Having grown up in San Francisco, Elise Moreno knows that this is a great place to discover amazing things both personal and cultural. After four years of school in Seattle, she has just returned home and is on a mission to better understand herself, her city, and 100 men.
Yup, you read that right: 100 men. Elise is a self-described serial monogamist who decided that it’s high time to break the boyfriend pattern. Rather than just declare that she’s going to stay single for a while (because, let’s be real, when does that ever work?) she’s using OkCupid go on 100 dates with 100 guys this summer.
As an added impetus to keep her on track, Elise is documenting all of these interactions on her blog, 100 Dates Of Summer, which she started last month. While this concept could easily fall into an angsty teenage Live Journal type of thing, reading 100 Dates of Summer is more like having brunch with your adventurous best friend and hearing all about the crazy date she had last night.
There’s the guy Elise boldly told off in a text after he got wasted on their date, the one who showed up heartbroken and wearing bunny ears, the one who has Shel Silverstein tattoos and invited her back to his place for a “nap.” Each interaction reveals something new about both Elise and San Francisco, as we travel with her from Monday night at Madrone to the Seward Street slides to Dolores Park.
There’s the guy Elise boldly told off in a text after he got wasted on their date, the one who showed up heartbroken and wearing bunny ears, the one who has Shel Silverstein tattoos and invited her back to his place for a “nap.”
That’s not to say that Elise isn’t also doing some soul searching. In a post titled “Reflections,” she talks about how this experiment has made her realize that there was more going on with her serial monogamy than she’d previously thought.
Growing up, Elise’s dad – who passed away suddenly four months ago – told her that she was unlovable because she was “ugly and fat.” He forced her to run up sand hills three times a week in order to lose weight when she was still a young girl. When she got older, he told her that he didn’t love her as a child because of her weight.
“He told me to my face, ‘You’re fat. No one loves fat girls,'” Elise told me. “I don’t have to tell you, but what you tell kids really sticks with them into adulthood.”
While we know that Elise’s dad is hovering in the background, the journey she goes through on the blog is less about her coming to terms with her relationship with him and more the honest joy of a 20-something woman going through the dating and relationship discovery process. Elise lays it all down for us in such a refreshing way that it’s impossible not to get hooked on her experiment.
The inevitable question, of course, is what she’ll do if this dating process not only makes her feel better about herself but also leads her to someone she thinks she could really love. When I asked her about that, she deftly sidestepped the question by explaining that she does go on second dates with guys she likes and they all know that the 100 dates project is part of the deal. She is committed to seeing the experiment through to the end, no matter who walks into her path.
In the meantime, I’m going to keep reading Elise's observations on what is to love herself, other people, and San Francisco.
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Photos from 100 Dates of Summer