How far would you go for a chance at love?
Over the last few years, my dating adventures have taken me to some incredible places; physically by location, as well as emotionally, mentally and spiritually although that’s an entirely different story…
I’ve had dates in neighboring cities and towns, at concerts, restaurants and food trucks, across the country and even with a view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I’ve been surfing with my dates, taken yoga classes with my dates, jumped on international flights with my dates and just recently, I hopped into the passenger seat of my date’s Ford truck and rode over 1,100 miles on an epic first date road trip.
(Don’t tell my dad.)
My poor dad… the truth is, by this point in my life, he wouldn’t even be surprised by my first date road trip confession. My spontaneity and sense of adventure have been with me for decades and the shock value has more than worn off within my close circle of family friends. While I do have several friends tracking my location via I-Phone and I do receive the occasional “What the hell are you doing in (L.A., New York, Oklahoma City…)” text message, their responses have mostly evolved into a more run of the mill “Okay. Be careful” than the worry and panic that would ensue years ago.
You see I have been in this dating game for a long time. Like, a really long time. I’ve been online dating for years (that’s a lot of swiping!) Of course I still go through the phases of being completely worn out and exhausted by the first date getting-to-know-you process, the ups and inevitable downs, the falling in love and the breaking up, but through it all, I have come to embrace the world of dating and see it as a sort of adventure. A new, exciting, possibly terrible, but always different experience is waiting for me on the other side of each swipe.
Once I learned to drop the expectations and simply ride the waves, dating became so much more fun. I began to see each date as a story in the making; it might be awful and painful and horrible but it might also be amazing and wonderful and exhilarating. Either way, I would have a new memory made and another story to tell at Friday Happy Hour.
A few weeks ago, when Tinder matched me with a cute Asian videographer who was just passing through town on an assignment for work, my initial thought was a big fat “Nope.” I have mostly written off tourists and passer bys as potential dates. Having been sucked into the long distance thing more than once, I know what it involves. And while it does have it’s perks, I am not prepared to dive into that situation again. In fact, it wasn’t just a thought. I told him no. I told him no more than once, but he was persistent in a sweet gentle way and I found his tenacity endearing. Plus, did I mention that he was a cute Asian man? I have a definite soft spot for cute Asian men. So, I caved and agreed to maybe meet him if… the stars aligned and we could manage to sync our schedules. Unfortunately, he was on his way out of town and heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma in just a few days on his way to the next work assignment.
After a bit of texting, I decided that our best bet at getting together would be for me to invite myself along for the ride to Oklahoma. It was kind of a crazy idea for a first date; being trapped in a car together for approximately 18 hours, but my insatiable YOLO spirit reared its head and, out of the blue, I suggested that he should just pick me up on the way as he drove past my house. After all, I had never been to Oklahoma. I really didn’t have much desire to get there either, but being the shameless former 90’s boy band groupie that I am, I figured that if I made it to Tulsa, I could at least see where Hanson grew up and drink an MMMHop in their hometown. He agreed to take me along, half convinced that I was joking or would back out (he clearly didn’t know me.) When I later found out that my favorite cousin and her husband would be in Nashville, TN (our half way point and planned overnight stop) I jumped at the chance to ride along on his half way across the country road trip with the added bonus of brunch with my cousin in Music City, USA. The brunch meet-up also gave me the perfect escape plan; if we hated each other, I could easily bail in Nashville, spend the day with my cousin and fly home from there. Actually, the more I thought about it, the better it sounded. So, I decided to book my flight from Nashville, taking some of the pressure off of our first 9+ hours together in the truck and ensuring that I wouldn’t be stuck in road trip hell for any more than one day.
In the name of safety and curiosity, I spent the next hour or so doing all of the necessary Googling of his name and investigating of his friends/family/ex girlfriends. Safety First!
Side note: Angry/curious/scorned women can find anything on the Internet. Literally, all of the things are right there for us to discover. So if you think you can hide your secret girlfriend, you’re wrong.
Once I felt satisfied with my snooping, I packed my bag full of comfy clothes, arts and crafts and charged my wireless headphones (for the flight, but also just in case I needed to drown him out at some point.) I love road trips and prior to this one, I hadn’t been the road trip passenger in nearly a decade! With an open mind and a heart full of adventure, I woke up extra early on that morning, brewed my coffee, packed my snacks and finished up just in time to see his truck pulling in to the driveway.
We introduced ourselves and embraced in an awkward first meeting hug. (You know the one). He asked to see my place, which I always present with the precursor of “It’s still a work in progress.” With 1.5 years of renovations down, it’s so close but yet so far from being finished! He took a quick look around, nodding his head in acceptance and then we were off.
He later told me that he “knew I wasn’t a psycho” because my kitchen was “so normal.”
1. My kitchen is not normal. My kitchen is awesome.
2. Apparently, if you’re a psycho, all you need to do is make your kitchen more normal.
They’ll never suspect a thing.
What’s it like to have a 10+ hour long first date in the front seat of a Ford F-250?
