The New Guy

9/4/16:
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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The Business Trip

The company I work for sent me on a 5+ hour plane ride to help set up our booth at a trade show. Spending a week with my boss and colleagues, I wasn’t expecting to fall into any kind of intimate settings, but I guess it never hurts to wear the nicer clothes paired with a little makeup on an average day. My coworker had warned me that the people we’re sent from the company of laborers hired to help us construct everything were often lazy and not that intelligent. I figured it would be a long day. Two guys showed up and told me they’d been assigned to help us at our booth. One seemed like he’d be pretty typical -been in the company for 35 years and no longer cared about how helpful he’d be as long as he got his paycheck. On the other hand, the other laborer must have been just starting out. He was also handsome to say the least. My eyes ran up and down his body. His upper body was pretty muscular but settled into a cute, clean-shaven face, with sweet bright blue eyes. Between his biceps that bulged under his t-shirt and square glasses against a boyish face, Clark Kent came to mind.

They got to work and I continued to unpack some boxes. Hours passed and I kept glancing at Clark Kent waiting for a moment when his collogue wasn’t by his side and my coworkers were out of earshot. But we’d already caught each other’s eyes a couple of times. He’d be on a ladder and his head would pop up over a wall and he’d smile. I’d smile back and before quickly getting back to whatever I was working on. Then I finally got my moment, while he was on the floor screwing on the legs of a table and his partner was helping us with a platform on the other side of the booth. “So, I was told I should hope the laborers we’d get assigned would be smart…” I started. He looked up at me, face full of worry like he was doing something wrong. I smiled, “I’m glad we did!” I added. He looked relieved and looked back down. “But I didn’t know we’d also be getting such an attractive one…” I continued. He might have blushed, “Well uhh thank you!” he said and asked where I was from. He lived on the same block as my hotel. We continued to chat a bit and he asked if I’d like to go to dinner some time when I was free that week. I looked back into his eyes, he did look a bit young, didn’t he…But I always had been attracted to that baby-face look and convinced I’d always been a cougar in the making. I’d also realized he had a pretty bad lisp, but luckily my ears didn’t judge as harshly as my eyes. I told him it sounded like a good plan.

More hours went by and we decided to call it a night. I had to sign the laborers out. The two of them and my colleague stood by my side while I marked things off on the paperwork sitting on the counter by their boss. He wasn’t going to ask for my number in front of his bosses, was he? Would he get in trouble if I asked for his, pretending it was work related? I didn’t find out, we had already parted ways and were walking back to the hotel without another word to him. Later that night over dinner and drinks my coworker randomly brought him up. They must have had a conversation at some point. “You know that guy who was helping us had been in the military? He hurt his foot and now he isn’t able to run anymore. He’s only-” His age sucked to hear, but at least he wasn’t underage to drink. I cleared my throat, “Did you get his number?” I asked. “No! Why would I have?!” he asked me. I shrugged, “I wouldn’t have minded having it…” A few eyebrows raised in my direction. “What, he’s legal!” I protested. They laughed it off. I guess that’s it, I thought.

Back in my hotel room I lay down exhausted, but mentally awake. He must have been only the second or third guy I’d flirted with in my lifetime. What a rush. It would have been nice to see how far things could have gone. What a missed opportunity. He was pretty cute. I guess he was too young. Although he didn’t seem that immature. It’s not like that much could’ve come of it, I’m only here a few more days. I wonder if he’s on FaceBook…I’m not usually a social-media stalker, I figured I wouldn’t find him, but I was curious to see if I could. Let’s see, I know his first name which isn’t all that popular, and I know he lives in this city. So, I did a search for those two things alone. Okay, that’s a girl, that’s not him, that’s not him, that’s not him, that’s a girl, that’s not him, that…hmm…I click the picture and instead of the floppy short hair I’d met him with that afternoon, he had buzz cut hair and no glasses. That didn’t quite rule him out, and he did have bright blue eyes. His job seemed to be in some sort of labor field, although it wasn’t the name of the company we’d hired him through. I scrolled through a few more of his pictures. His smile was the same. I scroll down the wall and see his foot in a cast, followed by other photos in military attire. This matches my coworker’s story about him. Could it have been that easy? Was that really him? I sent a message, “Hey.” If it’s not him they’ll probably just ask “Who is this?” or ignore the message. Since I didn’t friend him, the message probably won’t show up in his regular inbox and he might not even get notified about it. I close the app and stare at the ceiling a little longer. A message pops up on my phone, “Hey, what’s up?” Would a stranger respond that way to a FaceBook message from someone he didn’t know? Suddenly I have another idea and I jump up. I flip through the receipts and copies of paperwork I’d signed the laborers out on. I run my finger down the page to their timesheet and see two last names. Sure enough, one matched the name of the dude I’d FaceBook messaged. I replied and a few messages later sent my number.

