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…
I’ve been sitting on a few posts I was hesitating about making public before I knew where things would lead. Spoiler Alert: Things lead no where, so they’ll be appearing here over the next few days…
As my time with the short guy seems to have ended, I feel obligated to round off our story. I asked him to go on a day trip. I figured it wouldn’t matter who my company was, I’d hit two birds with one stone -a third date with him and a day at a festival I wanted to attend. It was one of those early morning events where we’d have to be on the road by 8am, and considering the distance between our apartments, we decided it made sense for him to spend the night at my place. In theory all of this should have been perfectly okay, but the reality of situation lead to disappointment. He had to work late and didn’t make it to my place until 10pm. I’m getting older and kind of lame, so I was tired, but tried to stay up like a good host -and date, only as we lay in my bed and he stroked my arm, it hit me that there was nothing between us. Pretty bad timing. He was nice, he wasn’t unattractive, there wasn’t really any reason for me to feel so uncomfortable around him, but I did. Maybe it was that we rushed into everything or maybe it was that our sense of humor didn’t quite align or maybe we just had too vast of differences in interests which had certainly shown through in our favorite movies and TV shows. I always thought having an interest in the same shows couldn’t be that big of a factor in a relationship, but I suppose it reveals more than enjoyment of the show itself. We weren’t entertained in the same way. I didn’t feel anything for him, ‘nor that I’d develop any feelings for him later. I wasn’t thinking about him when I wasn’t with him and I wasn’t looking forward to what could be with him. This shouldn’t continue. But it was close to midnight, we were leaving for a long car ride in the morning, followed by a full day together and I felt like it was a mistake. I couldn’t back out now; I’d feel too bad about making him travel all the way back home and then missing the festival I’d purchased tickets for. He’d gone out of his way to spend the night because he said “maybe we’d have some fun *winking face*” and now I wasn’t in the mood under the pressure of how perfectly fitting that would’ve made the situation. So, I rambled through most of my thoughts and we went to sleep.
The day was okay. It wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t great. It was just okay. I felt awkward spending time with him now that I knew we just didn’t have that connection between us. I calmed down with a drink for part of the day, but I wasn’t looking to replicate our second date, so when the buzz faded I went back to my discomfort. I thought about relationships I’d been in and how exciting it had felt to spend a day with them. I’d feel happy and light just being by their side. And then there was him. I looked at the people around us. He could have been any other passerby, but here I was with him and I began to feel lonely. Towards the end of the day I started the talk. What is this, what are we doing, why are you here with me today, are you enjoying this? We seemed to be on the same page in the sense that neither of us wanted to be in a relationship with the other, but that left me wondering if we should continue whatever we were doing. It’s usually by the third date I’ve made up my mind for sure, only I wished I hadn’t decided to make a day trip of it. So what was left? We could keep dating in this sort of open relationship, but it had been established that we didn’t really have a connection. We could turn it into a strictly sexual relationship, but I wasn’t that impressed by that aspect with him. He said that he enjoyed my company outside of our nights together, so I asked him how he felt about being friends. I guess it’s not easy to friend zone someone after they’ve been out of it. He said he’d rather not remove the sexual aspect of our friendship, to which I shook my head, “A few minutes ago I just asked you if you were looking for this to be strictly sexual and you said that you also enjoyed my company and that wasn’t what you were looking for. It’s okay to say that that’s what you wanted…” It’s hard to find people as straight forward and honest as I am. We headed back without talking much. I walked him to the door. He didn’t ask to kiss me this time. He laughed awkwardly, as if it was clear we weren’t going to be seeing each other again.
For two weeks neither of us checked in with the other…except for my drunk-text to him about how we should keep the option of hooking up open whenever I’m drunk and near his place. Yeah, apparently I said something like that –or maybe that is exactly how I phrased it. Happy hour turned a little more intense than I’d planned for last night and while he replied that we can try that, I’m mostly ignoring that a drunken version of myself suggested it.
So little casual goes into acting casual. My foreign crush stopped speaking to me about four months ago. I certainly liked him more than other crushes that come and go, no matter how unreasonable it all may have seemed, but I did my best to keep most of it in my private writing. You’ve only heard about him a handful of times. None of my friends have heard about him in months. I definitely paced my apartment and spoke to myself aloud about him on more than one occasion, but it was all waiting for August. Of course nothing would ever really come of all of this and I should have been upset with him for ignoring me (which of course I spoke to myself about aloud at length and eventually knew why I wasn’t feeling that way, as well as why I felt the way I did about him and the most probable reasons he didn’t feel the same.) -But if there was another opportunity to see him one last time, I’d still enjoy having it. If there wasn’t, I could work on dropping the idea, so I wanted to know what options were on the table. Last we spoke we’d made plans that when he visited the country and came to my city in September we’d spend a day or two together. In order to free up my schedule I was planning on taking the day off work, which requires one month’s notice, hence the need for one last attempt at reaching out in August and no later.
I also had to refrain from messaging him any sooner because if he decided to ignore me, it would look too desperate to make another attempt. So, I waited. Sure, out of the blue I sent a random meme that went ignored 2 months ago, but besides that he had never replied to my last two messages and I knew I couldn’t make another move until August. (Although the last message I’d received from him was an apology for not replying to me lately.) I factored in the time difference, the date of his flight when he might not be available to reply, the date by which I’d need to let my office know my request for time off, that he might not reply to me right away, and that I couldn’t start off with asking him about September. So, on the right date, at the right time, I thought about my message. It couldn’t be long and overwhelming. At first I thought I’d make it flirty. I thought maybe I’d entice him into answering with a compliment, but I still wasn’t sure of the real reason he’d stopped sending me messages. “Hey sexy” if he’d lost interest in me would be too forward. “Hey you” was too intimate and overwhelming for this long of a gap. What if he’d stopped speaking to me because he was worried I’d gotten too attached? “Hey Mr. super-busy” could sound sarcastic or just plain weird. Maybe it was best to ignore that he hadn’t been speaking to me all that time because of “busy-ness.”
He’d made a FaceBook post about seeing whales from his boat which I’d liked the day before I messaged him. This made for great timing. It would seem like I’d forgotten him, I’d seen an interesting post pop up in the newsfeed about him, thought of him again, and therefore was reaching out to catch up. I went with, “Hey, been a while, how’ve you been?” Casual. I was as excited about receiving his reply as I’d been when we’d started talking, even if it had sounded so formal with my name after “hey.” I asked him about the whales. I ended every message with a question to keep him talking. I made a great segue into the topic of travel. On day two of him replying, I finally brought it up as if it hadn’t been the plan the entire time. Had his plans moved around since we last spoke, because I think I could still fit him into my schedule if he was interested. When was his trip again? It’s not like it’s been on my calendar for half a year or anything…And guess who has a final date with her crush in September! …But there was nothing casual behind my sounding casual. What I really want is to find the person I can freely chatter away to without any planning at all. That’s who I really want to be with. Mastering dating isn’t anything anymore. Dating is just a game with strategic tactics, lines, and moves where you play the best version of you. I lost interest in dating long ago. What I want is a relationship where I’m just me amazing, nutty, judgmental, sweet and everything in-between all rolled into one, all the time.
I’m an idiot. Have you ever done something stupid and just felt like an idiot? I spent my Saturday night like I was nearly a decade younger than I am. I had much too much to drink. It started out like most days before a date. Eventually “I have nothing to wear” became “I guess this will do” until I tried it on and the straps of the dress kept slipping down. I tried safety pins and tying them in a knot, but it just looked silly and not cute or sexy or whatever the heck I was going for anyway. Back to my closet of misfit outfits I do a double take on a dress that I haven’t worn in nearly a decade. Maybe I’ll blame my actions later in the night on the dress. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it and it’s not too short like most of my dresses that shrunk in the wash. Maybe it’s a little faded, but the only thing I ever remember about it is that a guy once guessed my bra size to be an entire size bigger than it is, and I decided that the dress misrepresented me. But now it’s 10 minutes later than it should be before I start doing my makeup to leave in time. I can’t say I don’t look good in it, and while I don’t feel like this date deserves any extra cleavage, I figure at least I’ll be on time.
Only then I step onto the train and I swear everyone’s eyeing my chest, so I send him a text. It’s my second date exactly a month from the first time I met the short guy. “I’m on the train so I should be on time but it’s only because I didn’t spend time changing my clothes and I wore a dress that wasn’t my first choice because it’s a little more low cut than I felt like wearing, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t look at my boobs any more than you would any other stranger passing by.” Before he replied, I followed up that text with, “Yes, I actually just sent you a text that says that lol.” At the next stop twenty minutes go by and the train hasn’t moved. Now I’m late. As I’m about to update my date on this turn of events they announce that a tree has fallen on the tracks and train service has been suspended. This time I call my date to work out a new plan. Eventually, a few different train rides later, I meet him off a different train stop. I don’t really believe in “signs” but I’m wondering if that tree was a message about how the rest of my night’s going to go.
We make it to the bar. It’s the bar I chose, not the bar he chose, all because I had a craving for this amazing artichoke dip they serve. We get a table and it’s at the booth I like. “Hey, maybe despite the tree falling and the rain things are looking up for your night!” he says. I open the menu and flip through but something’s wrong. It’s not the menu that I’ve been ordering from for the last few years. After a waitress explains to me they no longer serve any of my favorite dishes because of a new chef, my date changes his mind, “Or maybe not.” I tell him too many details about Clark Kent too quickly and he gets awkward, but he seems to push through it. I pressure him to tell me about the other dates he’s been on. Of course he’s been on dates, so I don’t even ask if he has been on any others when I ask this. He eventually opens up and we laugh about it. He’s telling me about how rusty he was and how he had some difficulties getting back in the dating game, but he hasn’t been seeing as wide of a variety since he met me. I tell him that this makes me nervous and we both assure each other that neither of us is looking for anything serious with the other. That martini was my first drink. It was a strong one. And without anything I liked on the menu, I definitely didn’t eat enough. One of the first stupid things I did. I’d joked with my date that he owed me a drink for my hassle on the trains and he opted to pay for everything. He hadn’t forgotten that I’d admitted to not being thrilled with him accepting my offer to pay for half on our first date. This time he didn’t let me.
I want to check out the bar he suggested, so we walk over since it’s in the area. It’s loud and not at all what we expected. But we’re there, so we get another drink and decide to people watch, harshly and sloppily making judgments about people we don’t know who can’t hear us. I’ve just gone with a glass of wine this time. It’s slightly pricey, so I’m happy with how fairly they’ve poured it, only I don’t know that I’ll regret the hefty pour later. My date paid for it since we didn’t want to open a tab and I was short on cash. I decided it would be fair for me to get the next round. For the next hour or so, we drank while we people watched people drinking. The drunk girl in the red was the worst. We tried to figure out if she knew the guy who was holding her up or not, but we decided he looked like he was going to take care of her rather than take advantage of her either way. We watched the progression of her drunkenness from her awkward dancing, to inability to stand, and eventually her making the “I’m going to be sick” face. We watched her for so long that when she passed by and accidentally stomped on my open-toed sandal I winced through the pain with this weird feeling that some kind of celebrity had stepped on my foot. Little did I know I’d be joining her in poor drinking decisions in just a couple of hours.
We left that bar because it was too loud. I was certainly drunk by now, but I knew my usual tolerance was about three drinks, so I figured one more wouldn’t hurt. I remember announcing that we should go into the next bar we came across no matter what it was. We headed into a bar I’d been once some years ago. It was empty and we could sit down and hear each other for a change. I opened a tab and covered our drinks. Had it been good wine, my only drink, or on top of a decent meal I would have been happy with the pour, but I don’t think any wine connoisseur would ever agree to a wine glass so full one can’t take a step without spilling some. That was my third drink which might have well have also been my fourth or maybe my fifth without a proper dinner. But we were sitting and I felt fine. Sure, I felt a little drunk, of course, but not that drunk. Even he thought we were just having some pretty regular conversation. That’s the last part I remember vividly, though. The rest of the night gets a little splotchy, but if I only write about the parts I remember instead of the parts I was filled in on, it’s not as interesting. It would almost end up with, “and then I woke up” right here. But that happens a little later.
