This past week, I have been in three states, one of them twice. I’ve had four martinis, two bourbons, twelve cups of coffee, and one Mexican Firecracker. I’ve sat across from two high school friends, one college buddy, a comedienne, and the brilliant creator of a super cool transmedia platform. I’ve quit a job, started a new job, began production on my first stop-motion animation test, and tried on a cheerleading uniform with a bow in my hair.
I’ve also been to the zoo.
It’s been a busy week.
There hasn’t been much time for first dates. I’m taking a short hiatus to clear my head, reassess my anthropological mission, and strategize my next states. Or steps. Whichever.
I started my social experiment on Septemer 29, 2011. Since then, I’ve been on dates in five states: California, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, and Iowa. Only 45 more states to go.
I’ve learned a few things along the way, like different states have different approaches to love. While dating protocol remains similar, the details differ.
Los Angelans give a good first impression, even if they are a little too impressed with their cars (and not nearly as impressed with my bus pass). San Francisco guys are time-challenged, for sure, but once I nailed one down, he changed my life. The Colorado gentlemen were funny, warm, kind, polite, adventurous, and actively looking for love. Houston was all about success, mystery, and the hunger to find something, or someone intellectually diverse, unpredictable, exciting, and new. Dallas was different. These guys were ragtag, worn at the edges, a little tired. Humble. Quiet. And cheap.The Arkansas locals were looking to get out, either by blowing out their minds or blowing town. I preferred the latter. Its easier to have a conversation with someone who is more interested in talking to you than the hallucination sitting next to you. And, finally, Des Moines. Harmless on the outside, toxic on the inside, like a nice, new, shiny nuclear power plant.
There’s one consistent thing I’ve noticed on all my dates. They liked me. Some more than others, of course. They liked me because I was unique. If I were to draw a conclusion so far, it would be this: they liked me because I wasn’t from there. I’m different accent, a different delivery, a different thought process, and a different style. I own very different life experiences. I come from a different place. I want different things. They found themselves ogling a brand new toy.
I’ve been dating in New York City since my twenties. Aside from a short-lived marriage, I’ve yet to meet a New Yorker who is gutsy enough to try to make something work with me. For years I thought it was me. First, I feared that I wasn’t good enough. Then, I thought my standards were too high. Finally, I knew it was because I don’t really want or need a partner. I’m single and I love my life just the way it is. I took full responsibility at every stage.
Being on the road, I met 28 fabulous and not so fabulous men. I saw how they looked at me, how they hungered for something special – and something to make them feel special. Something alternative, ambitious, and unpredictable. I’m not all that much, I know it, but for those few hours in many of their lives, that something was me.
In either case, I’ve grown wise enough to see…
It isn’t me.
It always has been.