When things wound down the next day I noticed a text message from Clark Kent asking how things were going and letting me know he was free. I asked him if he wanted to get something to eat and within an hour or so I was in one of my few packed changes of clothes greeting him in the lobby of my hotel. “Are you cold? My place is right over there if you’d like a jacket,” he suggested. I declined. Mostly we walked around. A lot. We passed by nice places, meat places, bars, salad places, a mall food court, and so on. Eventually I decided I really didn’t mind where we wound up so we stopped by a pretty simple place for some pasta and he paid for my dish. Again he mentioned his apartment and how he had a bottle of champagne he didn’t remember how he obtained over there. I’m not big on champagne. Next we hit a bar. I ordered a martini the way I prefer them and he got a margarita because he wanted “something with tequila.” This young he hadn’t been to too many bars and clearly had no idea about what he preferred to drink. I tried to ignore this. I told him I liked his glasses –as he’d opted for contacts that night. We talked about travel, pets, jobs, relationships, and religion. Then we talked politics. He’s planning on voting for someone who I believe is clearly a horrible choice, but I ordered another drink and he seemed to admit that he wasn’t even at all confident in his candidate, so I let it slide. I looked down at his empty drink glasses and pointed to one, “That one was your limit. You just got this one here because I got another drink. You didn’t have to do that. I know you just started going to bars, but you’ll learn that eventually.” Now I was teaching him and getting too close to when our age difference gets weird. “How old are you?” he finally let out. “I’m older than you, but I’m not in my 30’s.” I said. He apologized for asking and told me what his guess would have been. “Older, but it’s not important,” I told him. For the first time I realized how terrifying my age sounded as a number when you’re his age. I waited for him to down another drink before I randomly spat out the actual number. By that time it didn’t seem like a big deal anymore.

I’m not sure how I wound up inviting him up to my hotel room…But that’s how that night ended. I hurried him out the next morning before meeting my colleagues in the hotel lobby and brushed off their, “How was your night?” questions. “How’s the show going?” he checked in later that evening. My boss had taken our team members out to dinner. I’d be free that night after eating, and there was a movie theater across the street from my hotel, so I decided to ask him to see a movie. “I wore a jacket this time in case you were cold,” he told me. I thanked him and smiled. I noticed he’d also worn his glasses that night after my comment. He’d probably make such a sweet boyfriend to some girl his age. The thought didn’t bother me or make me jealous –We lived on opposite sides of the country and I wasn’t interested in anything serious with someone his age. He needed a few more years before he planned on settling down, and even outside of that it was clear this wasn’t the perfect match. It’s really an interesting experience dating someone when you’re both aware the maximum length of the relationship won’t exceed 3 days. I actually said a lot less than I normally would have with someone who I might have had a future with and would have felt should have a better idea of who I am and what I like. I selected a children’s movie which was quite a letdown, but I rested my head on his shoulder and he put his hand on my leg. It was cute and made me feel like I was back in high school and practically innocent. I asked him if he remembered when this or that movie came out and he seemed to draw a blank. The age gap thought entered my mind again. When I was preparing to enter my twenties, he hadn’t even entered his teens yet. “You know you were __ years old when I was __?” I put out there. He sighed, “Well, I hadn’t thought of it like that before…But we’re both in our twenties now!” I nodded, “Yeah, now we’re in our twenties. It’s fine.” I ended another night with him at my hotel again. The nights weren’t that notable, and there were definitely a few things I could have taught him had we more time, but what -who- else did I have planned out there at night anyway?

The last day I hadn’t planned on seeing him. We had to break down our booth and were assigned other labor workers, but when I realized we were assigned some of the lazier ones and it was getting late I decided reaching out to Clark Kent wouldn’t hurt. I knew he lived nearby and had already finished his shift so I figured I’d mention how long the process was taking. Sure enough he offered to head over and help out. I told my coworker he was on his way and he made a face. “We’re not paying him or anything, he’s just coming by as a friend,” I said. My coworker replied, “Well maybe it’s not money you’re paying him with, but nothing’s free.” Alright, it had gotten a little weird but it wasn’t like I was just using him to help us, I did think he was cute and I’d have hung out with him either way. It got me thinking about the double standard, though. A few days earlier, one of our clients was about to step into a meeting with one of my collogues who was hoping to close a deal with him. As they headed off the guy handed me his business card and told me if I called him he’d buy me a glass of wine at the business event that evening. He was at least twice my age so I’d politely laughed it off, and although I was somewhat annoyed by his suggestion, I was afraid of messing up the sale for my company. “How dare he suggest such a thing to me when I’m so much younger than him!” I thought, only how different had it really been with my reversed situation with Clark Kent?

I spent my last night at the hotel with him again. At this point I felt the cat was out of the bag, and there was no longer any shame in stepping off the elevator at my floor with him, though my coworkers were still in the elevator. I watched him get dressed the morning of my flight, while he was running late for work. “Well, uh, it was nice meeting you,” I said. “Likewise,” he replied. “If you’re ever in my city…” I went on. “I’m sure I’ll make it there one day,” he said. A quick hug goodbye and he stepped out the hotel room door and out of my life, excluding the occasional check-in text/FaceBook message. -It’s odd how these days no one is ever really out of your life forever with social media. All the ghosts of your past relationships, all the skeletons from your closet, forever accessible in virtual form…

Be Wary Of Stated Height & “Roommates”

He looked cute, didn’t live too far, had a job, was about my age, and didn’t write anything too creepy about himself, so I tapped the “like” icon and a few text messages later our date was set. The future is now, I guess. When I asked him to name a time and a place he went with some kind of sports bar at 10pm, so I assumed this would be more about hooking up, but knowing my back-up plan was off the table, I was still planning on showing up. (A few days earlier I’d texted my hook-up buddy after a year of silence to confirm he’d met someone.) Lately most of my nights were ending by 10pm, but I felt like it would be silly to protest after I had asked him to choose, so I kept myself busy and awake. I wore my favorite jeans, a plain black tank top, and knowing he wasn’t that tall flat open-toed sandals with blue nail polish because I thought it represented myself the best. It was an hour away, so my mind raced the entire time. How would the night go? What if he wasn’t attractive? What if he was crazy? What if I said too much? What was I going to order? What if I got tired too early? Would he come all the way back to my place if things went well? Was I willing to go to his place? Would we stop for food because I’d skipped dinner?

