If, like me, you have dabbled with online dating sites for years, with limited success, there is something about the unexpected excitement that comes with meeting and connecting romantically with a person IN REAL LIFE….and without the aid of a computer! Whether it be at a bar or a friend’s house party, when it happens I convince myself that it’s kismet. If I were to have a conversation with the Universe on the topic, it would go something like this:
The Universe: Ok, ok dear Rachel, I am done messing with you (as he chuckles delightedly and pinches my chubby dimpled cheek like you do with a small child). You have learned all the love life lessons that we have thrown at you and you have shown us that you can get through the worst of it – like that time we set you up with the guy who took you on a date to Boston Pizza, ate food off the floor and then made you pay the bill. Sorry about that one, we were having difficulties with the life lesson generator that day and we gave you a doozy. You are much stronger than we thought and we see clearly that you’ve learned what you need to know about life now. So, run along with this fine specimen of a man, have a storybook romance, get married, have beautiful babies and live happily ever after!
Rachel: Awe gee golly, thank’s Universe! In hindsight, I completely now understand the torture you put me through and it’s made me the person I am today. I owe you big time (as I make a playful finger gun, mouth click sound, eye wink combo). Let’s hug it out.
You see, I don’t have issues with meeting people, but very rarely does it circumvent the friend zone resulting in me then hitting it off romantically with said random stranger. Now, I should perhaps preface this story further by helping you understand that I am also a bit of a hopeless romantic with extreme dreamer tendencies. In the early stages of romance, I see life in the most fantastic and whimsical way possible. My rose coloured glasses become so rose coloured that you would have a hard time convincing me that the world according to Rachel is not a perfect shade of pink. Then when the love drugs wear off, I turn back into my normal pragmatic and logical self while exploding with epiphanies about the often god awful and hilarious reality.
So this now brings me to a cold night last December when my friend and I ended up at a dive bar in East Vancouver. All thanks to liquid courage, I came to possess the necessary abilities that resulted in securing a future date with a person that I would have the ability to meet…IN REAL LIFE…before our first date! Being the optimistic dreamer that I am, this is how I initially recalled the night going down…
The Rose Coloured Recollection of Events:
Allow me to set the scene: Hipster dive bar in East Vancouver, last call for alcohol, almost 2am.
A live band fills the room with edgy guitar riffs and melodic vocals, such that you can’t help but wonder if you are witnessing the early days of what is soon to be an immensely successful band’s past. There is just enough darkness, in the small box of a venue, to give off a sexy and mysterious vibe. All the while a glow of soft light still emanates leaving it bright enough to clearly make out faces and for which everyone appears visually flattering. Everyone in this room is interesting with a uniquely compelling and enviable sense of personal style. It smells mildly of menthol and light cigarette smoke, but in a way that if you ever smelled that combination again it would fondly take you right back to this moment in time.
I am tantalizing strangers with my witty repartee and they are hanging off my every word. As I look to my drink, I decide to enjoy one more to cap off this wonderful night of conversation and dancing. I excuse myself from the group reluctantly, but to which my attempt is greeted with sincere declarations to ensure I come right back. With a humbled hand to heart gesture, I spin around in slow motion and make my way through the crowded dance floor, where my moves effortlessly blend in with the plethora of dancers I must wade through.
With enviable swagger, I strut to the bar and make immediate eye contact with the bartender. Without even having to say a word he says, “another Strongbow gorgeous” to which I lock into my sexiest stone cold gaze, bat my lashes and proclaim coyly, “You remembered.” I reach into my purse for cash, but my attention is pulled to the man beside me who places his palm on the small of my back and proclaims “beautiful women around here don’t pay for drinks.” I look up to his face and become internally flustered in the most adorable way possible, but still manage to keep a confident composure.
I attempt to observe him closely without letting on that I’m staring. He’s tall with dark flowy hair, but uniquely attractive, and the skin on my arms starts to goose pimple. Like laser beams, my eyes hone in immediately to his perfect smile that stretches from ear to ear, filled with perfectly aligned white teeth, all below an intriguing yet excessively stylish handlebar moustache. In this moment, I feel intoxicated by life, but I manage to make doe eyes while presenting a confident, yet devilish closed mouth smile. To my left, I hear the bartender say, “You owe me” and in my peripheral vision I see that he winks and simultaneously shoots a flirty finger gun. I laugh quickly and think to myself, “I’m not sure why I owe you, but yes I suppose you’ve been a part of this magical moment so I will invite you to the wedding.“
For hours, Handlebar Moustache man and I exchange witty banter with ease. My wit and humour is perfectly on point, oozing out of me like I was born to dazzle. He reaches out and gently rests his hand on my face and the way he is looking at me affirms that he is thinking that he has hit the stranger connection jack pot. We share a passionate, yet classy kiss and the chemistry is palpable.
But, with all amazing moments in life, they must come to an end. As if straight out of Cinderella, my friend grabs my arm and pulls me away. Handlebar Moustache man and I reach out to each other leaving our finger tips to touch just barely. For that brief moment during our parting looks, time slows. M83’s song ‘Outro’ is playing and we are the only people in the room. He chases us outside and as I am getting into the taxi, he thrusts his phone into my hands and demands for my number. I give it to him and as we drive away, I don’t look back…
Amazing connection right! Wellllllllll, that’s not quite how it actually played out. After replacing my rose coloured glasses, whilst revisiting the past after our first date – YES, there is a date that also goes with this story – I came to recall the reality. Allow me to paint that picture for you.
