Pop-Up Post: The First Date

50 First Dates (Happy Madison Productions)

50 First Dates (Happy Madison Productions)

First dates are supposed to be magical.

They are the culmination of the law of attraction, bringing together two people who decide to see where this magnetic force might lead them—and secretly hoping it leads to that most elusive and fleeting of emotions: romantic love. Sometimes this attraction is instantaneous—what some refer to as “love at first sight”—and sometimes it develops over time—as it does when two close friends finally get together. In any of its forms, though, one thing is perfectly clear: it is really, really good… and that’s putting it lightly.

In my experience, first dates always begin with the nervousness and anxiety of asking that crucial first question: Would you like to go out with me sometime? After all, the response dictates whether or not the date even occurs, so establishing its existence is always job one. Once this detail is nailed down, though—as well as the logistics of how to meet and where to go—the nerves continue to job two: actually going through with it.

Don’t get me wrong. The anxiety and immediate self-criticism I experience are always accompanied by excitement and great anticipation. I want to go on the date, learn more about this person and see if we have enough chemistry to create love. It’s just that this flurry of conflicting emotions—normally with plenty of sweating to boot—keeps me on edge as I prepare for the date, drive over to pick her up and walk to her door. It bothers me right up to the moment I finally forget about everything that might go wrong, stop doubting myself and remember just how magical first dates can be.

And that is the moment the door opens and I see her standing there. The moment it finally becomes real.

Romance turned to terror for Jennifer Rosoff (stuff.co.nz)

Romance turned to terror for Jennifer Rosoff (stuff.co.nz)

Jennifer Rosoff had a first date on Wednesday night. And by early Thursday morning, she and her date found themselves back at her 17th floor New York City apartment. The magic had carried them past midnight and things were going well, so they stepped out on the balcony for a quick smoke and chat.

Unfortunately, that’s when the magic turned to horror.

Jennifer was standing near the railing—maybe even leaning on it—when it suddenly gave way. She fell over the side, dropped fifteen stories down and landed on a piece of construction scaffolding on the second floor. Needless to say, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

And her first date sadly became her last.

A broken railing can mean disaster (TripAdvisor)

A broken railing can mean disaster (TripAdvisor)

Once found, romantic love can be difficult to sustain. And for many, it lasts only temporarily, replaced later by things like loyalty, responsibility, obligation and other emotions often mistaken for love. But when romantic love isn’t even given a chance to bloom—as in Jennifer’s sad case—it reminds us all that if we are fortunate enough to find it, we must fight for it. And we should keep on fighting for it because it is precious, it is rare and—above all—it is good.

Love is all you need. The Beatles were right, you know?

Tasteless alternate ending: As I was concluding this article, I thought about inserting a really meaningful song lyric to help illustrate the power of love. And no, “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News never crossed my mind. I started thinking about my favorite songs, pondering lyrics that might suit my purpose and still could think of nothing. Then a lyric from one of my favorite New Order songs came to mind. It’s from “Bizarre Love Triangle” and, unfortunately, seemed far too inappropriate to use given the circumstances.

At the same time, though, it possessed a certain dark humor that was inescapable. Before I share it, please know that I stumbled upon this at random, include it only for posterity’s sake and in no way intend to make light of the terrible tragedy described in this post. It goes something like this:

Every time I see you falling

I get down on my knees and pray

I’m waiting for that final moment

You say the words that I can’t say.

See what I mean?

Posted on August 3, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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