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Mythical Creature + Mythical Awesome First Date = Too Good to Be True

Jan 24, 2011

I know my last post was lame, but I had to post something and last week I was waaaaaaaaaay too insane in the membrane to write about my date with Astronaut Mike Dexter

Let me just say, it was wonderful.  Best first date ever.  Well...maybe not ever, but since I started dating in DC?  Yes.  After hundreds of horrible first dates with very few second ones, this one restored my faith in DC men.

And then I lost it again.

After a month of texts, Facebook messages, and emails, Astronaut Mike Dexter finally set a date with me.  I had kind of given up on him because when I met him at DateMeDC's December happy hour he said we would get together after the holidays.  But when the holidays passed and we were still just texting "How was your day?" I began to wonder if he was shy, getting over another girl, or the dreaded just not that into me.  The night I went speed dating I asked DateMeDC what his deal was and she told me she didn't know because he talked to her about me all the time.  So I remained open-minded but skeptical.

Our date happened to be the night we got our big snow (that whole 1/2 inch).  We met at Vinoteca, a wine bar that was cozy and perfect for a romantic evening.  He ordered a bottle of wine, which I think is so classy, and we enjoyed cheeses and charcuteries (duck prosciutto, omg) while talking and laughing -- no awkward silences.  Not one.  Because I was still skeptical I was being particularly sarcastic, trying to throw him off, but he dished it right back and I started thinking I could see myself on a second date with him. 

When the bill came I knew he wouldn't want to split it, but I offered my credit card anyway.  He gave me a strange look, like he didn't recognize what I was handing him. 

"I don't know, some guys prefer to split the bill," I shrugged.  It's true -- you never assume the guy will pay anymore. 

"Guys...let" he said, eyes wide.  Oh my.  Do men like this really still exist?

After dinner he suggested we have drinks at The Gibson.  He tried to help me with my coat, but I didn't understand what he was doing -- because no one ever helps me with my coat -- so I fumbled his gesture and scolded myself for dumping my Southern standards down the drain long ago.  We stepped outside into the snow, and he stuck out his arm. 

"What are you doing?" I said, confused.

"I'm offering you my arm," he said, like a man.

What's funny is when I began really dating in college, I expected this kind of treatment, and if I didn't get it the guy had to go.  But since moving to DC I've had to train myself to not expect too much from a guy and learn how to be self-sufficient.  These aren't bad things necessarily, but also not that great.

So I tried real hard to remember I deserve to be treated like a lady, looped my arm in his, and let him walk me down the sidewalk.  When we arrived the bouncer asked, "So who's buying drinks tonight?" and Astronaut Mike Dexter replied, "I am, of course. Can you imagine letting her pay for anything?"

And with that I was smitten.  It wasn't so much that I wouldn't have to pay but rather that he made me feel so womanish and sophisticated.  He was a unicorn.

(Bonus: he read my blog post about him and wasn't scared away.  We talked about the blog a little and he seemed cool with it, a VERY important trait.)

After a drink it was getting late, so he walked me home.  At my doorway he leaned in and kissed me, which I wanted him to do even though I have a fairly strict rule not to kiss on the first date. 

When he pulled away and asked, "Can I see your rooftop?" I was feeling so tingly I couldn't resist. 

"Okay," I said, "but just the rooftop."

On the roof the snow was collecting and still coming down at a decent rate.  Below us the city was glistening and twinkling and it was all just soooooooooooooooo stinkin' romantic.  Then he took me in his arms and we kissed in the snow and it was all I could do to not pop my leg like I was in a '60s cartoon.

(He did get himself into my apartment briefly, but just to use the bathroom.)

After he left he texted me, "Had a great time with you, hope to see you soon."


The next day I emailed him a funny video we'd talked about.  He replied, "That's hilarious!  Had an amazing time with you, hope to see you soon."

So "great" was upgraded to "amazing," but what was this "hope to see you soon" business?  Did he want me to ask him out?  I got very girly-analytical for a couple of days until I realized I was acting like a loon, so I just waited to hear from him.  It took a week until I did, over email.

"Are you going to DateMeDC's happy hour tonight?  If so, see you there."

Okay, well at least he was expecting to see me.  It would be the perfect opportunity to ignore him while I mingled with fabulous bloggers in my fabulous motorcycle jacket and be too fabulous to notice he was there, and then when he came over to me to try to talk I would graciously acknowledge him, and then maybe he'd learn his lesson about making me wait so long for an email, at the very least. 