I am pretty sure I remember a second glass of wine. Only it was that colossal glass of wine because it was somehow even more full than the first and some poured onto my hands as I made my way back to our table. That would be number four, or possibly number five or six if you count the amount of wine in the glass. Now the official fourth glass we’re both sure I had. It’s the fifth that we’re not sure if I had or not, but at this point does it really matter? Apparently I tried to tip 120% and he had to fix the receipt for me. This is where a lot of sentences now start with “apparently” because it’s what I was told happened and just a blank spot in my memory. Later, I was thrilled to find out I’d brought home my credit card. Apparently he called a cab and we took it to my place after I convinced him this was the best plan and refused all others. I remember having that conversation when I still remembered the night, but I must have become more adamant about this plan. Of course, then nothing went to plan. Apparently I fell asleep in the car. Apparently I couldn’t get the keys in my front door. And Apparently I threw up. A lot. For a while. This was probably not the “good time” I’d promised either of us would be having back at my place.
I woke up on top of my blankets, all my clothes on, with randomly sore muscles, some black and blues, and a skinned knee. “Shit,” is the first thing I say. I remember earlier in the night at the bar, I wanted to kiss him. I thought it would be fun to come back to my place after a few drinks. That didn’t happen. I don’t know what happened, I’m usually great at knowing how much I’ve had to drink and when to stop. I turn to him, he’s sleeping on my side of the bed. “How did we get here?” I ask. He starts to fill me in. It’s too early in the morning. I brush my teeth because it’s something I really need to do. Back in my bedroom I nudge him over and climb back into my bed. “You’re on my side,” I tell him while scooting him over. “Well, you lay down on that side after I finished cleaning up after you.” This is when I really start to feel like an idiot. I wasn’t that into this guy. I mean, he’s alright and everything but now he’s done something really nice that I probably wouldn’t have done for him. “Why does my knee hurt and it’s all rug-burned?” I ask him. “You tried to run back to the toilet to throw up again, but you fell on your carpet and skidded pretty hard. I tried to move you to the bathroom but you insisted on throwing up on your carpet, so I cleaned that up too.” “Aren’t you glad we didn’t go back to your place now?” I point out. He laughs and agrees even though it was closer to the bar. The morning of recovery goes on and I notice more. He’s refilled my toilet paper, put on my air conditioning, brought me a bottle of water, and so on. He fixed my dress when it slipped too low. I cuddle up to him because I feel bad and grateful. The first night all I could think about was how short he was, but it’s not meaning as much to me anymore. Aside from some long term relationships I’ve been in, I don’t know anyone else who would’ve done this for me without expecting anything in return.
The morning comes and goes, but we’re still in bed. Then the afternoon comes and goes. We talk, watch movies, order food from a diner, and eventually do some things that I’d originally planned on doing the night before. I turn to him, “What did you mean last night about being rusty with dating? Why give a shit about how you’re supposed to date. I don’t do that. This is certainly not how you’re supposed to date. I sent you that text from the train, told you about someone I slept with around 10 minutes into our second date, threw up, and then hung out with you like this the entire next day. I don’t think you always have to date a certain way because I certainly don’t do it.” Around 5pm it seems decided that nearing a 24 hour long date isn’t normal enough and he heads back home. He’s hesitant because how do you say “well 15 hours was great, but 20 hours, that seems like it’s been enough” without it being weird. We text a little the next day. It’s just sort of a check-in/recap. I have to apologize and thank him once more for really going above and beyond in the nice guy department. It sort of almost makes me like him a bit, but not quite enough to develop any strong feelings, just enough to be comfortable with a third date and possibly heading to his place for a change. “Why did you drink so much? So you could tolerate me?” he asks. “No, I don’t think that’s it, I’d still see you sober…That’s as nice as my compliments get,” I tell him. I’ve been tough on him since the start and I’m still not really sure why.
I’m always honest. I’m always so openly volunteering information about my life that it doesn’t come naturally for me to do anything else. But I wasn’t this time. While I was away on business my date from the previous week –the short one- checked in with me via text message. I hadn’t yet met Clark Kent and I’d been thinking even if this guy wasn’t “the one,” I’d at least be up for a second date with him to see how that went. I was going to text to him, “I was thinking about it and I decided we can hang out again when I get back,” but I read it to myself first and deleted it. What, was I that amazing I was going to allow him to spend more of his time with me? Well, maybe I am but I don’t have that big of an ego. So, I said, “I was thinking about it and I’d like to see you again when I get back.” He said we could arrange something then. I went about my week, Clark Kent came and went, and the short guy crossed my mind again. I was less excited now. Sure, there was no future with Clark Kent, but he was a nice height and not all that hard to get a date with. Clark Kent texted me at work today, just a “happy Monday” kind of text -even though there’s never anything happy to be about on a Monday. I was too busy to respond. A couple of hours later my short date checked in asking how my trip had been. I was too busy to respond to him either. Heading home from work I caught up on my text messages. First I replied to Clark Kent and then I went back to the short date. He asked how my trip had been. Immediately I thought, “Good, I hooked up with some guy” but that didn’t feel like the best response I could give to someone I was considering a second date with. I told him it went well. He asked if I’d seen anything interesting. “Yeah, some guy I met…The movie I saw with a guy I dated for the week…” but I didn’t say that either. I told him about the dinner my boss treated us to. He asked when I’d be free to tell him more. In person. I’d mention it in person if it came up. He’d probably dated someone else while I was away, and there was nothing wrong with what I’d done after just going on one date with him, but he probably didn’t want to hear about it. If he asks. If it comes up. If he’s prying to know more about my week. Then I’d say something. Until then, I’ll just have to learn how to be like most people and keep my other dates out of the conversations with my current dates. Oh but how uncomfortable hiding any thing at all feels…
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…
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…
He’s single because this is his profile picture on the dating site.
I’m single because the dating site suggested his profile to me.
I actually wrote this a few weeks ago, but never got around to editing it and therefore never shared it…Well, here it is, better up and unedited than never caught up at all:
“When are we meeting up?” the date I wasn’t attracted to texted me. I spent a couple of hours thinking about what to say. Usually I tell them I’m busy until they stop asking. I couldn’t just go ghost on him. It would be worse than turning him down. But does anyone really enjoy rejecting someone who didn’t really wrong them in any way? I know how shitty rejection can make me feel no matter who it comes from, but even more so when it’s someone I have any interest in. I decided the least information I gave the better. Hopefully he wouldn’t ask. We’d only met once, neither of us had vested that much time into anything, it was perfectly acceptable to turn him down, except it always ruins my day when I do it. I went with four words- “Sorry, I lost interest.” It was true. It didn’t specify that I’d lost interest in him or in seeing him or in the suggestion of hooking up with him or in dating in general. But he’d still get it. After a few hours he replied “No prob! All the best!” in two texts. And that was it. It was easier than I thought and I felt good about not continuing to lead him on or string him along. I was also happy I felt confident in my decision.
I probably felt crappy about getting a message from someone I didn’t have interest in when they had interest in me because I still haven’t heard back from my Faraway Crush. This is actually a private note I wrote the other night, but I decided to share it here because I thought maybe others could relate: “Thinking about the way I don’t talk to guys who have crushes on me, I feel it’s similar to how —– isn’t talking to me now, and I have been pretending I don’t care, but I can’t seem to stop myself from liking him and I really wish I could because I feel like he doesn’t deserve to be in my thoughts because he doesn’t think about me, but since I can’t stop myself from liking him, I still feel bad that he doesn’t think about me or like me and I miss him.”
How long is one supposed to wait before sending a follow-up “Hey, what’s up?” message after the last messages were ignored? It’s been a few months. Originally I figured he’d message me at some point. Maybe there’s still a chance he will. I don’t even care about what the reason is that he hasn’t been speaking to me, as long as I don’t know what it is. I recently tried to put myself back on his radar by “liking” some of his FaceBook posts every now and then. That failed. I think I might no longer care how it may appear if I try to start a conversation with him again, but I also don’t want to further push him away, or feel even crappier if that message goes ignored too. It’s about timing, if I message him at a good time he might respond and we can resume occasionally chatting, but if I message him at a bad time and it goes ignored, there’s no way I can casually try again in a few weeks, I’ll have blown it. I feel really silly about the whole thing. About thinking about it this much. About not dropping it by now. But no one else has piqued my interest these last few months. I’ve been trying to date around and so on, but I have yet to find a new distraction. And I can’t drop it because maybe he really is still coming to visit in September and I’d really like that. So yeah, I’m posting this. Just so you know I have a silly/pathetic/whiny/occasionally-obsessed/vulnerable side to my mind too.
I’m not entirely against a short list attributes or types of relationships one is not interested in posted on their dating profile. I mean if there is some feature in a person or relationship you’re 100% turned off by without exception and you think it’ll help weed out the messages your receiving by stating that out in the open, that isn’t generally a given (“I don’t like to date people who are mean to me”) -then sure put it out there. However, drawing attention to a very specific incident that went awry, doesn’t look good for you and isn’t going to prevent that situation from repeating. The odds of that exact situation repeating are pretty slim to begin with, so there’s no reason to devote a section of your profile to it. This particular paragraph sent so many red flags through my mind. First of all, it makes this person look revengeful, “I’ll get back at them by describing what they did on my profile, publicly calling out this one person on it.” That leads me to believe they’re not that cool and this weird sort of passive aggressive behavior is probably not a quality I’m going to enjoy if I date them. I would not be surprised if they were a sociopath or a psychopath. Hey, maybe they’re not, but that’s the message they’re sending me. Second, if someone did make up an excuse to leave in the middle of their date, maybe they shouldn’t want to broadcast that. Maybe they deserved it, though I agree it’s not a nice thing to do. The fact that they’ve posted this on their profile leaves me thinking they most likely were that bad of a date that someone decided to escape. -But you couldn’t let it go, huh? You actually updated your profile to target that person. Finally, what if there really was a legitimate crisis this person had to tend to? Now who looks like a jerk not at all sympathizing? *shudders* And to think I’d been in a conversation with this person a year ago, though we never met! (Yes, the image above is an actual screenshot from someone’s dating website profile.)
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.
That’s the textmessage I sent my bestfriend with the thought of my upcoming date this weekend, and my date from last weekend. (The one I wasn’t really attracted to.) I thought about him for a moment. I didn’t want to see him again. I haven’t been in a relationship in four years. I picked up my cellphone and texted my date from a couple of weeks ago who had spent the night (not sexually.) “When are we going to hang out again?!” I asked. We chatted a bit. I opened the FaceBook conversation with my foreign crush and starred at the last three messages. The first one was from about three weeks ago. He apologized about being incognito over the last few weeks, blaming it on work keeping him busy and such. It probably wasn’t the real reason, but whatever our “relationship” was, wasn’t real either, so I really didn’t mind. At least he was apologizing and therefore still somewhat interested. The second was my response about it being cool and how I’d only been messaging him to do my best to stay in touch with someone who lived so far away. I’d been trying to ask him questions about his life to get to know him better, and because I thought he might enjoy talking about himself. The third message was a slightly drunk message from me about wanting to send him sexy pictures. I’d sent that one last week. Both of my messages were unread. I am trying to pretend I think it’s because he’s busy at work and not because he’s met someone more interesting at the moment. I’m trying to pretend the thought hasn’t crossed my mind that he can change the address the airport shuttle brings him to and that he isn’t still staying over in September.
