Stella Dixon’s take on romance at the shore – where the odds are good, but the goods are seriously odd.
When I started spending time with Ethan, a bench-pressing, weight-lifting, Iron-man of an athlete, I made the mistake of mentioning that I enjoy running. Granted, when I said “enjoy,” I meant dread, and when I said “running,” I meant turkey-trotting. But it was too late; Ethan was already asking me to join him for a run the following morning. I had hoped he’d want to take me out for dinner and a movie, but I reluctantly agreed to a jog on the Cape May promenade instead.
In the past, I’ve been every coach’s worst nightmare. I’m not competitive; I root for the team with the nicest colors or best touchdown dances. And I’m not a natural athlete; in high school softball, I held the record for the most balls through the legs. I still have nightmares about my coach screaming “Sacrifice your body!” from the dugout. I could have been a better athlete had I tried harder. No pain, no gain, they say. I say, who needs to gain if the cost is pain.
Nonetheless, I was determined to show Ethan that I am no pansy, that I am instead one of those tough, sporty chicks who make sweating look sexy. Halfway through the six-mile course he’d laid out, I was indeed sweating. Sexy, however, I was not.
“Are you holding up okay?” Ethan asked.
“Yes,” I lied, “I always (gasp) breathe (gasp) like this (gasp).”
At the end of the run, I felt dizzy and nauseous, but confident that Ethan would be impressed enough to ask me out. I felt like Superwoman – a hyperventilating, dry-heaving Superwoman. And I was wearing my cutest work-out gear.
“Alright,” Ethan said. “See ya.”
“See ya?” I thought, “Six miles and all I get is ‘see ya’?”
A couple days later, I agreed to another jog, and this time I did better. After a few more running dates, I found myself keeping up just fine, but each run ended with the same frustrating “see ya” as the time before. My patience began running out as quickly as my sweat-proof mascara. I wondered how many miles I was going to have to run before Ethan asked me out on a real date.
The answer? 46. After all that cardio, I was finally invited over for an evening of bad horror films and pumpkin-flavored beer. Unfortunately, whatever chemistry Ethan and I had as running buddies all but fizzled during Dawn of the Dead. So tomorrow, when I drag myself out of bed to pound the pavement on my own, it will be with no agenda but to run, and for nobody but myself. I’ve learned that finding love, like running, is an exhausting exercise – one that is better treated as a marathon than a sprint, anyway.