A first date road trip is a lot like any other first date, but with more judgment of each other’s musical tastes and the creativity of our truck stop meals. Oh, you’re cool with me blasting Backstreet boys Millennium album on repeat? Awesome. (There’s that 90’s girl coming out in my again…) And so what if I had a cup full of purple grapes, a bag of skittles, some popcorn and a coconut water for breakfast?
Traveling together is hard, even if you know each other really well, even if you’re comfortable with each other, or perhaps in spite of all of those things. Honestly, if you can survive a road trip with someone, it’s a pretty good sign that you’ll be able to survive life with him or her. This trip, in particular, was a testament of our shared thirst for adventure as each of us told stories of our travels and our commitment to building a life of freedom. We moved quickly through the awkward silence stage as we flowed through conversations and stories from childhood all the way through the present. We both remained opened minded as we shared radio privileges and compromised on food stops/pee breaks and we passed the patience test with flying colors, if I do say so myself, through detours, road blocks and the unavoidable rush hour traffic in Atlanta.
We were, however divided by the definition of day #2 on our journey. Perhaps you can help to solve the debate: Was this our second date or was this our first date continued? I’m not trying to sway your vote or anything, but I’m convinced that the entire road trip should count as one date.
We woke the next morning in Nashville and set out to find an adorable coffee shop. No ordinary coffee shop would do. It simply had to be adorable and my date was eager to produce such a place for me. “I know just the spot.” He announced proudly. And he must have been dead on with his analysis of said adorable coffee shop because as we pulled up to the building, we could see that the line was extending out of the front door and wrapping half way around the building. While I love an over stated tourist trap as much as the next guy, I needed my coffee stat and waiting in that line was off the table. I mean, I’m a huge coffee fan. I even refer to myself as a “coffee snob” but what the hell could possibly be so special about THAT cup of coffee for me to wait, in my caffeine deprived state, in a line that was wrapped around the building? Maybe one day I’ll find out, but I was not going to find out on that day. We settled for another coffee shop a few block down, which was pleasingly adorable, had a great view of Main Street and served a delicious iced coffee. Mission accomplished.
Once we were properly fueled up and had our fill of adorable coffee shop-ness, we were on our way to meet my cousins for brunch on Broadway. Maybe I should mention now that the cute Asian is a videographer for a fishing company. He makes a living shooting (incredible) videos and photos of/for fishermen (and women) and his favorite hobby is (go ahead and guess…) fishing. He is a simple man with simple tastes and my cousins, well… they tend to be a little less simple. I wasn’t really surprised but more so, amused when we ended up at the fanciest restaurant on the Broadway strip. However, with its abundance of rowdy honkey-tonks crowding each block, hoards of bachelorette parties and an impressive variety of party busses, even at 11am, there wasn’t much to choose from in the brunch genre. I smirked at the sight of him in his shorts and baseball cap among all of the old ladies in their Saturday best and the middle aged couples enjoying their oasis from the chaos on the streets outside and I nearly fell out of my chair watching the expression on my cousin’s face as my date explained that he had only slept in his truck twice since he set out on this tour in January. “Only twice,” he boasted. He was a good sport and his willingness to adapt made my heart smile. The mimosas weren’t half bad either. And a spontaneous visit with my favorite cousin in Nashville was the cherry on top. And with that, the epic first date road trip had officially been deemed a win.
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#neverhaveiever Jumped in a car with a guy I met on @tinder and drove half way (or more?) across the country on a weekend road trip, played Rock-Paper-Scissors to decide if I was going to catch my flight home and got coffee drunk on @stokcoldbrew coffee shots for 3 days straight on an epic first date. … Nope. … Never done that. … Cuz it was a truck, not a car. … #yolo #firstdate #tinder #onlinedating #dating #strangers #roadtrip #crosscountry #adventure
We spent the remainder of that afternoon wandering around Nashville with my cousins, following the music and indulging in the touristy things, although we did immediately exit Broadway after brunch. Been there. Done that. And then, within a few all too short hours, we were back in his truck circling the Nashville airport. You see, I had every intention of boarding that plane. I had to catch my flight home. Or maybe I didn’t. Truth be told, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of flying home on a Saturday afternoon. “What a waste” I thought, when there was still one more full day left in the weekend and I had never been to Oklahoma before and the videographer was still a cute Asian man with a shortcut directly to that soft spot in my heart.
“Come to Tulsa” he said. (Remember that tenacity? Here it was again.)
We debated the pros and the cons, the cans and the cant’s and we made that airport loop at least 3 times before I finally agreed to a rock-paper-scissors shoot out. If he won, I would go on to Tulsa. If I won, I would catch my flight and be home in my own bed that night.
Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.
“Rerouting” Siri announced as we pulled away from the Nashville airport and began navigating towards Oklahoma.
Want to know how the story ends? Did I ever make it to Hanson’s hometown? What happened with the videographer?
Did we live happily ever after?
I’ll never tell.
I’m an open book, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out. Drop your e-mail below and never miss a post!