To read more about the Having it Both Ways project, turn around three times and spit. Or just click here.
After the unfortunate experience with Mr. Crazy Pants I’ve been much more turned off by the idea of dating men. I realize this is me being reactionary to the worst fears and anxieties I have of dating someone I’ve met online. Still, it turns out my fears were actualized sitting on a bench on the top floor of the Pentagon City shopping mall.
Having had five first dates since I began this project one thing is certain, first dates are exhausting. If you work in politics you know all about going to political events and having to be “on.” Candidates have to have the perfect smile, the eagerness to shake hands and hug, the super friendly outgoing personality….. essentially the best version of themselves. This is how every first date must be. The best version of yourself. After three of these dates in one weekend it can get to be a little too much. After two weeks of staying up until midnight to live tweet the RNCC and DNCC and getting six hours of sleep… the idea of pulling out the nice dress, straightening my hair, and spending three hours trying to be perfect is quite simply exhausting. Sometimes I really just want to come home and dust things while looking up recipes for things I shouldn’t be eating on Pinterest.
The one reason I hated doing fundraising so much for electoral campaigns was that need to constantly be “on.” The perfect version of yourself in the nice outfit and the beaming smile might be a version of yourself, but the strength of the V-Chip filter is tuned up to the max. Don’t talk about the crazy ex-girlfriend who was a pathological liar. Leave out the fact that the love of your life was a cat that died in your arms two years ago. Probably shouldn’t mention you occasionally play with men until the… second date? But then you end up not being completely honest about who you are and letting yourself go.
Does that fear come from a need within all of us to be accepted and liked regardless of whether or not we are interested in the person across the table? My first Mixology date I was absolutely myself, and she wasn’t interested in me. To be truthful I wasn’t exactly interested in her either, but it’s always nice to be the one to say “no thank you” or ignore the email. The second Mixology date I was much more guarded but there was something about her that made me feel comfortable and safe and more willing to express who I am. She turned out to be the best so far. So the standard becomes that there is no standard. The rules don’t always apply. The same ingredients don’t always get you that nutella cheesecake you saw on Pinterest.
So in the end, dear reader, I’m left rolling my eyes the night of the next first date. Wondering if this one will be another distraction from a night better spent doing laundry. But the most powerful of emotions keeps me going out: the hope that the next will be just as perfect as Sophia… or even the infrequent Fifty Shades of Grey has become.