Monday, September 2, 2013

The Time I Went on a Rock-Climbing Date with a Heavier Girl

I’ll add an extra foot of height and she won’t care after I charm her, never crossed my mind, but other online daters are liars. The most frequent deception is using outdated profile photos.

I met Rocha for a date at Sportrock climbing gym without even having to beg her to participate in my favorite activity. She may be the one. Thankfully Rocha approached me because I may not have recognized her from her profile otherwise. While putting on our gear, I proactively prepared her to see me climb in a funny way and she retroactively prepared me to see a 30-pound-heavier version of Rocha.

I climbed first to prolong dealing with gravity. In rock-climbing, the belayer (the person on the ground holding the rope) should be within a certain weight range of the climber. Beyond that range it is possible for the climber to elevate the belayer, potentially until they meet in the air halfway. To prevent that, the belayer anchors to the ground.

I should have pretended to break a limb during my climb, or actually broken one, to avoid belaying Rocha, but I love climbing too much. I reached the ground and we reversed positions. “You’re really good, especially with one hip! I’m going to climb an easier route,” she said. An easier route reduced the likelihood of her falling. If she fell then I’d have to support her weight plus acceleration.

I looped the rope through my belay device and locked the carabineer. Then came the moment of truth: to anchor or not to anchor. If I anchored then I was guaranteed to embarrass Rocha significantly. If I didn’t anchor then there was a good chance I would embarrass Rocha irreparably if she pulled me off the ground, but there was also a chance I would stay grounded and she would never have to know.

I didn’t anchor. I checked Rocha’s figure 8 knot and told her, “climb on!” I got into a squat position and kept her rope so tight that she barely had enough slack to move.

Rocha’s foot positions were smart enough to make up for her limited strength, and she completed without slipping or having to “take.” When she was ready to come down, I placed my feet even further in front of me and got my ass down low. “On me!” I yelled up to Rocha.

She released from the wall and my feet slipped forward. Just when I was about to instruct her to reach back for the wall because I wasn’t ready, my feet halted. I sighed and began to lower her, each of my limbs performing a precise function meant to get her on the ground without me leaving it.

Mission accomplished. She touched down; I gave her extra slack, and nearly made her jump with my congratulatory enthusiasm.

Rocha lacked endurance and I mentally depleted mine, so we only climbed a few routes each. As is customary, Rocha gave me her phone number. A few days later I contacted her seeking another date, unfazed by our horizontal differences.

I guess she was fazed by my general nature. Add another strikeout to my tally.