I got off the train and it seemed like everyone was already drunk. Women wobbled down the streets in heels, groups of guys laughed trying to figure out the next bar they’d hit, and one guy slapped a girl’s ass as she got in the car with him. (She didn’t seem very upset with him about it and I pretended not to notice.) I was running pretty late. Being that this is completely unlike me, it’d already thrown me into an awkward tizzy upon meeting him. He was pacing outside and I recognized him right away, but he was shorter than I thought he’d be. I mean, I’m considered pretty short for a woman and I was trying to figure out if he was actually any taller than me. I had a second of panic where I started to walk by him as if I’d pretended not to see him yet, but then I stopped walking and turned and he seemed to recognize me too. It was the first time I’d been on a date since my shorter haircut and I had wondered if it would be an issue since my hair was longer in most of my pictures. He hugged me hello and I was awkward as fuck.

We walked into the bar and it was surprisingly completely empty, except for a couple at one of the tables. It turns out it was a holiday weekend and they were closing early, but we had about an hour until last call. My eyes darted everywhere but on him, my body language faced away from him, and I argued with myself in my head about being so superficial as to be this un-attracted to someone over their height. What, I’d always said I didn’t want someone too tall, but now I was with someone too short, so was I really so picky as to have to be with someone who fell within my perfect range (where most people did happen to be)? Here I sat, as Goldilocks. I turned to look at him. He was cute. Everything about his appearance was perfectly okay, couldn’t I let his height go? I’d known his height before meeting him hadn’t I? Sure it was 2 inches shorter than what I prefer, but I’d gone out with someone an inch under it before and it wasn’t a big deal. Had he lied about his height? Had he really said he was just a little taller than he was when he was actually this short, and didn’t think there was a possibility some might be disappointed upon meeting him? I answered his questions with a slight delay because I was in the middle of this conversation in my head. He’d asked what I’d spend that day doing, it wasn’t a difficult question, so it shouldn’t have taken me so long to respond and add, “What about you?” He’d been helping his roommate move out. When I realized what I was doing, and how odd it must have seemed that it was taking me so long to realize he’d asked a question, I turned to face him and started out with, “So where did you grow up?” I ordered my drink with extra olives. He doesn’t like olives, but he does like pickles, and I have 3 jars of pickles in my refrigerator. This is the part where you learn lots of little facts about each other that will usually eventually become utterly useless. I sort of skimped on the details of some of my best stories because the repetition of telling them on so many previous dates had kind of killed it for me. We talked about our jobs, religion, and eventually our past relationships.

I asked him when the last time was that he’d been in a relationship. He shifted his weight in his seat and said “Actually, pretty recently. It ended a month ago.” They’d been together for over 2 years and he ended things because he didn’t see a future between them. I hated that my first thought was, “How tall was she, and was height never an issue?” I asked if they’d lived together and they had. Then something clicked. Clearly I hadn’t been drinking enough. “Wait a minute,” I said. “Is the roommate you were helping move out today your girlfriend?” He paused and nervously smiled, “Ex-girlfriend. And well, to be honest, I wasn’t going to bring it up, but Tuesday. She moves out Tuesday. I’ve been on the couch.” That was different. It didn’t really bother me, but I was a little thrown. We continued the conversation, moved on, and ordered our second drink before last call. The check came with it and while he seemed to be under the impression it was automatically on him to pay when I offered to split it, he was pretty open to it and accepted my offer. I grumbled about it in my head for a moment, but he had offered, my drinks had been more expensive and I had gotten another raise at my job not all that long ago. At some point that night I told him that I’d deducted some points from him for that. “But you offered!” he protested. “I know, But I was hoping you’d refuse. I just offer to seem nice, like I don’t actually care. I don’t usually, except the first couple of dates,” I admitted. He started to defend himself, “See, I never know, because sometimes-” I cut him off, “I know, I know, some girls want the independence and I know I want things to be equal and all that too but I guess I just like to know someone would be willing to pay for me sometimes early on.” At some point I also told him that he was shorter than I thought he’d be. I forget how mean my bluntness can sound sometimes. But I also told him that I wasn’t sure of what to make of the situation because he was cute otherwise. He said he might have rounded up on his height. Clearly. And he was clearly aware of his height.

