January 20, 2009

Six Degrees of Separation Anxiety and its Stress-Free Solution - Evan

Side effects of my sleepiness:
* cranky attitude
* panicky
* disorganization

I have quickly learned that in addition to my regular 8-hour gig, I have now assigned myself three extra part time jobs:

1. Producer: This role takes up a lot of my time. It requires finding guys who are willing to be involved with the project, figuring out a time that will work for both of us, and helping decide what to do on our date.

2. Dater: Obviously, this is not your typical dating situation. In addition to all of the regular dating jitters, I have found my biggest responsibility is forgetting everything else I have to do and just have fun. That's the most important element when getting to know someone and I'm hoping to do my best to really get to know as much as I can about these guys in the short time we're together. They're taking the time out of their busy schedules to hang out with me, so the least I can do is respect them.

3. Writer: Every night I come home and write up my day's events. This takes several hours. I have to admit, the writing portion of this project tends to circle around in my head all day. When I mentioned that I try to keep focus on my dates, my most tempting distraction is "what am I going to write about this?"

The bigger concern today was whether my plans would actually go through.

I received a confirmation notice about our tickets this morning and I realized that it was a 7:00 show and not 8:00 as I had previously thought! I knew my date couldn't make that time, so we had two options: find other plans. Or we postpone and I find another guy.

We opted for the latter.

And thus began my first major panicked moment of this project. I had two hours to find another date.
People keep asking me, "What happens if one of the dates can't make it?"
"I guess I'll have to ask someone off the street..."

I sent out an email to my friends (ie. "Dating Agents") and asked for help. I gave myself 20 minutes. If nothing had come through by then, I told myself that I would head outside and start asking random guys.
The thought of that scares me a lot, but I keep reminding myself that dating doesn't have to be that big of a deal. These are simple opportunities to get to know someone better.
I'm not asking someone to marry me.
I'm not even asking him to be my boyfriend or love me or even like me.
I'm asking him to take time out of his busy life to get to know me. I have a feeling if we all looked at dating this way, it would make the whole process less stressful.

I was stressed.
Really stressed.

Twelve minutes went by and my friend, Mike, sent someone my way.

Enter: Evan.

I had no idea who this Evan was, but he received ringing endorsements from our mutual friends. He also happens to work right next to the theater where I have landed free - yes free - tickets to a new musical. A $100 value for absolutely nothing.

So how did I get these said free tickets?

Well, there's a little trick that I've been keeping for years and years and now I will share it with you.
Being a recovering actor, I can tell you, the last thing you want is an empty audience. Even if the crowd hates you, at least someone is watching. So the theaters will go out of their way to get a full house. Your word of mouth might make them more money in the long-run compared to the amount they're losing on giving you a free ticket.
If you wait until the last minute (or if you spend endless hours online tracking stuff down like I do), you can typically find a really great deal.

Getting a sweet deal like this makes a new (and possibly really terrible) show bearable.

I knew I'd like Evan right away. Any of the guys who are willing to sign up for this project gets my respect right away. In this case, I was especially grateful for Evan not only bailing me out at the last minute but also for his excitement.

I met him at the Algonquin Theater downtown for the new musical called, "Sessions." The show is about a bunch of people in group therapy. And after the stress I was feeling, I was certainly ready for some therapy even if it were vicarious and fictional.
Evan apparently was the perfect date for this event. In the few minutes we chatted before the show I learned that he was a very easy-going guy and that he liked musicals. Most guys I've dated have not, so that was refreshing! Also, he happened to fit the bill of most of the qualities I had on the list I made when I was 20 for my "ideal man"... around 6 feet tall, brown curly hair, blue eyes. He even plays the guitar!

During the show, we couldn't help but laugh at some of the parts that seemed obvious or ridiculous. I felt like I was one of the bad kids talking during class. Evan was even passing me a note at one point!

After the show we headed uptown to our common ground: Columbia University. I went there for grad school a few years ago and Evan is finishing up his masters degree. He took me to one of his favorite spots on campus that I had never seen before up on top one of the buildings. It was so beautiful up there! We had a clear view of the Empire State Building on one end and the GW Bridge on the other!
Evan told me a little about his life and passions. He grew up in southern California and went to college in Hawaii -- the perfect combo for a man who loves to surf. He has travelled the world, mostly in search of great waves.
I have to admit, when I think of surfer, Evan is not the kind of guy who comes to mind. I mean, he doesn't talk like Keanu Reeves in "Bill and Ted", he's planning on getting a PhD, and he has a quick wit!

There is something about Evan that makes it very easy to talk to him. In a way I felt as if we had already known each other and just picked up after a long separation. Evan took me to get some dessert and I actually could have sat there and talked with him all night. But they closed up shop at 11 and kicked us out. And besides, I had to come back to work at 3am.
Sacrificing sleep might be tough for the next few weeks, but the benefits of meeting men like Evan outweigh it.

Think about it. Just a few hours before, he had been asked by a friend to take out some girl so she could talk publicly about him... and he not only happily volunteered, but he also had fun and was a complete gentleman. He even put me in a cab and paid for my ride home!

After a long, stressful day, Evan turned out to be the antidote I needed.


Sara said...

Your anxiety about just heading outside and asking some random complete stranger reminded me of a conversation several years ago that I had with my sister's friend. It was back when Match.com and those sites were still not mainstream and he said how he liked doing the match.com thing because it demystified dating for him. It took the stress out of approaching someone he thought he could spend an evening with, or even 31 minutes with. He would never have thought to ask the cute girl out for coffee just because she said one line that was pretty funny in the elevator. And yet, he had done that earlier in the week. It is a lesson we all can learn.

But that being said, it is always seems easier to do when you can promote something other than yourself, such as the idea and concept of 31 dates in 31 days.

luminainfinite said...

Oooh! Evan gets a two-thumbs up from me!
p.s. I tried to call you today and then thought, oh, it's the evening, Tam's on a date. Every night, Tam's on a DATE!!!! That's incredible. Keep it up babe. You can do this!

Anonymous said...

WOW! You really are meeting the greatest men with this thing!!! I LOVE reading about your dates every night before I go to bed! when you're done, you should bind it into a book so we can read it over and over and over and over again! Evan gets two thumbs up! He's right up there with rose guy and 13 hour date guy!

Cherilyn Colbert said...

My favorite so far! Love him. Make him date #31!

Elena said...

I like this one... but to be honest... I like all of them so far!!!!!!! Now seriously where are all these guys! how come the guys I go out with are awful ;)
Pass one of these on! lol

Andrea said...

hey tam i was telling my girlfriends about your amazing dating adventure tonight at a superbowl party and it turns out evan is my good friend's cousin! i love this small-world connection that had nothing to do with facebook!

Joyful Noise said...

In addition to writing a book I think you need to sell the book and make a movie! Your insights are so good and it makes for a very fun story.

I know Evan personally and he is definitely a keeper - good save on the last minute date!

McD said...

You won't find a guy more honest, funny, and charming than Evan. I am grateful he grew up a few years behind me because I would have surely lost out on a few dates if he was my competition.
Oh and he can swim like a fish, he comes from a school of them.

Anonymous said...

Knowing that Evan is the winner, perhaps it made me pay attention to every detail of this date more carefully. While you've had glowing reviews of everyone so far, you write about Evan as if he's "the one."

So now that you've had date 2 with Evan, why no details? I'm sure you're tired and need a break from blogging.

And I really appreciated the preface to this date, knowing your thoughts and feelings occasionally makes this more interesting than simply reading how you met the bachelor of the night and finding out what you did for $31 or less.

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