Fourteen years ago today, I went on the worst date in my life.
Highlights (Lowlights?) include, but are not limited to: waking up ungodly early, physical activity (which I wasn’t particularly in the shape for), physical pain/torture, fainting, embarrassment, inappropriate conversation, and being “stuck” with no way to gracefully back out should the need arise. It was a first date with this man, so of course, it had all the overlying awkwardness: am I impressing him, do I *want* to impress him, is he impressing me, etc. It was two days before Valentine’s Day so there were plenty of folks around feeling all lovey, and assuming that we were too.
You see, we were skiing. As dates go, skiing is probably a great idea when both of you are avid skiers, or at least competent. I, however, had never skied before in my life. As a first date, I strongly recommend against it.
I lived about 50 minutes north of this man, who wanted me at his house by 6:30AM. Being a date, I knew I should at least look alive when I arrived. I don’t do mornings, not now, not then. But, I made a valiant effort to be at least awake enough to drive, which meant showering, a little bit of foundation, and brushing my teeth. Makeup, I knew, would be a bad idea; I didn’t want to be up on a mountain, sweaty with raccoon eyes. I had to gather snow gear, leave a phone number with my housemate, and even gas up the car before I left.
We went to Crystal Mountain. Beautiful spot, don’t get me wrong. The weather was perfectly… well, I don’t remember much about the weather, it was cold. I had a pair of ski boots in my possession I had inherited from college, they *felt* like they fit, how was I to know? I’d worn more uncomfortable high heels for hours. He had skis that were close enough to my size, so we didn’t need to rent, but still needed to get my boots put on the bindings. Humiliation number one, they ask me my weight in full view of this cute guy. I gave them my driver’s license weight, which of course is barely believable. Binding adjustment was very fast, and we get me out to attach said skis to my feet.
With skis on them, the boots no longer felt as comfortable as they had. Oh well, I can live. I stood up, stomped my feet once or twice, and the next thing I knew, he was picking me up off the ground where I’d fallen. Fallen? No, not so much as fainted, right into his arms. You see, it was now 9:30AM, I’d been up since 4:30, it was high altitude, and I’d not eaten breakfast. I never eat breakfast, and didn’t think to make an exception. He graciously suggested we hit the lodge and get my blood sugar taken care of. On my way, I stopped in at the ladies’ room and found that … well, at the risk of over sharing, it was the first day of *that* time, and it had hit with a vengeance sometime in the past hour. Great. This day is just going swimmingly.
An hour later, we’re back on the slope. The next hour went poorly, even in my athletic days, I have never had much leg strength. I’m a swimmer, I’ve always been broad-shouldered and carry my strength in my back and arms. My legs just kept on dying. My feet hurt. A lot. I nearly started crying before we discovered just how poorly those hand-me-down boots were fitting me, back to the rental shop we went, rented boots and things went much better. The addition of another pair of socks helped them NOT rub my blisters. I even made it down Crystal’s bunny slope at least once without falling.
After lunch, my confidence restored, we began to tackle the slightly longer version of the green run. I began to fall more and more often as my leg strength ran out, and it took me longer and longer to get up. He patiently kept trying to demonstrate the “easy” way to stand up after falling, and I kept failing at it miserably. By the end of the day, I was pretty well beaten, physically and emotionally. I insisted he go for a run while I sat in the lodge drinking hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps to warm up. Really, he enjoyed skiing, he should be able to do at least one run for the money he’d spent. It was a long drive home, and, while it wasn’t silent, I just *knew* that he’d never call me again. I was humiliated I’d agreed to such a thing, and embarrassed that I hadn’t been able to keep up. From what I understand, the only thoughts in his head at the time were the same, there’s no way she’d agree to go out with me again after something like this.
The next day, I could barely walk. I hurt all over. I was miserable. I felt old, for the first time, and I was merely 24. But he called! We did end up going out again, although we both agreed that the traditional dinner and a movie sounded like a much better plan.
We got married a year and a half later, and are still together today. Happy date-anniversary, sweetie, it was all worth it. :-D