Just pay attention to the dates in these messages and reconsider not deleting messages in your inbox for this reason…
It’s probably not actually related, but I will remember it for this reason: Donald Trump was elected president of the United States on the day I got my first dick pic. My cellphone chirped in the middle of the night, waking me. (I keep it on because I know no one will call unless it’s an emergency.) I don’t even have to click on the message to see in the preview it’s a dick pic. I didn’t realize how upsetting it could be. I’m not traumatized, no, nothing like that, but I felt oddly somewhat violated. I hadn’t wanted to see that, I’d been woken up, it startled me, and it disgusted me. I’ve been attracted to both men and women, but a random image of a dick has never been an attractive image, yet a lot of men still don’t seem to realize this. I quickly smirked to myself a moment later; “Well, that’s never happened before. That was the first,” I thought. Without even thinking about it I immediately deleted it and tried to fall back asleep. But, I couldn’t fall asleep. Now I was wondering if I shouldn’t have deleted it in case I need to use it as evidence. Then I start wondering if there’s an app that will bring it back. Then I start wondering who sent it. Did it belong to the person who sent it? Why did they send it? Was it a prank? Was someone laughing at the idea of me receiving it? Was it a wrong number? Was it one of the people I’d messaged on a dating site? How did they have my number? Did I give my number to a creep at some point in time? Did someone give my number out? Is my number listed somewhere? Was someone upset with me? Do they know who I am? Did someone think I’d actually want that picture? Unless requested or in some kind of relationship, this seems completely inappropriate. It shouldn’t have gone on for hours, but it did and I didn’t get much sleep.
My first reaction had been to ignore it and hope it went away, but I woke up determined to get some sort of revenge. I Googled the phone number, but could only confirm it wasn’t spam and it belonged to someone with a zip code in my city. I typed it into FaceBook, but didn’t get very far. I looked through my physical address books to confirm it wasn’t someone I knew that I’d lost touch with. When I got to my office I checked the company directory and it didn’t belong to anyone at my job either. I blocked my number and dialed theirs. I’d pretend I was calling to sell them printer toner. I’d start out, “Hello, Mr…I’m sorry, how do you pronounce your name?” and see if they’d fall for telling me their name. It went to voicemail. I’d Google dick pics and I’d send one back. I’d come on to them as a guy. It might have been sent by a straight, homophobic guy who’d lose it over that. But it’s been done too many times. It was just before lunch time and I decided I’d scare them worse than homophobia. I texted, “This is Jason’s mother. Who would send something like that to a seven year old boy?! I just picked him up from school and we’re going straight to the police!” They never responded.
I spent my business trip rather miserably. Every time I had to reach for a tissue I remembered why I had a cold and felt guilty all over again. “You threw away a potential relationship for a fling!” just repeated in my mind. But part of me didn’t regret it, either. I’d rally back how I was justified in my actions and perhaps my feelings for the new guy would return when I saw him again. Shortly after the week was up, he was asking me to come over and I agreed. I showered and got dressed pretty casually. I didn’t bother to do my makeup; I wasn’t going out and he’d seen me without it before. My doorbell rang. I opened the door and…disappointment. I felt nothing again. I wasn’t excited to see him. I wasn’t really attracted to him. I let him inside and we sat down on my bed, where I typically lounge. I was kind of cold to him at first. “How was the trip?” “Fine.” That sort of thing. I paused and decided to tell him everything. What did I have to lose at that point? My feelings were gone, I had to get it off my chest, and he deserved to know why my interest had suddenly changed. So, I told him everything. And I mean everything, back to when I met my foreign crush, through the details of my evening with him, along with the details about how I honestly felt about my intimate encounter with the new guy on his birthday, into how I felt on my business trip, and concluded with my current feelings. “Wow, you’re smiling and back to normal again. What a difference!” he responded when I’d finished. I hadn’t realized how much lighter I’d felt without holding that all inside.
