First-date advice from DCSingles:
Dress up. Keep it short. Don’t talk about politics, religion, or your ex.
Hmmm…not talking about politics is a bit of a challenge especially when you live inside the Beltway. And not talking about it in an election cycle seems really hard. A political junkie, with seven news apps on my iPhone, this is going to be darn near impossible. But I will give it a try.
Hmmm…religion is off the table too. So what kind of kabuki theater will this single vicar have to perform to avoid this topic? Well, I will obviously have to state the obvious about my profession. But I will try to table the religious debate as far as I am able.
And not talk about my ex? This one is way easy for me. William and I parted ways amicably more than a decade ago. Since then Joani has cherished her independence and loves being mistress of her own domain. Joani thoroughly enjoys her own company.
Only men of a similar ilk need apply.
This particular week, my DCSingles matchmaker matched me with my very first match: a guy named Glenn.
5 foot 8 inches, dark brown hair, a retired environmentalist, Jewish, and age appropriate.
What’s not to like?
A quick conversation on the phone, we make a Starbucks date — to coffee we will go.
Guardedly optimistic and game for my new sport, I consult my fashionista- dating coach daughter Colleen. She approves my dress, my flats and accessories.
“Necklace or no necklace?” I text her.
“Necklace.” she decrees.
I Uber downtown to case out the joint. I grab a table near the door. I try to look all nonchalant as I read my book. Fluffing my hair — also as attractive as I can.
I sit and wait for this first blind date.
There is a Santa Claus looking guy checking his phone anxiously by the door. “Waiting for someone?” I ask. “And you might be?” “Steve,” he says. And in my head I say, “Thank God, I thought that was him.”
And then right on time, in walks Glenn.
The date is blind. So sight unseen, I was not sure what to expect.
But I wasn’t expecting Bernie Sanders.
First impressions matter most they say.
Uh oh, so here we go.
I am pretty sure he slept in his clothes: grunge jeans, baggy shirt, shoes older than my children. He sported a fisherman’s cap and carried a grocery bag that looked like it had washed up on the beach. If he hadn’t been my date, I would have mistaken him for a homeless guy. To call him rumpled would have been a compliment.
“Okay, Joani,” I tell myself, “Bernie Sanders is awesome! Don’t judge the book by his cover. Maybe this guy is riveting. So yeah, let the conversation begin.”
An environmentalist, maybe his clothes are recycled? Hmmmm….no. Maybe he drives a Prius? Hmmmm….no. Solar power in his house? Hmmm…no. But he did once work on a solar project for water treatment plants. The globe is way too short of fresh water so that’s one good thing.
Do-gooders are definitely up my alley.
Okay, my turn.
“Well, I serve a local church,” I tell him. “It’s a happening, progressive parish.” Being a lady vicar is a tough sell, you know, so I give Bernie points for just showing up. His being Jewish though, I knew he would have questions. But I wasn’t expecting this.
“You know I am a biologist and we believe in evolution,” he says somewhat condescendingly.
“Well guess what? So do I. Episcopalians believe in science.”
Surprised by my answer, it seemed he had never met an enlightened Christian before. Possibly he thought we were some rare species that had gone extinct.
Wow, Bernie, this is going great! Let’s move on.
“So now that you are retired, Bernie, what do you do?”
He leans forward in his chair — smiling and definitely trying to impress.
“Well, I go the the gym twice a week and I swim half a mile, turn around and in an hour and a half I am back home!”
Satisfied with his answer, he leans back in his chair.
“Well, Bernie, I’ve walked two half marathons and am getting ready for my third.”
“You have to go out of town for those?” he asks.
“Yes, Bernie, I love going new places.”
“Hmmm, well, I don’t get much out of my neighborhood anymore.”
“Well, Bernie, good luck with that.”
I don’t want to belabor the point but Bernie proved way too suburban for my urban tastes. He had never heard of Uber, SXSW, or the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Though, in his favor, I am pretty sure he did know how to use the Internet.
By this time, I am definitely eyeing the exit. Keep it short, remember?
Bernie slides his card across the table, not so subtly asking for a second date.
I in turn do not slide mine. Not so subtly telling him no.
“Thank you for the conversation,” I say shaking his hand. “Gotta go to meet my daughter Colleen.” (Yes, Colleen, you are my default escape plan.)
Ducking out the door, I take refuge in the book store down the block. Ah, in here I can breathe. I order a latte at the coffee bar, sit down, and think.
If nothing else, it was interesting. A social experiment. A learning experience. A good first try.
But bye-bye, Bernie. You lost the primaries. It’s 2016 and you’re not getting my vote.
One candidate down. There were still five more on my DCSingles plan.
(Or this year a couple dozen if you count all those 2020 Democrats!)
Its still early in the election season.
Let’s see where it goes.
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