Because I went on my first blind date.
It’s bittersweet, this thing called growing up. After a string of unhappily ended (basically goddamn awful) relationships that I delusionally forced with ridiculously inept boys, I’ve finally come to a place where I’m done with the boys of my past and ready for a real mature, adult relationship.
Odd how one just doesn’t pop up when you’re ready for it.
So at 23 years, I finally said yes to my first blind date. It was a set up my coworker has been asking me to go on for a year now.
When I first met *Michelle, she mentioned this guy that she would love to set me up with — (Would I be interested? It would be so great if we hit it off. He’s SUCH a good guy.) I responded without hesitation, “Absolutely not. I don’t do blind dates.”
And why should I? I was 22-years-old, so young, just getting out of the euphoria that comes with becoming 21 and getting initiated into the real world of post-grad life. Eager to contribute to society, the only thing on my mind was to get a job, get a job, get a job.
And once I got a job, I looked up and realized that I was 23-years-old, still so very young, yet suddenly not of the demographic belonging to the carefree and the single-ready-to-mingle. It’s unfortunate that I spent the majority of my youth in disillusioning relationships that propelled me into an early onset of male-hatred and bitterness, which in turn crippled me from finding ANY remotely successful relationship thereafter.
And so now, undeniable that time relentlessly pushes on, one year later I said to Michelle, “Sure, sounds like fun.”
And so begins the blind date.
First of all, it took me an hour to get to the restaurant that was smack in the middle of Hollywood with “Condoms in Porn!” protests going on around the corner while the opposing street had a line around the block for either a new hard-to-find food truck or a drug dealer. I spun around the aforementioned block for 15 minutes until finally parking at a lot two blocks away. Second, the restaurant didn’t have a sign. I walked to and fro between 1533 and 1537 willing for 1535 to appear. After asking the guy at a next-door ice cream store where Hungry Cat was, I finally came upon the restaurant hidden behind a wall of shrubs (and NO sign) to meet the long awaited *David, along with my friend and her fiancé *Tom.
It was fun talking to Michelle and meeting Tom – David, not so much. He was off the bat the typical Korean guy – wore hipster thick rimmed glasses, was in a suit jacket with jeans and chuck-ish tennis shoes. He had ordered a cocktail reminiscent of a lemonade mojito.
Third, I hate lemonade.
I spent the first few minutes gabbing with Michelle, as I hadn’t seen her in months. We talked about work and such and it wasn’t until I got my drink when I first really heard David speak and realized that I didn’t understand anything he just said. I blankly stared, not comprehending what was going on. Was he speaking Clingon? Did it just suddenly get loud or was I spontaneously going deaf?
Turns out he had a thick Korean accent, one I wasn’t expecting to hear and thus wasn’t prepared to accommodate for. It’s not like it’s an awful accent, but I mean, it’s an accent.
The night progressed; our seafood plates were replaced with dessert. We talked about work, dreams, scary movies, haunted mansions and the end of newspapers. He’s a successful motions graphic designer and part-time iPad app designer. Me? I’m a beauty editor.
“What do you write about?” asked Tom.
“Oh, you know, the worst hairsprays, the best lipsticks, the sexiest fragrances you gotta have for Valentine’s Day…” I said sheepishly as I always do. Not revolutionary stuff.
But even still, at the end of the day, I’m a writer. Using English. And I would need the guy I’m becoming intimate with to be able to converse fully and understand fully and appreciate fully in this medium of which I base my entire profession on: communicating in English. Mastering it, knowing it, understanding it, revising it, it’s kind of what I do, it sort of pays the bills and maybe is just a little bit important?
The only questions he directed to me all night were:
Do you speak Korean?
Do you understand Korean?
What’s your Korean name?
Can you read Korean?
What’s your Korean name again?
Do you eat Korean food?
Do you go to Korean spas?
Can you write in Korean?
So is this how you say your Korean name?
At the end of dinner, they insisted they would walk me to my parking lot. Once we reached the lot, I said goodbye to them as I didn’t (nor ever would I) need escorts to climb stairs, but of course, the Korean insisted that he would walk me, because thugs can come out of the stairwell and jump me and take my purse.
The second we got to the roof, which is where cars are clearly parked, he goes, “yugi majuhyoh?” … in Korean. (Translation: Is this the right place?)
I looked at him as if he had just been body snatched by fob aliens. “Yea, it is, look there’s my car.” I responded … in English.
“Hanguk mal halsuitsuhyoh?” (Can you speak Korean?)
Because I’m a monkey and would love to display my level of Korean proficiency for you.
“Uhh, actually I don’t feel very comfortable speaking in Korean…”
I would understand this behavior if we were, let’s say, in Colorado where there are no Korean people and you’re starving for Korean interaction; but when we live in LA with the biggest concentration of Koreans next to the mother land, it’s utterly ridiculous to seek a woman that speaks Korean fluently and is immersed in Korean culture in someone who is clearly born on this side of the hemisphere where there are PLENTY of those just a kTown bar away.
As we were ready to say goodbye, we got to that part of the night where the dude asks the girl for her phone number. But instead of asking me, “Can I have your phone number?” or “Will you give me your phone number?” he asked, “So, you going to give me your phone number?”
Trust me. There’s a difference.
This morning I woke up with such a debilitating depression — just this overwhelming lack of desire to get out of bed and go to work and live life. Dating is awful. Even if the date is fine and it’s not that awkward, the extent of how so utterly wrong this guy was for me and that I spent even a remote time with him depressed me. And in turn, it depressed me that he was so eager to go on a second date with me even though I was so utterly wrong for him. Is this the fate of relationships? Or, rather is this my fate? Am I going to be settling for somebody that is so incredibly not right for me in 7 years only because it’s something that society expects me to do just as he is settling for anything that his luck brings him because he’s 35 and finally ready?