Key Takeaways: Music is the universal language of love
Name: Joe [Jonas] because this guy writes songs!
Length of date: 1 hour
How the date was obtained: I asked!
Where: A beach walk in Manzanita, OR
This date starts with some socially distant s’mores at the beach. I struck up a conversation with some family friends I’ll call Joe, Nick, and Kevin. Unlike the Jonas Brothers (aka Jo Bros); Joe, Nick, and Kevin are not brothers, but they definitely have a tight bond. The guys are from the same city in Kenya and now go to college in Oregon. Our families were catching up, and eventually, the conversation turned to Date a Week LA. When it did, a light bulb went off in my head: I could go on a date with one of these charming guys! So I asked if any of them were interested in going on a date.
As I write this, I realize that I definitely put them on the spot, but Joe quickly volunteered that he was down for a date. Phew! (It turned out that Kevin was engaged… so he was a no-go for obvious reasons.) We decided a daytime walk on the beach would be a great way to get to know each other better.
The next morning, I got a text from our family friend confirming the time of the walk. She also informed me that Joe had written me a song. You read that right: WRITTEN ME A SONG! To say I was excited would be a dramatic understatement. This was a first. I’ve never had a song written about me! What a romantic gesture. I was excited to hear it!
When Joe and I started our stroll, I had to ask about the song. Joe seemed shy and didn't want to sing it. He then informed me that it was less a song he wrote and more of a song he changed the lyrics to. The song was “Isabella” by Sauti Sol, a band from Kenya, off their album: Live and Die in Afrika. Every time the name “Isabella” came up, Joe would just change that lyric to “Isabel.” Below is a sample of what Joe would have sung:
Hey Isabella are you gonna come out and dance with me tonight
The stars look beautiful outside, so so beautiful…
Isabella, one day I’ll be a superstar, we’ll go to American, big show in a stadium
Even though Joe didn’t work up the courage to serenade me with an original song, it still felt like a romantic gesture.
As we strolled along, I got to hear about how he dreams of becoming a member of the Portland Timber’s soccer team, how he’s interested in getting a job in international politics, and how our mutual friend thinks he should become a male model – which only makes sense because he has an undeniably beautiful face with incredible bone structure.
Eventually, I asked Joe about dating in Kenya and he told me about some of the traditions and customs.
Here are just some of the things I learned about falling in love in Kenya:
If you announce that you’re dating someone, it means that you are going to marry that person. Joe explained that you don’t need to get to know someone too much before marriage because that is what marriage is for.
There is a dowry paid to the bride’s family, which may include cows, money, outfits for the family, or some type of animal fat. If the woman is highly educated, sometimes the dowry is more substantial.
Anyone can come to the wedding… literally anyone. You might meet someone at your wedding that you have never met before. It’s important to include your whole community.
Weddings are much longer celebrations than in the U.S. Sometimes dancing at the reception can last over six hours. It’s incredibly festive and fun.
Joe and I just kept talking until we’d made it back to our starting point. Even though this was a spur of the moment date that might have felt forced at first, I am so glad that I asked him to go for a walk. I got to know a driven, charismatic man and also learned about a completely different culture. The “me” of six months ago would have been totally uncomfortable asking a guy for a date on the spot. But, I’m different now. Going on 25 dates has made me realize that dating is nothing to be afraid of. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work out, and even when that happens, you learn more about what things you value in another person.
The future for us… Joe still has a couple more years of college left in Oregon and I live in LA (when we’re not in a pandemic), so I don’t see anything between us happening in the near future. But I absolutely plan on keeping in contact with him.
Next Week: idk
Here is a Link to the Youtube video called “Isabella."