The Very Best First Date Idea Ever

Julia Hubbel, Walkabout Saga, Horizon Huntress by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

If this guy wasn’t already taken…..

Before you leap back into the fray of online dating, I have a story for you. One of my favorite male friends told me this morning about a first date he’d had prior to his current love. It was so damned good that I am stealing the idea. It was so damned good that it has caused me to question anyone in my current life by the same standards. That’s how good it is. Stay with me, let me please set the stage first.

The dating game is full of gamers. If you’ve been at it as long as I have (since 1998, online at least) you know this. Liars, scammers, schemers abound, as well as folks so deeply in denial that they honestly truly believe that a photo of themselves as a recruit back in 1941 is a viable way to get female interest. Sigh.

It’s already a researchable fact that 81% of online profiles involve a lie. At LEAST one if not the whole damned thing. Mostly about stuff we’re uncomfortable with: hair, or lack thereof, a waistline, or lack thereof, youth and money, or lack thereof. Photos. As in recent. You get it.

Then, let’s add this unfortunate fact. After a year under quarantine, let’s revisit that waistline, or lack thereof:

Fact #59: Weight gain in the Covid-19 era
A recent survey of more than 3,000 American adults, by the American Psychological Association, showed that 42 percent…

For those of us who are single, by choice or by chance, the ability to FINALLY actually have an in-person date, almost always at a local Starbucks, is both delicious and daunting. Delicious because more than a few of us would like to revisit actual intimacy. Remember that? Daunting, because, well.

The bathroom mirror, to say nothing of the scale.

We women are dumping makeup, letting our grays out, letting the girls go loose and a lot of other freedoms we richly deserve. The guys? Not so sure what they’re hanging out, albeit additional belly might well be a big part of it.

What I do know is highly likely is that, since most of us, including myself, didn’t exactly have a professional photographer taking updated shots of us under lockdown, what photos we have- if we told the truth to begin with- might not exactly be an accurate portrayal of what we are now.

That’s just part of the challenge.

But here’s where we get to the fun part.

Devon’s an Oregon outdoorsman through and through. An athlete. A dad with happy and active kids. He loves the woods and the challenges the woods offer. So it makes sense to him to have a date, and possibly a partner, who shares that passion. Up here, the outdoors abounds.

So. A while back he had a hopeful, whom he challenged. It was winter.

“Let’s go drive into the snow until we get stuck, and make an adventure out of it.”

She agreed.

I’m not sure what she expected.

That’s precisely what Devon did. They drove into the Cascades until they got themselves thoroughly stuck in deep snow, far enough out so that Uber wasn’t an option. That meant they needed a fire, a safe place for the night, to be willing to shovel the car out and do what it took to free the vehicle to get home.

Said date was NOT amused. She freaked. Rather than find firewood, she dithered and worried and obsessed. Rather than wield a shovel, she complained and harangued and bitched.

Rather than pitch in, she pitched a hissy fit.

Devon expended as much if not more energy calming her down than in securing the firewood, creating a safe place for the night, and shoveling the vehicle out of the snow.

That was their last date.

I know some guys who would have eaten that up. Be the manly-man savior. That would not be my guy, any more than Ms. Hissy Fit was the right gal for Devon. Just a matter of preferences, and there is no right or wrong stated or implied. The journey is to find right for us.

Good friends who have stayed married often tell me that one thing they did early on was travel together. There really is no better way to establish whether or not you’re suited to go through life’s shit storms than food poisoning, lousy weather, lost tickets, dishonest guides, late planes and flattened plans. How you and I handle those things speaks to our maturity and our resilience.

For a quick review of just that, and other arguments for exploring the Great Beyond together, please see:

10 Reasons to Travel With Your Partner Before Marriage
Before making the ultimate commitment, you want to be sure that the person you are making that commitment with is the…

You will find out in New York minute whether your current love is going to be a viable partner. I’ve known plenty of folks whose travel partner bailed mid-trip. They later found their life partners on the road, where both were very comfortable being inconvenienced. Those marriages have lasted.

I once invited someone to travel with me and his response was that he wouldn’t be able to get the food he wanted. Really? Honestly REALLY? That response was hugely informative, and indicative of where we would, and did, have all kinds of issues. The way I travel is like Devon. I’d leap out of that car with a shovel faster than he could. Or, I’d be out looking for wood and kindling and a likely camp spot while he unloaded gear.

How do I know that? Forty-seven trips, some of them in the stark wilderness, with folks very much like this woman, who have no clue, expect others to do all the physical labor AND attend to their insecurities and ineptitude while setting up camp. Or handling a major issue. On many occasions I’ve worked just as hard as the staff and guides because the majority of the paying customers were clueless, and they had no interest in learning any skills.

I can’t speak for you but what I learn about people when they are on travel, in the wild and faced with challenges says everything about their character, whether they can be counted on in a pinch.

Life is full of pinches. Devon wants someone he can count on in a pinch. Perhaps even more importantly he wants his boys to see badass women who can handle themselves in rough terrain and through the tough stuff.

And he wants his boys to want THAT kind of partner, who can help bring up capable, resilient kids, just like he’s doing.

I love this guy.

That’s what Devon finally found, someone who loves schlepping the snow and hills, getting inconvenienced, and figuring the way out of said inconveniences. Who loves long hard hikes and challenging trips and getting dirty and sweaty.

Should you do this?

Hell, I dunno. I tried it once. I ended up on a long hike up the Flatirons just outside Boulder. The guy was so determined to show me up that he ended up showing me what a selfish asshole he was.

However. As you and I ease back into the unpredictable waters of online dating, this is indeed something to think about. I would be far more interested in a guy with a sense of adventure (as long as he’s not an axe murderer…okay, there’s that) than someone who can’t imagine a world without a Starbucks a mile down the street.

You most assuredly do NOT have to get stuck in the snow to assess someone’s backbone. But for my dating dollar, it’s one heck of a good way to find out if said potential partner can handle the long haul, and the guaranteed tough times to come.

Chances are, they already have a shovel and an emergency kit in the trunk. by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

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Welcome home. You are HOME if you like irreverent, smart, funny, in-your-face writing. You are HOME if you like stories about interesting people of all ages, cultures, stripes, backgrounds, beliefs doing amazing things because they made different decisions. You are HOME if you wanna learn about aging vibrantly, being in the outdoors, getting and staying fit no matter our number. You are HOME if, on occasion, you like to laugh so hard you spew your drink of choice on your lap cat/dog/gerbil/centipede/soon-to-be ex. I work hard, ride fast horses, do lots of sports, fly high and still leap out of airplanes. Yeah, really, and I am 68. And yes I love, respect and appreciate feedback, including stuff that's hard. Because hard is the recipe for resilient. Wanna play? Let's. Please. Pull up a chair. There's room by the fire. In summer, there's room on the patio. (Okay so I don't have a patio. I made that up.)Get comfy. Bring a towel for your lap. Welcome home.

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