My cellphone beeped and I grabbed it. A textmessage from my mom. I put it back down. I picked it up again and texted the date who’d slept over. I steered the conversation sexual. He was pretty reserved and not very sexual and I felt like pushing his limits, just poke him a bit. He was the one who had (not) surprised me with a low number of sexual partners in his lifetime. “When was the last time you slept with someone?” I asked. “Saturday,” He answered. “Lol easy to remember,” I answered like it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t a big deal, of course. I wasn’t expecting that, though. Who could it have been? Was it one of his friends in his recent FaceBook pictures? Did he sleep with someone he didn’t know well? Had he already started getting into something serious with someone? Was it his ex? Did I care? Why did I care? I had shown zero effort to see him over the last few weeks. He’d given off the friend vibe. I’d felt awkward about the fact that he seemed like he had this crush on me and now I felt…Could I actually be feeling jealous? What did I feel jealous about? Maybe it wasn’t a desire to be with him so much as a desire to have something (someone) of my own. I switched textmessage windows to the conversation with the guy I’d decided to meet this upcoming weekend. He’s so new to the picture I haven’t mentioned him before. He was from the dating app I’d only met one person from so far. “So what are we doing this weekend, where are we going?” I locked in a time and place for Saturday night. I switched textmessage windows back and started awkwardly flirting with him. I wasn’t intentionally flirting, but rereading the messages to myself, what else was I doing? I put my phone back down. This is me being bored and craving attention. This is me missing having a significant other. This is me being tired of dating.
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.
I mentioned a guy I’d been speaking to from a dating site to my best friend. “Oh, so you’re over that thing with women?” she asked. No, it wasn’t a “phase” and I’m not “over” it. The reason I haven’t been mentioning many women lately is just because I’m having shitty luck with meeting any I’m interested in, or I seem to be as shitty of a prospective girlfriend to women as I seem to be to men lately…*sigh* If I saw an attractive girl that I could identify as being gay/bisexual or whatever else in-between, sure I’d pursue it, but my gaydar sucks. Even more limiting I find I’m usually only interested in feminine-looking women and being feminine-looking myself, I doubt most could pick me out either. *shrugs* And rejection sucks. There are a million reasons one could be rejected, mistaking someone’s sexual identity/orientation doesn’t need to be another one for me. So that mostly leaves me with gay bars and dating sites. When I go to a gay bar to meet someone it feels like I’m specifically choosing to meet women, which feels weird, when I’m clearly still interested in men as well. Every experience I’ve had at these bars was so aggressive. The women demand to know my sexual history with women within thirty seconds of introducing themselves to me and I’m not a great liar or half-truther. I get it, they don’t want someone who’s going to flake out on them and everyone judges a virgin (not that I’m such a virgin with men by any means.) But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t wind up leaving with any of them, or their phone numbers. So then there are dating sites and I don’t get any messages from women, ‘nor any replies from the few messages I send out. Once in a while I’ll get a message from someone I’m very much not interested in and well that’s that. So in short, women just don’t like me, I guess, or at least I haven’t yet met an available one I like who does, while men I have some interest in do continue to show interest in me.
I still notice attractive women. I always have. I don’t say much about it because I don’t say much about it when I notice an attractive man either. I had a mini crush on a girl I met a couple of weeks ago, but I’m pretty sure she’s straight and I don’t know her that well. So, once again I didn’t mention it to anyone. She was just pretty cool and pretty fun to talk to and pretty…There, does that satisfy you, those who want to believe it was just a phase? There wasn’t anything more than that to make of it, so I didn’t. I spent over twenty years of my life not realizing I had an option to date women and ignoring the occasional crush. It’s too bad I didn’t collect a bunch of experiences in my youth to justify my admittance to being open to it now. Maybe then people wouldn’t see my mentioning of it as such a novelty. There was somewhat of an exciting aspect to it at first, just like any new discovery, but it wasn’t just a novelty thing. A friend said they could find someone to hook-up with me, but I didn’t want a one night stand, ’nor to be some couple’s fantasy in a threesome. Of course I have an interest in something I’d never experienced before, but it’s not a one-and-done deal. It was just another option in dating. It’s only to other people that it’s such a big deal. It never was to me. I never “came out.” I never felt the need to discuss it with others. I certainly never felt the need to create a new label for myself. Labeling myself as “straight” for all these years is what convinced me I had to adhere to the label and that there wasn’t any room to be anything but that. I don’t do those labels anymore. I’m lucky to have as many non-judgmental family members and friends as I do, as I know many don’t, and this might be a bigger deal in their circles of acquaintances. For me, it isn’t, so I’m thankful for the ability to so easily be label-free now.
OkCupid has come out with so many labels and the ability to select up to five genders (woman, man, agender, androgynous, bigender, cis man, cis woman, genderfluid, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, hijra, intersex, non-binary, other, pangender, transfeminine, transgender, transmasculine, transsexual, trans man, trans woman, two spirit) and up to five orientations (straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, demisexual, hetroflexible, homoflexible, lesbian, pansexual, queer, questioning, sapiosexual.) Now, it’s great for anyone who identifies with being any of those things because they can choose exactly what fits them, but when I look at that, I can’t possibly be the only one who just feels more confused about which label best fits them. I’ve yet to come across a profile that has selected five of each, but at a certain point isn’t it okay to just not label yourself at all? Where is the “none” option? For me, that long list of labels just feels so much more restricting. I guess some people like to feel included in a certain group, belong some place, and some people like to have a word that describes them perfectly. That’s okay. But, I personally do not wish to be boxed into any labels any more. I feel free to love and fuck whoever I please and others can label me as they see fit straight, bi, gay, hypocrite, questioning, queer, poser, lesbian, hetroflexible, or whatever else they feel fits. But I’m not calling myself anything but me these days. No, I’m not “above” it. I’m not “above” anyone who loves being labeled and who has worked hard to feel comfortable in their label or for equal rights for their label. I’m not better than or belittling anyone who has gone through any types of hardships to gain respect for their label. I applaud it and am fully for it. I just want to be respected just the same in my label-less-ness, is all. I’m not even feeling that this label-free thing is such an original idea, either. I know some people won’t understand this or agree with it, but who would anyone be if all they did was try to appease everyone else? And I don’t believe I’ve offended anyone, as I certainly didn’t mean to, but I know it can be a very touchy subject. I know, I see your posts on FaceBook everyone, you know who you are, not that you know who I am, but I’m 100% sorry in advance and will delete this entire section if you find it offensive some how. I’m not on this blog to start internet fights. There’s enough bullshit on the internet as it is and I don’t need to contribute to any of that viral “omg” nonsense. <3
So, I haven’t written about dating women very much on here recently. I might more often. I might once in a while. I might not. Hopefully no one is surprised either way. I’ve put more focus on the apps and websites I use for dating men because I’ve spent so much of my life dating them. It’s sort of like the low-hanging fruit of dating for me. It’s familiar and easier, though not necessarily better. It’s where I seem to have more luck. So until some cute female notices me, I see this male-trend continuing in my dating patterns for now. I don’t plan on this coming up again, but figured I should clarify for those wondering since this is my dating blog and all…
The picture messages started after the “dick pic” conversation with my coworkers a few weeks ago. I was never one of those “look how good I look” selfie-taking girls, so sending sexy pictures to someone didn’t come naturally to me. It’s been quite a thrill sending half-nude pictures to my far-away-crush, the last few weeks, though. I definitely regret the slip up at the restaurant where I flashed my best friend one of these pictures as a kind of “look at the kind of picture *I’m* capable of taking.” Only, it was at the wrong moment when the waiter standing behind me got a glimpse of it as well. But, if I’m craving attention or an ego-boost I’ll sometimes send one over to my crush because I know he’ll reply shortly after. I even got creative when I realized he liked the clothes I wear to the office and snapped a photo as I was changing out of them one night. What else do you make of having a crush on someone who lives on the other side of the planet? I’d love to drop the idea, but my brain seems to have other plans. He’s the foreign dude I met while traveling this past January and I’m running out of imaginative ways to hold his interest and stay in touch until he visits in September.
One morning I get a nearly-nude picture from him. I reply, “Wish you were here,” while I’m getting ready for work. “What would you do if I were there?” he sends back. “You,” I reply. A moment later I think about what a cop out my answer was. I write and I can do better than that, I think. I apologize and explain that I’m getting ready for work. My mornings are his nights. I send a bit more sexually explicit message as I’m walking to the train. He replies. I’ve never done that whole sexting thing, by the way. I don’t recommend it in public, although there is a bit of a thrill to it as well. So, now I’m on the train and the conversation has continued. I interrupt, “The person standing next to me can totally read this conversation.” I try to continue, but again, after one of those “And then I would…” kind of messages, I chime in, “Now, there’s a religious man sitting next to me, praying into a book. Now this just feels weird.” He laughs a little, but it’s obvious I’ve killed the mood and we decide to pick it up another time. I just can’t take that kind of thing seriously enough.
He’s less than a friend because a friend I would see once in a while. He’s more than a friend, because a friend wouldn’t get these kinds of pictures from me. He’s not just a pen pal (is it called a “text pal” these days?) because we’ve met once and will meet once more. He’s definitely not a boyfriend because he lives thousands of miles away and is certainly doing other women. I can’t possibly care about him that much as all I really know about him is based off of a one-time meeting. He’s just an impossible crush I have. I never liked being called pet-names, but with him I actually enjoy it. There are times when I’m one of those people who aren’t looking where they’re going, with their phone in their face, shooting off messages back and forth. I’ll sit with a stupid smile on my face my entire commute to work after it. But, I know it’s an unrealistic idea. I do it because I enjoy it, but like everything else, I know there will be a shitty point when it ends and one day I’m sure he’ll start seeing someone seriously no matter how much he insists it won’t happen any time soon. I guess it’s really just nice to have in the meantime when I have nothing else going on. Sometimes more time passes in-between our conversations. I don’t know the real reason for it, but I’m thankful he doesn’t mention any girls he sees to me. It keeps the fantasy alive and continues being fun for me this way. He also always apologizes about the time gap, so I know he hasn’t entirely lost interest yet. I’m still dating. I’m not waiting for his visit in September. I know it will just be a couple of days and he’ll be off again. But I’m kind of hoping I don’t wind up in a relationship before he arrives. It’s an interesting situation to be in. I’m both rooting for the prospective dates I meet to be this perfect match for me and simultaneously hoping nothing more than a couple of months at most comes of it until after he leaves.
Like clockwork every guy who’s ever had a crush on me comes out of the woodwork every winter. It’s usually around December or February when everyone’s depressed and sick of the snow. I’m usually rather lonely myself during this time, but not desperate enough to agree to a date with any of them. A parade of every guy I’ve ever turned down appears, lined-up to ask me out every year. I’m not even kidding, literally SIX contacted me out of the blue after a year+ of silence in a two-week period. I could even name each one. I was definitely surprised by one of them. He’d deleted me from FaceBook over a year ago when I declined his invitation to dinner. All of a sudden all these men are all, “let’s catch up,” “we should hang out,” and so on. Not once do they consider that they’d be a part of my life by now if I had any interest. Maybe I don’t let them down firmly enough. But maybe they should also catch on that it’s impossible “I’m busy” every single day they suggest a date. Maybe they should realize one makes time for those they want to see. One of them tricked me. He offered to help me out with something I’d posted about on FaceBook. I should’ve known. It’s never without expecting something in return when they’ve had a thing for me in the past. At first I accepted his help. “Really, for free, you’d just help me like that?” The moment I say “Sure,” the “So, how about we catch up this weekend? We could grab a drink or dinner…” happens and I freeze. I had been pretty sure he had a girlfriend, or I wouldn’t have accepted this offer. I’d have seen through it. I look up his FaceBook. I scroll down. “Relationship Status: Single” appears in my line of vision. “SHIT!” I exclaim, in the office. No one seems to notice. They must have broken up. All of a sudden I’ve gotta let him know, “I’m busy…every weekend…and every moment I’m not in my office as well.”