When I arrived I saw him, said hello, then found DateMeDC and said hello to her.  I thought maybe Astronaut Mike Dexter would come over and offer to buy me a drink, a la our first date, or even the first time we met.  But no, he was busy talking to a bunch of dudes.  So I went to the bar by myself.  After I ordered a glass of wine (okay bottle -- but it was half price bottles for the happy hour special so it was fiscally responsible to buy one) he walked over. 

"Hey, this is going to look bad but I have dinner plans so I'm gonna run."

WHAT.  You mean to tell me I was going to ignore YOU but YOU are ignoring ME? my inner monologue screeched.

"Oh!  Great!  No problem!  Have fun!" I said instead.

Then I marched over to Sassy Marmalade and yelled the whole story to her.  She promptly went to the bar and got another bottle of wine, and the rest of the evening was spent talking about how much guys suck with all the other girls there (except Sassy Marmalade -- she has a unicorn). 

I spent the next week trying to figure it out.  Did I talk too much?  Probably.  Am I too fat?  Never!  Christina Hendricks bodies are trendy, so there.  Did he snoop in my medicine cabinet?  I would have.  Dangit, I have two packs of Gas-X in there.  That must be why he didn't call.

Or...dread of all dreads...he just wasn't that into me.  As DateMeDC has said, "He is not different, you are not special."  Yep, pretty much.

But at least I had a good first date.  That was a nice change of pace.  Hmph.

Cold legs begone

Jan 18, 2011

I am soooooo sick of wearing the same five pairs of pants.  My winter wardrobe, while it started out fun and frisky with fur and cozy knits, has become Frump A Lish Ous.  During the summer I wear skirts or little dresses almost every day, but the one day this winter that I wore a skirt, someone threw away a blinking Christmas ornament in the trashcan at my Metro stop and it was shut down so the bomb squad could check it out.  So I walked to work, and my knees felt like they were bleeding by the time I arrived. 

The Roomie's mom works in Wisconsin, so this Christmas she got some wonderful winter apparel items, including fleece tights.  These tights are fleece lined, guaranteed to prevent frostbitten knees.  But when we Googled the brand, we couldn't find them anywhere but Wisconsin.  East Coast girls get cold too!

Lucky for you I became obsessed and have researched the item -- and others -- in hopes of feeling feminine this winter.  Because as much as I'd like to tell myself spring is right around the corner, the reality is we're barely a month into winter. 


My pick: Plush.  Their motto is "Stay warm and stylish."  Trust me, these tights are amazing!  But if you prefer something not so thick, try these wool-blend ribbed tights from J. Crew


One day The Roomie was wearing her rubber boots and I noticed they had a cute little fur cuff.  Immediately I thought, Where do I get those?!  Turns out they weren't adorable boots, they were smart, furry little socks!  These were yet another treat her mom had sent.  But on a trip to Marshall's I found some identical ones for $7!  I luuuuuuuuuuuurv my Uggs (don't even try to tell me how ugly they are, I don't care!), but if we ever actually get snow this year, rubber boots are much better to snowball fight in.  And now my toes will stay warm and dry. 

Speaking of Uggs, don't forget to weather treat yours!  A can of suede waterproofing spray is only $10 at Nine West and well worth the investment. 

If only they were acceptable to wear to social events...

Welcome to the Freak Show

Jan 11, 2011

“Tall Men Speed Dating!” the email read.  I should have known it would be bad.
But the “Tall Men” part, one of my five criteria, was just too tempting.  Tsk tsk, how dumb can one DC girl be? 
Make that two, for I easily talked DateMeDC into going with me.

But here’s the thing – Joanna met her guy at Tall Men Speed Dating a couple of years ago.  Of course she sat at the bar to support friends and met her guy who was doing the same thing.  So they didn’t actually participate.
The problem with this concept in this city, as DateMeDC theorized before we walked in the Arlington restaurant, is there are so few tall dudes (read: Napolean complexes galore), if they have to resort to speed dating then there must be something wrong with them.
Problem No. 1 – Hair Plugs

I cringed when the hostess led me to his table.  Fortunately we’d only have to talk five minutes.  But I couldn’t stop staring at his hair.  His hairline was unnaturally straight, and the top was so poofy it reminded me of, er, well just watch this and you’ll get the idea.
I’m not sure when hair plugs were popular, but let me assure you that they are no longer desirable in any way.  I actually have a thing for baldies, but let me caveat that with you must be actually bald and not trying to hold on for dear life to what you have (see No. 13).  And please, I beg of you, no comb overs. 
Problem No. 2 – Bad Jokes that Emphasize You Are Old:
“There are three things that really stink about getting older,” Hair Plugs began. “The first is losing your memory.  The second is…is…is…”
Do you really think this is A) funny, B) charming, and/or C) sexy to a lady at least 20 years younger than you? 

