Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 10 - Jessica & T.R.

The Dating Project has officially been taken on the road! I decided it would be fun to branch out and meet a guy or two outside of Houston city limits, so I asked my dear friends in Austin (3 hours away) if they could find a fun date or two for me. Tonight was the first with T.R. and the best adjective I can think of to describe him and our evening together is simply delightful. (Is that 2 adjectives? Don't judge.)

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I have to say that as I drove back to my friend's house after the date, I had a similar feeling as when I saw the movie "War of the Worlds" a few years ago. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, it starts with a crazy alien invasion and then the action stays fast and furious through the entire movie and then it ends. Abruptly. There is no rise and fall of pace, and when I walked out of the theater I needed just a moment to process what I had just seen, as there had been no slow parts for processing during the movie.

My date with T.R. left me with a similar feeling, but in a definitely positive way! From the moment I saw T.R., we were ON. The conversation was rapid-fire and interesting and stimulating the whole night through. We drove to the University of Texas campus, chatting away the entire time, and walked to the science building that houses an impressively large (and old) telescope in an enclosed dome. T.R. strikes me as the type of guy who makes friends wherever he may be, and soon we were chatting away with a fellow moon/planet gazer and the graduate student whose job it was to man the telescope. I was worried earlier in the day that the overcast skies would ruin our plans to look at the night sky, but the Heavens literally opened just for us, and just long enough to view the beautiful crescent moon, and Jupiter with 3 of its rings and 4 of its moons. (I consider this proof that God is sufficiently amused by this whole dating project to provide small blessings like this, mostly because He likes the entertainment of the dates too.) ;-)

After the observatory, T.R. drove us to a local restaurant called Kerbey Lane that's a big hit with the local college kids. It definitely had an Austin flare, which I love. The food was good and the conversation even better!

T.R. has been a therapist, specializing in working with youth, and is now going to school to get his Ph.D. (for the record, I *just* realized as I typed that abbreviation that I have no idea what it stands for. I just know people who have it are smarter than the average bear, and some of them are allowed to prescribe me medicine when my sicknesses haven't gone away after 2 weeks) ANYWAY, T.R. is fascinated by people and how they work and interact and what drives them. Basically he's made a professional career out of what fascinates me as well, hence the fast and furious conversation all night. The topics of conversation were anything but superficial and we both found ourselves making new thought connections and having "a ha" moments with one another. It was really refreshing for me to spend time with someone where no small talk was had, we could just jump into the good stuff right away. And I really appreciated that T.R. was genuinely interested in my experiences and thoughts and opinions. He asked great thought-provoking questions all night.

Another great thing about T.R. was his willingness to take the reins. To be fair, this project is all about us girls taking initiative, and it is really fun to plan unique and exciting activities, but man it is a LOT of work! T.R. was generous enough to give me a little break. He planned the activity and picked the restaurant, and he chose well I must say. The telescope experience was lovely, and I appreciated that he put thought into giving me a unique local dining experience. He was also a total gentlemen, complete with opening doors and paying for dinner. Just as a side note to any men who might be reading this, if you don't do those things it's ok, women can survive without them. But I will say that when you do them we notice and most of us love it. Ladies, make sure you tell the chivalrous men in your life "thank you" when they are gentlemen, I don't think we show appreciation enough.

The night ended as it began, with a hug in the parking lot of T.R.'s apartment complex. There was no real winding down, we just talked until I reached my car and then said goodnight. Thank you to my Austin girl friends (that means you, Kendyl and Heather, my Little Lovelies!) for finding an interesting, wonderfully quirky, "insta-friend", handsome man for me to spend an evening with! And thank you to T.R. for being such a willing and fun participant in this crazy dating journey of mine! Until next Tuesday, this is Jessica signing out.

(This quote I found on campus seemed fitting both for my life, and for this night full of philosophizing!)

Day 9 - Kim & Justin Z.

Wow! I can't believe that I've been on three dates in less than a week! Who knew 30 was going to be such a productive year!

So date #3...Justin...

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...

Justin and I met through church, where, unbeknownst to him, he's a rather talked about boy. Only yesterday, someone was saying, "I'd like to get to know Justin better. He seems like such a good guy."  Well, I'm here to confirm it...he is!