I did it. Lending your favorite book to someone in the middle of your breakup is never a good idea. But, I finally did it. Four years later and I ordered a new copy. I’m onto e-books now, but I still purchased the hardcover version I’d owned. It was sort of this symbolic gesture, I thought. Acknowledging and accepting that I’ll never be getting that book back from him. We haven’t been in contact for nearly four years now, and I prefer to redirect my thoughts to something else if he ever crosses them. So, I haven’t really thought about him in quite some time. Then my phone rang the other night and I didn’t pick up…
No, it wasn’t him. It was just some kind of telemarketer, so I enter the password to my voicemail to delete the message, when I suddenly lose service on the train. My voicemail box has been nearly full for about seven years now. If I don’t delete a newly saved message that comes in, I can’t receive any new messages. I didn’t know who some of my saved messages were from anymore, but I knew there were some I didn’t want to hear. They’re messages that I wish I could add to the box at the bottom of my closet that I never open, but also don’t plan on throwing away entirely. If I hang up in the middle of checking my voicemail, the message gets moved to my saved voice messages, and the only way to delete it is to listen to all the saved messages that come before it.
I take a deep breathe. The first message is from a guy named —- But I’ve dated so many men with that name, I’m not even entirely sure who it is. I figure I’ll feel nostalgic over it at a later time and save it again. Then I start to sort through the rest of the messages, deleting some, and re-saving others. Random friends I’ve missed calls from over the years chime in with 2am drunken rambles, birthday wishes, accidental “I love you, bye” messages, and then my ex’s voice comes on. Did you know there’s such a thing as instant nausea? I imagine it’s like getting punched in the stomach, though I’ve never been hit. It’s sort of like when you see the car crash and you know you’re going to see something upsetting, but you just can’t look away. So, I listened. I made observations about our relationship from his tone and what he said in each message, sort of as an outside observer now.
Then I reached the message that must have happened right after our break-up. He was explaining why he wouldn’t be able to use the internet immediately and begged me not to delete the pictures of us on FaceBook because he liked them and wanted to save them before I did. I wasn’t feeling great by the time I got up to my most recent message. I remembered why I didn’t listen to those messages, open that box in my closest containing mementos from our relationship, and had blocked him and everyone he knew on FaceBook, four years ago. But, this time, listening to his messages, I remembered the break-up more than the relationship. There was more exhaustion than love in his voice in these messages. I was feeling like we’d never been right for each other listening to his messages, yet simultaneously it felt incredibly difficult to hear his voice. In my mind I had revisited the circumstances in which we’d broken up. Who tells someone they love them for the first time while dumping them, anyway?…
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:
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.
You can’t tell a guy you’ve never received a “dick pic” without that smirk appearing on his face. I went out for a drink with my coworkers the other night which turned into drinks, shots, and would-be-extremely-office-inappropriate-conversation. It wasn’t even a Friday night but it wound up being the latest we’d stayed out with each other since any of us had started at the company. This is one of those “let’s grab a happy hour drink after work” gatherings that take place a minute after 5pm, before you’ve had any time for dinner. We’re getting better and realizing we should order a pizza to our usual bar, but that thought hadn’t occurred to us yet the other night. I’m starting to like that we have a usual bar and a usual group. It’s a crappy bar. The drinks aren’t all that cheap, the glasses aren’t cleaned well, and the bathroom’s basically on the other side of the planet, but it’s growing on me. We’ve got a usual group, a usual bar, and even a usual waitress and usual booth –Isn’t that what every sitcom lover has always hoped to have?
But this night we all got a little too personal. The morning after was one at the office where not one of us could make eye contact with the other. Maybe it was the brutally honest round of “who would you do at the office?” that pushed it too far. The first drink arrived and I had my nose in my phone, fingers rapidly tapping against the screen. I threw it in my bag with a smile and announced “Sorry, it’s morning on the other side of the world.” The girls chimed in, “Well, you were talking to someone you’re into because you’re smiling.” I couldn’t deny it, but what does one make of a crush on someone you’ll likely only meet twice, briefly, in your lifetime. “Yeah but this-” I pretended to type textmessages on my phone- “is really the extent of our ‘relationship’ –I don’t even know how to react when he sends these sexy kind of pictures when he’s in bed with his shirt off and whatever. I’m over here all ‘hey uhh here I am bundled up in my winter coat.’” They giggled, “Well, you just gotta send one of those pics back!” I glance at the one guy at the table before the others arrived. He was squirming around in his seat. “We’re making him uncomfortable with our girl talk!” He laughed and took a long sip of his beer. I passed around a picture of my crush. Yeah, that’s right, I wanted them to know who *I* was capable of attracting. I actually appreciated that one girl sounded a bit surprised when she exclaimed, “wow, he’s pretty hot!” I flashed the phone at my male coworker, explaining that I didn’t want him to feel left out. He shrugged, “yep, a guy.” “Well, I was out when he sent me one picture in bed,” I continued my story, “but he asked me to send him a picture while I was at the office. So I did. I actually went in the bathroom because I didn’t want anyone to see me taking a picture of myself at my desk.” They giggled and asked if I’d taken nudes in the bathroom. I hadn’t.
The rest of the group showed up. We explained how uncomfortable we seemed to have been making our coworker when there wasn’t much testosterone around the table and they wanted to be filled in. My coworker started, “Well, if a guy sends a girl a sexy picture, how should she respond?” “Send one back!” both guys replied simultaneously. “And if they’re at work?” she continued. “Go in the bathroom” they agreed. “That’s what she did!” my coworker announced, pointing to me. Their surprised expressions were priceless as they stood up, jaw dropped open, demanding I hi-five them. I insisted I hadn’t been nude in the office bathroom, but of course they weren’t about to drop that idea. The conversation inevitably moved to the topic of dick pics, and how I never received one. “Dick pics” remained the recurring topic of the night. It circled back when a couple of the guys decided to text another coworker asking to send dick pics –from my cellphone. Luckily, I caught it before too much time passed and was able to explain the joke.
The buzz from my third glass of wine on an empty stomach was strong. Cellphone in hand, I couldn’t resist the urge to drunk-dial. I messaged my far-away-crush while the room seemed to be spinning and the chatter of dick pics hadn’t ceased. The next day he responded with a laugh. Only then had I remembered I’d messaged him before passing out in my bed. I scrolled up to reread my jumbled rant about how I’d never received a dick pic and I didn’t want one, but I did want one of him in his underwear. I thought, “aw what an innocent version of that request.” But, I’d followed it by some sort of, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” A few days passed and one morning I awoke to a new picture message. It was my far-away-crush in his underwear. Request honored! Shortly after this message I remembered my part of the deal…But, I was running late to work so I sent an “IOU” message and let it be. I’d never sent this sort of picture before with the paranoia of where it might end up, and because it had never been too difficult to arrange an in-person-meeting posed this way. If there ever was a time photos like these were appropriate, this was definitely the type of “relationship” that called for them. My mind raced- “I don’t actually have to follow through, but I kind of want to because I’ve never done that. If I’m just in my underwear it’s really not that different from a picture in my bathing suit at the beach. But it is different if I’m not at the beach. I can’t have my face or anything in my bedroom in the picture so no one will ever be able to tie it back to me. I should probably shave. What kind of underwear should I wear? What was I wearing that night I was with him? It can’t be the same or he’ll think that’s all I wear. It shouldn’t look too posed, it should look realistic, but it should look good.”
All those questions considered, I took the picture –or rather I chose the picture that came out the best- and clicked “send.” It was only minutes if not seconds, but such a simple and small action had felt like such a rush for me. I nervously awaited his reply, phone in hand. I’m now convinced guys always see your message right away, but they don’t always respond right away –unless your message is a picture of you with clothing removed. So, after this week, our messages have evolved to include occasional nearly-nude picture messages, and for the first time I’ve joined the rest of the world in becoming extremely paranoid about whose hands my cellphone falls into.
So, here’s another weekend bitterly single and replying to messages of those I’m not interested in on dating sites…
When you see this^ pop up on your OkCupid account it’s like when you’re grandma impatiently taunts you, “well?” during a conversation of your relatives husbands/children. It’s like that sinking feeling you get when yet another engagement/wedding/birth announcement pops up on your FaceBook newsfeed. You know, the ones you quickly scroll by, maybe “accidentally” not clicking “like” as you move onto the next post. It’s not true, though. Of the 2,776 questions that you can currently answer on OkCupid, I skipped a bunch and I’ve *only* answered about half of them over the years. My birthday is getting closer. This is the first year it hit me that this means I’m getting closer to turning 30. This birthday also means I’ve been single for nearly 4 years now. I sat in a bar with some coworkers in their 30’s the other night. Some are married, some in relationships, and some single. I asked them to reassure me that being in your 30’s isn’t so bad compared to your 20’s. That there are things to look forward to in your 30’s. I got a lot of “uhh.” One guy told me “Well, in your 20’s you go into everything more. You love harder, you fight harder, you-” but he got off when a coworker in their early to mid-twenties laughed, “I like that you said ‘you love harder’ first” and the conversation moved on.
It feels like the older I get the less options there are. The less people in my age-range not already spoken for. The less time to decide if I want to have children. The less time to do things I have the energy to do with someone else. The less time to enjoy being in a relationship with someone else and decide if we should get married or have children. The less time to look youthfully attractive. And well, just less time in general for anything, if I were to live into old age. There is plenty I enjoy about being single, especially being an introvert and needing time on my own to recharge and all. There are a lot of things I’d miss. There are moments of heartbreak I can remember that at that time I’d tell you weren’t worth feeling for having loved. But after a while all of that fades and maybe it’s just due to human nature and chemicals and impulses in ones brain that bring back the craving of ditching single life, but I’m back to being dissatisfied with my love life, and I’ve grown extra picky from my experiences.
My update on single life? I went to some museums and zoos on my own because I wanted to prove to myself that I didn’t need to be in a relationship to do those kinds of things. I did my makeup thinking, “Maybe I’ll bump into someone on the train and some Hollywood-type love story will ensue.” It didn’t. Upon arriving at my destination I promptly realized everyone else is either with their significant other or their children and every turn I just kept hearing this whisper, “You’re single, huh?” …I’m also going through a jar of pickles a week. (Lack Of Dates = Lack Of Reasons To Avoid Bad Breath.) …I’ve given my number to two guys from various dating sites/apps recently. I knew very little about one of them, so without high expectations of potential, the lack of motivation caused me to sort of flake out on him. The other guy started up one of those really out-there and silly kind of conversations with me, so I played along without having anything better to do. He tells a lot of dry jokes. I thought I could put up with it until he uploaded a new photo and this conversation followed a few days later while I was out with some coworkers for happy hour…
Myself: “What’s today?!”
Myself: “I was sort of supposed to go on a date at 6pm.”
Coworker: “What?! You’re standing him up?!”
Myself: “No, no. We didn’t set a place, so it doesn’t count. I wouldn’t stand someone up.”
Coworker: “He’s probably waiting somewhere with flowers!”
Myself: “Waiting where?! We didn’t have a place. He would have checked in by now if the plans were still on, and I didn’t check in because I kind of lost interest.”
Coworker: “Then why were you going to meet him in the first place?”
Myself: “Well, I agreed to before he put up a new picture and I saw he had a gap between his teeth and-“
Coworker: “You’re so shallow!”
Myself: “No, I know. It is shallow. But I can’t help it, I just wasn’t really attracted to him anymore. I mean on some people that’s fine, but in the picture it just wasn’t on him and-“
Coworker: “So shallow.”
