As I released the bottles, people seemed to magically appear, offering to take a bottle and pass it on. Sometimes I had to look for a willing body right up to the last minute, but for the most part it was fairly easy to send them out into the world. Strangely, I couldn’t find anyone to take Bottle 27. The launch date came and went and Bottle 27 stayed lined up with the remaining ten bottles, waiting for a traveling companion.
Bottles tend to go where they need to go, so I wondered what was keeping this story grounded at home base. Was there a message I needed to hear or something I needed to learn? I sat down with a cup of tea, opened the bottle, and re-read My Own 80s Movie.
The story is rich with gems but the message that spoke to me was clearly about dating. I loved how this girl took her vulnerability and cloaked it in brazen, fearless, gutsiness. There were three steps in her story that inspired me:
– Action: she saw a cute boy and asked him out.
– Protection: acknowledging how nervous she was to go on a date with a boy she barely knew, she brought along a friend.
– Result: the date paid off. She acted as her genuine self and the boy liked her for who she was. They became high school sweethearts.
I sat with this story, even read it several times. It didn’t take a lot of soul searching to decipher that I hadn’t been brave enough in my own dating life. Summoning courage, I decided to ask someone out. Action! Then, to ease my own nervousness, I convinced a friend to double date with us. Protection!! All that was left was to sit back and wait for the result.
A few weeks back I had met a guy at a rooftop dinner party in Williamsburg. The party was full of couples, couples, couples, except for the two of us. The host wasn’t trying to set us up but we naturally gravitated towards each other and ended up chatting. He seemed like a good choice for a first date, so I channeled my new fearless, gutsy self, and called the host for his phone number. A couple of texts back and forth between us and our double date was on the calendar. Wow! Easier than I thought.
The date itself is one of legend. I might have considered it a complete disaster or one of my worst dates ever if my friend and her date hadn’t been there to help steer the conversation away from his recent colonoscopy or his love of the TV show Two and a Half Men. Somehow the group dynamic softened the awkward pauses and the nervous first date revelations. I felt confident expressing myself, I was comfortable in my skin.
After dinner my date ran to catch a cab and for a fleeting moment I thought he was trying to escape, leaving me alone on the street corner. I pulled my cloak of gutsiness around me and when he opened the door of the cab and turned back towards me to let me step in, I was relieved. But I also knew that I would have been okay if he had disappeared into the stream of traffic without me.