As of last night, around 8, I still did not have a date lined up. I had tried to call several people, but no one answered. Finally, I decided to call Justin, who I was going to ask for Sunday, but needed a little sooner. Thankfully, he saved our project and agreed to be date #3 on super last minute notice. I've never been out with a foreigner, so I was excited that he'd agreed. (He's Canadian...sweet, eh?) I told him I'd be there at 6 to pick him up since the activities I had planned were on his side of town. Of course he offered to come get me, but we settled on me driving to his house and him driving us to our destinations.

Now having the advantage of knowing Justin, I had wanted to plan something I knew he'd enjoy. I had a lot of really good ideas, but feasibility on such short notice was not in my favor. He is an amazing photographer (he took all our pics for the blog) and I thought it would be fun to get disposable cameras and take pictures of random things, but I couldn't develop that idea fast enough. He also has an affinity for fine cheeses, as do I, but the cheese tasting location I looked up was not available. So I decided that Monday's plan of Shankz and The Black Walnut Cafe would be a good option. I was excited to find out that Justin loves mini-golf...whew! 

I got to his house a little late, but he's a laid back guy and it was no big deal for him. Now upon first observations of Justin, you might think that this really cute guy was on the shy side and wasn't very social. However, Justin can throw an awesome party and has a lot of quiet confidence, with occasional and unexpected outbursts of randomness. It's great! It was fun to get to to talk to him one on one and get an even better sense of his true personality. We talked easily throughout the night. I learned a lot about him and found we have a lot in common.  

Back to the date...we made it to Shankz, got our gear, which included glow necklaces, and got golfing. Shankz is sweet! Shankz does not only have a cool name and black lights so everything glows, it also has big glowing animals everywhere.  What's better than hitting a golf ball under a giant gorilla with "big breasts!" (That was a Justin comment!) The black walls are covered with incredibly well done, spray painted scenes of oceans, jungles, etc, which also glow under the black lights. We decided that it would be awesome to have a room like that in our it the party room. So turns out that Justin and I are fairly equal in our putting ability. As we talked, we snaked our way around the course, where we both had a few pretty bad holes and some really great ones. He was a little generous on his tallying on one hole, which gave me a one point advantage in the end. So, I'm going to call it a draw...regardless it was super fun!

After Shankz, we headed to The Black Walnut Cafe. The food was fantastic and I found in ordering that I am not alone in my distaste for fungus. Mushroom haters unite! Getting to sit and talk with Justin was probably my favorite part of the night. I learned about his family and his yearly bouts of rebelliousness, which made me laugh. I heard stories of when he was a kid and the things he pulled on his teachers...yea, he was one of those. :) Turns out as I get older, having conversations with people gets more and more fun. We also shared war stories from the workplace, which was entertaining and comforting that I was not alone in having them. 

We talked for awhile and realized we should probably head's a school night after all! When we got back to his house, he had to return something that Becca and I had left there a long time ago. He showed me some of his most recent pics that he had blown up and was deciding on where to put. They really are good...I think he should work for National Geographic. I'd buy his pictures! So while I was looking over his pictures, he ran and grabbed my stuff. When he came back we said our thank you's and goodbyes, hugged and I was off. As I was walking to my car, though, I noticed there was something on the roof. When I got closer, I saw flowers, a wrapped box, and a card! That's right...I got more flowers and chocolates and a super cute thank you card! Not only was I impressed that he even did that, but I was more impressed at how stealthy he was in doing it!  How great are these guys! I had a fabulous time with Justin and just know that he can be added to the list of awesome dates I've been on. I feel really lucky to know such amazing men! Thanks, Justin!

This is Kim...signing out!
See you on Sunday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 8 - Jessica & Nick

I've been informed there are some readers out there who want the cliff's notes versions of the dates. So, for you guys: Nick is fun and I love his dimples. We laughed a lot. We hit potatoes with golf clubs into water. We had dessert in a gazebo. The wind ruined my hair. I had a blast.