A group of people had walked in and were excited to find out they were being allowed one drink before the bar closed. My date got up to use the restroom. The girl sitting on my right asked the bartender what the age of the crowd that’s usually there was and then she turned to me and asked if I’d been there before. I asked her to guess my age. She shaved 5 years off my age. I smiled, thanked her, and revealed my real age. Then a guy appeared on my left in the seat my date had been in. “So how’s your date going?” he asked. “Um, alright. Have you been listening the entire time?” I replied. He told me, “He better take you somewhere nicer than this place after this.” I kind of couldn’t believe this was happening. “Well, I asked him if we could get some cheap pizza after this, so I think we’re going to do that because that’s what I requested.” He laughed, “Cheap pizza alright, right on.” He asked how we met and I told him it was through an app. “You actually met someone through there?!” It was only the second or third person I’d met through that one in particular. “Well, listen, if you don’t like how tonight’s going, why don’t you let me know,” He held up his phone to me with the “enter a new contact” screen open. “That’s not nice! I can’t do that!” I said. Granted it wasn’t helping his case that while clearly taller, he wasn’t very attractive. My date returned. “Hey bro, what’s up?” He introduced himself to my date, but I don’t remember his name. They shook hands. It must have been awkward for both of them. “Let’s get some pizza” I said and that ended there as we headed out.

He sat across from me as I hungrily shoveled two slices of pizza into my mouth. At this point I mostly only remember our discussion about how he enjoys eating meat more than salads, and we seemed to be in agreement about a few other things. After that we walked. I told him we were headed towards my place, or at least the best train to take the hour ride back. He was pretty hesitant about it. The walk alone would have been 30 or 40 minutes and I guess he wasn’t really the walking type. It must have been 1 or 2 in the morning by then. I dragged him along a bit further. “So what’s with asking me to meet you at 10pm?” I asked, “I figured this must be some sort of hook up plan more than anything else. When’s the last time you slept with someone?” I seemed to have caught him off guard and he asked if his answer made a difference in anything. He said it was recent. “I get it,” I said, “You and your girlfriend broke up a month ago, and you joined this app. You’re not exactly looking for something serious because you just got out of this long term relationship, and you slept with someone, what a week ago?” He laughed, “It actually was a week ago.” Continuing to guess right, I added, “And she was the first since your ex.” He nodded, “So what about you, how long has it been?” I told him how many months. “Ah, that’s why you’re leading me towards your place.” I laughed, “Not exactly, I haven’t made up my mind about that yet.” He wasn’t too keen on this long walk in the middle of the night I had in mind, so he said if I was inviting him to my place, he’d get us a cab.

Back at my place, I wasn’t impressed with him and he knew it, but all too late. Then it just got kind of awkward. Of course I let him spend the night, it was around 4am at that point, but when he wanted to make up for things the next morning, I just wasn’t up for it. I got lazy about sending him home, though. We stayed in my bed and talked for a while until the morning had turned to the afternoon. Maybe this was actually when we’d had that conversation about who paid for the drinks. “I lost points?” he asked. I explained where I’d deducted points from his score. There are no actual numbers, of course. “It’s like when you go to the carnival and you get tickets based on how well you play the games. You get to trade the tickets in for prizes. Right now you probably had enough for a couple of stickers and an eraser, but you just got the Play Station 2 and giant teddy bear.” I told him I was going away on business and wouldn’t be free for two weeks –which was true. “So, can I see you again when you’re back?” he asked. The idea didn’t really excite me, but then again what else –who else- was I doing at this point? “Maybe,” I answered. “I know how this goes, you know. You say ‘maybe’ now, then we don’t talk for two weeks, and then when I text you after that you say you’re busy and we never see each other again.” Okay, that had been one plan I had in my mind already. I told him we could text and discuss it when I got back. When he got dressed all I could think about was his height again. I thought he should’ve worn a shorter shirt, or maybe if he would just tuck it in…The t-shirt dragged over his pants, swallowing most of his body, and seemed to make him appear even shorter. “I’m going to hurt his feelings, I know it,” I thought. He lingered around, he wanted to kiss me goodbye again, but I was already opening the front door.

I got the “I had a good time” text from him a day or two later and I responded. Another two days passed and I checked in again. I mentioned that I had put my air conditioner in. “So it will be cooler next time I come over?” he texted. “Is that nonchalantly ‘Will you be inviting me over again’?” I replied. “Well given that you are texting me I know I’ll be seeing you again. Though now that my roommate has moved out it might not be at your place.” How forward of him. “Well, you wouldn’t be the only person I texted who I have only met once that I still text, but until the train by you stops skipping my stop, I doubt I’m heading that way too soon,” I texted. “It’s good the other train isn’t far from me either then. How about we hang out tomorrow and then it’s up to you if you want to go to work from here the next day or head home that night,” he persisted. “Too many reasons why I’m not up for that, but we can re-discuss hanging out when I get back,” I replied. “Sounds ok other than re-discussing,” my phone buzzed once again and that’s where this story hangs for two weeks…

The Screenwriter

He’s an aspiring screenwriter, really. I guess he’s written some and he works now, but he’s not really a screenwriter. He did look like a screenwriter. His hair was floppy and he was kind of short. Maybe he just kind of looked like the one other screenwriter I’d met. He hadn’t shaved, but he had in some of his other pictures, so I was hopeful. I was a minute early and he was over a half hour late! There were delays on the train, he apologized via textmessages and got a cab to be faster, so I tried to hide how annoyed I was. I didn’t that well; I was just kind of quiet and avoiding eye contact when he said “Yeah, my bad” a few times upon meeting me. I think he did feel bad about it, but I’d also still been standing in the cold outside of a restaurant for 40 minutes, not really wanting to pay for an extra drink before he arrived. It was a small restaurant and there wasn’t really anywhere to sit and wait inside. The thing was, it wasn’t even just train delays. He hadn’t checked the train schedule, hadn’t taken the closest train, and had missed his stop. Some of his lateness could have been prevented. I started to wonder if he’d made a reservation. He hadn’t. We waited to be seated. It wasn’t a long wait, but again I felt like he was unprepared. I was sort of caught off guard and impressed that the date from last weekend had made a reservation. I did like how prepared he had been. I looked around the restaurant and saw better looking people I wished I was with instead. Maybe they weren’t even better dates, but my date’s slightly grungy look wasn’t doing it for me. It’s been a while since I’d been with someone more than just “okay” on the attractive scale. I know looks aren’t everything, but after a while one starts to wonder if there’s just some league they’re out of.

We talked about work. I talked about my job a lot. He talked about his job. We talked about drug experiences a little and then it was over. That was it. Less than two hours together. He lived pretty far, too. He didn’t offer to pay. He automatically assumed we’d split it. We did split it. I pretended this was fine. But he was late, shouldn’t he have made a gesture to at least buy my drink or something? His dish was a dollar more, for the record. We walked to the train together. “You’re not taking your to-go bag from the restaurant?” he asked as we entered the train station. “Why didn’t you remind me?! Why are you reminding me now?!” I asked him. He said he figured I didn’t want it. Why would I have asked for it and then decided I didn’t want it 5 minutes later just leaving it on the table?! I barely ate my food and had been looking forward to finishing it later. I could see myself having a mini meltdown over it if we’d known each other better. But we didn’t. So, I didn’t say anything else. I just silently took away another point from him. One for being late. One for not offering to pay and one for not reminding me to take my leftover food when he saw me leave it. Three strikes you’re out? He didn’t know I was into the clean-shaven look, so I couldn’t really count that. When the train arrived I asked which way it was headed. Not my direction. He was already on it. “uhh bye” I said. He said “Nice meeting you!” as the train doors closed. And that was how it ended. I felt stupid for actually having hope this one would be better than the last one.

My train arrived shortly after. I sat down and texted my date from a few weeks ago, asking how his weekend was going. I asked what he was up to and he sort of dodged the question. Maybe he had another date. I asked him if he wanted to hang out next weekend. He said “if he’s free” he’d be up for it. I asked what determined him being free and he gave some kind of philosophical answer. I assume he’s waiting to see if a better date comes along first. Maybe it was whoever he slept with last Saturday when I’d asked that question. I looked at the textmessage the guy from last weekend had sent. It’d been a week since we spoke and I was hoping we could keep the silence going, but he had texted me earlier that afternoon, “where’d you go?” I replied then, “No where, just been busy.” Busy, yeah. “How’s the night?” he asked. “Going to sleep.” I answered. It wasn’t that far off from true. (At 1am he replied, “meh.”) Walking home I picked up my phone thinking about asking my date from a few weeks ago to come over. I decided against it and dropped my phone back in my bag. Single life is home in bed early and alone on a Saturday night after a boring date.

I’d have slept with him if he had weighed less…

That title is the textmessage I sent my best friend after my date. Of course it made me feel extremely shallow, but I had to acknowledge that it was the truth. He’s the first guy I met in person from this particular app. Their matching is a bit more random than calculated. He was hot in every picture except the last one where he seemed to have gained weight and started wearing glasses. I was tempted to ask “what’s up with that last picture?” but decided it sounded too rude. I had a good feeling that was his most recent photo, but of course I had to find out in person. It was also a group shot, so I kept hoping he might be someone else in the picture anyway. Moments after arriving at the wine bar he’d picked out, I had that sinking feeling, “I have a date with the last picture, not the profile picture.” Immediately I felt bad for thinking that. Of course I brushed off my disappointment on the outside and we had our date.

I sat across from him and he asked if I knew much about wine. I told him my only preference was that it was red and let him choose the bottle. The waiter coerced him into another lesser known bottle within the same price range and it arrived shortly after. I didn’t actually see what that price range was, but I have a feeling I’d have thought it was too much. My date riddled me with the typical first date interview questions. “What do your parents do?” “Have you lived there your whole life?” “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” -And so on, and so on, but as is with every date I go on we got side tracked into the unconventional topics and spoke of failed relationships, family dysfunction, suicide, and details of sexual experiences. I actually didn’t lead the conversation this time, but we stumbled into this kind of talk anyway, even well before my second glass of wine.

He sneezed loudly and a few people turned around while I cringed under the extra attention. He apologized and seemed slightly embarrassed, but I started to wonder if I’d have been as critical of the way he sneezed if I’d found him more attractive. At one point he brought up his nervousness of women dating him for his money. I wondered if he was accusing me, or just trying to let me know he did well financially. While I assured him I wasn’t there for his money, as I hadn’t really even been aware of it before this conversation, it definitely prompted me to make a mental note, “He’s probably going to pay for this!” Of course I still offered to split it at the end, but was quite satisfied with his refusal of my offer. It seemed fair enough as I’d allowed him to select our order.

I felt like he was more someone to talk at, rather than someone who really understood me. When he spoke, I wanted to care about what he had to say, but there were tiny warnings that kept turning me off and held off my interest. He seemed slightly more aggressive than I’d have preferred, challenging me too often. He was disorganized, he hadn’t shaved, he kept checking his watch, and we had very different tastes in music. He admitted to not being able to deal with stress well, having a short temper, and little patience. I’d been adding these things up while he spoke, so then I tried to think about what I did like about him. I liked that he had referred to “appetizers/snacks” as “nibbles” when asking if I was interested in any. I looked over his face. His glasses shaped his face nicely. He had nice, thick hair. His teeth were straight. But then my eyes fell back down. The top few buttons of his shirt were undone, a sparsely scattered patch of chest hair was visible, and my eyes outlined the shape of his body. I had been interested in his pictures, not in him. And who was I to bring it up? Why should he change anything for me anyway? Am I going to find someone who never ages and stays in shape forever anyway? Would my appearance never change? On the third glass of wine I started thinking his personality was outweighing his appearance, while simultaneously realizing it was only guilt from his speech about not putting so much value on appearances, followed by him complimenting me.

When he talked about some family issues my attraction to him started to return, but was quickly shot down by my realization at how fucked up that seemed. It appealed to me in this “aw, you seem more vulnerable now and maybe I can fix you” kind of way. Acknowledging that turned me off from him again. The handful of guys I’d met who I hadn’t initially been attracted to, and who later lost a lot of weight and got married, flashed through my mind. In the nearly three hours we spent together, I felt like I was really trying to make an effort to like him. “Maybe you’re picky, come on, you can find something to like about him. You can fall for this one.” But it doesn’t work like that. There was no spark. Sometimes there is. Sometimes there isn’t but it grows into something more. Sometimes there is and then it later fizzles out. There wasn’t any of that with him. Only, I hadn’t made up my mind about all that until I got home and started reflecting on the night.

Towards the end of the date he seemed to be pushing for a more casual kind of relationship. He asked me how I felt about going to his place the next weekend. Three glasses of wine in I still knew I didn’t want to invite him to my place that night, but I was still thinking maybe it wasn’t an awful idea for next weekend and I didn’t exactly turn him down. I told him I’d have to check my schedule. After all, maybe I did want something to happen with someone; I’d shaved even though I was in long sleeves and jeans. (Although, I also do that often enough in case a situation arises where I don’t want to feel like I have any of those kinds of excuses to hold myself back.) I gave him a quick hug and he kissed my cheek goodbye before we headed for our separate trains. I quickly thought about stopping at a bar to see who I’d meet on my way home, but then decided against it. I probably would have let something more happen if I’d been more physically attracted to him. Jury’s still out on if that truly makes me shallow or not. I mean, we can’t force attraction and choose what turns us on, right? I knew my schedule was open, but “let’s just go our separate ways after this” didn’t leave my lips. Unfortunately I’ll probably wind up telling him I’m busy pretty often for a while. I do that, I know. I just hope they eventually come to the conclusion on their own that there would be time for them if I wanted there to be.

Another Date From A Dating Site

On Sunday he told me I was a good writer. I’m not, or at least what he’s read that I’ve written isn’t that great, but it prompted me to reply. So, I asked him what brought him to a dating site. He spoke pretty realistically and on Monday I decided it was time to start exchanging textmessages, which was earlier than usual. He was also a bit taller and a bit younger than I usually prefer, but it didn’t seem sensible to turn down a date because “aw, you missed the cut off by a few inches and years.” (Inches as in height for those of you who read something else.) At one point he made a comment about meeting my cat. “Oh, you’re coming over?” I asked. I told him we’d have to meet elsewhere first so I could make sure that he wasn’t a weirdo, or rather that he was “good-weird” and not “bad-weird.” On Tuesday we settled on a bar at 6:30 that Saturday. On Wednesday we were still chatting, and then he stopped replying. The last thing I’d mentioned could be a deal breaker for some. I didn’t know what to make of it. Eight hours later I tried a “How was your Wednesday?” sort of test. No answer. Thursday came and went without a text. Friday was almost over. I didn’t know what to make of it. He was texting me constantly and now he’d disappeared. Plenty of people have gone ghost on me in the past, so I started to assume this is what was happening. Of course, I wasn’t used to his texting habits, so it was hard to judge and then this conversation happened after a long pause following my first message:
Final Silently Judge
So, we went on the date. (After some excuse about him not responding due to a big project at work.) Honestly, I was more excited about putting myself together for a night out, than I was about meeting him. I wore my usual go-to wintertime first date outfit: My favorite perfect-fitting pair of jeans, a plain black cowl-neck blouse, and boots. I wore the boots that give me an extra couple of inches, with his height in mind. I tried to arrive on time, but still wound up 10 minutes early. I’m always early. He was two minutes late. I didn’t judge. He was kind of cute. I nervously removed my glasses when I saw him wearing his. “I don’t usually wear my glasses, they’re just for distance, and I can see better this way now.” That’s the first thing I said to him. “Okay? Should we sit?” was his reply. “It smells like licorice in here!” This was the next thing I said to him. “It does, but I like licorice, so that’s okay. Do you?” We both like licorice. He seemed really nervous and his hand was slightly shaking as he picked at the corner of the menu on the bar. “So, have you always lived here?” I asked. “No, I actually attended college at…” He unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a t-shirt with the college’s name. I raised my eyebrows, “uh, right, I see…” The bartender probably enjoyed the show. We wound up being two awkwardly quirky people dating as if neither of us had been on a date before. I guess it had been a while for me. He ordered a beer and I had a glass of their happy-hour wine. As cheap as it was, I didn’t mind that he didn’t offer to pay. We talked about religion, our families, where we grew up, trips we’d taken, and my dark humor shone through it all, but he didn’t seem to mind.

