Sunday, July 21, 2013

My First Alaska Date

This is from when I lived in Alaska in 2011. It's super old and of course, my style as evolved and such. But I was digging through some old material and just found it really funny so I thought I'd post for kicks!

I am single. Perhaps this is because I am a workaholic who can’t seem to squeeze in that sort of stuff. Or maybe because my dog, Dasher is a man hater who snaps and growls like a dragon at every guy who tries to take on that missing father figure role in his life. Or it could possibly be because I am the type of girl who writes blogs poking fun at my dates. Regardless of the reason, I am lingering in that lovely stage of singledom that automatically puts me “on the market” like cow at a county fair.

While I was in college, I didn’t date. I didn’t have time... at least, that’s what I like to tell myself. The truth is, I never really knew how to date. The whole charade is confusing. There are constantly those questions of “What am I supposed to say? How much information should I reveal on the first date? Should I flirt? How do I flirt? Do I call him or wait for him to call me? How long do I wait?” It’s as if dating is this big confusing game that out of my own stubbornness, I never learned how to play.

Now, add geography into the equation and that mess just scatters and thickens.
In my experience, like any other living thing like plants or animals, men change with their habitat. In the south, they are polite and chivalrous, but easily shocked once I speak my mind. On the west coast, they can handle an outspoken woman, but tend to suffer from a chronic Peter Pan syndrome of never wanting to grow up. So California’s got plenty of those 30-year-old beach bums shrugging with those, “I’m just not ready to get tied down yet” excuses. In the south, you make plans and keep them. On the west coast, plans don’t exist unless made 3 minutes prior. Traveling through Europe was even more confusing. In some countries, men were shy but paid for your dinner and drinks. In others, they were forward and expected you to fork up every cent of your share. Some countries were packed with reserved, quiet men while it was the norm for them to shout lewd remarks at you in others.

Naturally, I was curious about what Alaska men were like.
That’s when I went out with Harry. It was on my first Alaska date that I realized I’d entered a new world.
His name’s not really Harry.
I’ve got to protect this guy’s identity and I thought Harry was a suitable name because of the bushy fluff of man fur that smothered nearly every inch of his body.
Ok. When I read that aloud, that sounds really mean. Oops.
“No wonder you’re single, Maggie,” I thought after catching myself in my judgmental thoughts.
But in my defense, try to understand where I’m coming from.
I spent my entire adult life in the land of metrosexuality. Where I come from, a MANicure is perfectly manly and an eyebrow wax here and there is a cultural norm. In the big city, men are urban, smooth, and pretty. Before coming to Alaska, I spent 8 years in urban California: San Diego, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. By my move to the last frontier, I thought body hair was something that  died out with evolution, like fangs.

I had to remind myself that men changed with their habitat. Of course my Alaska date had fur. Men needed to be slick chested for those hot, sweaty California beaches. But in Alaska, they need that fur to keep them warm in the winter. How dare I judge Harry for being hairy. Those tumbleweeds poking out of his collar was likely his key to his survival!

So, I ignored my fears of Harry being a closeted ware wolf with a love for Japanese food and focused on my sushi.
Once I quit fearing the fuzz, I enjoyed my dinner with Harry. I didn’t feel any sparks, but the conversation was pleasant enough so I agreed to go for a “walk” with him after dinner.

Driving to the place where we’d walk, Harry and I picked up the conversation again.
“I hit a moose on this road once,” he informed me.
I knew moose were abundant in Alaska. I already saw a few in someone’s yard nearly smack dab in the middle of downtown Anchorage, but I couldn’t imagine what I would do if I hit one.
“Wow, what did you do with it?” I asked.
Harry looked at me as if I had just asked him where babies came from.
“Uh, I ate it,” he said to me like I was the stupidest human being alive. “What else would I do with it?”

I thought about a time  in my life when I became curious about death. “What happens to us when we die?” was a common question before I began wondering about reproduction. I was about 5 years old when I convinced my mom to pick up a dead kitty on the side of the road. We buried it in my grandmother’s garden.

“I don’t know,” I responded, feeling foolish for my ignorance. “Bury it? Have a moose funeral?”

I would later find out that Harry was a compulsive liar. I’m assuming that this was one of the ones he told to impress the Alaska newbie because what Harry said he did was illegal. It turns out that when animals are killed on the road, whoever hit and kills an animal is required to report it. You know how sick people get on lists for organs like hearts and lungs? Well, Alaska does the same thing for road kill! There is a waiting list and when your turn is up, you have to stop whatever you’re doing to pick that animal up and feed it to your family!

Already on one date, I was learning so much about my new state.

After living in cities my whole adult life, I automatically assumed that we’d be walking somewhere with cement under our toes. So, I thanked myself for ditching high heels for my hiking sandals when we were trudging through a trail into the woods.

Now I know this sounds like a scenario leading up to a gory mess in a horror flick with the moose killing ware wolf leading his date into the woods, but no violence ever happened.

However, out of nowhere, Harry did begin screaming and clapping hysterically.
It was my turn to look at him like he was the stupidest human being alive.
“What are you doing?” I asked, both shocked and skeptical.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said with a smile. “I forgot that you’re new here. I’m chasing the bears away. They hate noise.”

Although things didn’t work out with Harry and he did not become my permanent bear defender, I am proud to say that I’ve been living in alaska for 2 and a half months and feel that a man without a beard is no man at all. I have not yet registered myself for the on-call road kill list though. :)

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