Now, for those of you who can't get enough of the juicy details:

I went to church on Sunday knowing I needed to find someone to ask out for Wednesday. I looked around Sunday School and saw this guy who I've NEVER seen before sitting ahead of me to my left. I could see cute, messy hair, and a darling dimple that was emphasized when he read a scripture out loud. After class I made a counselor in my bishopric literally run after the mystery boy so I could learn his name. Once I learned it, I asked several people who he was, and no one knew. Finally I found a friend who told me the 2 things I needed to know...he isn't 21 & fresh off of a mission, and he's nice and normal. I found his email address online and sent a message on a wing and a prayer hoping he'd be willing to go out with a total stranger on a weeknight for a crazy dating project. He texted me that night and said he was game.

For those of you who know me well, you know a main theme of my life is how forgettable I am. Seriously, I once went on a blind date, and the NEXT NIGHT I saw the guy at a dance and he didn't know who I was. (And no, he wasn't literally blind, har har). Turns out I found a kindred spirit in Nick. He's been going to the same congregation as me at church for 3 years (I've been going for 2 years), and not only had I never noticed him, but he said an average of 2 people a week approach him to ask if he's new. I hoped that 2 hard to remember people could have the same effect as a double negative and have a date that was hard to forget, and I feel like the mission was accomplished.

We went to a place up in the Woodlands I scouted out yesterday. It has a lit gazebo above a deck with wooden benches that sit over a beautiful lake. I have a terrible sense of direction, but Nick was gracious and laid back while we drove around in circles finding the entrance to get to the gazebo. Once we got there I told him we were going to be hitting potatoes with golf clubs into the lake. Now, I've done this activity more than once and have never failed to have a great time. But I got a flash of nervousness while I was telling him about it. What if he thought the idea was super dumb? I didn't really have a back up plan. Luckily for me, his response was, "uh, how could hitting stuff and making them explode NOT be fun?! The only thing better would be if we could light the potatoes on fire somehow." Oh yeah, Nick's definitely my kind of guy with that easy going and fun attitude.

In the middle of our second bag of potatoes, a security guard came to see what we were doing and I thought we were BUSTED. I knew we'd be ok though when he started laughing when Nick nonchalantly informed him we were just potato golfing. Nice to avoid jails 
and/or fines on a first date.

After we finished off all of the potatoes, I set up dessert in the gazebo. My friend Cortney told me a couple of years ago about "mini s'mores" and I've wanted to make them on a date ever since, so tonight was the night! I brought Teddy Grahams, chocolate chips, mini 'mallows, toothpicks and an unscented candle and we huddled around the little flame and made s'mores to our hearts content! It was delicious and so fun.

I am incredibly glad I happened to see Nick on Sunday and then was brave enough to ask him to go out with me tonight. The guy is a total treasure. He was so funny without trying to be, I was laughing all night long. I was worried that the night might be a little awkward or lagging in conversation because the few people who did know who he was beforehand told me he's really nice but really quiet/shy, plus I get nervous having to spend one on one time with strangers. I felt comfortable around Nick very quickly though and four hours flew by as we easily talked about our lives and interests (while hitting potatoes off a dock with golf clubs, eating miniature s'mores, and sitting on a bench watching the water move with the wind.) He's refreshingly genuine and his candor sometimes caught me off guard, but I love that he had no walls up and is just content to be exactly who he is, and the people around him can take it or leave it. The thing is that who he is, is really great and smart and interesting and wonderfully sarcastic and laid back, so there's no need to censor anyway! My only complaint is that he is so content to sit back and not get to know people, so we've all totally been missing out on an amazing guy!

Well Nick, if you're reading this, your secret is out and you are on my radar!

I'm happy to learn that bravery sometimes pays off in the end (I would normally be TERRIFIED to ask anyone out, much less a cute stranger I've never seen before.) Here's to another successful date in the books!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 7 - Mauren & Scott G.

Happy Mardi Gras! Mauren here, checking in after another fun date.

Tonight I went out with Scott Goddard who so graciously agreed to be my date last minute. Being that I had two dates in 3 days, this one kind of snuck up on me so I was scrambling yesterday to find someone to go. Scott, is a really nice guy I know from church and thanks to my friend Charlie who got us in touch, we were able to go out tonight.

Scott showed up at my house just after I arrived home from work, but since he saw the garage door closing when he drove up, he wisely gave me a few minutes before ringing the doorbell. Smart man. For you gentlemen readers out there, please note this is a very good rule to adopt when picking up a date if you find yourself in the same situation. Just sayin.

About 5 minutes after driving up to my house, Scott rang the doorbell announcing his arrival. We then headed off in his massive red F-350 to a local pottery paining place here in town.

