Friday, January 13, 2012

NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME

I have had three long(er) term relationships. In two of them, the guy fell reluctantly into things with me. In both situations, the spiel went something like this: “I’ve got a lot of changes going on in my life right now. You just need to know that I’m not sure how much I want in dating right now.” I ignored the yellow caution light (or the red flag) and continued on. Love did bloom. In both scenarios, I was the one who chose to end the relationships. Ironically, both guys would have stayed the course.

But things were flawed from the outset. They didn’t hide things from me. I, due to a genuine interest and perhaps a blind determination to be in a relationship, didn’t allow a vague “no thank you” to lead to an early exit.

Here I am in a similar situation yet again. During a promising first date and a second date over dinner tonight, conversation ran smoothly. Both of us shared freely, going into greater depth than I typically encounter with the interview-styled surface dating. Tonight’s date was cut short due to the fact I have to catch the last ferry home which departs at a night-owl-unfriendly 9:15 p.m. I had to leave at 8:30 to ensure that I would make it. As we walked back to my car, things got quiet.

Awkwardly so.

For me, I worried about my dog sitting in the car for two and a half hours on one of the coldest nights of the year. (Yes, I’d wrapped him in blankets, but what if that wasn’t enough?) I also fretted about whether the breath mints I discreetly popped would cover up the Thai curry aftertaste from dinner in the event we shared a goodbye kiss.

My concerns were for naught. My dog remained nestled amongst the blankets, a distinct smell permeating the car as I opened the door. He’d found my overripe banana, pierced it and feasted on the tropical treat. His birthday is tomorrow. I’ll consider that an early present. And the kiss? Alas. I got a standard hug and a “Drive safely.”

Ouch. I think the banana fared better.

The car radio taunted me as I drove to the ferry terminal as Lady Antebellum sang “Just a Kiss”:

Just a kiss on your lips in the moonlight
Just a touch of the fire burning so bright
No, I don’t wanna mess this thing up.
I don’t wanna push too far.
Just a shot in the dark that you just might
Be the one I’ve been waiting for my whole life.
So, baby, I’m all right
With just a kiss goodnight.


If only.

Why didn’t I switch to the all-news station?

Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” immediately followed. Not as relatable but the kissing theme highlighted something glaringly missing from a second date.

As there were no road-closing accidents en route to the terminal, I arrived with a few too many minutes to spare. I had too much idle time sitting in my dark vehicle to allow me to wonder, Uh,...what happened? He had said, “We’ll talk during the week”, but was that simply a polite substitute for “Have a nice life”?

Yes, I think I knew the answer, but why spend the next five days wondering and entertaining the remote possibility that we would indeed talk? If things were going down, sooner would be better. Forget the dating rules. (I’m too old to bother with them.) I wanted clarity. I called him.

To his credit, he wasn’t creeped out...or he didn’t let it show. He even answered on the first ring. (Isn’t there a two-ring minimum? Seems he is not a rule follower either.) “I told you that I’m just starting back into dating,” he explained. Yes, his two-year relationship ended less than two months ago even though he knew it wouldn’t work three months into it. “I don’t know what I’m thinking. I don’t know what I’m feeling. I just want to go really slowly.”

Et tu? Déjà-vu? “I understand,” I said. “No pressure at all.” Seems the only place kiss fits in this evening is in the kiss-off.

I have no tears like the castoffs on “The Bachelor”. I could go into one of their classic Woe Is Me speeches: Why does this always happen to me? I put myself out there. I showed I am ready for love. And he didn’t want it. He didn’t want me. What’s wrong with me? I wonder if implants will make a difference next time around. Again, not all parts of “Bachelor” talk are relatable, but I understand the gist of things. (I’m thinking of getting my teeth whitened. Okay, maybe not a full procedure, but I could pick up a packet of those Crest Whitestrips.)

