I recently wrote a story for a writing challenge, and I liked it. So, I decided that I would share it with everyone. The guidelines were simple- write about a first date and mention a glass of merlot. Being more of a rum and vodka girl- I have never had a glass of merlot, so I went out and bought a bottle. Merlot is a red wine, not sweet and a bit spicy. That is what the reviews tell me because the bottle is still sitting in my freezer. I can't do it- I can not justify drinking a dry, spicy wine. I would rather eat chili peppers- then I won't get the hangover. But, I wrote the story in honor of all those people who went on a first date with the wrong person and had to drink a glass of red wine. To those of you that love red wine- my hat is off to you! I will stay in the vodka and rum realm of the living.
I think that everyone has a perfect first date in mind. As we grow up, the date might change along with the ending, but that one perfect first date still lingers in our subconscious. We use it to evaluate all the first dates that we go on. I like to think of it as a compass- directing the explorer on the right path to true love.
Maybe the person you are on a first date with is too far 'East.' The type of person with a summer home in the Hamptons and a city apartment overlooking Time Square in New York City. A date who lives to work and be seen. A date who talks non-stop over dinner never really slowing down to taste the food because there is another event to get to. The glass of merlot that you ordered with dinner? I hope you started drinking it as soon as the waitress brought it to you because you may not have time to finish it. Maybe you didn't make it to a restaurant. Maybe your date took you to a local hot dog vendor who sells the small plastic to-go containers of merlot. Just enough food and drink to hold you over as you go to another art opening or Broadway play.
Maybe your first date compass is too far south with all the hunting and fishing and eating boiled peanuts while attending a four-hour church service. Your date is a person that works to live. You may be sitting on a porch watching your date's family debate whose brisket and potato salad is better, while your date is simultaneously fixing a truck engine with electrical tape and fishing wire. If you get offered a glass of merlot- it will be served in a blue plastic cup along with a pitcher of sweet tea to get your soul right.
Maybe your first date compass is too far west with all the non-fat soy lattes and deep breathing yoga classes at 10 am. You are not sure when your date works, but their bodies are kissed by the sun, and they smell like ocean water and Hawaiian Topic sunscreen. Your dinner will be laid back, unrushed, and you will have no carbs. When you are finally allowed something to drink other than pressed grass- your merlot may be offered while attending a local protest or getting Botox.
If you are lucky, your first date compass points north- like Alaska north. Locals have created a haven of peace and freedom, and first dates in Alaska are on a whole new level. We don't do fancy summer homes; we have off-grid cabins with no electricity, and our water comes fresh off the river. We don't hang out on the porch, but we will sit around a campfire with strangers waiting for opening day for hunting or salmon fishing. We most definitely don't drink pressed grass drinks, but we will teach you how to make Rose Nip tea while exploring ice glaciers and Denali National park.
When you are offered a glass of merlot on your first date in Alaska- you will be sitting along a riverbank soaking in the midnight sun. You might be cozy up next to a fireplace, appreciating the warmth as the cold -40 weather presses outside.
Maybe your first date will be sitting on a hill overlooking a valley where a herd of 3,000 caribou is traveling to their winter home. Your merlot might be coming out of a tube from a Camelback strapped to your dates back.
Maybe on your first date, you will be on a boat in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska watching the Humpback and Orca whales play, holding your glass of merlot in a Yeti bottle, so it doesn't spill.
And if you're lucky, your first date might be where you can watch the Aurora lights dance in the night sky.
First dates in Alaska will take you from the bluest of ocean waters to the highest mountain top in North America. You will travel waters that run north through the Alaskan range and walk-through valleys that may have never seen a human footprint before. Your first date may be sitting in the Chena Hot Springs while winter snows around you. Your first date might be gold mining along one of the many rivers in the interior of Alaska and ending the day at the local riverboat turned bar.
Whatever your first date is in Alaska….it will be a memorable one.