On the way we decided to stop at Panda Express for a quick dinner since both of us had come straight from work. Can you believe Scott had never been to Panda?? Poor guy! Granted I hadn't been there in forever myself, but to have never tasted their orange chicken might just be a sin. I'm just sayin. Anyway, we were sure to take care of that so he's now been cured. :)

Scott graciously bought dinner and we sat down to enjoy it for a bit before heading off to our activity for the night. What I knew about Scott before tonight was pretty limited. But as we sat talked I learned that he’s a pretty interesting guy with a very kind and generous heart.

Scott serves as a volunteer firefighter for the Plantersville Stoneham VFD out near Magnolia on a pretty regular basis. He’s also quickly becoming a favorite customer at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in The Woodlands, where he regularly donates blood and platelets every few weeks as the donation schedule permits. Now I try to donate blood when I can, too, but I generally wait for them to come to me. For Scott, it’s just a part of who he is and he makes the effort to give when he can. How cool is that?

When we finished we opened our fortune cookies to reveal what words of wisdom Panda Express would shed on us. Since I’m totally one of those people that always wants to know what everyone’s fortune says, here are ours for your viewing pleasure:

  • Scott – “Find the road to happiness by helping others.’’ True. 
  • Mauren – “When the flowers bloom, so will great joy in your life.” Nice!
After dinner we headed to Potter’s Wheel, where we each selected a ceramic piece to paint for the night. I learned while we were at dinner that Scott had actually taken two ceramics classes in high school, so this activity was right up his alley.

When we entered the store he seemed pleasantly overwhelmed with the number of options for painting. Potter’s Wheel has just about everything you can image from toothbrush holders and plates to kitchen containers and mock toys.

Scott studied diesel mechanics in school and loves Disney movies, so it was no surprise that he elected to paint a ceramic “Mater” from the Disney movie Cars – it was like a match made in heaven! I chose a bookworm to paint for my nieces and we headed off to a nearby table to get started.

We chatted as we tried tested our art skills (for the record, I pretty much lack any) and I learned again that in addition to his love of cars, Scott’s also a big fan of big kid toys like four wheelers, canoes, boats and more. He may or may not own a handful of those things himself. :)

He also makes friends easily. As we painted, Scott started up conversations with the pottery class next to us and soon we were all chatting and having a great time together. We shared some of our King Cake with them (it was Mardi Gras after all!) and they repeatedly invited us to come back next time and join their pottery-making class. Some of the pieces they had made were incredible! If I didn’t lack so much creativity of my own, I might actually take them up on the offer.

After we finished, we left our pieces there to be fired and headed home. Overall, we had a great time and I’m glad I had the chance to get to know Scott better. He really is a great guy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 6 - Kim & Andrew

(Picture disclaimer...someone might have forgot their camera...alright it was me...and we had to use phones, so picture quality on some may not be the best, but better than nothing!) 

Happy President's Day to all you blog readers out there! I would just like to start off by saying that I'm one lucky girl!  I have now had two amazing dates in a row...which is in fact a record for me!  I hope you enjoy my record breaking evening as much as I did. 

Tonight I got to go out with Andrew, who is one of Jessica's best friends.  I had met him a few times prior to this evening, but have never had the chance to have a conversation with him. These are two things I knew about Andrew before tonight...

1. He is a real handsome guy.
2. Jessica said he was awesome.

These are two things I know about Andrew now...

1. He is a really handsome guy.
2. Jessica was right.

Last Saturday morning, I finally gave Andrew a call to set things up for tonight. Little did I know, that Andrew was driving to my house to drop off a little surprise for me and so ignored my call. I got a text from him awhile later saying he apologized that the surprise on my doorstep hadn't gotten there before I called him. I was super confused..."Surprise??," I said to myself...then of course I ran downstairs. When I opened the door, there was a beautiful, red rose and a red balloon. There was a little card attached to the balloon that said, "Will you go out with me?"  How adorable is that?  Of course, I responded in the affirmative and when I offered to pick him up, I was denied, of course, and he came to get me around 6.

When he got to my door, he had a box of Girl Scout cookies in his hand and then pulled out a bouquet of brightly colored flowers. Man, a girl could really get used to this!  These are the most flowers I've ever received in my whole life from people that aren't my mom...or myself. :)  You better believe that he got a big hug for that! After I got the flowers situated, we headed to The Woodlands. 