The Crap Tinted Reality:
Allow me to set the scene. Hipster dive bar in East Vancouver. Last call for alcohol. Almost 2am.
A live band fills the room with a sound so disconnected that you can’t help but wonder if you are witnessing the onset of this band’s epic and non relevant breakup. The room is quite dark, but the rampant glow of mobile phones replacing meaningful human interactions provides enough illumination en masse so that you can still see faces clearly. This is unfortunate for me though, as I do not fare well visually under the glow of light coming upwards toward my face. Think back to childhood and what it looked like when someone put a bright flashlight under their chin.
As I survey the room, it looks like the worst fashion from the 80’s had a drunken one night stand with the worst fashion from the 90’s and the resulting love child was the fashion in this room. The girl beside me blows smoke rings from her slim menthol cigarette while staring through me with dead eyes the entire time. Meanwhile, I am forced to listen to an entitled 20 year old complain about how their boss is always on their case about showing up to work on time. Exclamations of “What a Jerk” and “Did you tell him you don’t care if you don’t get paid for the time you were late?” fill the conversation. Annoying statements like these are my kryptonite, so I crack a clever retort which falls on deaf ears. To save the moment, I reach for my imaginary microphone, tap the top and say “Is this thing on?” Another moment that goes lost.
As I look to my empty drink, I realize that the only cure for this madness is MORE ALCOHOL! I reluctantly excuse myself, to which no one reacts, and as I turn around to head to the bar I become trapped in a sea of hipsters holding cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and doing interpretive hipster dancing. The only way out is to conform. I wave my hands in the air like one of those air blown, arm flailing promotional setups that you see at car dealerships. It’s.not.working, NOT WORKING! I panic and push my way through an onslaught of offended looking faces, all making a point to stare directly at me and look annoyed at the same time. I feel as though I am swimming up stream against a fierce current. I make it through! I SURVIVE THE DANCE FLOOR!
I thrust myself at the bar, slam my empty can on the bar top, plant my hands firmly to secure my spot and commence practicing every technique in the book designed to make a bartender pick you before the person beside you. I square my shoulders to his, look him dead on….AAAAAND….it doesn’t work. When he eventually comes my way, he disinterestingly says, “Another one?” to which am instantly flattered, so I try to make sexy doe-eyes, which probably looked like crazy-eyes, and reply coyly with, “You remembered.” While wiping out a lager glass with a towel previously draped over his shoulder, he stops what he’s doing, looks at me without saying anything for 5 seconds and then points at the empty can placed in front of my face. Trying to retain any last ounce of cool that I thought I might still have left in my body, I laugh haughtily and then awkwardly look around to see if anyone heard, while also simultaneously draping the bottom half of my face in disguise with my long blonde hair. Mid implementation of said hair disguise and as I am turning right, I make eye contact with an interesting looking guy with an equally interesting handlebar moustache.
To my left, I hear the bartender say “You owe me” but he’s referring to the fact that I’ve turned around, seemingly without any intent to pay. I turn back and jokingly say, “but beautiful women don’t have to pay for drinks” delivered with a lame wink and an unnecessarily elevated laugh that makes it sound like I just sat on a thumbtack. He looks at me with a dead-pan stare and as I turn back to face Handlebar Moustache guy I try to slyly slip a fiver….and then a twoonie onto the bar top. In my peripheral vision I see him look at his bartender buddy, make a finger gun, shoot himself in the temple and roll his eyes to the back of his head. NO TIP FOR YOU! (I think in my head to the style of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi).
I re-focus my attention on the handlebar moustache guy and it is at this point that I become acutely aware of my existing level of perspiration. Honestly, I was not born for any level of heat and despite the fact that it was December outside, it was August inside. Nonetheless, we proceed to manage chit chat back and forth, and after a few minutes we are making out like our airplane is going down. From across the room, my friend darts over, grabs my sweaty arm and says she has a cab waiting outside. Girl code meaning that we have to leave…now! As we’re getting into the cab, from out of nowhere comes handlebar moustache man who tries to get into the cab with us. My friend shoots this down, so he thrusts his phone in my hands and asks for my number to which I oblige. As we drive away, I dangle by body out the window yelling “Caaallllll Meeeeee” and then I get back in because it’s so damn cold and the taxi driver is yelling at me….not because it was dangerous.
Now being the deluded romantic that I am, I of course choose to recall the rose coloured version of events the following day. As I recover from my hangover and accept his date request via text message, I clearly identify that the Universe is throwing me a bone here. We met in real life, not online; how could this be anything less than fated, so naturally I was looking forward to seeing him again later that week.
Stay tuned for Date Night With a Hipster – Part 2, where you will read all about our date in which I will cover: taking appropriate care of bicycle reflectors, being coerced to walk into heavy traffic, declarations regarding his ‘manhood’ by his ex girlfriend, begging for water and watching him jam out at his own personal rave in the lobby of my apartment building!
See you soon….