Let’s Skip to the Good Stuff

We haven’t had an installment of our Tiebreakers series in far, far too long, and although this post doesn’t technically qualify as a Tiebreaker, it’s at least a first cousin.I’m posting this today because this coming Saturday Melissa and I will celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  (Actually we’re going to celebrate it on Friday because I got the date wrong when I made the arrangements.)  I have some thoughts about marriage I’ll share later, but for now I want to post something from the transcript of our early relationship, which was easy to find, because our entire relationship is preserved for posterity in emails, chats, and blogs.  Not since John and Abigail Adams has a couple’s correspondence been so fastidiously recorded.  Flirtations, fights, breaking up, making up – it’s all there, and searchable by key word.  In honor of our first anniversary, I’m printing the very first email I ever sent Melissa, which also doubles as me asking her out for the first time.

IMG_0284

I actually think this is the first picture we ever took together.  And the only one I know of where my eyes are dramatically different sizes.

A little context: I’d met Melissa a few times before sending this email.  We were in the same ward, and knew a few of the same people.  I had even tried to strike up a conversation with her a time or two, only to be met by one-word answers and minimal eye contact.  Realizing that cornering her at church wasn’t doing the trick, I asked a common friend for her email address and sent the following:

Melissa,

Hi.  I wanted to talk to you today, but you seem to travel in a pack, and I’ve never been good at approaching packs.  Which is weird, because I was raised by wolves.  Anyway, I would like to take you to dinner this week.  Here is a list of reasons why I believe you should accept my invitation:

*  I will pay.  And I will allow you to order anything under $9 (including tax, but not tip).

*  I will come with a list of prepared conversational topics should we find ourselves without anything to talk about.  (Sample: “Melissa, why do like me so much?”)

*  I am moderately handsome with the right lighting.

*  I will put you as one of my top Myspace friends for one week if you accept.

*  My patriarchal blessing says I will marry someone whose name rhymes with Shmelissa Shmarison.  So, you know.

I’m fairly free this week, and can accomodate your schedule.

Davis

IMG_0563

Am I the kind of person who asks people out via email?  Yes.  But you’re the kind of person who flashes peace signs in photos, so I think it all evens out.

Now, is it my best work?  No, it’s not.  Are there some jokes in there that make me wince?  Yes, there are.  Is it strange and a little heartbreaking to think of the simpler days when we used Myspace?  Yes, it is.  There is one joke in there, though, of which I am excessively fond, and that is the one about the patriarchal blessing.  I’m pretty sure our audience here is exclusively Mormon, so I’m not going to bother defining that term.  If you’re reading this and you’re not Mormon, shoot me an email, and I’ll have two of my friends go to your house to tell you all about it.  Anyway, I loved that joke, and was pretty sure it was going to establish me in Melissa’s mind as a fun, funny guy.

Imagine my surprise, then, when after a few months of dating Melissa confessed to me that the patriarchal blessing line had very nearly been a deal-breaker.  Apparently it was “creepy.”  How can it be creepy if it’s very clearly a joke?  It can’t.  (And this is further evidence of my theory that girls like to act like they’re creeped out by suitors when they in fact are not.  “Ewwww, you guys, he brought me flowers!!!  Creepy!!!!”  Topic for another day.)

So, Melissa says this joke/email was “creepy,” I say it’s “not creepy/great.”  You say . . . “not creepy/great.”  I knew it.

IMG_0009

True love is sitting through a 3D U2 concert movie for someone.

This email demonstrates a phenomenon that I’ve always found interesting when it comes to relationships of any type:  You don’t know someone, and then you do.  I know, right?  But seriously, it’s so interesting to think back to a few years ago when I was a random acquaintance of Melissa’s; she really didn’t know me, and I really didn’t know her.  She had her circle of intimates – friends and family – with whom she was close and shared a great deal of history.  These people were extremely important to her, and I wasn’t.

Trying to date someone – or trying to be their friend – is essentially declaring, “Hey, I want to go from being this person you only kind of know, this loose acquaintance on the outside of your world, to being like those people inside it, your friends and your family.  People who you love.”  Tacitly making this declaration by trying to date someone or be their friend always made – and in the case of friends, still makes – me feel a little vulnerable, like something of a striver or an interloper, someone trying to get into a party to which they weren’t invited. It made me feel like an outsider looking in, and perhaps for that reason I’ve always been anxious to get that phase of the relationship over with.

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Whether it was creepy or awesome, I’m glad I did it.

I sometimes felt like saying, “Look, I know I don’t mean a thing to you right now.  We haven’t shared anything, and I haven’t proved myself as someone who you can trust or who has attributes that you will love.  You already have a bunch of people in your life who you love and trust, and you’re going to go home from this date and call one of them and tell them about me and our date.  But in a few month’s time, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll be one of those people.  You’ll be calling me after hanging out with them.  So is there a way for us to just sort of, you know, skip to that point?”