Myself: “It is but he also told bad jokes which didn’t help and if I’m not attracted to him, I’m not and how’s that supposed to work?!”
Coworker: “So why were you going to meet him?”
Myself: “I don’t know, to see what he’s like, maybe I’d be swayed another way. I don’t know him in person so I figured I’d give it a shot.”
…But I didn’t, and I guess he didn’t really mind either.
There’s an option to increase your message storage on OkCupid and not have to worry about deleting old messages to send new ones. This is what it looks like when you don’t have the increased message storage and you send a message to someone who does (-And you’re extremely persistent, pay no real attention to those who you message, have no originality in your messages, are sending a message to someone who has a 0% match to you, and the person you’ve messaged isn’t planning on answering you…) Side Note: Check out the month the Christmas wishes were sent.
Continuing my recent trend of only having conversations that go no where on a dating site, here’s another…
The lack of romance in my life seems to be making me rather bitter these days. Most of the conversations I have on dating sites lately are similar to this one, if I even dare to answer…
I know this is a dating blog and not a travel blog, but bear with me; it will get relevant soon enough…A few weeks ago I hopped on a plane and traveled a day and a half away from my home. About a week into my trip I found myself stranded on an island with 25 travel companions who weren’t so fond of me, ‘nor I of them. Alright, we weren’t exactly stranded, but we were about an hour boat ride away from any other civilization and it rained for nearly 24 hours straight on the only two days we were booked at the resort. On our last day on the island I was determined to continue with my vacation, so after receiving extremely unenthusiastic responses from my fellow travelers about booking any tours on the island, I signed up for a boat ride where we were to spot marine life, on my own.
I boarded a boat with 13 other tourists, a tour guide, and some dude driving the boat. It was raining and cold on the water, so I was naturally somewhat miserable. I had gone pretty make-up-free, with my glasses on, in a sweatshirt that clashed against my summer dress sticking out the bottom, and with my hair tied up under the hood of my sweatshirt that was pulled tightly over my head, I looked possibly bald. I wasn’t dolled up by any means and appearing attractive to others was the last thing on my mind. The tour was about a little over an hour long. After some time had passed starring at the water hoping a dolphin or turtle would pop up again, I sat down and started zoning out. “Here, you look cold.” The driver of the boat had put a dry towel over my shoulders. I looked up and thanked him. Everyone in that country had been over-the-top nice. It didn’t occur to me that this action could have been anything else.
I went back to starring at the water when he asked if I was traveling alone. I explained that the situation with my group wasn’t ideal. The conversation continued and our names were exchanged. He was only a couple of years younger than me. “Come here, you’re gonna drive the boat,” he announced. I walked over and he explained some levers and had me start steering the wheel. He picked up my cellphone I’d set down in front of us and asked how to use the camera on it. I showed him and he held out his arm to take a picture of us. At this point my mind still hadn’t quite registered that he was flirting with me, but I was starting to realize he was cute. Immediately I wished I hadn’t looked so slummy, but once I remembered he was still initiating this conversation when I looked my worst, it made me feel kind of awesome. I almost crashed the boat while he was taking our picture, but we got back on track without any of the tour realizing. I don’t remember every word of our conversation, but we made each other laugh at various points and he mentioned that he was also working at the dolphin event my group was attending that evening.
The tour was ending and now I was getting the feeling this had been more than just a friendly boat driver. “Do you have FaceBook?” I asked. I took down his full name after explaining I wasn’t using any internet on the trip and said I would friend him when I got back home. I enjoy internet-less vacations. “Oh, I was going to say message me if you get bored later…” he replied. I hesitated, “Well, um maybe I’ll borrow a cellphone from someone on my trip…” Not that I was on great terms with anyone using the internet. As he docked the boat, we said we’d see each other at the dolphin event in a few hours, and I made my return to the beach. I started to construct a plan to ask him to hang out with me when I saw him that evening. As I pictured it playing out in my mind, I began to see it quickly getting ruined. I was traveling with twenty girls dying to hook up with someone from this country. They’d swarm him the moment he headed towards my group and I’d never get a word in. He’d make plans with one of them and I’d lose my chance. -But if we already had made plans he’d have to be a jerk to cancel them to spend time with someone else from my group. “I’ve gotta beat them to it,” I thought. I sighed, took my cellphone off airplane mode, and accepted roaming charges while logging into FaceBook. “Hey, when do you get off work?” I messaged him. We made plans to meet at the hotel reception area at 8:30pm.
I was very proud of myself for locking in those plans with him once we got to the dolphin event. It went exactly the way I’d visualized it would, except when the girls were swarmed around him and I approached, his face lit up and he turned to greet me knowing me already. The look on the face of the girl he had been talking to was priceless. She hadn’t been all that fond of me either. I kept thinking, “Well, I did invite you all to come on the boat with me…” When we were about to head back to our hotels he put his arm around me, “See you tonight!” he said. A few more people in my group shot me a curious look. I ran to my hotel room and did the quickest pre-date routine I’d done in my life -showering, dressing, make up, jewelry and all, still managing to keep a casual enough look. I sat in the hotel lobby and he appeared. We debated getting a drink and decided to just head back to the staff lodge where he lived on the island.
Initially I felt odd standing in the small dorm-like room with an invitation to sit on the bed, as there wasn’t really anywhere else to sit, but we listened to music he put on and talked, and eventually it didn’t feel so awkward. I filled him in on my plan to message him before anyone else got to him. He also let me know that he’d been trying to catch my eye on the boat, but when I didn’t look his way he came up with the towel idea. There were multiple times he said sentences that were word-for-word things I have said. Hours passed and inch by inch we were closer. I guess that applies to bonding as well as being physically close. He kissed me and I was surprised by how comfortable I felt around him. What seems to take me many months with others had occurred in just a few hours with him. Possibly I was subconsciously pushing myself and rushing through things while very aware of the fact that after that night I’d most likely never see him again in my life. Things continued from that kiss and they were good things that went well. Fast forward to a bit later and I was lying in his arms, debating what came next, and weighing pros and cons. I could stay there which felt amazing having been single for so long, but I’d have to leave in a couple of hours to pack my suitcase and catch a boat to board an airplane to a new city. I’d also risk getting uncomfortably questioned by my roommates. I didn’t want to cut it shorter than it had to be thinking about how when I got up it would be over forever, but at the same time I didn’t want to wake up next to him feeling any more attached and then have to let go. I told him I had to head back. He said, “Then I’ve got to get it out of my system now” and gave me a long hug. He walked me back to my hotel room around midnight. He kissed me. “Well, it was nice knowing you, I guess,” I said and went up to my room.
So, fast forward again to today. I’ve been home for a few weeks. We still talk on FaceBook nearly every day. He asked me to send him pictures of my apartment and the sites here while he sends me the same from the resort he works at. He called me through a free app on his birthday when he was drinking and I suggested it. That 40 minute phone call reminded me of how much of a real person he is beyond appearing just as words on a screen, and he sent me a message that it was good to hear my voice. Having a mutual attraction to each other’s accents was a plus as well. On that phone call he also let me know that he’d bought his plane tickets for June, would be close to my country, then in my country for a couple of months, then in my city for a week in September, and had agreed to stay at my apartment for a couple of days during that time. (I’d invited him, of course.) He recently got out of a ten year relationship that ended partially because they weren’t sexually active anymore, so I’m under the impression he wants to meet other girls to hook up with while he’s here and that’s why he isn’t interested in staying at my place the entire week. When I stated that hypothesis to him in a joking tone he confirmed that that is part of the reason, and I really wished I hadn’t brought it up.
Why bother with any of this when a long distance relationship seems sure to fail and it would be insane to move to a new country to get to know someone you’ve only known in person for less than twenty four hours? Why even put yourself through having a crush on someone that has made it clear they have no intention of pursing a relationship, let alone one with someone living in another country? Does the pro of the feeling I have chatting with him outweigh the con that I know there will never be anything more between us and I feel jealous being aware of the fact that he’s sleeping with other women, no matter how much I play it cool when I message him? If I mention my dating pursuits he might feel inclined to talk about his, which I’d rather pretend didn’t exist. Why would I even try to remind him that we’re not something exclusive in an attempt to draw him in when that’s already extremely clear and this will never be any more than what it is now? How do you even flirt with someone from close to 10,000 miles away? Not that the internet and phones don’t make that a bit easier, but how do you stay in touch in a breezy manor with that much distance between you? How do you check in without seeming clingy? How long of a breather do you give in-between messages when you’re on entirely difference schedules and days of the week? It feels like I’m doing my best to look at the situation logically, applying realistic expectations, while allowing myself to take part in this fantasy world where I have this fake “non-boyfriend” in another country. It’s fun and there’s plenty I enjoy, but I have concerns over how long I can keep it at this rate, and am trying to curb the ever growing desire to be in an actual relationship with someone now. The tease has me clicking away on dating sites, but the attachment towards him has me feeling as picky as ever and coming up empty handed when it comes to picking a new date.
…I wrote this a few months ago and had been meaning to edit it before I posted it, but so much time has passed that, well here it is as is:
I don’t post as much as I used to because I haven’t been actively dating as much as I used to, but every now and then I like to check in and give an update…The last date I went on, a couple of weeks ago…Well, let’s start from the beginning. So, the usual cycle began. I logged into my *whichever-app/site-it-was-this-time,* scrolled through my suggested matches, and felt I’d reconfirmed any doubts I’d had about eventually dying alone. Then of course an attractive face caught my eye, and I slowed down the rolling queue of single people. Moments later he’d sent an initial message, and the conversation began. Cute, interesting, not particularly with my exact sense of humor, but he was nice, so this would be alright. We chatted for a couple of days –actually there was about a week long break in-between our messages at one point- although, that’s not so important. He didn’t have a great excuse, but had reappeared to continue to message me, and then we switched to textmessages. We actually only made the number swap because of a dumb –but true- excuse I gave, about having an issue with a program at work when he knew how to resolve it. Program fixed, and we moved onto the normal and abnormal conversations people tend to text. This went on for few more days. Eventually we even had set plans to meet, and then one night it turned into something like this (realistic paraphrasing of the actual conversation while being as honest as possible)…
Him: “That sounds like a fun vacation! You didn’t wind up finding Mr. Right on that trip?”
Me: “Actually, I did wind up dating someone long-distance for 6 months after that trip. Now that’s the second time I’ve mentioned someone I dated, to be fair tell me one of your relationship stories!”
Him: “That’s alright!”
Me: “No, c’mon. How about, why did your last relationship fail?”
Him: “It didn’t.”
Me: “What? What do you mean, you’re still in it? I mean, why did it end, what was the reason?”
Him: “No I mean, I haven’t been in a relationship before.”
Me: “You haven’t had a girlfriend before?”
My Thoughts: *Oh no, what’s wrong with him?!* (As much as I’d like to pretend my thoughts don’t sound so cruel)
My Thoughts: *Alright, I gotta know how far he’s been…* (Not that it matters!…?)
Me: “How old were you when you had your first kiss?”
Him: “16” (It might have just been around there, younger or older)
Me: “How old were you when you first had sex?”
Him: “Is there a wrong answer to that?”
My Thoughts: *Uh-oh*
Him: “I haven’t yet.”
My Thoughts: …I’d like to say it doesn’t matter. I think I’ve been saying that for so long, but honestly, at that moment, well I wasn’t thrilled with the answer. I was turned off because I couldn’t help but think there must be some horrible reason, and I’d never encountered something like this at this age. And with such little experience how much time would it take someone to develop that sort of skill set? I was extremely judgey, but figured it would be okay if I didn’t say it…
Him: “You know, one time a girl stopped talking to me right after I told her I was a virgin. Just ended the conversation right there.”
