It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been incredibly busy with work and life (they are the same things, really). Too busy to think about dating. It’s kind of nice having work as a refuge. I can tell myself that I’m not dating because I don’t have the time, not because nobody wants to go out with me. Eventually I’ll have to face the music again, but for now I’m fine living with my delusion.
I’m finally beginning to internalize the advice I posted yesterday. Last night at a party I ran into an acquaintance that recently began seeing someone. They met in a work situation where there was chemistry, but it wasn’t appropriate to acknowledge it. Later on they ran into each other at a party and continued to hit it off. They’ve been on two dates and my acquaintance - the guy - is excited about the third. (I mention that because in my experience, the man’s desire is usually the limiting factor.)
Writing this now it actually makes less sense to me, but after speaking to him last night I really began to connect with the idea that both people have to want it, and want the same things. And there’s nothing I can do if the other person doesn’t want what I want. It’s a sobering thought. The whole reason why I try online dating is to try to exert control in an area of my life where I feel powerless. And the whole thing is a charade. There is no agency in love. Can you really influence the outcome? This may sound defeatist but it’s also a bit empowering. I acknowledge that it’s all I can do to put myself out there, and the rest I can’t control.
Although now that I’ve written those words and I see them, I’m not sure that there’s a point, after all. If putting myself out there and NOT putting myself out there yields the same results, what’s the point?
Last night I received good advice from a wise friend. I told her how I’d had this amazing first date, but stopped hearing from the guy in the middle of making plans last weekend. I figured that I should play it cool and after the weekend, casually invite him out. But she had a different idea. Instead of doing anything that might put pressure on him, or that wouldn’t work out if he was busy, she dictated this message to me:
"Hey, I know we’re both super busy - just wanted to say hey. How’s it going?"
It worked - he responded at least. But it still remains to be seen if this results in another date.
This morning I read my horoscope in Elle Magazine:
"If you’ve been dating in the hopes of finding your one true love - and are almost on the verge of giving up - the lunar eclipse on the 10th could restore your faith. With Saturn and Neptune supporting this eclipse, a chance meeting may take you places within days of this powerful moon, but for the best chances you need to expand your criteria for the ideal person."
The thing that I like about horoscopes is they’re so good at suggesting interesting things will happen to you, but they’re sufficiently vague enough so that if it doesn’t come true, that doesn’t necessarily make the horoscope wrong. It’s a lovely system. At the very least maybe it can distract me for a few days, and hopefully after the 10th I’ll have forgotten about this guy anyway.
I’m a busy lady. I have a brief window of time within which I could possible see ice skating guy this weekend. And the only reason I have that sliver of time is because I have to run an errand near him anyway. So I suggested that we meet up after my thing. He said “would be awesome, but don’t know if I’ll be around”, because of his plans in the afternoon. So I suggested that we meet before.
But now I feel like I probably should have waited for him to ask me out. Right? Just because I want to make time for him doesn’t mean I should. I know I’m supposed to be a modern woman and all, but the last guy I liked (the Italian) started to flake when I tried to make plans with him. And I know that the right guy won’t be like that, but guys are immature and they make mistakes. And it’s possible to even scare the good guys off.
And now I’m freaking out a little. Not a lot, because I really do have more than enough stuff to worry about right now, but enough to feel like I’ve already started repeating mistakes.
I had a date last night. A great date. One of my top 3 first dates, ever.
And I didn’t even know it was going to happen! We had been messaging on How About We, but it wasn’t until yesterday at 6:30 that we made plans for 8:00. At first we were just going to get drinks, but a friend I was with suggested ice skating at the outdoor Union Square rink. WHAT A GREAT IDEA! I had been wanting to have a date there anyway, and I was already in the neighborhood. Not only was he game, he even thought to look up schedule to make sure it was open.
I pulled up his photo on the website both to show my friend what he looked like - and to remind myself. Dude had great photos. I had forgotten how cute he was. While I was waiting for him at the rink I saw several unattractive people walk up, and I was just hoping and praying his photos were true to life. THEY WERE. Dude is hot. A little bit short (5’9” or 5’ 10”), but his face is amazing. Good hair too. And a great build. So fun, interesting, and such a good sport. We got along really well.
Ice skating is a great date with someone you have chemistry with because there’s lots of grabbing and holding of hands disguised as trying not to fall. So if I start flailing my arms and then reach out for his hand it’s totally ok. Or maybe I laugh at him when he falls, then he grabs me from behind to try to take me down, but instead I keep my balance and we end up just skating with his arms close around me. And maybe while this is happening we’re the only ones on the rink because it’s the end of the session and everyone else is off the ice, so it feels like we have the entire place to ourselves. There are a lot of possibilities, when you’re ice skating.