I know that five days from now I’ll still entertain the possibility that he might call, just like I will gullibly fork over a couple of dollars tomorrow for a lottery ticket. But I also know that no call is an honest, merciful (in)action. I cannot continue to be the dating coach for another tentative man.

A shame really. I saw potential. Intelligent, empathic, attractive, artistic,...even a quasi-vegetarian. (Sorry, but sushi is not a vegetable.) On the bright side, there are no snags in my future plans. I can continue to dream about taking a peon day job and writing during my free time when I move to California. I will be leaving nothing behind. My life needn’t be so complicated.

And yet I wouldn’t have minded.

4 comments:

Rick Modien said...

RG, I've just read how your dinner date went. Thank you so much for sharing the details. As you might imagine, I hoped you would.

Rather than give you a knee-jerk reaction/comment, I want to give some thought to this before I respond. And I want to read your words several more times.

I'll be in touch. Hang in there. You'll be fine.

Rural Gay said...

Hey Rick,
With this situation, I am trying to post as soon as possible after the date. (I write on the ferry ride home.) The thoughts then become immediate reactions.

Not sure what I feel this morning. I think it is best that I focus on other things for the rest of the weekend. I do think we've all been there though. A great first impression on a first date and suddenly there is a shift midway through the second date. What changed? Because we do not have the opportunity to get to know the other person further, we never really know. And trying to come up with our own explanations can be oh so dangerous!

Rick Modien said...

RG, as I read this post again, the word that came to mind (as it did after the first read) was raw. I knew from the date and time that you'd written it following your dinner date (talk about timely information to your nosy readers, like me). So I took that into consideration. No explanation necessary.

You've accused me of being an eternal optimist before, and I'm sure you'll do it again after you read this. The fact is, I don't see the big kiss-off here. He said he's just starting back into dating; he said wants to take things slowly. Nothing wrong with that. If it's a euphemism for, "I'm really not that into you," then you're both old enough that I believe he would have said that to you. Why drag it out unnecessarily. But he didn't. I take that as a positive sign.

Look, his last relationship ended just a few months ago, but he's already put himself out there. I give him credit for that. That said, maybe he realized, after seeing you a few times, he's just not ready yet. Fair enough. But I don't know if I'd read anything else into this. Maybe he really likes you (that is, sees potential) and truly wants to take things slowly. That's only the prudent thing to do. At least he's not a flighty teenager all over you for the wrong reasons.

In short, don't be too quick to write this one off. It's possible he may not call again. If that's the case, it wasn't meant to be. Then, for the time being, you can continue with your plans to move to LA and all that entails. On the other hand, he may call--or maybe you should call. When I first met Chris, I said I wasn't playing telephone games. If I wanted to call him, I would. None of this waiting for him to call so I knew he was really interested.

Set up another date with him, just two friends getting together because you like each other's company and you have common interests. Tell him that. No relationship pressure at all. Do some fun things together. Take it slowly. See where it goes. It may go nowhere, but it may go somewhere.

Before I dated Chris, I made the big mistake of thinking every single connection I made with a fellow was the beginning of a relationship. This sent the guys flying away from me. No one wanted that pressure from the outset. Make sure you work together as friends first. Great friends become great relationships. I consider Chris and me great friends, and we took some time to get there. Give yourself and him that time, too.

Does any of this make sense?

Rural Gay said...

Hi Rick,
I so appreciate your optimism. I am not expecting anything more to come from this, but I had a rare second date. Progress measured in inches.

I have lapsed into my protective mode, but if he should call or email, I will be open to seeing what may come next.

He said he'd contact me during the week so we'll see. I get the feeling, however, that he jumped back to Plenty Of Fish because his ex is already in a new relationship. He needed to show himself (and maybe his ex) that he was moving forward.

I know I surprised him with similar experiences in life and there was definitely a spark. Midway through date number two, something changed. I am good at faulting myself, but I do not think that is warranted in this case.

I'll keep you (and other readers) posted!