so generous, I don't know.

I'm taking today slowly and took tomorrow off from work. Tomorrow night I'll be going to the Cubs game to conclude my birthday weekend and hopefully that disposable camera.