Now my plan for our date was as follows...Eat at a little cafe that Mauren had told me about, Shankz, and Frozen Yogurt (which I heard was his favorite)'ll see how well I did shortly. 

As we drove, our conversation was natural and easy.  Andrew is super easy to talk to and made me feel comfortable from the very beginning. When we got closer to The Woodlands, he asked if I was hungry and I said yes. Then he suggested Brio, which I've heard of, but had never been to. Knowing this was a better option for our dining pleasure, I agreed. I gladly let him takes the reins on dinner. 

The food was wonderful! We had amazing appetizers and our meals were fantastic as well. Our waiter even provided some entertainment. Every time he came by, he checked himself out in the mirror at the end of our table. I think he thought he was sly about it. It was comical. My favorite part of dinner was just getting to talk with Andrew more. I think I probably did more talking throughout the night than I have ever done on a date. These weren't superficial conversations either and it was really nice to feel that comfortable. He's a classy guy!   

Continuing our conversation we left the restaurant and drove to Shankz. Now I had this plan to be all cute and clever and say that we were going there to take a modern self-defense class, but when we got there...the black light miniature golf place was closed! Curse you Shankz!  They closed at 6...guess I should have checked that out prior! He took it in stride and plan B became, Main Event. Main Event is a huge facility with pool, shuffleboard, bowling, laser tag, and arcade type games. We decided to do a little bowling, which he also paid for...I tried to protest, but he reminded me that he really asked me first...he got me on a technicality. :) While we waited for our lane to open up, we played a little shuffleboard. I didn't mean to beat him...I promise! He is an extremely gracious opponent, though, and it was refreshing to see a guy that didn't care about winning. 

Our lane finally opened up and we played 3 games. Our first game was a real one and we both broke a hundred. He was consistently better than me the whole time, but I had some lucky strikes at the end and when the final score popped up...I might have beat him by 1 point. :) 120 to 121. Oops! Our 2nd game was dismal, however, and our scores will not be revealed at this time. They were better than the couple's next to us though and that made us feel a little better. Our 3rd game, we gave up and went a little crazy with our rolling styles. There was spinning, blind throwing, soccer style, left handed to name a few. My favorite was when, after spinning, I launched the ball into the air and it came down so hard I thought I cracked the boards. Then it rolled slowly down the middle and I got a strike. We laughed pretty was ridiculous! 

After our last game, he asked if I wanted to get dessert...he beat me to it! I thought we'd end up going to a frozen yogurt place because that was his favorite, instead he took me to get key lime pie from Tommy Bahamas, which we had talked about earlier in the night. We talked about how good the food was there and I had asked him if he'd had the pie (which is not really a pie, but more like a cheesecake.) He said no and I told him how amazing it was. I didn't think that he'd take me there! We ate our yummy desserts and talked some more. 

Even though I really just met Andrew, I feel like we've been friends for awhile. We share most of the same opinions...except on pie. Maybe I'd be converted to his grandma's though. :) As we talked throughout the night, I realized how rare it is to find guys like him nowadays...handsome and classy just doesn't happen too often anymore. Whoever the girl is that snags him in the end is going to be really lucky! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Andrew better and am happy to say that the night was a success thanks to him! He's awesome! 

Tune in on Thursday for another dating tale. Who it will be is a secret...even to me. I still have to find someone. :)          

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 5 – Mauren & Brandon

What a great first round of dates we’ve had! If you haven’t had a chance to check out the first four dates, be sure to click the blog archive and read about the fun times we had with Cordell, Gavin, Nathan and Cody!

While all 4 of us participated in the first four days (and will do the same on the last four days), the next 32 dates will be a mixed schedule between the four of us based on our availability. So check back each day or follow our site (see the button on the right side of the page under the archives) to see which of us participated on the previous night’s date!

Today I (Mauren) had the pleasure of going out with Brandon, a somewhat shy guy that I’m really glad I got to know better tonight! I met Brandon several months ago when he first moved into the area and started attending the same young single adults (YSA) congregation that I go to at church. I didn’t know much about him though and thought this project might be a great way to change that.

