EXPERIMENTAL DATE 1–aka the getting to know you date
**Conducted w/my counterpart, XtremeDater
On a gloriously sunny and warm Saturday afteroon, XD and I met at my place, scarfed down dim sum to go, and raced over to the Palace of Fine Arts to attend the ResFest film festival. We had tickets for 4 showings–at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 10pm–each showing lasting about 1.5 hrs.
While this seems like a long time, it actually went by rather quickly. I only fought the urge to sleep just once while watching a screen of epileptic like images flash at nanosecond-like intervals. Being that the flims were interesting, there was much to discuss during our breaks inbetween screenings. We had fun scoping out the various riffraff who were in attendance, i.e. “WeirdStreetHooker”–soccer mom/texas face matched w/hooker body/outfit. From neck up–looked like some Miss America contestant, from neck down–clowny hooker type.
“Gothic Cowgirl”–take some goth, take some cowgirl, mix in a little bit of Beetlejuice fashion sense, and thats what this girl looked like
“Old Winona”–pixie lady w/glasses who looked totally artsy fartsy winona ryder in mid 40s
And the list goes on. Most of the men fell into the category of wannabe film geek. Most of the girls there were w/their boyfriend or whatever. But it was an interesting crowd, and had we been on a *real* date, there would be plenty to discuss.
After the 6pm showing concluded, XD and I went drove to the wharf and bought fresh seafood, oysters, shrimp, lobster bisque, etc from one of the many food stands on the grotto, and ate our meal standing up, packed inbetween a tangle of people ordering food, eating, walking by, having beers. Atmosphere=very ambient, busy, and upbeat. Afterwards, I showed XD one of my most favorite places in SF–the Musee Mecanique. We got a few dollars worth of quarters and had fun w/the boxing and basketball games, as well as playing the old tymey jukeboxes and getting our fortunes read from one of those fortune teller machines like in the movie Big. For the purposes of research, we concluded that the “weight/fortune” machine and the “test your strength” machine were 2 things NOT to do on a date.
At 10pm, we watched a strange, semi-cheesy, but very good anime movie, then returned to the wharf–ghiradelli square–for ice cream sundaes. Note: any date that involves ice cream = good.
We rested for a brief moment, and then decided to go bar hopping. Actually, not even bar hopping, pub hopping, on Geary. Our rule of thumb was that we could ONLY go to bars that we had never been to. This was kind of scary, but after a few beers, was quite enjoyable. First bar we stumbled into turned out to be some type of Asian pub where wine spritzers were the drink of choice, and where we were treated to strange snacks like shrimp chips and sweet potato strings. Next bar we chose was an Irish bar–although nothing was too Irish about it except for the bartenders. Both bars were busy yet quiet, and had lots of good discussion in such an atmosphere. NOTE: adventurous element of trying new things=good. Low-key out of the way local pubs=good.
CONCLUSION: Any datey type thing that involves an element of play (musee mecanique, ice cream) or adventure/unknown (random bar hop) is good for bonding on say, first-date like scenarios. Events were fun, we were always busy, and there was no romantic pressure, although I guess w/the right person, there could def have been moments where this occurred. Evenso, I think that first dates are all about getting to know the other person, and enjoying the other persons company. Romantic-y stuff should come later, if at all.
EXPERIMENTAL DATE #2–aka getting warmer
**conducted w/out of towners
Another good date idea–exploring the city as if you were from out of town. While this seems cliche, it was actually interesting to take my friends around (they are a married couple) and show them the town. There were also things that they wanted to see that I had never visited, so we sort of fed off one another.
Started events in late afternoon. Walked around Haight. Bought ice cream that quickly melted (theres the ice cream again!!). People watched. Just mainly walked, talked, and looked around. Drove to Alamo square, took pictures of postcard row, walked around the park, lounged, etc. Note: taking silly pictures, and lounging in park on sunny, beautiful, warm day=good
Drove to Baker Beach, where we caught the sunset and watched sea lions jump through the water. As the light slowly slipped into darkness, we walked along the beach (did i mention I was total 3rd wheel here, or what?) and talked and played some in the ice cold water.
For dinner, we had Korean bbq–unpretentious, good, and fun/novel. Good for dating purposes as there are many interesting side dishes/foods to try. And when conversation is lacking, one can always mess around w/the hot, burning, coals.
CONCLUSION: def. one step up from Date #1. Lots of walking, getting to know you convo, ice cream, and then a little bit of sunset thrown in for romantic purposes.
EXPERIMENTAL DATE #3–aka, I think I like you
**conducted w/out of towners on diff day
Walked through Chinatown and stopped at various shops–looked at strange souveniers (who would BUY that?) and tried on goofy things we would never buy normally. Decided that our mission was to find cool baseball caps, which we did. Note: scavenger hunt type thing=good.
Afterwards, walked through North Beach, and had lunch at one of the many cafes (good), then hiked up to Coit Tower to see the amazing views. NOTE: hiking element=fun=active=funny to make fun of how out-of-breath and wimpy other person is. View=beautiful.
Proceeded to the wharf again. Caught a boat to Alcatraz. Wandered around the island for a couple of hours, in awe of everything. As we were leaving, the fog rolled in and enshrouded the golden gate bridge. I spent most of the time leaning over the edge of the boat, watching the choppy waves, trying to keep warm. Good: its cold, much need for warmth, possibly from another human…Good: Alacatraz is mysterious and interesting and semi-creepy. Strange feeling of exploration and solitude and wanting to be w/someone else. Good: boat ride was active, picturesque, and has hot cocoa.
Headed to Ghiradelli (for more ice cream). And as I said before, any date w/ice cream=good.
Caught the cable car (!!!) back to our starting point. Cable car was touristy, but actually pretty awesome. We stood on the outside, holding onto the bars, and rolled up and down the hills, watching the city go by at turn of the century pace.
At night, we drove to Twin Peaks, and took in the entire city. It was freezing cold. But it was beautiful.
CONCLUSION: Date started out innocently enough (hat searching/mission) but then ended on the top of a windy hill. I want to mention that I determined the romantic level for this potential date by watching my out of town friends. As the day wore on, and the night grew colder, they became closer and closer, and more romantic with each other. It was very sweet to watch, and even though I was just an observer (dating experiment purposes, of course), I totally fed off their energy. It was really really cool. And far from feeling *jealousy*, I just felt really happy to be there.
B/c i also know what it is like–what it was like. This/their trip is so similar to the ones I have taken w/the ex. I felt some pangs of longing for that time long ago, but mainly it a good feeling, I guess, realizing that it could happen again.
As XD and I discussed, its not really about the date being expensive or elaborately creative. I think “creative” just means heart-felt; personal. Dinner at a fancy restuarant is not creative. Movies are not creative. But there is def. a way to have a creative dinner/movie experience. Dinner feels so monetary–like I’ll buy you dinner if you spend time talking to me. And even though I know thats not what the other person intends, sometimes I get sick of hearing, “well, at least its a free dinner.” I know, its hard, there are a million little rules of dating, but still, I think the best way to get to know someone is by exposing that person to a piece of yourself. I’d like to be taken on dates where I gain some type of insight into what the other person enjoys–whether it be ice cream (yay!) or museums, or boat trips, or whatever.
So we’ll see. Need to restart the engine on the dating machine, but still betting I never progress beyond dinner and drinks.