(read to the end for an Isabel side note)
Chris's Final Date
Key Takeaways: It's only sweat
Name: Penny (to quote LL Cool J, "Don't call it a comeback")
Length of date: 4 hours
How the date was obtained: Coordinated over text
Where: Republic of Pie / Tamashii Ramen House
I have a joke about an ex who hated his moles. One time I tried to make him feel better about it by saying moles are just nipples that lost their way. I kissed his moles while saying this and as I kissed he felt better about it. The premise for this joke is an honest sentiment: my favorite part of relationships is when a partner is able to make someone feel comfortable about something they struggle accepting. Sweat has been a constant point of discomfort for me. I’m convinced I’m part furnace because no matter the diet, no matter the temperature, no matter the anti-perspirant, I sweat. School dances were avoided at all costs because I knew at some point someone was going to say “Put your hands in the air! Wave 'em like you just don't care!” and I’d be the one sweaty boy with his arms down, trying to hide his puddle pits.
Penny and I scheduled a chess match at Republic of Pie. I rarely engage in competition with people because most competitions involve sweat. Chess, though, and other board games, offer safe, sweat-free competition. I won, of course. I mean, I’m the one that took lessons in third grade. Penny only just started learning. There was no chance! I actually started to sweat a little when I noticed her annoyance at my victory. At one point she said I should stop being a dick and while I recognized it as a joke, it was delivered so deadpan I was worried I was actively ruining my chances with her by winning. I’ll be honest, I really like Penny. The last date I went on with Bashful was really just to shake things up a little bit, but Penny was all I could think about during that date. To lose my chance with her to a chess match? Is this the plot of The Queen’s Gambit? I don’t know! I’m panicking and while I don’t doubt some of her annoyance with my expertise at chess was real, at the end of the game she said she was starving. Hangry is an emotion I definitely relate to. Her frustrations explained, we walked down the street and continued the date at Tamashii Ramen House.
If I was with my family, I would have ordered the hottest ramen they had because family can’t ditch family for sweating through a meal. Yes, I sweat through hot meals. One of my secret fears is getting big enough to be invited on Hot Ones and having to turn down the invitation because I don’t want the internet to make fun of my sweating. I was with Penny, so I went with medium spiced ramen to avoid becoming a puddle. It did not work. I start dripping halfway through my meal.
“I don’t care.”
“Mhm,” I say unconvinced, dabbing my forehead. It’s very hard to look cool while dabbing one’s own forehead.
“I really don’t. Why would I criticize you for something out of your control?”
I semi-jokingly talked about my sweating problem, but you should know it really is a huge insecurity for me. I’ve spent so much time alive hating myself for sweating and while people have told me not to worry, there are very few times where I’ve been convinced they mean it. I think Penny meant it. My favorite part of a relationship started happening before a relationship was solidified: she made me feel comfortable with an insecurity I struggle to accept. She made me so comfortable with it, I suggested going on a hike together. I’ve gone on one hike date and it was disastrous, but I don’t think this one will be. Why?
"Your body performs as it should," she said.
I've heard people say I shouldn't care about sweating, but I've never heard someone say my body is doing exactly what it should. This is my last post for the month so I won’t be able to tell you about the hike, but let me be bold and say it went great. Let me be bold and say a relationship solidified.
The future for us… I began Date-A-Week not expecting a relationship, but life is unpredictable. I got a lemon. I'm going to do my best to make some really good lemonade.
Next Week: I'm going to go on a hike with Penny. I'm going to sweat. I'm going to not care as little as possible.
Isabel side note:
Every Saturday night, the date-a-weekers send me their posts and I have the pleasure of reading them before they are published. This month, I found myself checking and re-checking to see when Chris sent me his posts. I couldn't wait to read his intimate, reflective, and charming posts. And let me tell you folks, he's all that and more when you meet him in person. Penny is lucky to spend time with him and I wish them nothing but the best.
Also, Chris has made me want to come clean about something. I sweat too. I've always been self-conscious about my clammy hands. It's one reason that I've never felt comfortable holding hands with a significant other. I also use to bring a bag of chalk with me to school so that I could chalk up my hands before stress-inducing tests. As I did this, a plume of white chalk would rise up from my backpack. I'm sure it looked suspicious, but I was more comfortable feeling insecure about white powder coming from my backpack than turning in a wet test.
I say this because Chris's vulnerability creates a pathway for others, like me, to tip-toe their way to self-acceptance. You are amazing, Chris and I'm so happy to know you!