We took a walk in search for food. He stumbled over a bicycle resting near the curb. “Are you okay?” I asked. He said nothing. “Did you just trip over a bicycle?” I asked. “Yep,” he replied. “There’s a place over here…” he said while looking at his cellphone. He announced the name and continued to describe it. An image flashed through my mind of the…“intimate” moment I’d shared with someone in the bathroom. “Don’t tell him about the last time you were there,” I made a mental note. “Er…I’ve uhh…I’ve been there.” I said. “How was it?!” he asked. “Don’t tell him what you remember about that place. Don’t tell him about the bathroom encounter,” I repeated in my head. “Uh, it was okay. I saw someone’s band play there once.” He responded with an enthusiastic “Cool!” and I changed the subject. We got some wraps at a falafel place. They were pretty messy. He didn’t offer to pay, but they also weren’t that expensive. Normally this would have sent up a red flag for me, despite claiming I want everything to be equal, but my job had given me a bonus the day before, so in this moment it felt kind of rewarding to be this financially comfortable, and I wasn’t really seeking anyone to treat me to anything. Not that he knew that. “I saw that on your profile it said you prefer to date someone older than you, why is that?” I asked. “I don’t know if they can teach me something exactly, but I feel like they’re more experienced. I don’t really like women my age. Most of them aren’t looking for the same things as me and they’re kind of immature.” His leg was bouncing up and down on the bar stool. “Do you have to pee, are you nervous, or do you just do that sometimes?” I asked. He said it was just sort of a nervous tic and he was a bit nervous. I admitted to doing it occasionally as well. He asked if I wanted to head to another bar. It was still early, so I decided to let the night continue. He scrolled through bar options on his cellphone. “You know, you’re just going to find a bunch of bars, we’re never going to settle on one, and then we’re just going to walk around and find one anyway, so-” He put his phone in his pocket and said “I was just thinking that.” I pointed out that he had something stuck in his teeth and helped verbally guide him to where it was. Then we were off.

We eventually wound up going to a bar in the area at my suggestion when I realized we were close. I hadn’t been there in years. It looked different than I remembered, but it also could have been that I was sober at that point. Walking there, I asked “do you smoke?” “I have a pipe, you wanna see it? I took a picture of it!” He replied while pulling out his cellphone. I glanced down at the glass octopus tentacle-shaped pipe. “Wow, it’s octopussy,” I replied, then quickly frowned thinking, “Did I just say ‘pussy’?” This time he offered to buy me a belated birthday drink, but I declined again. We had two more drinks each. We talked about drug trips, previous relationships, the concept of marriage, being losers in school, the recent surge in crime and how he knew someone who could get me pepper spray. When I returned from a trip to the bathroom I asked him how many people he’d slept with. “That’s what you were thinking about in the bathroom?!” he responded, confused. “No, I was just wondering,” I clarified. His number was significantly less than mine. He uncomfortably stated, “I don’t really want to know your number, but I feel obligated to ask.” I gave him a range. “So, you know the exact number just like that?” I pointed out. “Yeah…” he replied hesitantly. “It is a kind of a low number,” I admitted. Suddenly he became a bit defensive about how he chooses not to just sleep with anyone. “I didn’t mean it like that! I think it’s by choice. I was just pointing out that it is less than what I usually hear from a guy,” I explained. He nodded. When it was close to midnight he said he was going to get going. “Okay. I was going to invite you to my place, but I don’t mean to hook up or anything,” I said. “Yes,” he replied, rather quickly. “Are you sure? You realize I live really far from your place, right? It’s cool if you stay over, but I’m not inviting you for anything sexual,” I warned him. “You’ve made that very clear, you’re not attracted to me, I get it. That’s okay,” he said, defeated. I shouted back in his ear over the music and chatter of the bar, “No, I mean I don’t mind you staying over because it’s late and you live far. I think you’re cute and all, but I don’t want to hook up or anything because I only just met you and I wasn’t lying earlier when I mentioned I had my period.” Because you know, this is all first date talk, right? Though I have a history of bringing dates home just for sleeping.

