Casual

So little casual goes into acting casual. My foreign crush stopped speaking to me about four months ago. I certainly liked him more than other crushes that come and go, no matter how unreasonable it all may have seemed, but I did my best to keep most of it in my private writing. You’ve only heard about him a handful of times. None of my friends have heard about him in months. I definitely paced my apartment and spoke to myself aloud about him on more than one occasion, but it was all waiting for August. Of course nothing would ever really come of all of this and I should have been upset with him for ignoring me (which of course I spoke to myself about aloud at length and eventually knew why I wasn’t feeling that way, as well as why I felt the way I did about him and the most probable reasons he didn’t feel the same.) -But if there was another opportunity to see him one last time, I’d still enjoy having it. If there wasn’t, I could work on dropping the idea, so I wanted to know what options were on the table. Last we spoke we’d made plans that when he visited the country and came to my city in September we’d spend a day or two together. In order to free up my schedule I was planning on taking the day off work, which requires one month’s notice, hence the need for one last attempt at reaching out in August and no later.

I also had to refrain from messaging him any sooner because if he decided to ignore me, it would look too desperate to make another attempt. So, I waited. Sure, out of the blue I sent a random meme that went ignored 2 months ago, but besides that he had never replied to my last two messages and I knew I couldn’t make another move until August. (Although the last message I’d received from him was an apology for not replying to me lately.) I factored in the time difference, the date of his flight when he might not be available to reply, the date by which I’d need to let my office know my request for time off, that he might not reply to me right away, and that I couldn’t start off with asking him about September. So, on the right date, at the right time, I thought about my message. It couldn’t be long and overwhelming. At first I thought I’d make it flirty. I thought maybe I’d entice him into answering with a compliment, but I still wasn’t sure of the real reason he’d stopped sending me messages. “Hey sexy” if he’d lost interest in me would be too forward. “Hey you” was too intimate and overwhelming for this long of a gap. What if he’d stopped speaking to me because he was worried I’d gotten too attached? “Hey Mr. super-busy” could sound sarcastic or just plain weird. Maybe it was best to ignore that he hadn’t been speaking to me all that time because of “busy-ness.”

He’d made a FaceBook post about seeing whales from his boat which I’d liked the day before I messaged him. This made for great timing. It would seem like I’d forgotten him, I’d seen an interesting post pop up in the newsfeed about him, thought of him again, and therefore was reaching out to catch up. I went with, “Hey, been a while, how’ve you been?” Casual. I was as excited about receiving his reply as I’d been when we’d started talking, even if it had sounded so formal with my name after “hey.” I asked him about the whales. I ended every message with a question to keep him talking. I made a great segue into the topic of travel. On day two of him replying, I finally brought it up as if it hadn’t been the plan the entire time. Had his plans moved around since we last spoke, because I think I could still fit him into my schedule if he was interested. When was his trip again? It’s not like it’s been on my calendar for half a year or anything…And guess who has a final date with her crush in September! …But there was nothing casual behind my sounding casual. What I really want is to find the person I can freely chatter away to without any planning at all. That’s who I really want to be with. Mastering dating isn’t anything anymore. Dating is just a game with strategic tactics, lines, and moves where you play the best version of you. I lost interest in dating long ago. What I want is a relationship where I’m just me amazing, nutty, judgmental, sweet and everything in-between all rolled into one, all the time.

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2nd Date With The Short Guy

I’m an idiot. Have you ever done something stupid and just felt like an idiot? I spent my Saturday night like I was nearly a decade younger than I am. I had much too much to drink. It started out like most days before a date. Eventually “I have nothing to wear” became “I guess this will do” until I tried it on and the straps of the dress kept slipping down. I tried safety pins and tying them in a knot, but it just looked silly and not cute or sexy or whatever the heck I was going for anyway. Back to my closet of misfit outfits I do a double take on a dress that I haven’t worn in nearly a decade. Maybe I’ll blame my actions later in the night on the dress. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it and it’s not too short like most of my dresses that shrunk in the wash. Maybe it’s a little faded, but the only thing I ever remember about it is that a guy once guessed my bra size to be an entire size bigger than it is, and I decided that the dress misrepresented me. But now it’s 10 minutes later than it should be before I start doing my makeup to leave in time. I can’t say I don’t look good in it, and while I don’t feel like this date deserves any extra cleavage, I figure at least I’ll be on time.