Strangely, he didn’t take it that bad. Before I told him everything I’d asked him if he had been seeing anyone else. The inexperienced dater that he is, he asked if it was normal to share that sort of thing with someone you’re dating. I assured him it wasn’t at all, but I’d always been far from normal in my dating endeavors. He’d actually gone on a first date with someone from the dating app the night before. That had been why he’d turned down plans with me that evening. I’d kind of hoped he would come out with my friends for a casual birthday gathering they were having at a bar. I had hoped my friends opinions would help mold my own opinion of him. I desperately wanted to feel something for him again, just because it had felt like such a dizzyingly amazing experience I hadn’t had in so long, but forcing my feelings to return just didn’t seem to be possible. When I pushed him for details and found out he’d kissed this girl the night before I felt a flicker of jealousy. I hoped, perhaps I still had some attraction to him? But it turned out simply to be the idea of not being all that special anymore. He started to say he felt a little guilty and wondered if it was wrong to casually date two girls at once. No, no of course it wasn’t, not if you’d only just met them, and hadn’t agreed to be exclusive with either of them. So, then I let my story spill.
When all the cards were on the table, he asked to borrow my phone charger. This was when I remembered I’d put aside a bunch of promotional items from my company to give him. One of which was a portable phone charger. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I’d essentially just broken up with him, as I’d let him know I no longer had feelings for him in whatever kind of short-lived relationship this had been, but I saw no reason I shouldn’t give him the goody bag anymore. So, I handed over a tote bag with a portable phone charger, pens, measuring tape, and so on. He thanked me but then looked a little confused. “Is this like a consolation prize?” he asked. Yep, I’d just dumped someone and then given them a gift bag to take home. Smooth. Because that’s how awkward people do it.
We went out two more times after that. As “friends.” We got some food, some drinks, and returned to our separate apartments. Then, at a gradual pace, we spoke less and less frequently. Every day turned into every week and every week turned into “once in a while” and that turned into not always answering every message. His FaceBook page is still connected to mine, while his profile is now nothing more than a ghost reminder of the couple of weeks we had in the past. I haven’t matched with anyone on my dating apps in a few weeks, ‘nor come across any dating site profiles I felt like clicking on. I’ve been considering hitting the bar scene again, but haven’t found the right wing women yet. There’s love and there’s sex and it’s great when you have them both with the same person, but when you don’t have either, sometimes it’s nice to have one if not the other.
I spent most of the new guy’s birthday nervously awaiting seeing him that evening. I’ve always been bad at withholding information or being dishonest, but I also didn’t think someone I was dating would like to hear that I’d slept with someone else just under 24 hours before them on their birthday. It was all so out of character for me. I discussed the situation with a friend over instant messages. Their modified advice -after I insisted on having to say something was: “Tell him that you are interested in him, but that you wanted to have a fling with this guy who you’ll never see again. And then even if he doesn’t want to sleep with you today, I would almost guarantee that it won’t matter and there would still be the chance to see where it goes at another time. He can’t be upset that while you were single you hooked up with a guy from out of town whom you’ve known for far longer than him, and had plans to hang out with even before you knew him. You might have to explain it to him that way. But that’s the only way it is. He may be upset at first, and that’s because he’s jealous, but he should get over it.”
The new guy’s birthday plans with his family ran late. Like, close to midnight arrival at my place late, but since it was his birthday and I was leaving on a business trip, I felt like I should still see him. Waiting for a guy to come to my place late at night for the second night in a row was too weird for me. I was feeling awkward before he even arrived. I let him in my apartment and right away I knew I wasn’t excited about seeing him. This is awful, I thought. I continued to be awkward around him, and I knew I couldn’t say anything to him on his birthday. I gave him the card I’d made him and he seemed to appreciate the effort. I hadn’t had a big enough dinner, so I wasn’t in the best mood. When I mentioned it, he kept offering to go out to get something for me, but I couldn’t let him go out in the rain on his birthday just because I hadn’t eaten enough –and after the previous night I’d just had. Why was he so nice? Was he that into me? I felt worse. Though he put no pressure on me, I still felt like I should help him have a good birthday in whatever ways I could. So, since he wasn’t going back out we ended up sleeping together…sort of…no, we did…but it was just…well, that bad. I don’t entirely blame him, clearly there was a lot on my mind keeping me out of the mood, causing me to be so cold towards him in my awkwardness of the situation I’d created…But his lack of skills played a part as well. It seemed like he just said all the wrong things at the wrong time and suddenly became an incredibly awkward person himself. We stopped what was going on and lay there in the dark. He described worst-case-scenario and asked if it was that bad. It was, but I just couldn’t say it. I played down the level of “bad.” It also couldn’t help that this performance was being held up side-by-side with last night’s, just making it seem that much worse. I felt kind of awful. Did I mention that already? And he had no idea about half of it. We went to sleep.
The next morning I had to run a few errands and pack for my business trip. We said goodbye, nothing special, and I went about my day. I had the beginning symptoms of a cold. I knew why. I also felt sad. “Sad” is such a simple word, yet it really didn’t feel any more complex than that. I had hoped when I saw him my feelings would return, but ever since I’d rekindled my crush on the foreign guy, my feelings for him had vanished. In a breakup you miss the other person. In this, I just missed what I’d felt. I thought I’d go on this business trip and see if I missed him. See if I’d want to give him another shot after the night before. When I returned I’d tell him what happened…
After my last post, my foreign crush sent me an instant message that evening about how late his flight got in and how awful his hotel was. I teased him that I had offered him my place originally, thinking back to how I felt about him when we’d made these arrangements nine months earlier. He sent me a picture of himself in the tiny hotel room. My mind flashed back to the more intimate pictures we’d exchanged in the past. We made plans to meet at his hotel the next morning, and that went to plan aside from the new guy being on my mind; filling me with awkward guilt, confusion, and discomfort around my foreign crush. We hugged hello when he came down from his room. He hugged me just like when he hugged me when I thought I’d never see him again. He said he hadn’t gotten much sleep in his noisy room. I told him he sounded tired, and he corrected me that he had a cold. Good, that means no bodily fluids will be exchanged, I thought –I can’t be sick for this business trip coming up. I suggested we pick up some cold medicine and as he looked down at the pills he purchased that he hadn’t taken, he told me that he couldn’t swallow them without water. I gave up my bottle of water. He suggested that he pour the water in his mouth, but I shook my head, “I can’t risk catching your cold, just keep it and I’ll get another one later.”
After explaining how to navigate our trains, we headed to a few tourist spots he was interested in. I warmed up to him a little and didn’t feel quite so awkward, after all he was good company and there was a reason I’d had an interest in him when we first met. He asked if I was seeing anyone. I was thrilled to get the truth about that off my chest, “Well, actually I just met someone…” I told him the short version, though having only seen the guy twice and known him a few days, there wasn’t much of a longer version. When he spoke about visiting my country, he’d assured me he would be single and there was no way he was going to be in a relationship by then. I guess no one can really plan anything like that out. He went on to tell me that he’d been in a relationship with someone for four months and that he lived with her. They’d split up for his months-long vacation, but depending on job interviews upon his return there was a possibility of them getting back together. Four months; I did the math in my head. “THAT’S why you stopped messaging me and flirting with me!” I happily exclaimed. It was such a relief to know it wasn’t me and it really had been because he’d met someone else after assuring me that wasn’t where he was. He smiled, “I didn’t think it would be appropriate to send nudes while I was with her. I don’t know, I’ve been thinking about going back into boyfriend mode. I might want that.” I nodded, smiling. There wasn’t a chance of us hooking up between us both sort of having someone and his cold –and I hadn’t done anything wrong to cause him to stop talking to me! He said he thought he’d told me about her. He hadn’t. He probably didn’t even think about it. But that was fine because now I was free to have a good time with him and not worry about where it may end up. So, we went to a park, we went to places he wanted to be photographed outside of, we went to places to eat…and then we went to a bar, and another bar…
We had a drink or two or three and it was like everything that had been wired one way in my brain had been undone. Before the drinks he’d arranged to meet up with another friend of his to return their lost cellphone to them. His plan was that we’d go our separate ways after that. He said he wanted to be on his own for this part of the trip. It wasn’t really rude, he did prefer traveling alone, we’d spent a lot of hours together and had only planned on seeing each other this day, anyway, but it’d still made me feel slightly sad and undesirable –That was sober-me. Three-drink-me couldn’t stop dropping hints about how he should come to my apartment that evening. His hotel was awful and my place would be a five-star resort in comparison. He finally gave me a very firm, “Look, you told me that you were really interested in this new guy and you were hoping it went somewhere. I’m not going to let you screw that up.” And just like that the new guy meant nothing to me, the drunk-me, but still me, chimed in, “I met him four days ago! I’ve seen him twice! We haven’t even slept together! We never talked about not seeing other people! I’ll never ever see you again after tonight, you know that!” Then, I rattled off some unsettling thoughts about the new guy I’d been blinded by my original attraction to him to acknowledge earlier. Sure, they weren’t such big flaws, but there were apparently some hesitations I really had held about him and it was possible we weren’t that great of a match. My foreign crush shook his head, “What about my cold, you wouldn’t share that water bottle with me all day!” I shrugged, “Ah, the alcohol will kill the germs,” I replied. “It doesn’t work that way,” he said. I knew that too. I persisted. He had to meet his friend, he said. But, I’d already made up my mind. “Tell him that something came up and you’ll meet him two hours later. Come back to my place and meet him afterwards.” He hesitated, but picked up his phone and sent the message. His friend hadn’t replied. “I have to meet him,” he said. “It’s not like I’m not interested-” he grabbed my hand and put it over his pants, “As you can see, I’m very interested. But my friend didn’t answer and I have to meet him.” I looked around, “Maybe they have a bathroom we could use…” I trailed off. Moments later we were making out. It was like an aggressive, passionate, in-the-moment, have-to-have-you-now kind of kiss. I felt like I was ten years younger, mature adults didn’t still make out in bars like this, did they? And I noticed it was also a much more intimate kiss than I’d ever had with the new guy. “I’m going to meet my friend now,” he said, “But, leave your door unlocked. I don’t know what time I’m going to come over, but I’m going to head back to your place tonight if you still want me there, and I’m going to——” That last part is a lot more sexually explicit than I usually let this blog go, but it ended with “all night long.” We had a deal.
By the time I got home I’d sobered up just enough to over think just about everything. I poured myself a glass of wine trying to feel like I had earlier at the bar. In a few hours it would officially be the new guy’s birthday. My foreign crush would be over my place soon. Would this ruin things with the new guy? Why should it, it wasn’t like we’d discussed being exclusive. Maybe it wouldn’t even go anywhere with him and there was certainly no chance I’d see my foreign crush ever again. I’d waited nine months for this exact night. I’d anticipated it and thought about it on multiple occasions. I’d taken grooming habits he preferred into mind weeks in advance for this night. Was the new guy really my only shot at feeling this way about someone again? Would things turn into something more with him? Would they still if I wasn’t alone tonight? Did I want to be with someone who would react so strongly to my actions after just meeting me? Would he mind that much or did he have other dates lined up? Was it wrong I’d told him we should wait, yet would sleep with someone else before him? Would this change how I felt about him? I could still tell my foreign crush “no.” He sent me a message asking if I was still up and wanted him over, “Yep” I immediately replied. He was getting in a cab and would be over soon.
The night went…very much as expected. Things were…pretty great. We both were. There certainly was chemistry between us in that department. I was unlike myself, even –in a good way. It might have even been better than the first time when I was still in my vacation-mode. That “all night long” promise hadn’t actually been that far off. I looked over at him sleeping the next morning. I liked him. It was such a stupid thing because all I’d done was rehashed my dormant feelings for him. I wasn’t thinking about him anymore. Months ago I had pushed him out of my mind with the idea that he wouldn’t speak to me again. And now I’d slept with him. And I kind of didn’t regret it –I couldn’t. But now I had this crush on him all over again and I’d never see him again. There was probably over a 98% chance I would never, ever see him again, and there was absolutely no point in having feelings for him, but now I’d have to forget that again. And I tried to fall back on the thought, “at least there’s the new guy…” But suddenly, quite suddenly, that didn’t mean anything to me anymore. It was gone. Just like that. I knew it as much as I tried to tell myself it couldn’t have been ruined that quickly, that easily. So I told myself maybe it would be better when I saw him.
My foreign crush took a shower. I was excited that my crush was in *my* shower. It’s that lame. He got dressed and then that was it really. I walked him to my door and he hugged me goodbye and wished me well in life. We said if either of us ever happens to be in the other’s home country again…But it kind of broke off knowing how unlikely that was for both of us. I unlocked my door and then turned around and in a rush of emotion threw my arms around him again, “aww, I’ll miss you!” I exclaimed. He hugged me back and then he left. The moment my door closed I immediately started crying. I don’t know how much of it was because I missed him or how overwhelmed I felt with the idea of seeing the new guy that evening, but I decided not to let him know I’d started crying after he left. I wasn’t going to be emotionally attached annoying baggage for him. I texted the new guy, “Happy Birthday! =) When am I seeing you later?” with tears still streaming down my face.
My favorite movie touches upon theories of how time flows, and there’s a scene where they describe the start of a relationship as fast. I’ve always been able to relate to that. I meet people and I feel nothing again and again. They’re always nice on paper, no real flaws that I can find, but the connection just isn’t there. I’ll see them for a few times, giving it time. I start to like them sometimes, but it never develops past that. The few times I’ve fallen for someone it was fast. It was a rush of a sudden overwhelming amount of…liking them. I can’t say “love.” I don’t believe one falls in love that fast with someone they hardly know, but when I like someone, when I really like someone, I’m excited and it’s a complete rush. My brain obsesses at the beginning. It’s like an explosion of sudden emotion shortly after meeting them and it’s hard to quit. It fades some overtime, it settles, it might disappear, or just calm down, but the beginning is always a rush, and that’s where I am. Saturday I had nothing. Saturday I was still lonely. Saturday I was debating stringing along some mediocre dates just to have someone. Sunday everything was different. I spent Sunday, Monday, and this morning in a wave of excitement. I went to sleep after midnight and I woke up at 4am filled with anticipation. I’ve been anxious and excited because I can’t get him off my mind and I want to see him again. I’m trying to fight it. I’m telling myself to slow down or I’ll burn off this feeling too quickly. I’ll overdo it and tire too fast. But no matter how much I try to relax, I can’t switch it off.
It’s funny, as lonely as I was at times, and as much as I knew there couldn’t be any real future with someone who lived as far away as my foreign crush, I half hoped I wouldn’t wind up falling for anyone until he visited my city, and now just four days before he’s here, the urge to see him disappeared. What timing. I feel oddly guilty about seeing him. I’ve only half mentioned it to the guy I just met. It’s silly of course. We’re not in anything serious. I don’t know where this will go. I’ve only known him for two days. Two days! But I don’t want to date anyone else right now. I don’t want to keep my options open. I want to see what happens with him. I hope something happens with him where this just works out. I did like my foreign crush, but the bubble popped when I looked at that situation realistically. This cloud of doubt has always been above my crush on him and I knew my crush was more about fun and a temporary attraction. I haven’t felt this crazy about someone in…well, about four years. Since my last real relationship. And it’s scary because this is so new and it might all fall apart so quickly, still. I’m nervous about falling from where I’ve flown to in this now. I’m in my head, dizzy, spinning with so much hope and so many ideas of what could be. My mind’s already raced to the extremes: what if this lasts, what if I never date again after him, what if this continues, and he keeps feeling the same way about me too, how do I feel about his last name, what if we had children, what if we stay happy together for many years, will I get along with his friends, will we have a healthy relationship, we could go here and there together, if I still do that big vacation in a year I’ll miss him if he’s still in the picture, and so on and so on…
I woke up on Monday after meeting him ready to go on a hike with a friend I hadn’t seen in years, but hours passed and my friend didn’t answer my phone calls or my texts. Was my friend flaking out on me at the last minute?! I frowned at the time and although it felt too soon according to the usual “rules” to reach out to the guy I’d just been with ten hours earlier, I really wanted to see him again. Did he want to go on a hike with me instead? I texted him. He had made lunch plans already. I told him that was fine and not to worry about it, but he said my plan sounded much more awesome. “You can’t ditch your friend because I just got ditched, it wouldn’t be right,” I told him, as much as I hoped he would. He suddenly played down the lunch plans and told me to give him a minute. Fifteen minutes later he was headed over to my place and we were in the car headed to our hike. He cancelled plans for me, he liked me, and he couldn’t be upset with me over cancelling the plans because I’d already told him not to. I was excited. We were in the car for over an hour. I had intended to put some music on, but it wasn’t until we were already there that I’d realized we’d already spent the entire ride talking. He looks at me with this interested and curious smile when I say something that he likes. We started the hike. Sweaty and out of breath scrambling up some rocks we realized we’d gone a bit off the path. We looked around for the path and he paused. I knew he was going to kiss me, I anticipate it, and still I try to pretend as if he’d caught me off guard, except there’s this sort of energy in the air each time before he kisses me. Everything slows for a moment. And each time I’m left with the same smile. It’s comfortable with him. We got back on the path and continued on. I stopped to get a pebble out of my shoe, balancing on one foot. He came over to me and held my shoulders to steady me. I flashed back to a couple I’d been envious of on the train a week ago when the girl bent down to tie her shoe and the guy with her had held on to her to keep her from falling. How did I wind up in this position so quickly? We passed some other hikers and noticed something amusing. We made the same joke at the same time. How did everything come so easy with him?
I was exhausted on the car ride home. Drained, but content that he was still with me. I asked him for more details about his ex that he used to live with. I wanted to better understand his past and where he stood now. He told me about their breakup, their fights toward the end, and his theories on her behavior. Suddenly I felt sad picturing their relationship crumble and knowing the feeling all too well. I could already see what it would be like if it ever turned into anything more with us, and the horrible demise we’d one day face. I was quiet for a while. But we weren’t at that point now. I glanced at him and smiled. I invited him up to my place.
In my bedroom I described all the color I’d seen in his eyes and he laughed telling me I was very observant. We talked, listened to music, and I showed him a couple of songs he hadn’t heard after he’d expressed interest in the singer. He correctly guessed the meaning behind the title of one of my playlists. Soon all the songs that I’d been listening to over the last few years sounded like they were about him. Then he kissed me and our clothes started to come off. We paused so he could go to the bathroom, and when he came back I’d had a moment to think. I thought about what I would say. I didn’t want to tell him I liked him, so I decided to play it off as a lesser statement and just tell him that he was cool. “I always do this right away. But you’re cool, and so I was thinking maybe I’ll wait until the next time I see you.” Sure, it sounded silly, I sleep with those I’m not that into right away, but now when I like someone, I choose not to be with them? Only, I didn’t want to ruin what was going on. Maybe my feelings never properly developed for everyone else because it was too rushed. Maybe I’d ruin what had already begun. He told me that was alright and he was enjoying kissing me. I meant to say that I liked kissing him, but somehow, “I like you” came out, so I started talking really quickly, as if all of the new sentences would cover up what I’d said, but I was very aware of a flicker of a smile that had appeared on his face as I said it, moments later washed away with a look of confusion as I rattled on about other things. He liked that I liked him. Maybe he liked me too. Sure, it wasn’t so bad, “I love you” would’ve been a horrible thing to say, yet still on the second day of knowing someone, “I like you” still sounded too forward. But I do, I do like him. He said he hears about how great he is and “let’s wait” a lot. I wondered who said it to him last. I thought about what I’d said and hoped it didn’t sound like too much so early on, I wasn’t usually this sentimental, and I didn’t usually make such a big deal about this; It couldn’t be a big deal because it was a scary thought to acknowledge how I felt so soon. So I told him that he wasn’t that special. He nodded and said he knows. I think he knew what I meant. So, we kissed some more and lay together a little longer before he eventually went home.
We lingered by my front door. I’d be leaving on another business trip this weekend and we both had plans during the week. He said waiting to see me until after my trip sounded too far away. He asked if I was free Friday night –his birthday. Every time I start dating someone I always cross my fingers it isn’t around any holidays, our birthdays included, to avoid that awkward questioning of if you should get them anything so early on and if so –what. When he’d told me his birthday the day before I’d just assumed I wouldn’t see him because his family was visiting him, but now there were all types of pressure about that day. He smirked and I knew what he meant. I told him he should spend time with his family and friends, trying not to butt in as an important person in his life at this point of time, but he assured me his parents would be at their hotel by that hour and he had a picnic planned with his friends the following day (which I wasn’t really available for anyway.) I told him I couldn’t and he sarcastically joked, “Great, another year without birthday sex!” I was getting guilted in, but it wasn’t like I didn’t want to see him anyway. I told him maybe. And once again, as soon as he left, I couldn’t wait to see him again.
I sat at work the next day with a smile and a distant look on my face for most of the day. If I was in high school, I’d have probably been drawing little hearts around his name in my notebook. I thought about his birthday again. I decided I’d make him a card because I had a somewhat artistic side to me he’d already seemed to appreciate when he’d noticed my nail art. I worked on an intricate design for hours and then sketched out what I’d write inside on a post-it note for a while. I had to keep it simple and light, as I wouldn’t have even known him an entire week yet at that point. But I wanted it to say more than your standard “happy birthday.” I thought for a while about how to sign my name. I’d just write it. I couldn’t write the word “love” even though I might to friends. It was just too risky at this point. “From” was just too unfriendly. I couldn’t draw a heart because he might read it as “love.” X’s and O’s seemed too mushy. Maybe I had a sticker at home in my childhood sticker books of a silly face giving a kiss I could put in it…I considered all of this for a while. I’ve decided to see him on Friday, but I know so little about him I haven’t decided if I’ll include anything else in the card. What do I know about him? That he doesn’t like tomatoes and raisons? That he’s learning to play the banjo and sings in a chorus? How do I turn those things into a thoughtful present? Perhaps the card and my presence was enough. I couldn’t really do much or it would seem like too much for someone I’d just met, anyway.
I checked my phone every hour, writing down things I thought about texting him. I couldn’t come on too strong after seeing him for so long two days in a row. This is day three of knowing him. I had to leave a gap for him to miss me. I worried someone else would sweep up some opportunity and it’d be over before it began, but I couldn’t give in. We needed at least 24 hours where I didn’t reach out to him. Maybe I’d allow myself to text him tomorrow. Maybe I wouldn’t. Then my foreign crush sent me a message that he was looking forward to visiting my city. It made me nervous. I’d spent close to nine months anticipating his visit, and all of a sudden the excitement had faded. Would I really see him the day before I met with The New Guy on his birthday? What if we wound up at my place after midnight, would I sleep with him on this guy’s birthday and then jump back to this guy the next evening? It didn’t sound like me at all, I thought, and then I got a text from The Short Guy. He asked if I’d seen his acknowledgment to my drunken text from last week about hooking up with him. So there was that loose end too. I didn’t think twice about cutting ties with that one. I told that I’d just met someone I wanted to see where things went with. He wished me luck and said he still wouldn’t mind seeing me either, though. I kind of laughed to myself. I certainly can’t feel very undesirable at this point in time.
I’ve said “I like him” to myself a few times after arriving home and I’ve been smiling a lot. I’m nervous about how I’ll mess it up or what I’ll uncover about him, but right now we just met and I felt something I haven’t felt in a while. It’s nice and I want to savor it before it fades or crashes and burns. It’s the middle of the night and I should be asleep to wake up early in the morning, but I’m smiling and listing everything I enjoyed about my day with him…
So, it started just like most of my dates when I meet someone from a dating website or app. I wasn’t particularly excited because I’m usually disappointed upon meeting everyone, but I put together the usual casual-first-impression-of-me outfit, opted for sneakers over sandals as we were planning on going for a walk, and I was off. I stood where we were to meet watching people walk by. Some I hoped were him, some I hoped weren’t him, and then he appeared and my thoughts raced, “That’s him?! He’s here for ME?! Oh no, I don’t look good enough for him. Does he find me attractive? Wow, he’s really, really cute. He’s actually pretty hot. And he’s here to meet me!” It was like all those times I’d look around and imagine myself with someone else’s significant other, always wondering why I was never with the more attractive date, and now I was. We started walking and I kept smiling to myself thinking, “All these people can see him and they see that he’s with me!” It sounds kind of shallow, but it’s the first thing you notice about someone. We started walking and sharing stories. He’d turn to look at me while he was talking even though it made it a little awkward to walk. His eyes were green with a sort of orange hue around the center, the kind of eyes people write about how you can get lost in. I’m horrible at making eye contact, but found myself looking into his eyes much more than usual.
We walked to a park and talked about our jobs, our backgrounds, all the usual things we always talk about on a first date, but it wasn’t as boring as it usually is. We stopped for some ices at his request. I happened to order and told him to combine his order with mine, he awkwardly put his money away as it seemed he had intended to pay, but it wasn’t even on my mind. Sure, they were only a couple of dollars, but I was enjoying my time with him and which of us paid just felt irrelevant. We were joking about this or that, I don’t even remember why some things were so funny but I laughed and I remember he was laughing too. The cashier and the woman behind me called me three times to tell me that I hadn’t picked up the water I’d just requested, but I’d already forgotten about it. He leaned against a railing while we ate the ices and he looked like some really cool guy I’d wish I knew, and now I did! I almost never remember what any of my dates wore when we first met, but he was in a short sleeve, loose/summery white button down shirt, khaki shorts, and Teva sandals. I have no idea as to why I was so attracted to this outfit, but it was probably just the fact that he was the one wearing it and it seemed to fit him in more ways than the size on the tags. We stopped at a piece of art in the park and he read the deep description about the somewhat silly piece. Neither of us got it and we joked about that, too.
He asked if I wanted to get a drink and I said I should probably eat something. We scoped out a few places and settled on one bar/restaurant. We were seated outside and got a few appetizers and a few drinks. The appetizers weren’t great, by the way, but I didn’t blame him or care much at all. He leaned back in his chair and told me about his dream business he was pursuing. I listened, but at one point I started to zone out. “What was his flaw? What would be the reason we don’t work out? What wouldn’t he like about me? What would I dislike about him?” I scanned his face and watched his lips when he spoke. I wanted to kiss him, but it wasn’t my opportunity to. Too soon and everything could be ruined for no good reason. I might send the wrong message. Why did everything have to come with a message? I looked over all the physical features of his face, and then my eyes fell to his chest, waiting for some physical flaw to stand out, while trying to remind myself not to do that. My eyes drifted to his biceps. He was my type, that’s all I could tell, and then I thought it would be so tough getting over him at some point. I popped back into the conversation, he still hadn’t said anything about himself or commented on anything about me that had rubbed me the wrong way. He went inside to ask for the check. I texted my best friend. I had to tell someone that I was with his amazing guy. He returned and everything was paid for. He earned his points anyway, but for once I didn’t care and I’d already been prepared to split the bill.
We walked some more and stopped in a record store. He flipped through the records and we talked about music. We walked some more and appeared at a train station. He told me he was going to go home but that I could come with him. It was almost 9pm. I debated it for a bit. I was supposed to wake up early in the morning, but he did live closer than most people I’ve been dating and I didn’t want to call it a night yet. We waited on the train platform and he asked me a question, so I gave my opinion –on a topic somewhat too private/sensitive for this blog. After that he must have remembered a relevant insecurity I’d mentioned I had earlier over drinks, looked me in the eye and told me that it wasn’t so. I brushed it off like his comment hadn’t meant a lot, but I was sort of melting. I don’t remember the train ride or how long it took. I don’t remember what we were talking about. Time didn’t have the same feel to it anymore. His neighborhood wasn’t the greatest and I was a little nervous walking through it, but if that’s the only drawback I find, I wouldn’t mind it. He asked if I was hungry and picked up some potatoes and few other vegetables. He cooked for me. We sat on his couch and ate. I finished the last of his ice in my glass of water and filled his ice cube tray. He was impressed by this gesture I hadn’t thought twice about. “Things are going well,” I thought. We threw around the idea of watching a movie but we just kept talking and never got around it. I told him how attractive I found him. He was really modest about it and not at all like those cocky guys who know they’re hot. He kissed me and we kissed for a while and cuddled for a while and it got later and later. I talked about how I had to leave and he agreed for about an hour. I asked if he’d come back to my place to spend the night there and he was willing to, but I didn’t want to push things. I’m always rushing into everything. I finally took a cab home, on my own, close to 2am. Close to 12 hours with him. I woke up and I couldn’t wait to see him again. I miss him already. I haven’t felt like this in years…
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