Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How do you say "open-minded" in Finnish?

So here's another question. Should I have a checklist? When I go on a date with a guy, should my goal be to have fun and a good conversation for an hour, or should I be evaluating him as a potential husband? (Likes dogs? Check. Doesn't smoke? Check. Gainfully employed? Check....)

There are pros and cons for both approaches. I mean, sure I am looking for a husband, so if I know instantly that I'd never marry this person then I could save us both some time. On the other hand, that isn't very Zen-in-the-moment. I don't want to spend an hour being critical when I could enjoy the company of my date. These guys, even if they aren't My Guy, are still decent people who deserve happiness. I should give them a shot, right?

That's what I'm thinking when Chirpy Minion #1 calls from the matchmaking service.

Minion: Hi, Jen. I have a new date for you. His name is "Guy". He has blond hair and blue--
Jen: Wait, what's his name?

I should say I'm kind of ruining the story here because of my policy to refer to all of my dates as Guy. In this case, the anonymity is particularly important, because this guy has a really, really uncommon name. Like, sounds like a cartoon character made of balloons and noise-makers. So when I say "Guy", imagine that she said...

Minion: "Toodle-eee-ooo".
Jen: I have never met a "Toodle-eee-ooo" before.
Minion: I know! He's Finnish.
Jen: Ah. Alright then. Sorry to interrupt. He has blue...?
Minion: Eyes!
Jen: Eyes. Excellent.
Minion: And he likes spelunking and noodle farming.
Jen: Perfect! I can't wait. When is he free?

She didn't really say "noodle farming". I don't remember what she said, but it wasn't something worrisome like "plotting world domination", so off I go to a lunch at a fancy seafood restaurant to meet Guy.

Guy is a lot of fun to talk to, in fact. We discuss spelunking and noodle farming in some detail, but I spend most of my time asking about Finland. I've never been there. What is it like? How cold does it get in the winter? How does Finland compare to other Scandinavian countries? Which Scandinavian country is the best place to go and get drunk? (His answer: all of them.)

I'm enjoying the conversation, but in the back of my mind I'm still debating. I don't think I'd ever marry this guy, but he is fun. At the end of the date, should I give him my contact information, which would signify that I want to go on another date, or should I not? The matchmaking service won't give his personal information; if I want to see him again I'll need to give him my e-mail address.

As he's talking, I'm weighing the pros and cons. He's fun to talk to. I could probably talk to him for another hour without getting bored. Could I talk to him more than that? We have a few things in common, like our jobs in software. He has some interesting hobbies, such as noodle farming, that I'd like to learn more about. He passes the basic "clean and can hold a conversation" test. And I'm always interested in other countries and languages; that's cool.

But. I feel like he isn't my guy. There isn't a reason, it's just a feeling. Is that unfair? Am I not giving him a chance? There isn't anything wrong with him. It's just a feeling. But, no. No. I'm being open-minded here. That's the point of this dating thing.

Jen: Well, thanks for meeting with me. Here's my business card. If you'd like to go out again, send me some e-mail.
Guy: Oh! Well, here is my card. It'd be okay if you contact me.

Something about that seemed funny. "It'd be okay"? I don't know. It doesn't seem weird when I type it, but I had a funny feeling about it.

I wonder if other countries also have the "who calls whom" dilemma. Does the guy call the girl? Is it considered forward for the girl to contact him? Does he typically wait 48 hours so that she doesn't think he's desperate? Does she play hard to get? Is it different in the world of e-mail?

I really have no idea what the rules are, not in the U.S. or in any country. As far as I'm concerned, when I said, "If you'd like to go out again, send me some e-mail" I was being perfectly unambiguous. If he's interested, he'll do something about it. If he's not, meh, at least I learned all about noodle farming.

So, did he send e-mail?

Technically, yes.

Three-and-a-half months later, he sends me e-mail that said: "Why didn't you send me mail? I told you could! I was waiting all this time! Why did you say you'd send mail and then you didn't send mail???"

Mentally, I add to my checklist: Willing to get off his butt for me.

Toodle-eee-ooo, Can't-Be-Bothered-To-Send-E-mail Guy.

No comments: