Saturday, February 09, 2008

In the Middle of the Room

Earlier this week, a parent emailed me, requesting that I change the blocking for the show so that her son (one of the Dauntli (that would be our plural form of "Dauntless")) wouldn't have to kiss Winnifred. While I really did appreciate that she came to me with her concerns (as opposed to going over my head to the principal, which parents are all too apt to do), her timing was a bit unfortunate. We had blocked that particular scene the day before with the other cast, so the company was sitting in the audience, anticipating the kiss. Per the mom's request, I adjusted the blocking, but of course everybody noticed and reacted. Loudly.

So in my repsonse to the email, I pointed out that it was unfortunate that she had waited until the day we were blocking the scene to make her concerns known. Especially since the leads have known since the day they were cast that there was going to be a kiss in the play. I really didn't mind too much changing the blocking, but it's one of those cases where the parent made the embarrassment far worse by interfering to try to save her kid from embarrassment.

It was a little annoying, too, that the parent suggested that I was forcing the kids to kiss. As politely as I could, I pointed out that I wasn't sure how I was supposed to know what the kids are thinking if they never say anything to me about discomfort or not wanting to do the blocking.

Kelley, afterwards, pointed out that perhaps having your first kiss be a stage kiss is the best way to go - there's no possibility of rejection, no fear about misreading signals, and if you suck, well, blame it on all of the people watching you do it.

Karma apparently saw a chance to have some fun on that note. Tonight I went on the aforementioned date. I'll say first of all that the guy was perfectly nice, but unfortunately I felt no, well, sparks. Still, it was going along pleasant enough for a first date. We had dinner, then went to a play (cheesy, melodrama, amateur style). I had never been to this particular theater before, but it seems that the tradition is that after the play and before the final act (cowboy music and bad jokes), the evening's emcee comes out and banters for a bit with the audience. He announced birthdays first and have everyone sing to them. Then he asked if there were any anniversaries out there. No replies.

Emcee: How about first dates? Anyone on a first date?
Me: chanting in my head Don't raise your hand, don't raise your hand.
Date: Raises his hand.
Emcee: Really? You're on a first date?
The house lights come up, the entire audience turns in their seats to stare at us.
Emcee: thinking he's funny What website did you meet on?
Me: in my head Don't say it-
Date: eHarmony.
Emcee: Seriously? So, you two have 30 traits in common!
Audience chuckles, continues to stare.
Emcee: So, how's it going so far?
Date: gives a thumbs up.
Emcee: You look good together. Stand up, let everyone see you.
By now, I'm sitting with my legs and arms crossed, not looking at Date. As opposed to everyone else in the room.
Emcee: No, seriously, stand up!
We do.

Emcee: Well, maybe we can make things go better. Or make them awkward-
Me: You mean more than you're doing?
Emcee: laughs Ha ha ... yeah. So, what we're going do is, we're going to sing "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" while you two dance, and at the end you're going to kiss.
The entire audience by now is more on our side than the emcee's, and you can hear the sympathetic exclamations. But the emcee is the one with the mic, and so it continues.
Emcee: sings Let me call you sweetheart...
Audience joins in. Date and I stand awkwardly next to each other. Really, I like dancing, but we're standing in the middle of a dinner theater with about six inches of space between the table and the chairs. Thus, no dancing, just awkward standing.
The song ends, everyone's looking. Date, to his credit, responds by sticking out his hand and we shake firmly (and thankfully). Finally, still laughing at us and his own emcee cleverness, the emcee cues the start of the next act.

I really don't embarrass easily - teaching teenagers really helps with that, but I can honestly say that was a ridiculously awkward experience, and shame on that emcee for doing that to people on their first date. On the other hand, I now have an awesome bad first date story.

As for the rest of the evening, well, it was educational for me - I realized that I am a snob. For instance, when we sat down at the table at Olive Garden (his choice), and I unrolled my napkin, he said, "Oh, it's one of those fancy places where you have to put the napkin in your lap!" I really felt bad about my realization, but I couldn't escape it. I am a snob, and I'm not inclined to change. I am comfortable in "fancy" restaurants, I enjoy international travel, I read all the time, I like independent movies, and when someone asks me what shows I saw when I was in New York, they're not going to be titles that they usually recognize ("Oh, Part One of Tom Stoppard's Utopia trilogy," is usually met with confused silence). I want to date someone like that - I'm comfortable around people like that. It's not that I'm better than someone who doesn't do those things - it's just different worlds. It's like people who are sports fanatics or who like camping - I don't, but that's fine for them. I'll just go to an art museum instead.

The other thing I realized in this latest risk-taking endeavor of mine is that I would rather be happy and single than with someone that isn't right for me. I keep forgetting that I'm actually confident and have healthy self-esteem. Being single right now is not what I want, but I am not going to settle and I'm glad for that. Despite what Grandma Cook thinks.

I'm a little sad that it didn't work out, and I hope the guy doesn't feel bad. As Heidi pointed out to me a while ago, I don't choose the easy path. But I am happy. So no sorry feelings, okay?


  1. ...sometimes it's that 31st trait that's the kicker, isn't it?

  2. Amanda! I had this same experience at the same theater! Yep, I was on a set up on a group date, so it was the other people in the group that pointed us out. Yep, we had to dance, but as we were on an aisle we actually did have to dance, and at the end the emcee said "Kiss her! Kiss her!" Luckily my date grabbed my hand, but that was the end of the date. There has never been such awkward silence in a car on the way home before. Glad to hear we had the same bad date. :)