I never said that, of course, but the desire to say it probably led me to be the kind of guy who joked about getting married in an email asking someone out on a first date.  And my desire to skip to the part where your lives are deeply intertwined turns out to have been a well-founded one, because once you’re there it’s pretty great.

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39 Responses to Let’s Skip to the Good Stuff

  1. Eliza says:

    Oh, cute, funny and so true! Everyone knows that the dating games if full of awkwardness, but you totally nailed why its that way. funny story and email btw. I want you to put up the email that she sent you when you she was out of town and chris and dad thought there was absolutely no hope that she likes you. lol. good stuff.

  2. Megan Bell says:

    I say it’s not creepy, but it’s completely fantastic.

  3. tyler says:

    I give two thumbs up for your work in the email ! melissa would have been a fool to ignore it.

  4. Troy says:

    My wife and I remember this email from when it was read at your wedding, and we both agree it was masterful–especially the blessing line, and not in spite of it. It did get a little awkward when my wife said a little louder than she meant to: “I would date him if he sent me that email”…I was like “hey have you tried the cake? Wow, it’s sooo good”.

  5. Danica says:

    Here’s me weighing in:

    A) Great post. Zack and I also have our first summer of long-distance “dating” (via emails and phone calls – with calling cards mind you – since his parents moved to UT while he was on his mission) memorialized forever since I may or may not have printed them all out and have them in a folder somewhere.

    B) Your bullet points 1-4 were awesome. Also, the closing line: so great. But I’m sorry, I’m going to go with Melissa on this one and say the marriage joke was a little creepy. I think (Sample: “Melissa, why do like me so much?”) was cute and implied YOU actually liked HER a lot. That’s fine to admit in asking someone out for the first time. The fact that you felt the need to also include an allusion to getting married makes you seem a little creepy/stalkerish. It was obviously a joke, but one of those jokes that’s like a laugh-with-your-mouth-closed-joke. Sorry? You are ridiculously funny so I’m sure you don’t get those types of laughs very much, but having served in YW for a couple years out here I’ve heard it plenty.

    C) “Ewwww, you guys, he brought me flowers!!! Creepy!!!!” is hilarious and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

    D) Happy anniversary, guys.

  6. Andrea W. says:

    I seem to recall you asking if that line was too much. I seem to recall advising that it probably was. I hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson – I’m always right. I agree that it really is hilarious, but I was right in that it creeped Melissa out and almost ruined your chances. That said, I LOVE that email, such great stuff. LOL, Troy so funny about your wife.

  7. Danica says:

    Or did I seriously have anxiety after leaving such a critical comment? I have a bunch of kids over here for Carson’s preschool right now and snuck away to come say sorry. Who I am to critique one of the masters? My comment came out too harshly I’m afraid. I obviously think everything you guys say is the funniest crap ever or I wouldn’t tear through these post with dizzy abandon like I do, as Ryan put it. 🙂

  8. StefStar says:

    Freaking hilarious, not creepy.
    But…if the boy writing it struck me as creepy already, it would come across creepy. Jokes are that way–They are colored by the impression you already have of someone.

    PS Kudos for the straightforward “I would like to take you to dinner this week.” That sort of thing is far too rare these days, and takes guts to say…even if you only say it in an email 🙂

  9. Braden says:

    Danica, it’s ok to offer mild critiques like that, I promise. That helps them be at their best form. So don’t worry.

    Dave, I am dying to read your post about girls pretending to be creeped out. I think you have hit on an important sociological phenomenon. I am glad you did not ask me about that email because I would definitely have told you not to include the marriage thing. It’s just too open to misunderstanding. It’s very funny if you are keyed in to your sense of humor and all the context behind it, though.

    Great post. Love what you wrote about the idea of relationships.

  10. Ben Pratt says:

    Happy anniversary!

    One of Cami’s friends told us while we were engaged that we had somehow skipped the awkward stage of dating. She was right, and it was at least partially due to bringing up the possibility of marriage early. As Donald Trump once said, “To win big, you have to risk looking creepy. [citation needed]”

  11. Alesa says:

    I would have to agree the blessing line is a tad creepy. It was actually my first thought when I read it. The rest of the email was awesome though. Congrats!!

  12. Davis says:

    Eliza, the chat to which you are referring will never see the light of day.

    Megan and Tyler, you are both obviously possessed of fantastic judgment.

    Troy, she had her chance, and she traded it all for a shot at Austin Montgomery. And to be honest, I can’t really blame her. He was a Lagoon-A-Beach lifeguard, for crying out loud.

    Danica, I’m laughing at the line about laughing with your mouth closed. And I appreciate your calling it like you see it. Even if you are wrong. And are now banned from our blog.