Problem No. 3 – Talks Too Much:
After the bad joke, which was his opening line with DateMeDC as well, he dominated the conversation by telling me all about his mattress delivery job for his father’s company.
Usually I’m the one who talks too much.  However, after hundreds of first dates over the past three years, I’ve learned that a conversation must involve both parties or you just come across as full of yourself or nervous.  In this case it was a relief that he talked too much, because I couldn’t think about anything other than his hair.

Problem No. 4 – Wears a Bill Cosby Sweater:
To round out the badness of Hair Plugs, his beige sweater had button-hole indentations in it, and the shoulder seam was halfway down his bicep.  

Just wear a blue button down!  It will always work!  Don’t try to get creative or what you perceive as fashionable.  Repeat after me: Blue Button Down.  Unfortunately at least four other bachelors had this problem as well.
Problem No. 5 – The Stutter:
Bachelor No. 2, aka Awkward IT Guy, was so nervous he had much difficulty spitting out a complete sentence.  I can’t make too much fun of him, it was really sad.  

So I asked him questions about the most annoying people whose computers he had to reboot and somehow, painfully, made it through the five minutes.  Too bad…he was wearing a blue button down.
Problem No. 6 – Bad Breath:
Word of advice: you have bad breath.  You’re in a bar.  Alcohol kills germs.  Get a drink.  Sip slowly.  Swish a little.  If it doesn’t work, at least liquor will cover up bad breath smell.
But no, Bachelor No. 3 was a basketball coach and apparently didn’t drink.  He was fit – except for his turkey neck – and he was wearing a non-Bill Cosby sweater, but his teeth were gray and it was loud so I had to lean in to hear him. 

Problem No. 7 – The Geriatric:

“Have you ever done this before?” Bachelor No. 4 asked me.
“No,” I lied.  I was lying a lot.  And pretending to be a bimbo.  I found the less intelligent I came across the less questions they would ask and the more they would talk about their boring jobs.  At least I wasn’t giving away personal information with which they could stalk me later.
“15 years ago when I decided to make a career change…” he was saying.  This man had to have been in his 70s.  He was also wearing a Bill Cosby sweater, this one red with black and cream wavy vertical lines.
When the bell rang to change partners the girl beside me tensed up, a look of panic in her eyes.  I wanted to pat her on the shoulder and say, “It’s only five minutes.”
Problem No. 8 – Scripted Pick-Up Lines:
“I get so bored with all the same questions,” Bachelor No. 5 said.  “Let’s think of something different to talk about.  Gimme a sec…”
He looked up toward the ceiling thoughtfully, finger placed to the side of his mouth, and then after a few seconds his eyes lit up.
“I’ve got it!  What was the last vacation you went on?” 
This was a funny question because I haven’t been on a real vacation in at least four years.  So the conversation steered back toward work. 
Of course he put on the exact same show for DateMeDC.

Problem No. 9 – Ahead of His Time, in a Bad Way

Bachelor No. 6 looked about 25 and had a white man’s fro.  That’s all forgivable.  What’s not is being that young and that nerdy and loving Bethesda, Maryland, more than DC. 
There’s nothing wrong with Bethesda.  It’s a perfectly nice town and it even has a Georgetown Cupcake. 
But this guy hearts Bethesda.  “It’s real family friendly,” he said. 
“Do you have a family?” I inquired.
Problem No. 10 – You Don’t Speak English Well
This can be forgivable if you’re charming and cute.  But if you’re creepy and short (hello! TALL MEN speed dating!), it doesn’t work.  

How did Bachelor No. 7 even get in the building?
Problem No. 11 – You’re Obsessed with Tibetan Buddhism and I’m Obviously Not
Not only did he repeatedly tell me I was the only one in the room he had any interest in, he also preached the gospel of Tibetan Buddhism to me.  I tried to change the subject – “What do you do for a living?”  But it didn’t get better.
“In restaurant.  Been in USA 12 years.”
“Oh!” I feigned interest.  “In the same restaurant for 12 years?”
“No!” he laughed.  I was hilAAArious.  “Only eight years.  Another restaurant for other years.  Can I have your number?”

Problem No. 12 – The Pro Speed Dater
Bachelor No. 8 had just moved here and spent New Year’s Eve at a big party in a big hotel SPEED DATING ALL NIGHT.  If you speed date for eight hours and you don’t meet anyone, you might want to find a new way to meet people. 
Also found out he works in my building.  So my identity changed yet again.  And I live in constant fear I will run into him.