Only then I step onto the train and I swear everyone’s eyeing my chest, so I send him a text. It’s my second date exactly a month from the first time I met the short guy. “I’m on the train so I should be on time but it’s only because I didn’t spend time changing my clothes and I wore a dress that wasn’t my first choice because it’s a little more low cut than I felt like wearing, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t look at my boobs any more than you would any other stranger passing by.” Before he replied, I followed up that text with, “Yes, I actually just sent you a text that says that lol.” At the next stop twenty minutes go by and the train hasn’t moved. Now I’m late. As I’m about to update my date on this turn of events they announce that a tree has fallen on the tracks and train service has been suspended. This time I call my date to work out a new plan. Eventually, a few different train rides later, I meet him off a different train stop. I don’t really believe in “signs” but I’m wondering if that tree was a message about how the rest of my night’s going to go.

We make it to the bar. It’s the bar I chose, not the bar he chose, all because I had a craving for this amazing artichoke dip they serve. We get a table and it’s at the booth I like. “Hey, maybe despite the tree falling and the rain things are looking up for your night!” he says. I open the menu and flip through but something’s wrong. It’s not the menu that I’ve been ordering from for the last few years. After a waitress explains to me they no longer serve any of my favorite dishes because of a new chef, my date changes his mind, “Or maybe not.” I tell him too many details about Clark Kent too quickly and he gets awkward, but he seems to push through it. I pressure him to tell me about the other dates he’s been on. Of course he’s been on dates, so I don’t even ask if he has been on any others when I ask this. He eventually opens up and we laugh about it. He’s telling me about how rusty he was and how he had some difficulties getting back in the dating game, but he hasn’t been seeing as wide of a variety since he met me. I tell him that this makes me nervous and we both assure each other that neither of us is looking for anything serious with the other. That martini was my first drink. It was a strong one. And without anything I liked on the menu, I definitely didn’t eat enough. One of the first stupid things I did. I’d joked with my date that he owed me a drink for my hassle on the trains and he opted to pay for everything. He hadn’t forgotten that I’d admitted to not being thrilled with him accepting my offer to pay for half on our first date. This time he didn’t let me.

I want to check out the bar he suggested, so we walk over since it’s in the area. It’s loud and not at all what we expected. But we’re there, so we get another drink and decide to people watch, harshly and sloppily making judgments about people we don’t know who can’t hear us. I’ve just gone with a glass of wine this time. It’s slightly pricey, so I’m happy with how fairly they’ve poured it, only I don’t know that I’ll regret the hefty pour later. My date paid for it since we didn’t want to open a tab and I was short on cash. I decided it would be fair for me to get the next round. For the next hour or so, we drank while we people watched people drinking. The drunk girl in the red was the worst. We tried to figure out if she knew the guy who was holding her up or not, but we decided he looked like he was going to take care of her rather than take advantage of her either way. We watched the progression of her drunkenness from her awkward dancing, to inability to stand, and eventually her making the “I’m going to be sick” face. We watched her for so long that when she passed by and accidentally stomped on my open-toed sandal I winced through the pain with this weird feeling that some kind of celebrity had stepped on my foot. Little did I know I’d be joining her in poor drinking decisions in just a couple of hours.

We left that bar because it was too loud. I was certainly drunk by now, but I knew my usual tolerance was about three drinks, so I figured one more wouldn’t hurt. I remember announcing that we should go into the next bar we came across no matter what it was. We headed into a bar I’d been once some years ago. It was empty and we could sit down and hear each other for a change. I opened a tab and covered our drinks. Had it been good wine, my only drink, or on top of a decent meal I would have been happy with the pour, but I don’t think any wine connoisseur would ever agree to a wine glass so full one can’t take a step without spilling some. That was my third drink which might have well have also been my fourth or maybe my fifth without a proper dinner. But we were sitting and I felt fine. Sure, I felt a little drunk, of course, but not that drunk. Even he thought we were just having some pretty regular conversation. That’s the last part I remember vividly, though. The rest of the night gets a little splotchy, but if I only write about the parts I remember instead of the parts I was filled in on, it’s not as interesting. It would almost end up with, “and then I woke up” right here. But that happens a little later.