Being that it’s Sunday, I had planned to do a picnic prior to an evening event we were having at church with a special guest speaker. But because it rained all week leaving the ground severely soaked and the temperature cooler than normal, I thought an indoor location might be better. But because part of the rules were that it had to be in public, I figured the next best location from the park would be a spot at the church!

We found a cozy little room and set up a blanket, complete with a picnic tablecloth, to make the most of our little adventure.

Brandon was a gentleman from the start, helping carry the load into the church, offering to fetch us drinks and requesting that I go first to making my sandwich. As we talked and ate, I learned a lot of things about him that I didn’t know, like the fact that he really enjoys rock climbing, no doubt a product of the time he spent in Utah. He also really loves doing photography, particularly scenic shots like mountains, which we unfortunately lack much of here in Houston. He recently ventured in to human photography when he was asked to shoot a friend’s wedding, but decided that working with people to make sure they’re all looking the same direction with eyes open can be a bit more challenging. It turns out that trees don’t blink. :)

While we chatted, we played the “do you know game” and discovered that we had worked for the same department at BYU and even knew some of the same people! So many fun memories at OIT.

After we finished our lunch/dinner (lunner??) we did a 100-piece puzzle I had picked up at the dollar store. Being that the point of the date was to get to know one another better though, there had to be a twist, right? So, each time one of us connected a piece of the puzzle, the other person asked them a “Would You Rather” question, using the cards from the board game.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, each card has two (usually absurd) scenarios in which you choose which scenario you’d rather be in.

Some of our favorite questions -- 

Would you rather...
  • Live alone with your grandmother in a small rural town -OR- live in a downtown apartment with 20 cats? 
  • Live on top of a tower that slowly spins 360 degrees, 24 hours a day -OR- in a house near a lighthouse in which the beam of light floods into your room every 2 minutes?
  • Be able to bathe everyday but have to wear the same set of unwashed clothes and underwear -OR- give up your right to bathe but be able to change clothes everyday?
  • Without ever being able to wash either of them, be forced to forever use the same bath towel -OR- sleep in the same sheets?
  • Have no kids -OR- twelve kids?
  • Live in a world where you needed a quarter to get into every bathroom (including the one in your home) -OR- where every bathroom only had one square of tissue?
  • Spend the rest of your life in a 5-mile radius -OR- never sleep in the same place more than one night?
  • As a spouse taking a new name, have it be Doodoo -OR- Klepnermierhelgenermanson? Drink a glass of Dijon spicy mustard -OR- eat a super-size bag of French fries found in the sidewalk garbage can?
  • Knowing you will always be within their range, try to escape harm from 3 men who are throwing rocks at you, by diving in water -OR- by hiding in tall grass?
By the time we finished the puzzle, I felt like we knew each other a lot better and discovered we even agreed on the responses to most of the “Would You Rather” questions! 

Afterwards we headed to evening guest speaker event where we caught up with some of our friends and heard from a local news reporter who is a member of our church.

All in all we had a great time and I really enjoyed getting to know Brandon better. I’m sure a lucky girl to have been out with two great guys so far. We’ll see what the rest of the project has to offer!

Well, I’m off for tomorrow but will be back for Tuesday so check in then to read about my next adventure!

Day 4 - Jessica & Cody

Well hello world! It’s me…Jessica, kicking off my own dating adventure here in blog land. When I was trying to decide who I’d like to be my first-first date for the 40 Dates in 40 Days project, Cody quickly came to mind. Cody was my first contact with Houston, TX, even before I moved here. When I announced in church just over two years ago that I was moving here from Washington, a friend told me Cody lived here and was a great guy. Thanks to the wonders of Facebook stalking, I was able to look him up and get a little idea of what the single’s scene was like in Houston.

When I moved here, I met Cody in person and we played the “do you know” game (which was stacked in my favor, since I already knew he knew someone I knew, but he didn’t know I knew) and that led to our first conversation. Cody was one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met and helped me feel welcomed right away to the great state of Tejas. Since then, Cody and I have continued to build our friendship and I always look forward to his great hugs, friendly smiles, and to seeing what awesome suit he’ll wear to church each week. (His suit jackets are always really cool textures.) When I called him about the date he answered with a quick and enthusiastic, “yes” and I knew we were in for a good time.