My Thoughts: *Yeah, about that…*
So, we kept talking. I asked a lot of questions. I was honest, but not too honest because sometimes we all have inappropriate thoughts and the difference between being mean and just human is keeping them to yourself. He was adamant about telling me what he had experienced. It was interesting he’d done certain things, yet just by circumstance had never led to the rest of things. He then revealed a pretty uncommon fetish he had…So uncommon, I felt compelled to Google it to see if it was a “real thing” and understand how something like that was even worked into a sexual scenario. Sure enough, it exists and works for some people. After some debating, I decided not to specify what the fetish is on here. He was so uncomfortable with it, I’ve decided even though he’s anonymous, I feel like doing him the honor of skipping most of the details on the topic. But, for those who are still curious, I will say it’s over a typically somewhat mundane part of the body.
The first time we made plans to meet he cancelled with a lame excuse. The excuse itself wasn’t even that lame, but it made me feel like someone who was called “lame” in jr high school would use the excuse. I figured cancelling on an initial meeting just a few hours before was usually a deal-breaker. Either because it meant the person had never really intended on meeting you, or because the person being stood up wouldn’t be willing to give them another chance. But, some days later, we met!…And he was normal! Well, “normal” as in whatever weird way we all are in our uniquely diverse individuality. He’d simply fallen into one set of circumstances after another where he didn’t wind up in a relationship or losing his virginity until he’d suddenly just been the age he is now, and it’s not quite easy to jump into things after that at this age, especially based on the way even I’d reacted to his situation.
The date itself was fine. Days earlier we’d already discussed my opinion on who should pay on a date, so that was sort of easier and more awkward all at the same time. (I say that I don’t mind splitting it, while unable to help silently judging the other person if they don’t cover me –on a first date.) But, as I hadn’t eaten and didn’t want to drink without food, I meant it when I said he didn’t have to pay and I’d pay for my half myself without judging him. We did split it and somehow in the end I think he still wound up paying a larger amount. Overall, I just got this “friends only” kind of vibe from him. It’s hard to describe better than that, but when I let him know this he said he got that a lot. Maybe it was a combination of corny jokes and too much innocence on his part, but I couldn’t picture myself ever being in any type of romantic relationship with him. We continued to text each other after that night, and I’d say we became friends, but am not sure of us ever getting much closer –even just as friends. So there, that’s my story of the time I dated a mid-20’s-year-old-virgin with an uncommon fetish.
There are some people you are just destined to have an awkward time with. This story starts with a FaceBook friend’s status update “I have a free appetizer, dinner, dessert, bottle of wine, and comedy show if you want to join me tonight.” (It was some sort of coupon deal he bought and forgot about.) For a moment I forgot the details as to how I know this FaceBook friend. I “liked” the status and about an hour later remembered I obviously have nothing better to do on a Monday night. I send him a message saying that if he doesn’t find anyone and lets me know in the next fifteen minutes before I leave work, I’ll join him. Hey, he said “free!” He doesn’t respond, so I tell him I’m gonna head home. I get to the train and I’m an idiot. Don’t ask me how in over two decades of using turnstiles I forgot what I was doing, but I didn’t walk through the one I’d scanned my fare for, and got locked out for 20 minutes. Obviously the train workers are unwilling to help me. They suggest I go to another train station, which would take me 20 minutes to walk to. I actually have been out of it a lot lately. This morning I was holding my bus fare and walked right on the bus still holding it, forgetting to hand it over, with the bus driver yelling at me. I hear my train and know it will be another 40 minutes until it comes again. I open FaceBook on my phone. My phone sucks. I mean it works some of the time, but not always when I want it to. But why would I get a new one? I hate these new fangled phones everyone has. Can’t stand them. So, I have this phone that works some of the time. I see that the FaceBook friend has messaged me about fifteen minutes earlier, “Shit, sorry, well if you haven’t left work yet, feel free to come.” I message him, “I could come actually, I missed my train, text me” and send my number. I’m not sure why I thought textmessages would be easier. After it takes me 15 minutes to look up the directions to the restaurant on my phone, I can pass through the turnstile and head over.
I stand outside the place for fifteen minutes. Sure, I was early, but my phone also decided to stop telling me the correct time. It was stuck on 6:03 for ten minutes, and it took me about ten minutes to realize it. I haven’t received any textmessages and I’m back on FaceBook not seeing any messages. I have enough time to start day dreaming and I remember how I met this guy. Over six years ago this was one of the first guys I ever met through a dating website. Our date turned into fourteen hours long and ended with more alcohol than it should have, but the night is hard to remember. I head into the restaurant and see him sitting down with an open bottle of wine on the table. His hello seemed like I caught him off guard. We have some awkward catch-up conversation. “So how’ve you been? What have you been up to?” he asks me about eight times. He says he texted me, and I tell him I didn’t get it, which is true, as my phone has only just remembered it’s also supposed to function as a clock. I’m not even sure I’m over missing my train at that point, and we start to chat. Mostly I start telling him my horror stories of running into crazy people while riding the train, and he’s laughing a lot. I start to feel like I’m in the middle of a bit when he actually tells me I should be on stage. Honestly, that part made my night. He wound up laughing more at what I said than the comedians on stage. It made up for the whole awkward mess.
So the awkward part, as we’re talking, bits and pieces of the last time I saw him come back to me. It’s like that drunk fog where just pieces of the night remain in your memory, coming back as flashes of moments in time. “Do you still have a dog? The fluffy dog?” I ask. He does. “Wow, I remembered you had a dog! I remember because I remember it coming over to me after…” I stop. Yes, after I slept with him, told him what a mistake it was because I’d had too much to drink, I remember his dog coming over to me. I swap the conversation in the middle of my sentence, “So, how long have you been with your girlfriend?” remembering seeing “in a relationship with so and so” on his FaceBook. Yeah, that wasn’t an awkward segue. As if he hadn’t finished my sentence in his mind already.
So, after the show, we give each other a quick hug goodbye -that was really more of a gesture of a friendly hug goodbye, where we barely touch each other, rather than a real hug, and I head home. I look at my phone and see I got a textmessage halfway through the night with him. It was an apology that his friend was coming to split the dinner with him instead and he hoped I hadn’t gone out of my way. He’d actually sent this message before 6pm. So his friend –who hadn’t shown up- was either supposed to show up, didn’t, and then I did, so it sort of worked out, or his friend didn’t exist, he made it up so I wouldn’t come, perhaps to avoid explaining to his girlfriend the dinner, wine, and show he’d just shared with a girl he once dated and slept with, and then I showed up. So basically the first time I meet this guy, I accidentally sleep with him, tell him it’s a mistake, get over the awkwardness of that and “never” see him again, only to go on a date I wasn’t exactly invited on with him when he’s in a relationship, six years later. Yeah, I’m doing great. But hey, free steak dinner with wine, comedy, and a compliment from a used-to-be-overweight-when-I-dated-him, now pretty hot and in-shape dude. And now I can hide from this awkwardness and go back to “never” seeing him again!
Sitting on the train today, a song came on my headphones that caused an ex to flash through my mind. It was years ago, and just a six-month/long-distance thing. Closure isn’t easy with such distance after things end, but the feelings have since gone, and he’s married now. Though, that song still causes him to flash through my mind. I remembered sending it to him back then and our conversation about how we could both relate to it. It wasn’t even a romantic song. To us, it was about not really knowing what you’re looking for. When we met we were in that same place. You’re not sure if you’re looking for a relationship, but seem to enjoy spending time with a certain person. He’d just gotten out of the only relationship he’d been in for a good portion of his life. I was over my last long-term relationship, but not yet convinced I’d be able develop feelings for someone new. Then there was him. Although, that wound up being somewhat short-lived, I did learn I was no longer numb and again capable of those feelings.
Today that song caused me to think about the feeling of having fallen for someone. The good along with the bad and the stress/over-analyzing. Then I focused on the good. I was thinking about when you’re in love, whatever that means to you, and suddenly all the music you hear makes sense. Every love song has a line describing exactly what you feel. I thought about what it feels like the first time your skin brushes against someone you’re interested in. It’s usually accidental, or it could just be that you’ve started leaning in that much closer as you talk. Sometimes it’s because they’ve made the first move and reached out to your hand, knee, or arm as they spoke. There’s that split second you become extremely aware of their touch, and suddenly you understand the reference of there being a “spark” between the two of you. It is almost like the shock of static electricity as a register of the touch jolts through your mind. I ran my tongue across my lips and brought forward my memories of kissing someone I cared about. I remembered the bubbling feeling of being so anxious and excited about someone new…
I haven’t felt any of those things in a very long time and as much as I’ve been enjoying single-life and despising dating, I started thinking I might miss those feelings. I might still feel numb after my last relationship, but I’m not yet convinced it’s permanent this time. The process of dating just may be a necessary evil that’s eventually conquered.
This is basically a journal entry, but maybe you can relate to some of it…
I was recently asked if I’d been updating this blog. I explained that I’d let too many friends know about its’ existence and felt knowing certain eyes could be on it would alter or limit my writing. Maybe enough time has passed that I feel like enough people forgot about it again. That’s only half of it. I haven’t been dating either. The title of this blog really holds true. I stopped dating the last person I was seeing because I felt like seeing him once a week took too much time away from my hobbies and alone-time. Granted, I wasn’t that interested in him to begin with, but it’s nice to be content with single life. Only then, scrolling through FaceBook I start to think I’m supposed to be married or have children by now. Being single at this age starts to feel like you’re singled-out. I’m well aware that I only feel this way seeing friends’ photos and comparing myself to the way they portray their own lives on FaceBook, and that it’s causing me to think I’m “supposed” to do this or that, but regardless, that feeling comes over me every now and then. It causes me to make a lame attempt at redoing my online dating profile and skim through profiles for five minutes. That usually results in sighing, “I’m going to die alone” and closing the web browser. That has been the extent of my dating life, lately. If you’d even consider it one. I’m not even into kids. I see them on the train, pulling on their parents, screaming, bumping into me without an understanding of personal space, and I’m always convinced it’s not the life altering event I’d like to experience. So, I bounce back and forth between that reality and the fantasy world of FaceBook’s pressure and eventually find myself sitting home in my underwear on a three day weekend sipping wine by myself…and writing this.
I still read the messages that come through my dating site inbox, only I answer them out loud. “Hi, how’s your week going?” gets “Great, without you in it.” “Hey, want to grab a drink?” gets “Not with you.” “You’re really hot!” gets “You’re not.” These are all messages from men. Not a single woman ever messages me or replies to my messages. I’m starting to give up on the idea that I’ll ever be in any type of serious relationship with a woman. It’s not that it was “just some phase” like some of my friends called it. As I’ve put it, women just don’t like me, it doesn’t matter if I like them. I know that’s kind of presumptuous but I don’t know what else to make of it. At gay bars I haven’t come up with great answers to a lot of specific questions about my sexual preferences, ‘nor am I into lying. I started dating women when I realized I didn’t have to be boxed into the “straight” category if I was sexually attracted to some women, yet it seems that everyone else in the world still likes to box everyone they meet into some category. Most of them don’t take the idea of being attracted to both sexes seriously, either. And, being a virgin (with women) at this age is a huge turn off which I can’t seem to find a way around yet. It’s sort of like when you’re trying to get your first credit card and they tell you that you need to build a credit history to get one, but you need a credit card to build a credit history. Or when you try to get your first job but every job will only hire you if you’ve got experience at a previous job. But, I do have a credit card and a job now.
You should never break up with someone via text or e-mail…because you might accidentally post it publicly on FaceBook. I’ve met The Scientist a total of four times now. Last weekend when he asked if I wanted to do something that weekend, I told him it had to be cheap or free because I was low on funds. It was an extra, “treat me to something” nudge he didn’t take the bait for. Watching a movie and playing with his cats at his place was free, he said. Heading over to his place on Friday night, my new first date for Saturday night texted me to cancel. There goes the back-up plan. Something about waiting for his new furniture to be delivered didn’t add up as to why we couldn’t head to a bar that night and he got my lame “Ok, I’ll probably be free again at some point one weekend…” reply. I couldn’t judge him that harshly, he probably had another date lined up when I was on my way to one.
One of The Scientist’s cats promptly made herself comfortable on my lap shortly after my arrival. Then we talked. Just talked. And he kissed me a couple of times. I felt nothing. Honestly, there was nothing wrong with the kiss itself, it just felt empty on my end. We kept talking but I kept feeling physically uncomfortable around him. The conversation was okay, but he just didn’t seem like the right match for me somehow. He also seemed to want to constantly be touching me –not in a sexual way, but a cuddling way- and it was all just a little much so early on. Hours went by and we didn’t watch a movie. It got late. I asked him how long he’d been living there. A couple of years. Where had he been living before that? A couple of blocks down. Why had he moved so close by? He hadn’t intended to move. He said it was an upgrade. The place wasn’t that large, how small of an apartment had he been in before? It wasn’t smaller. “The other was a rental. I own this,” he told me. He owned an apartment in a very expensive/upscale neighborhood, on his own, and he couldn’t chip in for dinner every now and then, while I’m living paycheck to paycheck?! “Oh.” I said. I keep thinking all of this makes me sound shallow, but then I rationalize. Others have paid for me, and every now and then I’ve paid for myself and sometimes I’ve paid for them and I never had an issue with it. We always went somewhere affordable, or they’d insist “my treat.” Even friends did this. This guy wouldn’t chip in for anything at all for me, even just as a friendly sort of gesture, putting the dating thing aside.
A few days later he sent me a text letting me know he’d be going on vacation for five days and if I wanted to see him before then he was available Wednesday. What was there to do on a weeknight? I invited him to my place. It just seemed fair, I’d been to his. Except, I don’t live all that close to him, so I used his line that he was welcome to stay over and not have sex with me also. Once again we spent the night talking mostly. When I realized he’d taken me up on my offer to spend the night I regretted it. I had work early in the morning and didn’t want the trouble of sleeping next to someone new I wasn’t quite comfortable with yet. I didn’t know how to back out of it all when he didn’t live that close by, so it happened. Yes, I spent the night without a minute of sleep next to the super-clingy cuddling guy. By the time the morning came, I was feeling nearly repulsed by his presence. I was sweating, exhausted, and not from any reason you’d like to be sharing a bed with someone. I got ready for work and we walked to the train together. He took my hand and linked his fingers through mine. I felt awful. He seemed happy and was enjoying my company, while I felt nothing of the sort and now I had to crush that moment of happiness. I fell silent. None of the sentences I’d strung together in my mind sounded right. His stop came and he got off the train. I thought it might be the last time I’d see him. I remember the last time I saw everyone I ever dated and was no longer. Maybe that moment of him stepping off the train would be the last I saw of him.
I struggled to stay awake at my job. By the time I got home, I could barely stay awake as I typed and deleted the first sentence of what I thought would be an e-mail to him to let him know how I was feeling about all of this. I gave up and closed it all. He texted me asking if I’d been to a poetry reading. I asked about his inquiry. He said he was trying to think of new things for me to do with him. I rapidly started typing out all my feelings in my reply text. It wasn’t enough. I kept going. I told him everything. Every thought and feeling I had about him and our current situation. I typed up sexually explicit details. I left out nothing, just like I had that second night when he couldn’t figure me out and I went for complete honesty. I read and reread it a few times and then I copied the text to save it in case the text was too long to go through the first time and I lost it. I sent it. He asked me if it was my way of saying I didn’t want to see him again or it was just a general update. He was a nice guy, I didn’t exactly want to date him, but did I want to cease knowing him entirely? Not necessarily, I just didn’t seem to have any feelings developing for him. I told him it was a general update. He said he’d think about it.
Today he didn’t text me “good morning” after weeks of doing so each morning. I texted him to tell him to enjoy his vacation. He didn’t reply. Sitting on the train I scrolled through FaceBook on my phone. Reading through posts on a public group, I had something to share. I typed out my input, tapped “post” and got a “failed to post” message. I highlighted the text, tapped “copy,” and seeing the train was about to head into an area I’d lose cellphone service, I quickly tapped “paste” and “post.” My eyes grew large when I saw my text to The Scientist from the night before had appeared and it said “posting…” below. I rapidly starting clicking “delete.” On the screen “deleting…” remained with a little spinning circle, spinning, spinning, and then my cellphone lost service. Now I was in full blown panic mode, finger poised above the delete button waiting for the signal to return, cursing. Reading the text of what I’d actually posted in the background, making myself feel worse knowing everyone was reading this very private message having no idea why I’d posted it there. The signal returned a half hour later and I deleted the post. There were comments, “I think you posted this on the wrong page…” Mortified, I repeat, this is why you never break-up with someone through a textmessage.
“What’s the worst thing about you? Your biggest flaw?” I asked The Scientist at dinner last night. I don’t know why I asked him, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the answer he gave. He paused for a long time before telling me he had no morals. He explained that believes in being a good person (whew) but not for moral reasons. It was an interesting conversation but I guess telling me “the people that don’t like me don’t because they think I’m evil” didn’t send me a good message about him. “Do you want wine? Should we get an appetizer?” I looked over the prices menu of the fancy restaurant. They’d helped us out of our coats and pulled our chairs out for us. It was that kind of place. “I can’t really afford any of that. I’ll just get the chicken.” He laughed, “okay.” I didn’t really want the chicken, but it was probably the cheapest thing on the menu. It was a small portion and I filled up on bread. We split the check again, no questions asked.
We walked over to the little improv theater and he said he was curious to see my reaction to the show. I hadn’t really been to that type of show before, but for the most part it was amusing. When it ended we started walking aimlessly at 11pm. We talked some and kept walking. “What do you want to do now?” he asked. “Take my shoes off,” I said. I explained that my boots weren’t meant for walking long distances and my feet were starting to hurt because I’d been out the entire day. He suggested going to his apartment, which was a lot closer than mine, but I told him it was kind of late. We kept walking. “I don’t know if you like me,” he said. “What do you mean?” I asked. “I can usually gauge how things are going by now, but I have no idea with you,” he explained. I admitted, “I’ve heard that a lot.” There was some silence for a while. He looked confused and told me he didn’t know what I was thinking.
I thought about how often he’d said that he liked complete honesty and how open he was. In one breath I suddenly said, “I don’t want to go to your apartment because I don’t want to have sex with you tonight, I feel negatively towards you stating that you have no morals, I know I want things to be equal and I want to stop the stereotypes but I still am judging you for not paying for me, I don’t know if I like you in a romantic kind of way yet because it takes me a lot longer than most people to figure that out and I think you’ll probably be annoyed with me by the time I do, or maybe find how talkative I am annoying.” It was quiet again after that outburst while he thought about all the information I’d quickly released in complete honesty.
He started, “I wasn’t implying that you had to have sex with me, we could just hang out at my apartment and then go home. I don’t know any other place where you can take your shoes off nearby. You could sleep at my apartment and not have sex with me, I’ve done that plenty of times too. It was never implied.” I corrected, “It’s always implied after 10pm when you invite someone back to your place unless otherwise stated, even if I wish it wasn’t always implied.” He continued, “Well, you asked me what was worst about me, that was my answer. I don’t think it’s equal if I pay for everything. I’ve done that before, but I felt used for my money. So, that I’m not going to do. I don’t find you annoying.”
We kept walking and every now and then I’d remind him that my feet hurt, and would decline his offer to carry me. “You’re small, it’s not a problem,” he’d try to reassure me, but I’d protest that I was an adult and didn’t feel comfortable with being carried. “Why do you text me ‘good morning’ every day?” I asked him, feeling more at ease with the questions I didn’t have answers to. “I can stop if you’d like,” he said. “No, I don’t mind, I just thought it was a little weird –I mean, do you do that with everyone each day?” I asked. “No, we’re dating and I know you wake up in the morning and I know you always have something to say.” I started to feel bad about the date I have coming up with someone new next weekend. We continued to talk and walk. I realized that the thing that was keeping me from feeling a connection with him most was that he seemed to look at things too literally. I’d always thought I wanted to be with someone who thought of things logically, but I felt that he went to extremes where the wonder was taken out of everything. Instead of just accepting a certain feeling or action, I felt like he was always trying to break down the science behind it and rationalize what happened in someone’s brain behind that action. That’s what I didn’t like about him. When I asked him about it, he only partially agreed.
We were walking to the middle of no where when I realized where we were and I turned down the block so we stood outside a horse stable. There was a horse outside, and I started a conversation with his caretaker. I stroked the nose of the large white horse and noticed my date’s hesitation. “Are you nervous around large horses?” I asked. “I just don’t know how to tell if he’s friendly.” “Sure he is, look at his body language. You can tell from how his ears are pointed and from his eyes.” He gave the horse a pat. “If you scratch most horses over here by their withers you can usually find a spot that makes their lips twitch,” I showed him. He scratched the horse. There were some ponies nearby. “Are these ponies happy?” he asked me. “Yes, they look happy to me, sure” I assured him again. We pet the ponies and walked back towards the train.
“Does it take you a while to feel comfortable with someone physically?” he asked me. “Yes.” I answered. He told me that he doesn’t feel that way at all, and that he could hug a stranger. He told me that he felt somewhat uncomfortable answering some more of my intimate questions because we hadn’t physically touched each other. “Do you want to hold my hand?” I asked. “If you want to hold my hand…” he said. I took his hand, he laced his fingers in-between mine, and we continued walking. It clicked in my mind that it had been a very long time since I’d held someone’s hand. “I know when I like someone when I stop thinking about everyone else,” I told him. “When’s the last time you liked someone?” he questioned. I thought for a moment before confessing, “It’s been a really long time.” I asked him what he was feeling or what mood he was in. He was “slightly disappointed” because he didn’t know what to make of our situation yet and he turned my own question on me. I told him I felt a little sad because I was thinking about my answer to the last time I’d liked someone. We stopped on a corner and he touched my hair, sort of playing with it. I felt like he was going to kiss me, but he didn’t.
“I liked that I got to meet that horse and those ponies,” he told me and I was happy to have made it happen. We kept walking. “Okay, my feet really can’t take this anymore and I’m finding it difficult to think about anything else” I said in the middle of the night. We walked directly to the train at the next turn. “My feet just smiled” I told him as we entered the station. He hugged me goodbye but it was in a more lingering way this time. Again I thought he might kiss me, but he didn’t. I was reminded of why I don’t like dating people much taller than me, it’s extremely difficult to make a first move if I want to without being a bit more aggressive. He held my hand until my last finger slipped out of his reach as I turned to wait at my train’s platform. It felt weird to have finally ended the very long walk. “Goodnight” I said somewhat awkwardly. “Goodnight” he said. I texted him on the train that it felt good to sit and be off my feet, followed by a second text he didn’t respond to, “Holding your hand was nice also.”
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.
It seems my declaration for not being able to date multiple people at once has gone out the window. There was another text from my hook-up buddy I’m not exactly ignoring, and a second date request from…Well, let’s call him Blue-ish Eyes from this post. Green Eyes and I are also still talking. The other night he mentioned having gone on a date with a woman he wasn’t sure if he would see again. Even though I’d encouraged him to continue dating other women because we’re nowhere near anything exclusive, it suddenly felt competitive and it was no accident I revealed my upcoming date with Blue-ish Eyes to him. Part of me thinks he caught on to the game. Shortly after he said he was thinking about asking to see if I was around that weekend but apparently he’d have to “wait in line.” On top of it all, you’ll never believe that as of last night, Clingy Guy is back in the picture after all these years, obsessively clicking on my dating site profile every half hour again! Of course, I no longer have patience for his creepiness and do plan on blocking him after the first message I receive.