I am pretty sure I remember a second glass of wine. Only it was that colossal glass of wine because it was somehow even more full than the first and some poured onto my hands as I made my way back to our table. That would be number four, or possibly number five or six if you count the amount of wine in the glass. Now the official fourth glass we’re both sure I had. It’s the fifth that we’re not sure if I had or not, but at this point does it really matter? Apparently I tried to tip 120% and he had to fix the receipt for me. This is where a lot of sentences now start with “apparently” because it’s what I was told happened and just a blank spot in my memory. Later, I was thrilled to find out I’d brought home my credit card. Apparently he called a cab and we took it to my place after I convinced him this was the best plan and refused all others. I remember having that conversation when I still remembered the night, but I must have become more adamant about this plan. Of course, then nothing went to plan. Apparently I fell asleep in the car. Apparently I couldn’t get the keys in my front door. And Apparently I threw up. A lot. For a while. This was probably not the “good time” I’d promised either of us would be having back at my place.

I woke up on top of my blankets, all my clothes on, with randomly sore muscles, some black and blues, and a skinned knee. “Shit,” is the first thing I say. I remember earlier in the night at the bar, I wanted to kiss him. I thought it would be fun to come back to my place after a few drinks. That didn’t happen. I don’t know what happened, I’m usually great at knowing how much I’ve had to drink and when to stop. I turn to him, he’s sleeping on my side of the bed. “How did we get here?” I ask. He starts to fill me in. It’s too early in the morning. I brush my teeth because it’s something I really need to do. Back in my bedroom I nudge him over and climb back into my bed. “You’re on my side,” I tell him while scooting him over. “Well, you lay down on that side after I finished cleaning up after you.” This is when I really start to feel like an idiot. I wasn’t that into this guy. I mean, he’s alright and everything but now he’s done something really nice that I probably wouldn’t have done for him. “Why does my knee hurt and it’s all rug-burned?” I ask him. “You tried to run back to the toilet to throw up again, but you fell on your carpet and skidded pretty hard. I tried to move you to the bathroom but you insisted on throwing up on your carpet, so I cleaned that up too.” “Aren’t you glad we didn’t go back to your place now? I point out. He laughs and agrees even though it was closer to the bar. The morning of recovery goes on and I notice more. He’s refilled my toilet paper, put on my air conditioning, brought me a bottle of water, and so on. He fixed my dress when it slipped too low. I cuddle up to him because I feel bad and grateful. The first night all I could think about was how short he was, but it’s not meaning as much to me anymore. Aside from some long term relationships I’ve been in, I don’t know anyone else who would’ve done this for me without expecting anything in return.

The morning comes and goes, but we’re still in bed. Then the afternoon comes and goes. We talk, watch movies, order food from a diner, and eventually do some things that I’d originally planned on doing the night before. I turn to him, “What did you mean last night about being rusty with dating? Why give a shit about how you’re supposed to date. I don’t do that. This is certainly not how you’re supposed to date. I sent you that text from the train, told you about someone I slept with around 10 minutes into our second date, threw up, and then hung out with you like this the entire next day. I don’t think you always have to date a certain way because I certainly don’t do it.” Around 5pm it seems decided that nearing a 24 hour long date isn’t normal enough and he heads back home. He’s hesitant because how do you say “well 15 hours was great, but 20 hours, that seems like it’s been enough” without it being weird. We text a little the next day. It’s just sort of a check-in/recap. I have to apologize and thank him once more for really going above and beyond in the nice guy department. It sort of almost makes me like him a bit, but not quite enough to develop any strong feelings, just enough to be comfortable with a third date and possibly heading to his place for a change. “Why did you drink so much? So you could tolerate me?” he asks. “No, I don’t think that’s it, I’d still see you sober…That’s as nice as my compliments get,” I tell him. I’ve been tough on him since the start and I’m still not really sure why.