So, we boarded the train to my place. I ducked under two men kissing in front of an open seat, “Excuse me.” He awkwardly held a pole over the seats opposite me. I shrugged, “There was a seat.” Eventually the seat next to me became available and he joined me. We arrived at my apartment and it was quiet. It suddenly felt a bit claustrophobic to me, like there was too much attention drawn to each other, away from the distracting hustle and bustle of the bars and trains. I attempted to offer him pajama pants, but we were very different sizes. He tried to climb into my bed with his jeans until I’d repeated a third time that I really didn’t mind if he took them off to sleep. Suddenly he was nervous again. “I just want to warn you I will wake up with really bad bed head,” he turned to me. “That’s fine,” I replied confused. Did he not think my hair got messy when I slept? This was the first man I’d met who had shown worry over sleeping on his hair. He asked if he could wash his hair in the morning to fix it. I told him whatever he needed was fine, and added that I had an extra toothbrush. Suddenly I started laughing, “Not that the toothbrush is for your hair. I just meant that you could also have a toothbrush.” He joked along, “Some toothpaste as hair gel.” I started cracking up, “I just pictured you coming to tell me you’d just used up ALL of my toothpaste tomorrow morning, and I’m just liked ‘that’s…okay…’ and I just replaced the tube, too!” He laughed at the picture I’d painted.

We continued to talk and laugh and almost watched a movie but I quickly turned it off when the characters sounded exactly like a conversation I’d had with him earlier. “But, it’s us! I want to hear our story and find out what happens, let’s keep watching it!” he protested. “It’s creepy, no!” My vote won. Around 3am we got to sleep. That morning I heard him running the water in the bathtub. He came out asking me for a towel for his hair. “I just don’t want to spend the whole day looking like Ace Ventura,” he explained, pointing to his hair. I smiled, “It does look EXACTLY like his hair.” He went home shortly after that. -After he offered to cook me something (he cooks!), and give me a massage (he took Swedish Massage classes!) “Are you a hugger?” he asked. “No, not really,” I answered, and then hugged him goodbye anyway. He was all smiley like he liked me. He told me he felt a lot closer to me. I brushed it off. He was sweet, but the entire night he’d repeated the sentence, “Isn’t it nice we also have _____ in common?” Like he was pushing too hard for us to be some perfect match. I had to push back that I wasn’t looking for someone identical to me. It’s differences that compliment one another that make a good match. I don’t want to say he was “too nice.” I don’t want to say it because I know how stupid it sounds, but I felt it. I wanted him to have a tougher side to him that I just didn’t see. When I admitted a certain fantasy/fetish-thing I had, he was too freaked out by it. Okay, it’s not that common, but it’s also not that uncommon and I’ve met plenty of people who brush it off like it’s nothing, which I’d prefer. He even brought it up in a textmessage to me that afternoon, after leaving my place. It was about how he didn’t think we’d be a good match just because of what I like to picture during sexual scenarios. I have a feeling he’s one of those “let’s just make love” kind of people. That’s all nice and everything, and sometimes that’s great, but there are times when one hopes for something a little more uninhibited and so I found myself shooting some pretty sexually explicit messages to my far-away-crush shortly after my date ended. The weird part was that it felt like cheating. I’d only just met this date, my crush is thousands of miles away, and yet I couldn’t help but feel like what I was doing was wrong…Of course, it hasn’t stopped me.

The Scientist

Actually, he used to be a scientist. I don’t know how I feel about him yet. Green Eyes and Blue-ish Eyes are out of the picture. I haven’t heard from either since I last wrote about them. The Scientist and I have been texting and exchanging messages for about 1-2 weeks. He’s been texting me “Good morning” every day for a week, and I’m starting to feel like it’s more of an OCD-routine than a friendly check-in. I enjoy talking to him, though. He’s pretty open and seems okay with my openness and talkativeness, but I’m not sure we’re the right fit. We finally met in person for the first time on our first date last night. We split some appetizers and had a couple of drinks. We talked a lot. A lot of it was probably the same first-date talk everyone seems to continuously repeat in the endless dating cycle. “So you grew up there? Oh, so what did your parents do? Yeah? So, what do you do now? You mentioned you had a brother?” Sometimes it all gets so repetitive it’s as if everyone I’ve met has meshed together into one long repeat of the same date. It’s my same stories, their same questions, and I’m finding it difficult to try to stay interested in what either of us has to say. When he put his credit card down on the check I asked if I should chip in. He said I could if I wanted to. We split it. I know that I’m sort of judging him for that. I keep trying to advocate for equality in dating where a guy shouldn’t have to treat a girl, but I find that I’m still very judgmental on a first date. I also happen to know he does pretty well financially, and I haven’t been doing as well, so it sort of further pushed the slight grudge I held against him that night. Of course he didn’t even glance at the check, whereas I wearily picked up the corner before gulping and putting my credit card down.

He seems nice, trustworthy, smart…But for some reason I just didn’t feel that attracted to him. Physically he’s alright. I just couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was that made me feel like we just weren’t quite on the same page. It was still early on, wasn’t a good enough reason to rule out seeing him again, and I don’t have anyone else lined up at the moment, so when he asked me on a second date, I said yes. He explained that he prefers to discuss seeing someone again or not as soon as the date’s over. I felt that could be awkward if you’re rejecting someone you just met in person immediately after spending a couple of hours with them. Fortunately I didn’t get the boot and instead he said that he enjoyed that night and asked if I’d like to do it again. We’re going to dinner and a show this weekend. It’s not like I’m seeing anyone else…It’s kind of nice to know there’s a reason to dress up and someone to meet at the end of the week. Of course, it would be nice to be more excited about who I’m going to see, so I’m not going to stop pursuing other options just yet.