It was a dark and stormy night…ok, well not stormy maybe, but definitely dark and a little dreary. I’ve always wanted to start a story that way, and this time it was almost legit! Cody met me at my house, which since I live at home meant saying hi to the ‘rents and sister. He handled the introductions and picture taking very gracefully and then we were off to downtown Houston. 

In my quest for interesting activities for dates, I found a website featuring discounted tickets for a little musical production called “Oscar in the Box.” I had no idea what to expect from it, but I’m a big fan of live performances of all sorts and I knew that even if it was terrible, Cody and I would have a good time. In fact, I secretly kind of hoped it would be terrible, sometimes those make the funniest memories! I told Cody what we were doing as we started the drive and he was a great sport about me dragging him 40 minutes away to a musical theater show.

The drive went quickly and Cody and I shared good conversation the entire way. When we arrived at the Music Box Theater, I think we were both surprised at how small the stage was. We were ushered to our seats by an enthusiastic blonde, and when we sat and looked at our program we realized she was one of the stars of the show. We looked around and realized all the ushers were cast members. Cody and I continued our easy conversation, and then the lights went down and the show began!

The 5 person cast took us through a movie extravaganza. The plot of the original script (as in written by the performers of the Music Box Theater) was about Brad getting knocked out and then having to make his way through several different movie genres, always chasing after The Girl (who happened to be his wife in real life), and then finally he wakes up from his movie-themed dream by tapping his red Converse sneakers together 3 times and spinning off stage. The play was full of good songs, like I Need a Hero, Man of Constant Sorrow, The One Who Got Away, etc. Each cast member was impressively talented. The play itself was corny in the best way, with character names like Mary Nara (the Don’s daughter in the scene spoofing the Godfather) and scenes with titles like “Gag Me With 16 Candles at a Breakfast Club.” The highlight of the show for me was a mash-up of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and “You Could be Swinging on a Star”, in which one of the lyrics went, “would you rather be a mule? (he’s belligerent!).”

Cody and I chuckled and sometimes outright laughed throughout the first act, and then laughed even more the second half when the other audience members’ alcohol kicked in and they got louder and more enthusiastic in their cheering. (I’m sure people around us thought I’d started my own drinking early since I was laughing loudly and raucously from the very beginning – little did they know I don’t need drugs to have fun, I get a high on LIFE!). Hopefully Cody wasn’t too embarrassed by my may-be-mistaken-for-being-buzzed laughter and cheers. =)

After the show was over, Cody and I tracked down the two main actors, who also happen to be the owners of the theater, who also happened to be bussing the tables themselves (talk about multi-talented!) and we asked for a picture. They were gracious and friendly, and asked us to come back and to tell our friends. Which I am happy to do. The 5 person cast writes original productions throughout the year, and I’m sure all the shows are similar to this one…silly and full of clich├ęs and slapstick humor, peppered with fun musical numbers, and best of all – PG rated humor (maybe a couple of PG-13 moments, but nothing offensive or overly crass).

As for my time with Cody himself, I was so happy to have one on one time to learn more about him. We shared stories about our families (he’s one of 6 boys, I’m one of 5 girls) and what we were like in high school (I was like I am now, except with worse fashion sense, he was quiet and mellow and much more introverted than he is now). At one point I was telling him about how I realize that I often make initial judgments about people I meet and then as I get to know them, I have to “unlearn” the things that I got wrong. As I sit here now thinking about Cody, I’m really happy to say that I haven’t had to unlearn anything about him, only learn more. My first impression of the sweet, sometimes a tiny bit awkward but in the most endearing way, funny and welcoming guy I met two years ago was dead on. Cody was such a good sport through the entire night. I’m sure going to a low budget live musical production isn’t something that’s often on his calendar, but he handled everything like a champ and we had a great time.

The night ended back at my house, where I walked Cody to his car (like the traditional doorstep scene, only backwards, which is only fitting for my life). He gave me a big hug, during which I remembered my goal of not “tapping out” on any hugs during this dating adventure, and I held on without patting him even a little. By the by, if you know Cody, don’t ever miss out on getting a hug from him. I consider myself somewhat of a hug connoisseur, and he gives GREAT ones!

I consider my inaugural date a smashing success. Thank you so much to Cody for making it so comfortable and fun. I can’t wait for the next nine!