L.A. Affairs: I was about to get my first kiss. Then my dad showed up. #MillennialProblems
We sat in 405 traffic after making the foolish decision to drive to the Griffith Park Observatory at 6 on a Thursday night. Nothing like a little infatuation to mess with a girl’s mind and cause her to forget about rush hour traffic.
It was the second date, a pivotal time in the early life of a relationship. Tonight would be when we moved beyond “What’s your favorite movie?” and “Do you like Disneyland too?” If all went well, tonight would be our first kiss. Would sparks fly? Or would this relationship come to a crash landing?
Dating in your early 20s is no picnic; it’s plagued by hookups, a lack of income and the possibility that one of you may still live at home (#millennialproblems). But dating is especially difficult when you live in the City of Angels, constantly bombarded with examples of 72-day marriages and the concept of the trophy wife. You develop the view that forever is fleeting and commitment means six months. Nonetheless, sitting beside Mark in his non-air-conditioned Toyota, sweat collecting on my brow, joking and sharing stories of our past, I really hoped that this date would end with fireworks.
We met online after I decided to jump on the burgeoning dating- app bandwagon of my generation. Cynical from a recent breakup, I thought that if I prescreened potential dates, I would be able to bypass the one-night stands and crazy creepers. Within my first week of being online, Mark messaged me. Conversation came easy to us, and before too long he asked me out.
Our first date was far from perfect. Within the first few minutes of meeting, I thought I was hearing Mark speak with a British accent (it was a speech impediment). At dinner, he was so nervous he hardly touched his meal, while I ate my entire plate of pasta, leaving me feeling like a pig. I should have known better. This is Los Angeles. Salad! Salad! Salad!
Then we discovered that the movie we hoped to see after dinner wasn’t on the schedule of the theater we picked. And my father kept calling and texting to check up on me. He still subscribed to the idea that if you meet someone online, you will end up face down in a ditch on the side of the 118. But through the awkwardness, family interruptions and our attempts to locate a theater with a schedule that matched its online listing, we had an amazing time. So when he asked for a second date, of course I agreed.
It was busy at the observatory, and we had to park near the bottom of the hill. I was wearing a sundress and sandals — typical L.A. summer fashion — and dreaded the walk to the planetarium. Most of the trek involved hiking up a dirt path through shrubs and random debris. I nearly tripped over a pipe jutting from the ground, my legs were scraped by thorny weeds and my feet were assaulted by the rocks that collected in my shoes. Anyone who could brush off my clumsiness with a laugh instead of a cringe and excuse my impractical attire was a good guy. And that’s what Mark was.
He told me about late-night adventures he had with his friends in Hollywood, and I described my summer playing guitar on the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade. Once we had reached the top of the hill, I felt as though we had known each other for months rather than just a couple of weeks. We had definitely surpassed the favorite movie threshold.
We traded witty banter in rooms of stars and nebula, marveled over telescopes and held hands during the show in the planetarium dome. After a literal and magical night among the stars, Mark drove me home. Standing on my doorstep, I was on pins and needles with suspense. This would be the moment I would know if there were sparks. This would be the moment he kissed me.
“Is that you, Allison?”
A father’s voice is almost as good as a cold shower. We broke apart and the kiss meant for me remained on Mark’s lips.
Not letting the incident faze him, Mark asked me out again. On that third date, to the Santa Monica Pier, we finally shared our first kiss, and a little over a year later, sparks are still flying.
Nothing has been perfect. We still run into funny situations like arriving at the beach when it begins to rain, getting lost on the Metro or accidentally visiting a cult’s sanctuary that we believed to be a tourist attraction. But it is these awkward moments that I cherish the most. They make good stories, provide us with memories and really capture us as a couple. In the entertainment capital of the world, you never really know where the night will take you.
Laura Allison Nunez is a writer and a senior at UCLA.
L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.
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