Ice skating is also a great date because it gives you a work-out, so if you don’t like the person you’re with it’s easy to say that you’re tired and ready to go home. Neither of us said that though, and we quickly decided to get drinks at my new favorite bar that is muppet themed (we both like the muppets, how a propos), and has shuffleboard. After some cozy conversation in a booth we advanced towards the shuffleboard at the same time as another couple so we all decided to play against each other. It was really fun to be on his team, instead of against him. And it allowed for many hugs and high-fives that lingered.
At the end of the night he walked me home. We kissed. And we agreed that we would see each other again.
Let me tell you about this date I had 3 weeks ago. Bad date, but at least I had a moment of personal triumph.
It’s not that he was a horrible person… he was just a horrible match for me. Other dates have been people I just had no reaction to, other than boredom. But this guy…
We started out at the SF MOMA. At first I thought he was gay. He definitely dressed metro, but that combined with the way he stood and and the way he spoke - both effeminate - I thought he was gay. I figured since HowAboutWe is more about finding activities than finding people, maybe I accidentally messaged a gay man but he was game for a night at the museum. He started in with the body language fairly quickly, however, so I figured out he was straight.
At the art museum I did enjoy his company, and was slightly intrigued. I was annoyed that he talked so much while we were looking at art, just because I wanted to focus on what we were seeing, and I wanted to save get-to-know-you conversation for later, in case we needed to fall back on it. After the museum I was trying to decide what I wanted to do next, and he suggested we get a drink so I agreed.
I didn’t feel much chemistry to begin with, but during drinks I put him squarely in the friend zone. And by “friend zone” I mean, “after tonight there’s no reason for us to ever talk to each other.” Dude was older, 43 I think. And he had a general distrust of women in their 20s. He told me some stories about younger women he had dated, and while I agree that there was some erratic behavior, he definitely had culpability that he didn’t acknowledge. Like, you say you met this girl on a cross-country flight and by the end of it you were in love with her? Honestly, if she broke your heart that’s on you for being so impetuous.
There came a point when I realized I missed any opportunity to have dinner with other people, so I figured I may as well have dinner with this guy. I wasn’t attracted to him, but he wasn’t that bad. At least he was kind of fascinating in a “you’re weird and very different from me” kind of way. But it was at dinner that I realized he was a pretentious asshole. Among other things, he hates American clothing so he goes on regular buying trips to Milan. As if Italian clothing isn’t available in San Francisco, or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter. He stopped watching TV 10 years ago, the result of a deep meditation experience in Thailand. Somehow I was able to muster the self-control to keep an eye-roll to myself.
The thing is, dude was into me. As we walked from spot to spot he put his arm around my waist. I didn’t stop him (that would have been awkward), but I kept my hand in my pocket and my elbow in his side. At the end of the night he offered me a ride home, which I accepted because riding in cars is a weakness of mine. Again he put his arm around my waist and I kept my elbow in his side. When we got close to his car he tried to kiss me… and I didn’t do anything. I was too polite to duck, but I certainly didn’t kiss him back. He was clearly miffed, said something a bit snarky, and we rode home in silence.
At the end of the night came my triumph. I knew that I had to set this guy straight. Not responding to his advances wasn’t enough. And I knew it would be duplicitous to act like things were ok and then to let him go by just never calling him. This was hard for me, but when we finally pulled up to my apartment I mustered up the courage to be straight up and honest with him.
Kind of. I told him that I had a good time with him, but I hadn’t felt enough when we kissed. So then he says, “but you didn’t even try!” In my head I was like… case in point. But instead I said I just didn’t feel chemistry with him. Then I thanked him for the evening and got out of the car.
This past weekend I re-watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, for the first time since college. There are two things I remember about watching in college:
- I was doing my study abroad in Paris, and I watched it in English with French subtitles. I remember seeing the subtitles and thinking they could barely keep up with what was happening in the movie. It was confusing enough in English, how could anybody read these subtitles and know what was going on?
- I came away with the overwhelming feeling that you have to tell the people you love, that you love them. That you absolutely cannot conceal your feelings, or else you could miss out on a rich, life-changing experience. I don’t know what about the movie was so powerful, but I was moved to disclose my feelings to someone I really cared about. It was this guy from school that I had an extended email correspondence with over the summer. At the time I thought I had a chance with him, but in retrospect I’m not surprised he just thought of me as a friend - or at least wouldn’t cop to any feelings for me.
I’ve been feeling lonely lately (more on that later), and I watched the movie in part to recapture the inspiration it first gave me. But it didn’t. I came away with two very different impressions:
- Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet’s characters are so flawed. I could see why their relationship would never work, and I wished they could too. I wanted them both to go into therapy and stop engaging in self-destructive behavior.
- The heart wants what the heart wants. I was touched that even after memories were erased, both the main characters and supporting characters went back to the people they had erased. As someone who’s own heart is opinionated and willful I was touched at the hearts that were drawn to something deep, beyond memory.
Also, Mark Ruffalo as a baby-faced teenager, what?!