Sunday, December 29, 2013

2 UP, 2 DOWN

I did not travel two ferries to Victoria just for a couple of coffee dates. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. I need my urban fixes to sustain my sanity and it’s been too long since I’ve explored this lovely little city.

But, yes, I had two potential dates lined up from Plenty of Fish. One guy messaged me a few months ago, but has been in Nigeria for much of the fall. The other guy I messaged the day before heading over. Why not?

I am here for three nights and gave both guys that window of time for meeting. One suggested getting together for a drink on the first night, the other wanted to meet for coffee the following morning. Two dates in a span of thirteen hours. The optimist in me wondered if I’d have to sneak away from any extended evening encounter to scramble over to meet the next guy. Me slutty? It was worth a chuckle.

I walked over to Canoe Bar Friday night and found Mick sitting at the bar. For once, a guy’s online photos undersold him. I felt an instant attraction, a wonderful sign. We chatted for ten minutes at the bar before I asked if we could move to a table. I didn’t like having a date as three bartenders stood nearby with little to do. I detected a trace of annoyance from Mick. Perhaps he had planned on a quick getaway or maybe he just enjoyed ogling the hunky trio. (This was not a gay bar; I assumed the guys were straight.) As we resettled, I asked about his work. What caused him to travel so much internationally? Turns out he works for a prominent public health foundation committed to eradicating certain diseases globally. He spent the next ten minutes talking about his job as if he were delivering a report to the United Nations. Was he trying too hard to impress or was this merely a canned brief? Business talk, only interesting for a change. Indeed, I was utterly fascinated.

So let’s recap where we are at this point. Attractive. Intelligent. Noble career.

He was incredibly fit, too—an avid marathon runner.

Hmm, how fast can I move to Victoria?

We talked about his teen son and that’s when I discovered the divorce hadn’t been finalized yet. There is always a catch. Separate abodes, at least. Better than the last time. I didn’t have the slightest sense that he would go back.

Dates are getting harder for me to gauge. Of course, I know when I am not interested and I can easily detect when it is a case of mutual disinterest. But I’ve gotten bad at figuring out if a guy is into me when I am into him. It all comes down to the goodbye.

We left the club and walked a few blocks together until his route home different from mine. It ended with a cordial hug, something I initiated. I think he would have preferred a wave. Yep, then and there it was clear. Any interest had been one-sided.

Normally, this would be easy to shrug off. The whole thing was impractical given the distance between our homes. And besides, I had another coffee lined up for the morning. So long, Mick. I’ve met a number of fine men who weren’t into me. I’ve learned a thing or two about being resilient.

This time, however, I turned the focus on me. After so many go-nowhere dates, I have to wonder what it is that I am doing wrong. It wasn’t a time to beat myself up over my looks. I’m in great shape and I’ve reached the as-good-as-it-gets level. This time I focused on the conversation. All these dates seem unnatural. They come off as interviews. There needs to be more doing than just talking. But things still seem stilted on a walk-and-talk. Why doesn’t my humor come through? Why do things remain at the schmooze stage? (I am a dreadful schmoozer.) Why don’t things ever evolve into genuine conversation?

No answers, of course. I stopped at 7-Eleven and picked up some comfort food. Let Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream be my backup companion.

I awoke to the fog of a new day. Another coffee, another opportunity. I walked to trendy Cook Street Village to meet Connor for an early morning latté. Arriving early, I reviewed his profile to assist with the schmoozing. Enter Connor. Again, he looked at least as good as his best online photo—tall, trim and flashing a warm smile. We chatted about less cerebral matters than the night before, but connected over where I lived as he has two siblings that have lived in my community in the past. Still, there were gaps in the conversation. I would stare into my empty mug, searching for something to get things back on track. If not a total fail, the schmoozing still needed work. Another street corner hug and I knew that was the first and final goodbye with Connor.

When the travel is greater to meet up on a date, the stakes are higher. A good date is not enough. In both cases, I am certain I came off as nice, but nothing more. How the heck do I conjure up the wow factor?

These dates had promise. Both men slotted in times early on my visit, leaving potential for a full weekend of follow-up activity. I got fizzle instead of sizzle. I don’t feel dejected—at least not after the pick-me-up that came from buying five pairs of shoes. At this point, however, I am mystified. What will it take to find a mutual connection again?

I now have plenty of time to ponder this as I have an open schedule to take in the sights of Victoria. To be safe, I am leaving the credit card in the hotel room.


Rick Modien said...

I'm so envious, RG. Chris and I lived in Victoria from August 2000 to April 2009. I love the city. I thought we'd be there for the rest of our lives. It was not to be.

I'm so glad you weren't down on yourself after your two dates. As far as I'm concerned, you're a really attractive guy. And, getting to know you via your blog, I know you're a warm, smart, articulate, and thoughtful man. You have no reason to blame yourself if things didn't go the way you would have liked them to.

I think you are on the right track. Give some thought to what you could have done differently during your two dates. Put yourself in a better position of not leaving them to chance the next time. I realize there's a lot of pressure on coffee dates, but there must be a way to get your wonderful personality across in a short period of time.

I know the fellow who one day gets you will be very lucky. You have so much to offer.

Rural Gay said...

Hi Rick,
Each time I visit Victoria, I feel it is time to move there. It is so lovely and I keep discovering trendy little places that wipe the sleep out of the town's eyes.

I'm not sure that it is a place to move to as a single guy though. There is a very small dating pool. I may have worked through it all in one weekend!

I appreciate your positive comments. It is easy for me to become even more reserved on these dating interviews as each one leads to nowhere, but I know I have to do the opposite. Even coming across as nervous would be better than my current first impression: polished and...dull.

As always, I am a work in progress!

Thanks again for your encouragement.