Friday, February 26, 2010

The Arch Challenge

Dates are usually a miserable thing. I rarely used to go on them simply to avoid all the awkwardness that comes with first date territory, especially in the case of blind dates. Most of us have experienced, at some time or other, those horrible insecurities over our looks, fear of what the other person will look like, embarrassment after finding food stuck in our teeth or dribbling coffee down our chins, and fumbling over the question of who will pay the bill.

As I was singly approaching my 27th birthday and my mom's anxiety over my spinster status mounted, I decided to make more of an effort to date. Luckily, this happened right around the time that I met a man whom I'll call, "Arch." Arch is a seasoned dater with stories to learn from and advice to give, possessing the ultimate evidence that he's someone I should listen to: he's married to the perfect woman.

To encourage his friends to put themselves "out there," in the dating wild, he has formulated a challenge: if you go on seven unique, consecutive dates, he'll make you a beautiful glass condom-holder bowl. Seven straight days, seven different men (or women, if that's how you roll). He even has a lax definition of a "date:" a situation in which there is the threat of a kiss. Wanting me to succeed, he gave me a leg up and made two important notes. There is no quality standard in this challenge, and I should be prepared for inevitable last-minute cancellations.

I'm competitive by nature, and I really wanted the glass bowl; but my main impetus for taking on this challenge was to become comfortable with dating, to shed my insecurities, to fine tune my process for weeding out men, and to have fun.

And so the fun begins.

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