Problem No. 13 – The Opposite of Problem No. 1
Bachelor No. 9 didn’t have hair plugs.  He didn’t need them.  He had luscious patches of dark, thick hair on the sides of his head.  You could tell he took great pride in combing that hair so it was shiny smooth.  

And yet another Bill Cosby sweater.  Seriously, guys, button downs.  Seriously.
Oh, and by the way, a message to ALL the bachelors – my name is Mary El.  It’s not Mary, and it’s not Mary Ellen.  My nametag clearly reads “Mary El”.  Yes?  Are we in agreement on this?

AS SOON as this was over, DateMeDC gathered our things to leave.  The non-English speaking Buddhist came over and said, “I like you two best.”  Ooooooookay…are we supposed to bow down and marry you?  Are you a polygamist Buddhist?  We said thanks and walked away, but he stayed right behind us.  I was headed toward the Metro and DateMeDC was going to walk home, but Buddhist made it clear he was going to follow her.  Even though he came up to her waist and I was sure she could take him, I grabbed her arm and said, “I forgot I need to talk to you in here!”  We ducked into the nearest restaurant and miraculously he didn’t follow. 
So out of all of those, you know who I’ve heard from?  The Buddhist (duh) and the Scripted Pick-Up Line guy.  DateMeDC received a date request from Hair Plugs.  Jealous! 
I honestly doubt we'd have this problem in DC.  Yet another reason for me never to move to Arlington.
Click HERE to read DateMeDC's take on the evening.

Chocolate > Boys

Jan 4, 2011

That's right.  Given a choice between chocolate and a boy I'd choose chocolate.

Of course the quality of the chocolate must be high, specifically Co Co. Sala grade.

And the boy must be mildly obnoxious, specifically asking me over Twitter if I'd like to meet for a drink sometime then taunting me with threats of taking my Foursquare mayorship at Co Co. Sala.

It all began innocently enough in mid-December:

HealthByChad: Christmas came early; @mepper is following me.

I followed him because he'd commented on my tweets before and his foodie blog looked interesting.  Of course the flattery was engaging so I began to pay more attention to him.

Then later that evening:

HealthByChad: @mepper is the mayor here? Interesting. (@ Co Co. Sala)

I mistook this comment as more flattery.  Heck yeah I'm the mayor there!  Jealous?

Then, after posting about possibly finding a unicorn and tweeting about possibly going speed dating and inviting him along, he wrote this:

HealthByChad: @mepper I have a cooking class/lecture that will be ending at 7:30 so can't make it. Besides, it sounds like you're already taken, so what's the use? ;-<

Aww.  Pull at my heart strings whydontcha?

A few more tweets about how maybe we should meet up, talk about the nonexistence of unicorns, yadda yadda yadda...and then this:

HealthByChad: I noticed last week when I was at cocosala that you were mayor. Hate to tell you, but that's mine as of tonight....or maybe tomorrow.

That's curious.  Guys go to Co Co. Sala?  And actually try to compete with me for the mayorship?

And then...last night...THIS:

HealthByChad: I just ousted @mepper as the mayor of Co Co. Sala on @foursquare!


DateMeDCBlog: @healthbychad ousted @mepper as mayor of @cocosala? Oh, here go hell come!

HealthByChad: I noticed @mepper was mayor last time I was there. It's time for some new blood now @cocosala

CoCoSala: We love all 3 of u & have enough #chocolate 4 all!

Me: @healthbychad OH HEEEEEEEEEEEELL NO.

HealthByChad: I tried to tell you. It's not really my fault, I like choco.

As this all went down, I was at my friend's apartment finishing up a lovely dinner.  This morning I had a tweet alert on my phone, from her:

 SangBoo: @mepper had crazy eyes when she found out she was ousted. @healthbychad #shesgoingtogoblackSwanonyou

(Twitter tip for those who don't use Twitter: That last part is what's called a "hashtag."  When you put the "#" sign in front of a word or phrase it hyperlinks so when you click on it you can join the conversation about that word or phrase, and sometimes it will become a trending topic.  So SangBoo categorized her tweet under "She's Going to Go Black Swan on You," and rightly so.  I suddenly have chocolate covered bacon growing out of my back.)  

I had a happy hour planned this week with Ashmi (who is visiting from grad school), and we were going to try something new and go to the Ritz.  But once I explained to her the chocolate war situation, she understood why we had to change the venue. 

As for my new get-in-shape plan?  As Sassy Marmalade pointed out, "Running can wait."

HealthByChad, IT'S ON.