last year i bought a dress i thought seemed like the perfect date dress: interesting and attractive but comfortable. considering my dating history (i can definitely count the number of "real" dates i've had on one hand) i had no reason to believe it would ever be used for its designated purpose. however, the dress and i went on a First Date saturday.
rewind to the halloween party. i met a cute (english-speaking) japanese guy who had attended a short-term class at the other branch of our school. my first thought was, "how soon before this guy tells me he's married," but he never did. we talked for a few minutes and then caught up again later when some of us headed to a bar to wind down. he was thoughtful enough to refill my water when he got up for a new drink, and he didn't touch a cigarette the whole night. now that i think of it, my last--i'll call it an entanglement--began when a guy brought me water... anyway, his next question was solid laurenbait, "what do these lyrics mean...'she acts like summer and walks like rain?'"
he asked me to sing a song (perhaps i should mention that every party in japan becomes a karaoke party by the end of the night), but i had been sick that week and was barely squeaking out a conversation. he sang, though, and he did a fine job! thank goodness he isn't one of those singers you have to endure.
at the end of the night he seemed interested in talking some more, but i think a guy should have enough guts to ask for my info if he wants to hang out again, so i waited to see what would happen. after talking about going to karaoke sometime when i could actually sing, he did get around to asking, so i gave him my text address and headed home. when i hadn't heard from him by the end of the night, i figured i never would.
i was wrong.
for the next few weeks we exchanged several messages each day. i doubted that he would actually suggest doing anything concrete, but once again i was wrong. one evening he replied to my email with, "let's go out for drinks." we set a time, and i didn't really think about it much until the day before. that's when i got down to the business of freaking out and being paranoid. in western dating culture, you can fall back on some assumptions: we will do the "how-much-do-i-owe-you-for-dinner-oh-thank-you dance" and the "how-will-we-negotiate-the-kiss/no-kiss-goodnight-thing dance." i wasn't sure what to expect, but that was soon overshadowed by another fear. let's just say i've watched too many episodes of Law and Order, and visions of murder were dancing through my head. had i misread him completely? was he a psycho? i got so nervous i was wearing my shoulders as earrings.
the next day i got a grip and made an effort to look forward to it.
as i tried not to look awkward waiting in front of the grocery store where we were meeting, i wondered if i would still find him attractive (i did only see him once) and if it would be weird that we talked only in text messages for several weeks. i also typed out a "save me; i've been kidnapped" message on my phone and memorized how to send it without looking. seriously.
when shin (pronounced "sheen") walked up, my first thought was, "i'm going out with that hot guy??"
we walked down to a kushiyaki (food on skewers) shop and spent the next several hours (ok, it was four hours) talking and joking. it was really fun. i tried not to be too distracted by his sexy mouth. we walked back to his car and i got all flighty, so i gave him a preemptive hug, bid him goodnight, and flew away on my bicycle. a few minutes later i got a text saying he had fun talking with me and would like to do it again. the date dress and i high-fived and went to sleep.