    Andrea, yes, you did advise me against it. I mentioned that to Melissa later on. I asked you if you didn’t like it because it was creepy or blasphemous. You said both. I saw you are a jerk.

    StefStar, it’s true – the source matters. And maybe the fact that Melissa surprised me one night going through the garbage outside her apartment – causing me to hiss and scamper away – had something to do with her thinking the joke was creepy.

    Braden, let’s not encourage Danica. She’s obviously forgot our rules about blogger infallibility.

    Ben, I’m laughing at {citation needed.}

    Alesa, honestly, who asked you if you thought it was creepy? I did? True. But I wouldn’t have asked you that if I had known you would say it was creepy.

  13. Natalie says:

    Your reading of this email was my favorite part of an already excellent wedding dinner. I did go home that night, however, and try to find the email Mel sent ME in response to the above email. It definitely made a splash, and you’re right–it was very nearly a dealbreaker.

    I give you props for diving in with both feet though–that’s the trick to getting to the good stuff; pretend you’re better friends than you are.

  14. Rebecca Bell says:

    i love that email. i think it’s so funny and totally cute. nothing diffuses awkwardness like a good joke.

  15. Brandon says:

    Rebecca, what you say is true, but on the other hand, sometimes nothing else *increases* awkwardness like a bad joke (especially when one is using the joke to try to diffuse awkwardness, and it fails).

  16. Davis says:

    Natalie, I’ve seen that email. It’s not pretty.

    Rebecca, that is the correct answer.

    Brandon, you’re so right. Bad jokes are really the single largest cause of awkwardness.

  17. Troy says:

    Ladies, please…the patriarchal blessing joke is NOT creepy. It might be creepy if he had said “Melissa Harrison”, but even then, I would think it was funny. He added an extra layer and said it rhymed with “Shmelissa Shmarison” which makes it a complete gut buster.

    You want creepy? I wrote home to (my) Melissa when I was on my mission and, like Babe Ruth, I pointed to center field and confidently called my shot. Yep, that’s right. I told her I was going to marry her. I didn’t even say I would “shmarry” her. Straight up called it. This, with a total of two dates with each other. I was almost a year from coming home. She was in a serious relationship. Well…admittedly it was pretty creepy. Creepy until two years later when I hunkered down over the plate and cracked a walk-off homer in the exact place I pointed to. Then it was wicked awesome. Just like The Bambino.

    So it’s a good thing (my) Melissa’s Creepy Meter didn’t go off. And it’s also a good thing her serious boyfriend went mysteriously missing when I came home. Never did find the body.

  18. Macy Bell says:

    lol , Troy. I actually remember hearing about that letter. Good times. I am glad it all worked out. I actually married my creepy boyfriend too.

    Davis, I don’t think it is creepy, just kind of weird. I mean I know you so I love that email (and loved that you read it at your wedding dinner),and think it is pretty hilarious, but if I didn’t know you I would be pretty weirded out. But then again, you boys are a little trigger happy with the old “M” word. Lets face it , It was probably dropped to Amber Swapp.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Don’t mind me, I’m just an occasional blog lurker that likes to be distracted from my tedious desk job. I’ll take credit for one comment thus far, which was the onyx edition chia pet comment a way’s back, just so that you know I’m not completely hiding in the shadows and will be quietly building some blog-lurking credibility over time.

    Anyhow, I feel compelled to offer high praise for your bravery, Davis. You went right for the kill in asking her out, none of that whole, “we should hang out sometime” sheepishness. You deserve some admiration for the guts it took to be that direct, although I won’t heap it on too thick because getting raised by wolves does imbue one with an inherent sense of boldness.

    As for the blessing joke/creepiness level, as a girl I would say you had already scored so many points in your opening lines that the patriarchal blessing part detracted only slightly. Sort of like how they make sombreros with a minor mistake in them on purpose, to keep the gods from being too jealous.

    Love your blog.

  20. Christian says:

    Megan, it’s good to see you around here. Welcome.

    Danica, I can’t believe how rude you are being. I just don’t know what’s gotten into you lately, but I hope it’s just a phase.

    Troy and Ben, lol.

    Eliza, “I want you to put up the email that she sent you when you she was out of town and chris and dad thought there was absolutely no hope that she likes you”

    It’s in my gmail. Give me a minute and I’ll have it up for all to enjoy ( Hey D, who’s the faster runner now, dumbcrap? The wrong answer gets the email published).

  21. maweesa says:

    i feel the need to clarify as my view has clearly been misrepresented…. i didn’t find the p-blessing line “creepy” i found it lame, but it turns out getting over the lame joke was worth it. here’s to a year of wedded bliss 🙂

  22. Brandon says:

    >>”Anyhow, I feel compelled to offer high praise for your bravery, Davis. You went right for the kill in asking her out, none of that whole, “we should hang out sometime” sheepishness.You deserve some admiration for the guts it took to be that direct,”

    I think Anonymous is really Elder Oaks, based on this comment. Does anyone remember that talk he gave a few years back about dating (vs. hanging out, etc.)?