Last night was my second date with Blue-ish Eyes, but I wound up working late. I rushed home to change my clothes and ran to the train. My go-to second-date-outfit was still in the laundry since it wasn’t that long ago I’d seen Green Eyes, and I’d quickly grabbed something else. I still wound up keeping him waiting 45 minutes and I had been 15 minutes late after getting lost on our first date. It’s unsettling for me because I’ve never really been late to anything. Any of my friends, employers, teachers, or nearly any other date I’ve been on will tell you the same, but by coincidence the only two times he’s met me, I was late, and he wasn’t thrilled about it. I tried to explain that this was some freak thing that never happens and sort of got this “yeah, sure” attitude back. “Two for two” he said. As much as I don’t like when people are late, I guess the fact that he wasn’t more understanding turned me off a bit. The next thing that went wrong about this night was that in my rushing to meet him, I’d skipped dinner, heading straight to the two-drink minimum comedy show he’d purchased tickets for. The first glass of wine in I whispered that I was accidentally drunk but would try to pretend I was sober. He laughed. I had trouble paying attention to the show after the second glass. Again he didn’t turn down my offer of splitting the bill. Again, I mentally swiped points away from him. I guess I just like to see that someone is willing to treat me to dinners, shows, drinks, and after that’s established, I’m open to treating them.
When we left the show, I insisted on dinner at a fast-food restaurant. It always seems like a great idea when you’re not sober. Blue-ish Eyes reminded me of a guy I once dated when I was fifteen years old. I’d noticed it the first time we met and mostly brushed it off, but on our walk I realized there were more similarities and it wasn’t necessarily a positive realization. I made a fool of myself at the restaurant. I guess you just look worse when alcohol’s affected you more than your date, as well. It was late and they were getting ready to close, pushing tables together to mop under them. After returning from the restroom, I’d forgotten my way around the maze of blocked off tables, and found myself squeezing through two that had been pushed together. “Miss, what are you doing?!” a worker cleaning the area asked me. “I’m sorry, I just couldn’t find another path!” I told her, knocking over her mop as I climbed over her cleaning supplies. Upon reaching our table, the group of guys at the table next to us were singing the opening song for the MadTV skit “Lowered Expectations” about the video dating service offering bad dates. Any chance it wasn’t about me? Embarrassed I asked my date if we could leave. Walking to the train he said that going to a comedy show and then just heading home was probably a mistake because it didn’t allow for us to get to know each other well. I guess I figured we should talk, but I quickly steered the conversation to a topic that made him go silent. Literally, just long pauses of silence while he starred at the ground followed my questions. He threw them back at me, and being pretty open I had no trouble sharing my own personal stories, but in the middle of one, my train came. So, there was a quick, extremely awkward hug goodbye and the abrupt end of the date. -I did get a “Remember to drink a lot of water” text from him when I got home. I guess he cares?
Well, that didn’t go so well. Perhaps I could blame it on being Friday The Thirteenth. He did get some points for noticing the design I did on my nails, which Green Eyes didn’t notice, but, knowing that he’s not very open seems to have put me at ease about not meeting him for a third date. On the train home, I texted Green Eyes. I asked if he’d ever accidentally been drunker than a date. He asked if I was talking about me or my date that night. “I’m texting you at midnight about my date, what do you think?” I answered. I think I’m still going to give Green Eyes a shot at a third date.
PS- That’s right, I actually forgot it was Valentines Day today, and really couldn’t care less.
There is a reason they aren’t facing the camera.
There is a reason they don’t have any pictures that weren’t taken from a far.
There is a reason their picture is in black and white.
There is a reason they’re in sunglasses.
There is a reason her picture was taken at a downward angle.
There is a reason he has a hat on.
There is a reason they skipped that question.
There is a reason their pictures are from five to ten years ago.
I spent last week wondering if I’d decide to spend that weekend on a second date with the guy I saw last weekend. I didn’t make up my mind until the afternoon he texted me asking if we were still on. My mood at that moment? Go on the date! He chose a bottle of wine and an appetizer for us, and I skimmed the menu for the tastiest sounding dish. It happened to be one of the most expensive main courses, but seeing that he didn’t flinch when I mentioned it interested me, I figured it was safe to order. We started talking and I couldn’t help but wonder what had gotten me the second date in the first place. It seemed obvious to me that we were continuing to disagree on just about everything.
Again he seemed to try to slap a label on who I was entirely as a person. I couldn’t believe I was actually explaining that people were so much more complex than being given one label and how diverse personalities could be. I told him that most people weren’t one clean cut way or another and instead fell along some sort of spectrum of personality type and core being. He told me that some of my stories confused him and he was disappointed as he’d been under the impression he had already pegged me for exactly who I was. I’d shattered the image he’d already tried to set of me. He told me that he thought I was a hippy and I no longer fit into the box he’d categorized me into. But, this wasn’t Dharma & Greg and I wasn’t going to just be some novelty he’d hoped he could say he’d dated. For the record, no one else has ever considered me to be a hippy. We continued to discuss our differences, as it seemed there wasn’t any common ground to fall back on. At one point a radish flew out of his hand and landed on the seat next to us. I laughed and he tossed it onto our table. I told him it was still clean and he admitted he wanted to eat it, but wasn’t because he didn’t want me to judge him. I wondered why he even cared what I thought at that point.
A bit later it was discovered that my ex’s employer was actually his company’s main competitor. He asked me what I thought of that business, and I admitted I really had no interest in it. He told me that his job was very important to him and defined his life. He asked what I spoke to my ex about if I wasn’t interested in his company. “I don’t know, we just had fun instead. We talked about things we actually had in common,” I told him. I instantly realized this was, in other words, “I do not have fun with you and we don’t have anything in common.” We then debated a topic I’m passionate about that he’d mentioned he’d disagreed with, but was what he’d invited me to dinner to discuss. He quickly changed his stance and I lost some respect for him. If he hadn’t known enough or cared much for the topic, why had he taken such a strong stance in the first place? We continued to mismatch discussing our preferences and choices made in our lives, but this wasn’t one of those meals where you cautiously pick at a salad in order to not make a mess in front of someone you’re trying to impress. I enjoyed my darn dish. Again he swept up the check without even glancing to see if I’d reached for my purse. Guilt free about the meal with the date I’d had no interest in. The restaurant become crowded and the waiter asked if he could buy us a cocktail at the bar so we’d give up the table. I said yes and he said no. No surprise there. He walked me to the train and asked me to text him the title of a book that had come up in conversation. I gave him a half-assed hug goodnight, thanked him for dinner, and went on my way. When I got home, I did text him the title of the book. I think it was the first time in my life I was happy I didn’t get a reply text and have my fingers crossed it stays that way. My experiment with dating just for dinner wasn’t such a bad experience after all.
I basically went on a blind date tonight. A week or so ago a guy on a dating site asked me out after just a message or two were exchanged. I was in an odd and somewhat desperate mood, so with just one quick scroll over his profile, I’d agreed. I’d almost forgotten about it until he checked in today to see if we were still on. I guess I’d also been hoping someone better would have come along by now, but seeing as a date might be better than no date, I went. On the train there was a guy sitting across from me who I mentally labeled “movie star pretty.” He had gorgeous eyes I kept catching. I caught him watching me reapply my lipstick, but only wound up starring at the floor, laughing to myself at how bad I am at flirting and how impossible I find it to smile at a stranger. I thought about jotting down a quick compliment with my number and handing it to him as I’d step off the train. I’ve probably been dreaming about putting that plan into action for years, carrying a small scrap of paper and pen everywhere I’ve gone, but still have never had the guts to do it. I wonder what makes me so outgoing at some moments, yet shy away so quickly during others –alcohol excluded. We wound up getting off at the same stop and I unintentionally ended up following him for quite a while as we were headed in the same direction, which would have made for an awkward exit if I had gone the route of handing him a note. After convincing myself he had a girlfriend and would have blown me off or that he might have been gay, I pushed the image of him out of my mind to arrive at the bar I was meeting my date.
My date wasn’t unattractive, but he certainly wasn’t what I’d called “movie star pretty.” We ordered drinks and I pointed out oysters were on the happy hour menu, as if I hadn’t checked the menu before heading out. This wasn’t a date from hell or anything, but I was not impressed. I was almost bored and had this feeling that he was continuously putting me down, forcing me to defend myself. He just didn’t make me feel great about who I was, and seemed very concerned with social status. He constantly tried to stereotype me and fit me into a box to group me into the type of person I was as if everyone can be so easily labeled. At one point he actually said, “You’re not as weird as I thought you were going to be.” I asked if that was a good or a bad thing. He said he was a little disappointed. I was a little insulted. An hour in I wanted a second drink, but didn’t get to voice that because he instantly told the waitress that we’d just have the check and informed me he had dinner plans with a friend next. I assumed it was another date. To top it off as I gathered my belongings, he also let me know that he had differing views about something I’m very passionate about. We agreed there wasn’t enough time to discuss it and I headed home.
I figured I’d never hear from him again. Clearly we didn’t click. He didn’t leave me feeling very positively about myself, and I’d been turned off by quite a few things he’d said about himself. The train ride home I decided to think of it as nothing more than free oysters and a free drink. I texted my hook-up buddy after months of silence; Busy. Then I came home to a text from the date asking me out to dinner next week. I wanted to text back that we didn’t click, but I hesitated and first checked my dating site inbox. Empty. Or at least empty of anyone I saw as a potential date. Then I googled the restaurant he suggested. Another fancy place I probably couldn’t afford. I’d never really dated for the dinners and drinks. It’s really never been my thing. But considering how poorly things have been going in my dating life, I figure it’s something to consider in the new year. Back to something being better than nothing. If I meet someone more interesting, I can cancel. If I’m not in the mood or my conscience is bothering me, I can cancel. Or on Saturday night I can just look at the menu online and debate how hungry or in the mood I am for a fancy meal. Women do this all the time. This date barely let the check hit the table before scooping it up and announcing he’d pay. Why not give it a shot? I can end this after one meal, just two dates in, right? All of these questions are being triggered because I find something unsettling about this, but considering my current path hasn’t lead me anywhere great yet, perhaps some actions unlike myself couldn’t hurt? Don’t worry, I’m already picking out the slightly less expensive dishes from the menu so the side of guilt served is a little smaller.
If you’re in your twenties, the holiday season means a flood of engagements will be coming through your FaceBook newsfeed. I suppose that has had a hand in raising my anxiety of being single and has caused my screening process to become a little more lenient. Apparently I have a date this Saturday night with a guy who’s profile I only glanced at, and exchanged no more than two messages with. I thought I might as well get a night out of deciding if this person is worth any more of my time. I have very low expectations, which means it’s going to take a lot to be let down next weekend. In the meantime I’ve been exchanging messages with a girl I’m really not that excited about, but hey someone female actually isn’t ignoring me on these sites for a change. And, the most recent initial message from a guy sitting in my inbox, and being ignored is currently…
Usually I’m not this bitchy…But I was in a crappy mood and I’m checking my messages on dating sites and I see this message. Why would your initial message be an insult? How could this dude possibly expect me to react positively to a message asking if my interests have turned me into a “crazy” person, and then try to play it off as a serious question. I was also surprised at how defensive he became considering I just glanced at his profile picture and quickly thought of a return insult without even clicking on his profile. Apparently it was a sensitive topic for him. What I really don’t understand is that a week later (tonight) he sent me that last message on the bottom. (I haven’t responded.) It’s not the first time I’ve ended or ignored a message only to have someone start the conversation new a week later…even when the previous messages are sitting right above it.
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