Step it up

People often seem surprised to learn that I’m single. “But you’re such a catch!” is sometimes how they put it. Be that as it may, they’re overlooking the fact that it’s difficult to date someone who’s living like a fugitive. To be “a catch,” I would have to stay in one place long enough to be caught. And we all know that’s not happening.

But I recently realized there’s another way to be caught. And that’s to meet someone with the time, energy and means to chase me around.

I’ll be the first to admit it. I underestimated Johann, the guy from Helsinki who invited me ice swimming last month. I didn’t expect him to keep our plans, much less take me to dinner afterwards. I was pleasantly surprised when he offered to cook me a homemade meal a few days later. And I was downright impressed when I learned that that he also built the table he served it on.

“Like IKEA built it or built it-built it?” I asked. He was Scandinavian, after all.

“Like built it-built it,” he replied. “If it was IKEA furniture, I would have said ‘assembled’.”

“Well now you’re just showing off,” I joked. “You build furniture and your English is better than mine… Anything else you want to add?”

He did not. But I will: he has extensive knowledge of art, world history and current events; he owns a turntable and a sizable record collection; he speaks three languages; and he can navigate unfamiliar cities without a map. All that and he’s pretty easy on the eyes.

I don’t know about you, but I like dating people who are arguably more talented and interesting than I am. Which is why I lobbed Johann a last-minute invitation to visit me in Estonia just as I was boarding a ferry out of Helsinki a few days later.

He gave me one more surprise and agreed. I don’t know why but it’s probably because he’s crazy, as only someone who willingly jumps into the Baltic Sea in the dead of winter is.

Seeing as how I didn’t have enough time to make Johann a table, I figured I should at least try to learn how to cook.

“Question,” I texted a friend. “What’s the easiest way to make eggs?”

“Is this a riddle?” she countered. “Or are you setting yourself up for a story?”

“Neither,” I said. “This is serious. Within 48 hours, I am going to have to make someone breakfast and I don’t trust Google to guide me through it.”

Within seconds my phone rang. “Sooo… who ya cookin’ for?”

“The guy from Helsinki,” I said.

“But you’re in Estonia,” she replied

“I know where I am!” I yelled. “We’ll get to that. Right now I need you to focus. Eggs.”

“Eggs,” she repeated. “How about a quiche. That’s easy.”

“I don’t know where I can get a pie crust around here. This place is literally like living in the middle of Medieval Times.”

“Well you can make one,” she said.

“I said ‘easy’! I need an easy way to make eggs. No flipping! You know I’m not good at flipping.”

“Why don’t you calm down,” she suggested. “He clearly likes you. You could serve him toast and he’d be happy.”

“GOOD IDEA!” I shouted. “I’m good at toast!”

“No,” she said. “That was hypothetical.”

“I know that,” I snapped. “I’m not going to make him toast. That would be ridiculous. I’ll just give him bread and let him decide.”

I was only half-kidding at the time, but that’s pretty much what I did. And I’ll have you know, my friend was right: he liked me anyway. I say that with certainty because he also visited me in Scotland last week.

We had a good time too, even if he ruined all my castle selfies and made me ugly laugh all over the place. In fact, it was such fun that I won’t even complain about having to cook (or, more accurately, watch him cook) twice a day. Nor will I bemoan the hours I spent wandering around Edinburgh when I should have been working on the first draft of my book, which I’m happy to report is finally taking shape and not at all in need of any late-breaking plot twists.

“I swear,” I said to my friend. “If this turns into an Eat, Pray, Love situation I will fucking lose it.”

“Well it sounds like you’re coming up a little short on the Pray part,” she replied. “But it’s good you have the other two. Can’t hurt!”

“He invited me back to Helsinki next week,” I said. “I might go.”

“You should!” she said.

“You think?” I asked.

“YES!” she shouted. “He sounds great!”

“Yeah, I know,” I said. “I actually booked my ticket an hour after he left. I’m flying out Monday morning.”

“Are you serious?!” she asked. “Then why are you asking me?”

“Well it sounds better when it’s your idea,” I said.

But yeah, I’m serious. Why wouldn’t I go? He’s a total catch.



  1. Enjoy the man, and the trip(s). Anyone who can make you laugh ugly is worth the effort, any day.

    My inner adult (mother-sized) is saying, go easy, girl. My inner adolescent is saying, “oh WOW, how cool!”

    and yeah, the pictures are amazing.

    • Oh I’m sorry Judy… but our inner adults have been overruled. If and when I need that voice of reason back, I’ll know who to call :) as always, thanks for reading and appreciate the comment! xx

    • aw – thank you! it’s funny because usually it’s only the bad dating stories that are fun to hear. the good ones are always a snooze…. at least until i break out a frying pan! xx

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