  23. Brandon says:

    (Just to be clear- no disrespect meant to Elder Oaks; it was a *great* talk.)

  24. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe you figured me out. I am definitely Elder Oaks. That whole part about being a girl was just to throw you off my true identity.

    Oh well.

    (Please strike that part about my tedious desk job.)

  25. Davis says:

    Brandon, don’t be ridiculous. Elder Oaks doesn’t read this blog. He’s a Dooce man.

  26. Mary says:

    Just recently I was quoting a line from that email (as I remembered from your wedding) to someone. Hilarious.

    I want to know how long it took you to write the original email and how many people were consulted.(based on my experience of being friends with Ron, I’ve learned that these sorts of communication don’t just spontaneously happen).and any lines that got left on the cutting room floor.

  27. Kristan says:

    Love this email! And now that you’re an old married man of 1 year, I want all of your relationship dos and don’ts 🙂 I cannot believe the amount of drama and hilarity email has created for me as of late when it comes to dating . . .

  28. Davis says:

    Troy, I remember when you first kissed Melissa. Because Adam and I were outside the car, spying. Not creepy at all. Just there to support a buddy.

    Macy, I never dropped the M word with Amber. Just the L word. And that’s because we just were so deeply in love.

    Anonymous (Elder Oaks), thanks for stopping by and commenting. And mostly for getting how awesome that email was.

    Kook, you break out the chat, and I break out the picture of you. You know the one I’m talking about.

    Maweesa, we’ll settle this at home.

    Mary, I think I dashed that one off relatively quickly – it probably only took 3 weeks, and passed through the hands of 6 – 7 editors.

    Kristan, there’s only one real “don’t,” and that is: lock your phone, and make all your gchats off the record.

  29. Jenny says:

    I’m going to have to agree with the Mrs. on this one. Everything about your email was great except the marriage part… it made me think, whoa, Creepster! What if you went to dinner with him and he ate with his feet on the table and chewed with his mouth open – how would you get rid of someone who already thought you were committed?

    I am so glad for y’all that everything worked out for the best. Happy anniversary!

  30. lenox says:

    Davis has always been such a great “supporter” when it comes watching friends in blissful moments. I will never forget you braving that filthy window well to offer me support…..i would go to war with you any day….

  31. lenox says:

    congrats on the one year btw…..i think we should also be celebrating our one year Mazatlan anniversary. Of course with loss after loss to Main street, I’m sure its a one you’d rather forget.

  32. shannon says:

    Really? Most people thought the blessing line was creepy? You must be easily creeped out then. I’m with Stef Star. That part had me laughing harder than anything else. But then again, I wasn’t the recipient and I also knew the ending to the story…

    And Troy. Oh yes, the infamous missisonary letter declaring your certain future with Melissa. Ya, creepy. I honestly can’t remember how Melissa reacted to that but I sure remember how I did! It’s been long enough, right?

  33. Christian says:

    I think I have spotted a mis-communication here. All the ladies must think that was a creepy thing for you to say because they think your blessing actually did say you would marry someone whose name rhymes with Shmelissa Shmarrison, and it was creepy of you to reveal that to her so early. To be clear, his blessing didn’t really say that.

  34. Norm says:

    Creepy? Really? Let me tell you something. Creeps aren’t funny. That was clearly a joke. A funny one. You girls who think that’s creepy need to get over yourselves. You should be so lucky to have a guy like Davis joke about marriage with you let alone actually going through with it.

  35. Ryan says:

    Lol. We need Norm around here a little more. He’s a truthteller.

  36. Troy says:

    Shan: I’ll tell you how Melissa reacted to it…she married me. Boom.

  37. Danica says:

    Ohhhhhh dang, Norm’s hatin’ on me. Ok, after giving it some thought last night before bed (wish I were joking), I can admit when I’m wrong. It wasn’t creepy. And you’re right, Norm, creeps aren’t funny. Very true. But I’m not backing down from my laugh-with-your-mouth-closed opinion. So I guess I’m going with Melissa and saying it wasn’t creepy, it was lame.

  38. Sara says:

    Funny. Nothing but funny. Well done.

    And Chris – I’m glad that “dumbcrap” is still part of your vocabulary.

  39. Erin says:

    I think this is super funny. The only problem with a funny ask out email is that the expectation for the funny factor is set pretty high for that first date. Were you nervous? Having said that, maybe it’s best to ask a girl out in a non-charming, not funny, completely lame way. But I guess you did. Pressure off.! I laughed hard. Congratulations!

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