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I think how well a date goes depends on your expectations. You can show up with low expectations and be open to any surprise, or you can show up with high expectations and be colossally disappointed. But there are some dates that defy all expectations. Those are the dates that begin with a boy wearing sweatpants.
Let's rewind a little bit. I was raised a good Mormon girl and went to Brigham Young University, a place where everyone tries really hard not to have sex with each other and instead puts all their energy into the art of creative courtship. When a guy asks you out on a date, you spend all afternoon getting dressed and then you do something amazing, like have a picnic dinner at a museum specially opened just for you.
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So those were the expectations I carried around with me in college. I was stunned to find out that kids at other colleges rarely go out on "date" dates -- that social life centered more on partying and hooking up. But this is what happens when you're trying not to have sex, I guess.
Anyway, I met "Thor" through a friend with connections in the outside world -- i.e. big, bad Salt Lake City, an hour's drive north. He was a tall, rangy, long-haired guy who looked just like Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Swoon! (This was the mid-'90s, folks.) And he was European. Fancy! He invited me to come up to Salt Lake City for a date and I spent the remaining days before then in a state of sexually-repressed frenzy.
As you do at BYU, I gathered with friends for the ritual of the pre-date dressing and grooming. Clothes were lent, hair was done and redone, and I was turned into my cutest (not hottest, because trying not to have sex) self. I drove up I-15 practically hyperventilating.
And then I got to Thor's apartment. Heart pounding, I knocked on his door. He answered, and there he was: grey sweatpants, faded and baggy black sweatshirt, hair carelessly shoved into a ponytail, flip-flops. This was my date. This was who I got dolled up for and drove an hour for.
"Heyyyy, I just got up from a nap and I've gotta return these videos. Let's walk over to Blockbuster."
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"Um, ah, okay," I stammered, thinking, Surely he's going to change after this errand -- which he could have done BEFORE our date. Doesn't he know how this works? But he didn't change. And the big plan for the evening turned out to be hanging out at his favorite dive bar, drinking beer, hanging with his buddies, and cheering him on as he played foosball.
Mormons don't drink -- I had never tasted alcohol, ever, so relaxing and having a beer was not an option for me. In fact, I found the whole bar environment alien and slightly sinister. In retrospect, of course, I see that it was just an ordinary, harmless bar. But I was but an innocent flower, so I was freaked.
I was also bored out of my mind.
So there I was, sulking with my no beer, and Thor not even noticing because he was having too much fun competing with his buddies at foosball, which struck me as about the most ridiculous spectacle ever (what did I know). Thor eventually noticed.
"Heyyyy, you are not having fun?"
"NO, I am NOT having fun. This is not what you're supposed to do on a date! Don't you have anything else planned? Aren't we going out to dinner or something?" Where was my hot air balloon ride, my late-night tour of the zoo, our bicycle built for two, hell, I'd take a hot fudge sundae at this point.
Poor Thor was confused. This is not a date? What was I expecting?
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If I hadn't been such a prude, I would have had fun at the bar. I would have had a flippin' beer, for heck's sake, and relaxed and played foosball. If I'd had more confidence, I would have just said, "Wait right there, Thor, turn around and put on those sexy jeans I saw you in when we first met. And a button up shirt, pretty please." But instead we parted ways that night slightly disgusted with each other.
I left feeling unsatisfied and thoroughly pent up. But instead of driving home, I found myself driving to another boy's apartment near BYU, a classmate I'd become sort of interested in. It was late, but he answered, and we fell into bed. And so I found myself doing what so many BYU students find themselves doing even though they're trying really hard not to have sex.
But hey, I wasn't expecting that, so the date ended well after all! Just, you know, with someone else.
Have you ever been on a date where you both had totally mismatched expectations?
Image via madmarv00/Flickr
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